Our good friend Eleri Edwards has sent a newsletter from Madagascar and we print this extract.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
‘Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you’
1 Thess 5:18
We are delighted to share the news from the Mamre Community as it is always a joy for us to share our experiences of the last six months in the year.
The pastoral School of our Church the FJKM celebrated its 150th Anniversary on the 24th January at the Queen’s Palace because it was there that Theological education started in Madagascar. Sr Alexandrine and Sr Lanto attended the celebration to represent the Community.
On the 12th March, Dr Paul SANYAS together with another colleague from the Association LA CAUSE visited us and gave us a training on the ‘nutri-carte’ to improve the meals of the children as well as our own. Most of the sisters and those who help in the canteen followed this training.
It was on the 20th March that our President of the Republic announced that our country was in a ‘State of health emergency because of the corona virus, Covid 19.’ The people’s first reaction was negative. Terrified, they complained ‘why didn’t they take precautions like closing the frontiers to prevent the disease from coming here?’ We heard that everywhere.
Straight after that, Sr Angeline called the doctors we know to ask for advice on what we should do to confront this pandemic: they advised ginger infusion with onions, garlic, lemon and honey to increase the antibodies. All the sisters drank this infusion even those who do not like strong or spiced flavours. We also went to the Chemist’s to get vitamin C and masks, but without success as not only were there long queues in most chemists but some increased the prices unreasonably
With God’s help we reflected together on how to live this lock-down. Yes all things work together for good for those who love God: so we were able to increase our times of prayer and prayer is the main activity of Mamre.
There were intercessions for the world every hour and the sisters took it in turns to lead these prayers every day. We are also comforted by the prayers ourselves and by sharing the Word of God in which everyone participates. We put morning prayer a little later than usual so that we have more sleep and the rest our bodies need. We also brought forward our evening prayer so that we could follow the news and that helped us a lot in our prayer subjects.
We go out much less and only go for urgent shopping. Each sister uses her talents for the tasks in the community and we can help each other. We have weeded the garden and yard. Sister Alexandrine regularly looks after the garden. We all enjoy collecting the harvest from it. It is a big help for us We only go to market for other essentials once every two or three weeks. The flowers in the garden cheer us up in the chapel and we enjoy walking in the garden. All our window panes have been cleaned and now they sparkle in the sun.
Sister Berthine is in charge of face-mask orders for our customers and of the Sisters’ habits. She is making frills for the pastoral robes that will be ordered later on. Although we only have a few orders at present we hope that eventually the orders will increase, although we do not know when yet.
Some of the sisters have taken advantage of this crisis to knit woollen beanie hats as we are in the middle of winter here. It’s good see some learning to knit and trying to complete their hat some with difficulty. Others have altered their clothes to fit them in their new shape.