A letter from Elizabeth Turk in Madagascar
Dear Friends and Family,
Greetings from chilly Madagascar! A heartfelt thanks to those who helped us get through our last few weeks in Decatur and off to Madagascar.
We arrived safely with our luggage August 10 at 11 pm, a bit tired but glad to be at our destination. Even though we arrived late at night, we were greeted by many of our colleagues. It was wonderful to see them. In some ways it was as if we had been gone for only a short trip. It is a strange thing, living in two worlds. When we were in the airport parking lot hugging friends and speaking Malagasy, a part of me was finally home.
The trees seemed to travel well and were planted out in quarantine Saturday the 11th. We will share more about this in our next newsletter.
After a few days in a hotel we are now back in our house. We are still getting things put in place and arranging for the Internet. At the Ivato seminary campus it is quiet as it is between school terms. We have met up with many neighbors. The adults are much the same, but we have all noted how the youth have grown in two years. There are two major exams coming up for Malagasy students: this week (August 20-24), the 9th graders have tests and August 27-30, seniors take the exams necessary to finish high school. Robert and Frances start school tomorrow, August 22. They are eager to return to ASA and see former friends and classmates.
Dan took off Thursday the 16th to attend the FJKM General Assembly down south in Manakara. The 70 members of the governing body will be elected Monday (August 20) and Tuesday (August 21) and the church officers on the 21st and 22nd. Please continue to lift the FJKM in prayer during this important time.
Everyone we speak with shares that life is harder in Madagascar now. Jobs are less available, money is tight, and people are living on less. While we rejoice to be back among friends and where the Lord has called us to serve, it is hard to hear these words about the hardships people face. It is evident how important the church is in the life of the people and how much their faith means to them. It means a great deal to our brothers and sisters in the FJKM that we in the PC(USA) have not forgotten them. It is a privilege to be back living and working alongside our colleagues in the FJKM to bring God’s word of hope to the people.
Please join us in prayer for:
• the students taking exams this week and next under difficult circumstances
• the FJKM as it has elections and begins a new cycle
• those living in hardship that they might know God’s love
• the FJKM outreach ministries, that they might touch lives and remind people of God’s presence
• our continued adjustment and being open to God’s leading
Thank you so much for your prayers and support. The work we do and our presence here would not be possible without you.
Peace in Christ,
Elizabeth for the Turks
The 2012 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 110