What a great and insightful trip Heather and I had to Madagascar. We are grateful for smooth logistics, for meetings with key people, and for thoughtful and wise people there with whom we could explore the possibilities.
Madagascar is a country of great beauty and rich diversity. For example, Madagascar is home to half of the 150 species of chameleons worldwide – one of which is 2 feet long – Anna would love living there. Yet Madagascar is a country of desperate poverty as well, with 70% of its people living on less than $1 per day.

As you can see, Abi could easily pass for a Malagasy child.

Our contacts there were through Africa Inland Mission, which is the organization we would partner with if we went there. We were very impressed with their intentional vision, thoughtful planning, and well-designed strategy.

We spent two days in the capital, Antananarivo, meeting with missionaries and touring the area and its medical facilities. Then we took a short flight up to Mahajanga, instead of the 11 hour drive. Mahajanga is a small city on the coast with very warm temperatures and very beautiful beaches.
With the help of missionaries in Mahajanga, we explored the possibility of working and teaching in a 360-bed hospital which is run by the government. This hospital is one of the primary training sites for over 300 eager medical students and about 75 interns who study at the University of Mahajanga, but they have a shortage of teaching physicians. We were warmly invited by the administration of the university to come and work and teach.
The language situation is a bit daunting. First we would need to learn French (which we would use primarily with colleagues and students in the hospital and medical school). Then we would also need to learn to speak Malagasy (which would be used to talk with patients and everyone else). That could require a year in France, and maybe another 8 months of dedicated language time in Madagascar before starting work.

Overall, Madagascar is a place of great potential where we could be involved in wholistic medical work and significant teaching. It seems that there is a rising tide of development interest in Mahajanga, and it would be exciting to be a part of that momentum.
So it looks like it will be a tough decision to decide which country we will go to. Hopefully God will call others to work at these other sites. The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.


Sarah said...

Hi Fader Family! Great post, and big decisions to make for sure. We'll keep praying for discernment for all of you. I wish I could download all the French in my head into yours somehow...I certainly have no use for it. We miss you guys. Want to make a quick trip to GR so you can come to light in the night with us again this year?!

Anonymous said...

I do not envy you all the decisions you have to make. I do envy the opportunity to visit places! A year in France sounds wonderful, but could you use Rosetta Stone or something similar? Praying for clarity and discernment.

The Jones Family said...

What about a year of language study in Quebec? We have an acquaintance who will be going to DRC with MAF who is currently in Sherbrooke, Quebec doing language study. Just a thought. Would bring you closer to home for a bit and maybe cost of living is cheaper than France? Praying for you through these decisions! :) - Amy

James & Alissa said...

Hey guys... we vote for MADAGASCAR!!! But we also vote for God's will! The Casurella's are doing the French study in France and then Malagasy study in Mad.. they would be a good contact if necessary. The great thing about Malagasy is that it's not a difficult language to learn. And of course, don't forget those beaches and other fun missionaries! :) Joining with you all in prayer!

Anonymous said...

Looks like a great opportunity! I will pass this info onto our small group so we can help you pray for direction for this and other possible options.

Anonymous said...

I'm praying for you guys...just hope you return to the US before another stint in Africa. May God give you wisdom from above and show you three couples HIS will. Linda S.

Ruth said...

My friend, Sara LeHoullier, just published a book about Madagascar. You can find it on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Sara-LeHoullier/e/B0041NXZ2M/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

I will be praying for your family as the Lord leads you in His path.