Making disciples is a journey. It takes each believer along a learning curve that is continually ebbing, flowing and growing. The vastness of strategies, ideas, trainings and books that offer suggestions for what’s best can be overwhelming. In the midst of all these amazing ideas and tools, one truth remains, the plumb line, the best strategy, the Word of God. As missionaries and national partners go out proclaiming the gospel and seeking to make disciples it’s important to take many things into consideration including context, reproducibility, longevity and end goal. It’s also just as important to know “what’s next”. Each time a new relationship is formed or a group meets, the missionary or national partner, every believer, should ask themselves, “what’s next?”
In Fort Dauphin and the surrounding bush villages much thought, discussion and planning has gone into this process of making disciples. There is continuing discussion on best practices and consideration for what needs to change. Two years ago a group consisting of the six leaders over Antandroy and Antanosy work met together. Recently, another group of leaders over these same two regions met. This time there were 30 leaders. The gospel is spreading. Disciples are making disciples. Workers and leaders alike are rising up. As you pray for this work to continue, don’t forget to ask yourself, “What’s Next?”
For two years God was telling us to start a church in our home for the purpose of modeling the Acts 2 church model. We resisted wondering if it was putting too much dependence on us, as outsiders. Finally in October 2015 we started a church meeting in our home. The name of the church group became “The Refuge” and it continues until today.
We spent all of 2016 modeling healthy church and took the group through the books of Acts. It was very basic teachings with emphasis placed on simple obedience. Our structure has been much different than traditional church meetings and the “Three-Thirds Process” became the structure of each meeting where we would spend time together in fellowship, pastoral care, prayer, small group accountability, vision casting, learning the new lesson and goal setting with prayer. (Look back, Look Up & Look Ahead). 2016 was a growing year for us as we saw individuals get stronger in the faith and in evangelism & discipleship. Every believer in the group is considered an active disciple with a role in Kingdom work.
2017 has looked much the same in regards to individuals growing deeper, but we’ve also seen a shift where churches are being birthed out of this initial church plant. It’s been exciting to see this evolution take place since our goal is to have a healthy church in every village here! In 2015, we envisioned this to be the role of The Refuge as we started, but it was obvious that this would be a gradual process initially. The group is thinking multiplication now and that has encouraged us. Sometimes a church group meets on a different night of the week so the church will come to join The Refuge meeting on Sunday night. This has been a perfect time for accountability, training and follow-up conversations.
We praise the Lord for how He has taught us to just obey even if we have doubts about how things will turn out.
Please Pray for The Refuge as it has become a training center for multiple leaders and church groups. We get constant feedback each day from people being impacted and challenged. Please pray for the new church plants on the island… House of Prayer, Amazing Grace, & House of Faith to name a few.
Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin! Zechariah 4:10a
Until There is No Place Left!
Luke chapter ten tells us about Jesus sending out the seventy-two. He tells them where to go, what to bring (or what not to bring), what to say and how to know if they are welcome. Verse nine instructs Jesus’ followers to tell those that welcome them that, “The kingdom of God is near you.”
The Kingdom of God is near you! That’s the vision that the Ivato Evangelical Church is catching. Because, if we believe that the Kingdom of God is near, that will change how we live our lives and how urgently we share the Hope we have with those who are lost.
This church is ready to share the Hope they have in Christ with those who are near and those who are far. They are ready to share with those closest to them; their family, friends and neighbors. But, they also have a vision of reaching northern Madagascar with the Gospel and training reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others (II Tim. 2:2)
We are meeting with a group of members of Ivato Evangelical Baptist Church every Sunday afternoon to help them make a plan for their vision, learn how to share their faith and learn what it means to work in the four fields that lead to church.
Please pray for this church to be bold in sharing their faith, to stay connected to the Vine and that God would show them those He has already prepared to hear the Gospel. The Kingdom of God is near you!
A missionary couple had a dream to bring physical and spiritual sight to the lost. Over 20 years ago this dream was laid on their hearts and now the Lord is bringing it to fruition. For years now, John and Laurie have continued to wait on the Lord to show them where to go, what to do, and how to make His name known among the nations, particularly among the Antanosy people group in Madagascar.
The dream came true as Laurie followed the leading of the Lord to visit the eye clinic. She had been there before but the Lord told her to go back. The doctor wasn’t there this time but she visited with the director. The director showed her around and Laurie was amazed at the equipment and prescription glasses available, but none of these resources were being used! After a few visits to the eye clinic and conversations with the doctor an arrangement was made. Laurie would work for free. The clinic would offer their equipment for her to use for free. The patients would pay as they could to help support the costs of running the eye clinic. And the exciting part is John would come, tell stories from the Bible, share the love of Jesus and help the patients to know how to have spiritual sight along with their new found physical sight!
This new found sight is bringing smiles to the patients. Not only can they see and read, but they are being filled with love, peace and hope as this missionary couple fulfills the call God placed on their lives.
Pray this missionary couple and new believers from the eye clinic would be “looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Heb. 12:2)
The Sekhukune Bapedi are an unreached people group living in Limpopo Province, South Africa. They are a sister tribe to the Tswana of South Africa. For several years, IMB missionaries along with partners from the U.S. have been working to strengthen existing Baptist work in the area. Recently, believers in a remote village were trained to share their faith with others. The Baptist pastor in this village was encouraged by the new enthusiasm of his church members.
PLEASE PRAY for a Pastors’ Summit being held in Diphagane (dee-pa-ha-nee) on Saturday, Sept. 12th! First, ask that the pastors in the area will make every effort to attend the Summit. Second, pray that the presenters will effectively communicate the heart of the Father for the lost among the Sekhukune Bapedi. Finally, ask that these pastors will carry the vision of “making disciples who make disciples” back to their people & their churches.