Austin and Tanya Propst are the ELCA Young Adults in Global Mission (YAGM) coordinators for Madagascar. The YAGM program relies on the coordinators who facilitate the young adults’ ministry and provide mentoring and spiritual guidance. To support a YAGM coordinator, go to www.elca.org/missionarysponsorship.
Austin, center, gets a lesson in picking peanuts.
Tanya and I have been here in Madagascar for three months now. As in all aspects of life, it has been a journey. Eight weeks of Malagasy language training, a month of travels to visit volunteer placement sites, a quick trip to the States to meet the new Young Adults in Global Mission volunteers and, of course, our own adjustment to living in a new place.
There have been countless ways that I have seen God at work, what a blessing it has been to experience. The Malagasy people have such a passion to offer us, and all visitors, with an experience of culture. Malagasy always ask, “Ahoana no fahitanao an’ Madagasikara?” (How do you see Madagascar?) I have discovered Madagascar is not to only see with my eyes, but how to see, feel understand, know and experience with my whole being. And the passion of the Malagasy is to continue to offer us a deeper experience and understanding of their unique culture.
No matter where we find ourselves, or who we meet, we are offered a true Malagasy experience. Maybe through a meal, showing us how to wash clothes, teaching us words and phrases, teaching us how to plant/grow/harvest rice, or in our most recent experience, how to harvest peanuts — click here to watch the video. The Malagasy want to share themselves unceasingly by offering us a glimpse of what it means to live here in Madagascar. I have found that the foundation of what it means to be Malagasy is simple: relationship.
We are blessed to be happy and happy to be blessed, sambatra!