A letter from Jan Heckler serving in Madagascar
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I would like to begin by thanking God for the chance to serve in the ways that have been provided, using my time and talents according to the great plan in these ways. I would also like to thank the people of FJKM, for without them there could be no ministry and no partnership.
Highlights from 2015:
I advised the Church of Jesus Christ in Madagascar (FJKM) prevention programs in helping them to prepare and submit proposals to A Project of Hope (APOH) for impoverished and/or oppressed women and children who are at risk of various social ills, including early school leaving, teenage pregnancy, substance abuse, sexually transmitted diseases, and human trafficking. By year’s end nearly all of the funds obtained from this NGO were received and being used by these programs according to submitted plans. The programs included:
- Akany Gazela – a home for young girls who must live away from their families and home communities in order to complete their secondary schooling.
- Ambaniakondro – a community comprised almost entirely of women and children forced from their tribal homes by the oppressive treatment by their tribe’s men, primarily husbands and fathers.
- Antanandava Parish – a 500-square-kilometer FJKM parish serving 14 congregations including 5 primary churches and 800-1,000 people. The parish is severely impoverished, lacking food, clean water, medical care, education and shelter.
- St. Marie – two communities on this tiny isle off the northeast coast of Madagascar fighting sexual tourism and human trafficking.
- Tabita – an urban domestic violence program specializing in survivor support and family reunification where it is desired and feasible.
- I concluded my first interpretation assignment (IA) for the PC(USA), including visiting congregations in three regions of the country promoting mission in Madagascar and the great partnership between FJKM and the PC(USA).
- Returning from IA, I found the EBMI (Evidence-Based Methods of Instruction) Project to be behind schedule. Still, working with diligence and in partnership with a growing cadre of committed professionals, we were able to bring the project back online and it is now proceeding according to its current plan and schedule of work.
Things accomplished for the FJKM, Office of the President:
- Assisted various FJKM staff and leadership positions in accessing funds that move through the PC(USA) (Pittsburgh postal box) earmarked for use by FJKM;
- Consulted with the president of FJKM on various matters as needed/desired, including discussions of long-range planning import;
- Worked to develop the EBMI Project to improve the quality of instruction by FJKM schools nationwide.
- Made various briefings to FJKM’s Director of Schools and, beginning in August, to Samuel Andriar, Director of the Institut de Formation et de Recherches Pédagogiques (IFRP, FJKM’s teacher training college) about the EBMI Project. He is also a regular invitee to our monthly briefings.
- Hired and trained Vololona Rasoavelonirina as the Deputy Project Administrator for the EBMI Project and provided classroom training for three Teacher-Trainer/Coaches. These three are now undergoing extensive practicum experiences in real schools working with real teachers.
- Observed EBMI classes at various schools; met with teachers, headmasters and mistresses; provided diagnostic-driven recommendations and consultations.
- Wrote, produced, and along with Pastor Mamisoa presented a four-day EBMI “Best Practices” Workshop held September 7-10 (mornings) in Lilongwe, Malawi, to orient CCAP leadership and education staff about EBMI and FJKM’s EBMI Project.
- Wrote and helped produce the first two-day teacher orientation workshop held December 21-22 to orient new teachers and heads to the EBMI Project (Vololona presented this one).
- Met variously with Dyna Trimozafy and Vero Andriamose to plan Dorkasy’s National Literacy Campaign.
- Drafted Dorkasy Literacy Campaign budget;
- Met with Dyna to develop grant proposal to the “Least Coin Fellowship” (LCF) to fund the Dorkasy Literacy Campaign and was lead author in that proposal;
- Dorkasy receives $5,000 from “Least Coin Fellowship” as a result of grant proposal to fund the Dorkasy Literacy Campaign;
- Helped engineer the $1,000 literacy grant from APOH for Dorkasy to “match” the LCF grant and to complete their funding needs for phase I of this project.
Things accomplished for the PC(USA):
- Wrote four “Letters Home” describing ministry, for use on the PC(USA) website.
Annual Ministry Update, 2014
An Easter to Remember
A Perfect Score
Two Great Women
- Wrote reports as scheduled and as requested;
- Performed IA as scheduled, traveling to a number of places, including Detroit, Mich.; Lakeside Park and Louisville, Ky.; Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Ghost Ranch, N.M.; Birmingham, Evergreen, and Fairhope, Ala.; and Mechanicsburg, Pa.;
- Raised funds in support of our ministry in Madagascar (these funds, separate from those listed above, are used by the PC(USA) to pay the costs associated with having me in Madagascar).
In summary, I rejoice at the work the Lord has called me to do in Madagascar for the FJKM and in performing the many things my ministry expects of me. I am blessed by the number of close relationships I have formed here and I feel God’s embrace on a daily basis in my “home” overseas. How blessed am I? I can only pray that it will continue and for better or worse, that I can be with the people of FJKM and Madagascar.
The 2015 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 154
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