A letter from Dan and Elizabeth Turk in the U.S., on Interpretation Assignment from Madagascar
September 30, 2015 - Water for the FJKM Seminary in Fianarantsoa
Greetings from the U.S.A. We arrived from Madagascar in late June and settled into Mission Haven in Decatur, Ga. The summer passed quite fast with speaking engagements and family visits. Frances is now adapting to life as a junior in high school and Robert to life as a sophomore in college. It was nice to be together as a family this summer before Robert returned to college.
We have enjoyed meeting and speaking with many of you and look forward to future visits with others. We realize that we will not be able to visit everyone, but we hope to produce a short video to send out. We are also open to possible skype visits.
The PC(USA)’s partnership with the Church of Jesus Christ in Madagascar (FJKM) remains strong. Our FJKM colleagues are continuing the ministries that the PC(USA) supports. We would like to share a wonderful example of partnership in action.
Water for the FJKM Seminary in Fianarantsoa
One of the components of the Fruits, Vegetables, & Environmental Education Project (FVEE) that Dan is working with involves training pastoral students and establishing vegetable gardens and fruit orchards at three of the four FJKM seminaries. The vegetables and fruit trees need good sources of water to grow well. In 2014 the FVEE project built two water towers for the Ivato FJKM Seminary to facilitate watering the garden and orchard. This year it was the turn of the FJKM Seminary at Fianarantsoa.
The FJKM Seminary at Fianarantsoa trains seminary students for their first three years of a four-year program. There are about 150 people living on the Fianarantsoa seminary campus, which includes 60 students, their families, the faculty, and other employees. The seminary is situated at the top of a steep hill. Bedrock makes wells prohibitive. City water does not come to the seminary, which means that representatives from each family had to spend considerable time waiting to fill yellow water jugs at a spigot down the hill from the seminary. They then had to carry the water back up the hill to supply their needs for drinking, bathing, and washing dishes and clothes.
After doing an assessment, it turned out that it would cost about $18,500 to put in two reservoirs, a pump, and pipe to get drinking water from the city system up to the campus within easy access of the seminary students and faculty. Only one problem: $18,500 was more than the FVEE project had budgeted.
In an amazing example of partnership, generous contributions came from the Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea (PROK), which has a partnership with the FJKM church, and also from a private foundation. The work was conducted by the water team of the FJKM Development Department. The project was completed on schedule this past June to the great appreciation of the seminary students and faculty.
The FVEE’s fruit trees and vegetable gardens help the seminary students in the present and the future. As part of the FVEE project the seminary students are taught good techniques for growing vegetables and fruit trees that will help them when they take up their posts at churches in rural Madagascar. Learning these skills and having access to good seeds and fruit trees will help them grow their own food when they become pastors. The vegetable gardens at Fianarantsoa have already started producing food and the families at the seminary are enjoying the added food source. The new improved water system will help increase vegetable production and allow for expansion of the vegetable gardens.
The new school year in Madagascar begins in October and brings many activities. The FJKM AIDS Committee has scheduled trainings at several of the FJKM seminaries from October to December. The youth peer educators will be starting their second year as peer educators. There will be family planning training for the FJKM doctors in October as well.
Please pray for the FJKM’s new pastors as they take up their first posts.
Please pray for the Fruits, Vegetables, & Environmental Education Project as it trains seminary students.
Please pray for the youth peer educators as they begin a new school year, that they may share what they have learned in ways that encourage and strengthen other youth to make wise decisions.
Please pray for the FJKM AIDS Committee as it seeks to train seminary students and work with branches of the church to prevent the spread of HIV and AIDS.
Please pray for the FJKM doctors as they receive their family planning training and seek to serve in difficult circumstances.
These wonderful ministries are only possible because of your prayers and financial support. Please continue! Your faithfulness means a great deal to us and to the FJKM. It embodies I Corinthians 12:25, “There is no division in the body, but all its different parts have the same concern for one another.” Thank you for your care and concern for us and your brothers and sisters in Christ in Madagascar.
Peace in Christ,
Dan and Elizabeth Turk
The 2015 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 160
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