Trinity Lutheran Church
Our Madagascar Missionary
Trinity Lutheran Church
Pastor Kirsten Laderach
Pastor Kirsten Laderach is the Madagascar Young Adults in Global Missions (YAGM) country coordinator. Kirsten arrived to Madagascar in March 2015 to travel with us around the island for one month to soak in the Malagasy culture. She then returned to the States for the Discernment, Interview, Placement weekend, held in Chiacgo, where she meet 10 new young adults who will come to Madagascar this August!
We are excited for Kirsten and the new journey she is embarking on. Please support her, as she transitions into this new role, we know that we could not have done it without you all. You can follow her blog at:
It has been an intense time for Madagascar and for all of her inhabitants including me and the rest of the ELCA staff and volunteers here. In the following newsletter I write about the Cyclone that just came through.
A prayer request—Pray for the families who have lost loved ones in this cyclone, pray for the thousands who have been displaced, pray for the strength and wisdom of aid workers and for the good governance of officials in charge of relief and clean up.
It is also in general a slightly chaotic time for me as I do my work here and organize for my home assignment visits in the USA. As always the work is worth it and I look forward to meeting many new friends at all of these upcoming stops.
In the newsletter I also include the beginning part of my scheduled visits, if your church is not yet on the list and you’d like it to be, let me know via email and we can see if there is a way to make that happen. My available Sundays are all taken up, but a Wednesday night event or fellowship, a clergy gathering, a VBS event, these are all possibilities for making connections to the church here in Madagascar. I would also be very interested to speak to college aged young adults, we are always looking for more great YAGM’s in the future!
A place like Madagascar can be thought of as simply a small island with lemurs on the other side of the world. And yes, it is on the other side of the world and lemurs do live there but its by no means small. It’s the fourth largest island in the world, it has 24 million people and 3.7 of them are Lutherans! Imagine that!! There are many fun facts and intriguing realities to know about this place.
One later location I’s like to make you aware of is Holden Village. I will be on the teaching faculty August 14—18. I will teach three different classes on Madagascar. So if you’re a Holdenite or want to be one, consider visiting that week!
Grace and Peace to you all!
So why Madagascar?
Me: Great question. And often one of the first questions I get here too.
So, Kirsten of all the places in the world, why did you go to Madagascar?
Me: YAGM. (pronounced yag-em)
YAGM stands for Young Adults in Global Mission. It’s a international ministry of the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.) Young adults aged 21-29 give a year of service to walk with a new people, learn their culture, learn their language, learn about themselves, all while they grow and even challenge their faith and beliefs.
It’s a great program that is currently in many countries. I have met all of the current volunteers and I have been to many of the places they volunteer and live. To put it simply, I have been blown away by the caliber of these young adults, their ability to negotiate great cultural variances, their dedication to their work, their use of the local language, their confidence, their joy, their introspection and reflection…
Granted they have all been here since last August, but really … that’s not a long time.
And just this past weekend I had the opportunity to meet the new group of volunteers, eager, wide eyed, hopeful and possibly even wondering…oh my word, what has God called me to???
Prayers for the new 79 YAGM volunteers as they discern this week and gather the courage to say yes or no.
See some of the great faces and relationships that have developed between YAGM’s and the people at their sites!
I arrived here 15 days ago. It’s been beautiful and it’s been full, for the heart, the mind and the soul….
It’s a new land, a new culture, a new people…it’s remote and connected, strangely familiar yet completely new… I find myself new and challenged, I find myself comparing my new surroundings with the places I’ve seen. I find myself comparing how I am here with the way I walked through and understood those lands I once traveled. And oddly enough, in this new land… I am remembering some of those friends and strangers from past travels that were so important and actually essential to my health, my safety and my happiness… I am humbled in my remembrance of them. I am humbled by the extent to which, time after time, our hosts help us to find grace and strength, forgiveness and understanding in all of our unintentional faux pas … in our struggles to speak, to dress, to receive and to move through a new land and people.
My new hosts and friends are the reason for this remembering. And I am certain they will be my sources of health and safety and happiness to come. Thank you Jesus, for the beautiful way you support and guide us!
Themba, Kwena and family… my colleagues and already friends from the ELCA (Evangelical Church in America.) We are all new in Madagascar and all appreciating our Malagasy hosts! And I am appreciating their friendship!