Alissa Shattenberg and her staff of the Sarobidy Maternity Center in Madagascar celebrate the facility’s 10th anniversary. (Shattenberg family photo)
Alissa Shattenberg and her staff of the Sarobidy Maternity Center in Madagascar celebrate the facility’s 10th anniversary. (Shattenberg family photo)

It has now been 10 years since Alissa Shattenberg founded Sarobidy Maternity Center in the heart of Madagascar.

She and her missionary husband, Jamie Shattenberg, were immersed in ministry to the Malagasy people along with raising their three young children at that point in their lives, obediently serving the Lord.

Four years ago, I had the pleasure of getting acquainted with her husband during the selection process for our 6oth annual Santa Barbara Community Prayer Breakfast in 2019.

Jamie presented his testimony to nearly five 500 as our keynote speaker that year. That talk concentrated on his life as a third-generation missionary.

Certainly, he did mention his wife and family and their overall ministry effort for the Lord in Madagascar, but much of his presentation rightly dealt with his childhood, The Eden Project and Red Island Restoration.

Now that our Lord has given me a unique opportunity to reconnect with the Shattenberg family, I enthusiastically want to bring a new slant to their ongoing ministry to my readers.

Alissa’s story starts right here in Santa Barbara. Her family continues to faithfully worship at Free Methodist Church of Santa Barbara on the Mesa.

Much more than the mother of three children and the life partner of Jamie, God has thoroughly prepared her to oversee this critical life-altering operation.

As a family nurse practitioner and licensed midwife holding a Master of Science in Nursing, she sensed God’s calling to establish a small maternity clinic to provide full-scope prenatal, labor and delivery, postpartum and newborn care to the Malagasy people.

In his presentation, Jamie shared some of the cultural challenges they must face in this third-world country. Witchcraft is quite prevalent and many of the inhabitants are still steeped in superstitions.

As you can imagine, Christianity and medical technology challenges the belief system of the many powerful witchdoctors and their faithful followers.

Sadly, many women and even more babies have not survived the primitive practices used in childbirth. The good news is Sarobidy Maternity Center has dramatically turned the tide for many with at-risk pregnancies.

The Malagasy people have been bountifully blessed by this missionary family. And one of the greatest blessings are the many who have committed their lives to Christ through the ministry efforts of this couple.

Hopefully, through their continued efforts, many little ones will not only see the face of the earth, but also lead productive lives with their families and become instrumental in bringing God’s Light into the darkness all around them.

This brings me to the Book of Job, in Job 33:4-6, after Job’s three friends finally cease condemning him, he eloquently conveys this profound observation:

“The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life. Answer me then, if you can, stand up and argue your case before me. I am the same as you in God’s sight; I, too, am a piece of clay.”

Life is so very precious. We are made in the image of God. If He takes a life that’s His business, but we have no business having any part in such matters.

We must do whatever we can to extend the life of every little one for His purpose. We must bring those little ones out of darkness into life!

Passages to Ponder

Jim Langley has been writing for more than 30 years while working as a life and health insurance agent in Santa Barbara. In recent years, his passion has turned to writing about his personal relationship with God, and his goal is to encourage others to draw near to Him as well. As a longtime member of CBMC of Santa Barbara (Christian Business Men’s Connection), he started writing Fourth Quarter Strategies columns in 2014, and he now reaches an international audience through the CBMC International devotional Monday Manna. He can be contacted at for more information. The opinions expressed are his own.