Stories from the Global Church
Here you will find stories from the global church by ELCA global missionaries, scholars, and churchwide staff, brought to you by the ELCA Global Church Sponsorship team.
Kate Griewisch is spending a year of service in Madagascar as an ELCA Young Adults in Global Mission volunteer. The program relies on coordinators who facilitate the young adults’ ministry and provide mentoring and spiritual guidance. To support a coordinator, go to www.ELCA.org/missionarysponsorship.
“I’m going to be a mother!” I happily informed my mom on the telephone after wishing her a happy Mother’s Day.
“A godmother?” my mom inquired, not thrown off by my proclamation that could have been taken to mean a number of other things.
“Yes! Haha. How did you guess?! I thought you’d at least think I was adopting a Malagasy baby when I told you the news.”
I was so excited to share this news with my mom, especially since it was Mother’s Day. The day before, Miko, the fiancé of Mama Jeannette’s son Dera, came up to me while I was washing my clothes and asked me to be her son’s godmother. “Tsy maninona! Faly be aho,” (“Of course! I am very happy!”) I told her. I felt honored and surprised that she asked me to be Joshuano’s godmother, especially since I’m going home in two months and won’t be around as he grows up. Even though I won’t be physically in Madagascar, this gives me another good reason to stay in contact with Jeannette and my Malagasy family and come back to visit. I also want to continue to pray for Joshuano and his parents as they raise him up to know God’s word. He is only 4 months old right now so he won’t remember me or know much about me when he’s older, but I pray that he knows the Lord and his love for him.
Joshuano was baptized on Pentecost Sunday along with about 40 other babies. As the godmother I got to take him up to the front of the church and hold him as the pastor poured the water three times over his head and gave him a blessing. I honestly don’t cry much, but I had to hold back tears as I took part in this joyful day. I was sad knowing that I wouldn’t get to see him grow up, but also happy that he was officially becoming a part of God’s family.
After taking lots of pictures, it was time to celebrate. Mama Jeannette hosted almost 50 people at her house for a delicious lunch of chicken, goose, carrot and cucumber salads, and lots of rice. There was also a grand four-story cake that Jeannette had made. Miko helped me cut the first slice and then it was my job as the godmother to pass it out to the guests. The room was full of conversation, laughter and dancing, which soon spilled outside where all the kids had gathered. The kids really know how to dance!
It made me happy to see everyone having such a good time and reminded me of how thankful I am for my family here in Madagascar as well as my family back home and all those in the world who are my family in Christ through baptism. I am thankful for the Holy Spirit that connects me to this great big family, whether they are 9,000 miles away in America or right here in Tulear, Madagascar. I have been amazed at the way the Holy Spirit has worked in my life over the past nine months and pray that I continue to stay aware of God’s presence in my life during these last two months as my Malagasy family and I continue to accompany each other in this journey.