A letter from Dan and Elizabeth Turk serving in Madagascar
January 29, 2015
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Milestones, transitions, new beginnings
Hard to believe, but 2014 is now past and a new year beginning. One of the first things we want to do this year is let you know how important your prayers and support are to us. For many of you, your support has been ongoing for a number of years; for others this is a new partnership. THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR ALL OF THE WAYS THAT YOU HAVE SUPPORTED US!! Please know that no gift or prayer is too small—God combines them all to further His kingdom in Madagascar and let people know of His love and salvation.
This is a brief letter to say thank you and to review a few of the major events that occurred last year as we served as PC(USA) mission co-workers with PC(USA)’s partner church in Madagascar, the Fiangonan’I Jesoa Kristy eto Madagasikara (FJKM). We also want you to know we will be on home interpretation assignment from July 2015 to June 2016. Please let us know if you would like us to visit your church during this period. Our best contact is firstname.lastname@example.org
Milestones, transitions, new beginnings—these characterized our lives and ministry in 2014.
• Robert’s graduation from high school in Madagascar and beginning college studies in the U.S.A. This was by far the biggest milestone and transition last year. Robert is doing well (and so are we). Thank you to all who have assisted in this, whether through prayers or other ways.
• A new project with the FJKM began—The Fruit, Vegetable, and Environmental Education Project. This project helps student pastors, new pastors, and Christians grow vegetables and fruits to put food on the table and to help reduce poverty in their communities. The project is also addressing the need to help preserve Madagascar’s unique biodiversity.
• Conclusion of the 5-year Fruit Tree and Environmental Extension Project. This project brought many benefits to rural farmers through trainings and the introduction of new and improved fruit tree varieties. A follow-up project is still in discussion. Pictured is a farmer from Antanetibe, where the whole community was trained to grow citrus and supplied with top-quality varieties.
• Revision of the Youth Peer Education Program. These revisions will help participating youth be more effective in sharing with their peers how to lead lives that are healthy, productive, and in line with God’s teachings.
• Expansion of FJKM AIDS training to reach all four FJKM seminaries. The AIDS Committee now has more time with seminary students to teach counseling techniques as well as to educate them in other aspects of AIDS prevention and treatment.
• Training local health committees in water and sanitation. Ongoing trainings were carried out by the Development Department with community members in how to manage the new water and outhouses that were built in the last five years. As a result of the new water sources and outhouses, diarrhea has decreased, cleanliness has increased, and women have more time for other household and economic activities.
• Receiving “Chevalier de l’Ordre National” awards. On November 29, 2014, during the 40th-year celebration of the FJKM Development Department, we received “Knight of the National Order” awards in recognition of our service to the church and country. We are humbled and appreciative of this honor.
Although national elections occurred in late 2013, the people of Madagascar are still suffering from the effects of the five-year economic and political crisis. This makes the work of the church in evangelism, development, and reconciliation all the more important. People need help, hope, and healing. Following the example of Christ, the FJKM church is ministering in all of these areas. Again, we want to thank you for partnering with us and the FJKM church in the ministries of health and environment in 2014 and helping to change lives.
There is still much to be done, but together we can help the church share God’s love in tangible ways. We would appreciate your prayers and financial support in 2015. Without your support we cannot carry out these ministries. Please join us in prayer and support so that this year even more people in Madagascar will benefit from God’s plan to bring abundant life (John 10:10).
Peace in Christ,
Dan & Elizabeth
The 2015 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 160
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