The Rev. Austin and Tanya Propst are the ELCA Young Adults in Global Mission program coordinators for Madagascar. The program relies on the coordinators who facilitate the young adults’ ministry and provide mentoring and spiritual guidance. To support a coordinator, go to www.ELCA.org/missionarysponsorship. You can follow Austin and Tanya at their blog, “Sambatra.”
It has been one year since we set foot here in Madagascar! And I can say we are now home. Through much prayer, challenge, laughter, joy, wrong turns, ah-ha moments, quiet spaces, tears, noisy streets and handshakes, we find peace in our being here. This is our home. It has been a journey, and we continue to wonder what God has in store for us, but we know we have found our home here in Madagascar.
Austin and I have found ourselves talking a lot about what it means to find ourselves at home. We have done extraordinary things to create our home over the past year, some I believe Austin would say he never dreamed he would be doing! We rescued a street dog, live in a house with a yard, and planted a vegetable garden. We coordinated the set up of the new Young Adults in Global Mission program here and are mentors to six young people. We continue to learn a new language and battle against the stereotype that we are not of French nationality. We have learned new road rules and driving techniques, where to go shopping for household items, food, vegetables and clothing. We have made new friends, traveled, eaten delicious Malagasy foods, and the list could go on. All of these things have created our feeling of home as we intertwine ourselves in the Malagasy way of life.
As we find our feet firmly on the ground, we look forward to where our path leads us. What brought us to Madagascar was a program, through which we have discovered home. Sometimes others say it best, and so I leave you with the words of Wendell Berry: “And the world cannot be discovered by a journey of miles, no matter how long, but only by a spiritual journey of one inch, very arduous and humbling and joyful, by which we arrive at the ground at our feet, and learn to be at home.”