The Year of Loss

Madagascar has been under a state of emergency since March because of Covid-19. We came to the capital, Tana, at the beginning of May, just before they stopped all regional land and air travel. Next week, after 4 months of lockdown, domestic flights are opening up and we will be allowed to return to Nosy Be. For the kids, the upcoming flight will be only the second time they have left our temporary house here in Tana; they are just a little bit excited. We are all very thankful for being here during this time, having a safe and comfortable place to see our precious Ivy come into the world. At the same time each of us has grown weary of the isolation, and of being locked down in an unfamiliar house in an unfamiliar city. We are ready to return to our island life and the work God has called us to in the village.

Members of the Ambatozavavy church taking food parcels to a neighboring village

But just as we are ready to escape the loss that comes with 4 months of isolation, we are returning to a place that is dealing with loss as well. Our friends and neighbors in Nosy Be are in the middle of a variety of tradgedies from limited food supplies, sickness, no money for medical needs, no jobs, a bad fishing season, a failed school year for the majority, and for the larger portion…abject poverty. Last January Dengue Fever was raging across the island. Many of our neighbors became infected, and some died, including a small girl whose family attends one of our church plants. Then came the Covid-19 pandemic, and the closure of the border. The loss of tourism in Nosy Be has taken away virtually every employment opportunity available to the local population. In our village, the fishing season has been unusually bad. The malaria threat is constant and increasing this year. And the high risk of labor and delivery to both mother and child remains terribly high due to the poor medical care available. A young woman from our village recently died during delivery, along with her child. So much loss! We are all experiencing a traumatic amount of loss this year friends; each person we interact with, whether in person or virtually, is an image-bearer of God experiencing the effects of sin, of the curse of The Fall, in a profound way.

Our first photo as a family of seven!

We will return to Nosy Be and once again enter into the lives of our neighbors, try to understand more of what they have been going through, and fall back into the rhythm of the village. Their loss will become our loss, and ours will become theirs. Jesus never promised that if you follow certain rules that you can be saved from loss and pain. That is NOT the gospel. The message we will continue to share with our friends and neighbors is this: Jesus has come to be with us during our loss and pain. To save us from the curse. To walk with us through the difficult season. This is good news, and we can be sure He understands because He went through even greater loss and pain .

He had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
and no beauty that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not. (Isaiah 53: 2-3)

Remember friends, everything good in this world, every bit of grace and hope, comes from Him.

– Bryan

Update on Food Relief Distribution: we have now had nine Food Relief Distributions in Nosy Be. The have reached 5 villages and over 1,000 people. Thank you for being part of this ministry! We will continue to do this until the economy stabilizes, so if you would like to contribute please click here to find out how. Thank you.