7 months in Madagascar. Rich and Beautiful. That’s what it has been.
It’s been a topsy turvy few months and if I could pick out a few things that I’ve tried to learn along the journey, this is what they would be…
Live in Heaven – you have access to EVERYTHING you need
Be Un-offendable – you can afford it
Dream big – NOTHING is impossible
Yours to carry – not mine (burdens)
Don’t listen to monsters
It’s Jesus I serve – no-one else
I could expand… but… I don’t know if I need to. It all comes down to love… to having an understanding who I am a daughter of… to knowing the life of freedom that I am called to… to living as someone who knows they are LOVED. I haven’t figured it out yet but I am thankful for all the ways He has allowed me to love – the opportunities to express my Father’s heart. It’s been a tough few months – but I am thankful for the journey that it has brought me on and for the rich and beautiful places it has taken me.
The repaired cleft lip smile, the sweet giggles of those whose obstetric fistulas are now closed, the running feet of those once bent, the waving arms of the ones that were once crippled by terrible burns, all those who have been empowered with knowledge, with love, with the tools to do what they were made to do… the pure joy of the market seller whose smile broadens when my eyes meet hers, to those who have so much to share, whose hearts are so rich and beautiful beyond compare, to those who know what it is to hope, to trust, to love even when they have so little in terms of ‘stuff’… to the endless sea of lush green rice fields, to the mountain peaks and rainforest galore, to the jumping lemurs and to the sweet sweet tastes of your plentiful fruits – mangoes, coconuts, litchis, apples, bananas, pineapples, oranges, limes, passion fruit... strawberries even!. Madagascar you are rich and beautiful and it has been a joy and an honour to serve you and your people!
One of my beautiful friends got a few people on board to summarise our last few months here in Madagascar and I think she’s captured it really well… (see if you can guess which my line is J ):
Psalm 136 – The Africa Mercy version
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good… His love endures forever.
He opened up an entire new region of Africa unexpectedly… His love endures forever.
To Him who equipped us for the task… His love endures forever
Who brought us through the mist of the unknown and rough seas… His love endures forever.
And kept us safe in our precarious berth… His love endures forever.
To Him who kept us safe from tropical storms… His love endures forever.
Who provided all of our water… His love endures forever.
His faithfulness confirmed His promise in ways seen and unseen… His love endures forever.
Who connected our paths with the right patients… His love endures forever.
He saw us through every surgery… His love endures forever
To him who heals bodies even when surgery or medicines fail… His love endures forever.
He healed every wound… His love endures forever.
Who restores movement to contracted joints… His love endures forever.
Whose presence filled our Hospital causing infections to vanish, new skin to grow and left hearts overflowing with hope… His love endures forever.
During stress filled times, He answered my every page… His love endures forever.
To Him who provided our largest HOPE center ever!... His love endures forever.
He saved lives through training! … His love endures forever.
Who provided a way for us to minister to orphans, the elderly, prisoners, the deaf & disabled… His love endures forever.
To the ONE who created the colourful richness of harmony in the music of Madagascar and blessed us with a day crew that sings praises while they work… His love endures forever.
And opened the floodgates of the internet… His love endures forever.
For the everlasting supplies of fruit & veg… His love endures forever.
For the day when the cheese came… His love endures forever.
To Him alone who created all the lemurs… His love endures forever.
Who provided a close friend at just the right time…His love endures forever.
He kept us safe in 3 different countries… His love endures forever.
To him who alone does great wonders… His love endures forever.
Let us give thanks to the God of heaven.
His love endures forever.
And so I find myself nearly on my way home – 7 months of surgery and it’s time to pack up this floating Hospital and let it sail again. My heart is full and I can’t wait to be a part of the adventures that are planned for our next 10 months here in Madagascar this August. From a hugely expanded health education program that will span the nation, to setting up a Regional Fistula Centre that we hope will leave a lasting legacy that will bring hope and healing to thousands of women in Madagascar, to a Ponseti clinic which will treat 100s of young children with club feet… not to mention the 12 towns around Madagascar that will be visited by our teams to find patients that need the help of our usual array of life transforming surgeries on board or the many many rich and beautiful spirits that I will get to share life with… friends, patients and colleagues… I truly cannot wait!
But first, I look forward to seeing some of you back home…
Until then… live as someone who is LOVED.
Rich and beautiful. His love endures forever.