Storms come whether you are ready for them or not! In life these storms can take on many forms: sickness, stress, loss, and chaos. How do you respond when life brings you a storm? We’ve been in the rainy season here in northern Madagascar for the last few months and it has been a good one. However, we’ve had several storms come through our area as well. Through the lightening and thunder we get the glorious rain. That made me think about the storms of life, even through the chaos we can come out the other side to “glorious rain” as long as we trust in the One who can calm those storms. My prayer is that those we walk beside each day, those we teach, those we share His story with, and us as well, would come to hold tight to Him through the storms of life. May each of us hold tight to His promises and comfort shared in His Word. “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Psalm 91:1-2
If the answer is YES, then you might be feeling like this tree, all alone, at high tide! Sometimes doing what is right and following the truths outlined in the Bible, can leave you standing all alone. I know for our national brothers and sisters, following Christ and His teachings, can leave them either physically or emotionally alone. Our prayer is that even in the midst of many people, they would feel the sweet presence of the Lord. That they can find encouragement and support through His Word, His people, and others that may come into their life. Our prayer is that they would never feel alone, but stand firmly planted in Christ! “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6
Faucet? Well? Bucket? An old used vegetable oil container, called a jerry can? Lately, we’ve been getting our water during the day from jerry cans, just like the ones in this picture. As we gather water from our faucet each night, when we have running water, I’m reminded of those that have to gather at the local community water pump each morning to fill their jerry cans and buckets. They use this time to visit. catch up, some are even washing clothes. Sometimes they just leave their buckets in line and come back later to pick them up. I started thinking about our “living water” and the source. Do we put our buckets in His line and decide to come back later to pick them up? Or do we decide to stop and stay at the Source each day to visit and spend time with Him. There are many in our community who are dry, not only because its the dry season and the water source is low, but there are many who are spiritually dry. Many are gathering at wells that don’t offer any source of “living water”, they are hoping to get nourished, but coming up empty. Please join us in praying for the peoples of northern Madagascar to seek the true source of “living water.” “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water i give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:13-14
“Why do you love us?” We’ve heard that on more than one occasion. Why? “Why do you travel difficult roads, leave your family, leave comfort to sit with us, live with us, and share with us.” Why? There is only one response: CHRIST! We love you because Christ loves you. He loved you so much that He sent His one and only Son to die on a cross, so that you can have eternal life. What greater example of love is this? Our greatest desire is that our community, our town, and all of northern Madagascar comes to know that kind of love. Please pray that we would remain steadfast in not only sharing the love of Christ, but showing it as well. That the difficulties of daily life here won’t weigh us down, make us bitter or discouraged. Please pray that our national brothers and sisters would come to understand the greatest example of love and be free from traditions that keep them grounded in fear and unworthiness. Please pray that Mr. S would find that his love for Christ far outweighs his love for alcohol and that he would become free from that bondage. Please pray that Miss Y finds that her love for Christ outweighs the fear that her parents have with her new found relationship with Him and that her household would come to know His love.
Be obedient to the leading of the Holy Spirit and He will guide your steps. Praise the Lord! This past weekend 5 churches from in and around Mahajanga gathered together to hear from the Father’s heart and learn how to share their stories and the most important story of all, His story! Pray for these Pastors and leaders from within the church as they take what they learned this weekend back to the harvest field. Pray that they would become urgent fishers of men and desire to disciple others and lead others to do the same. There was an opportunity for them to practice what they learned even before they left the training. “Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.” Psalms 143:10. Our prayer is these leaders would continue to let the Spirit lead them and guide their steps in reaching their communities and beyond for Christ!
I can’t imagine how this “tree” is able to grow and survive in such a difficult place. Yet, I know that we have, and this tree has, an amazing Creator who knows what we need, when we need it. Life, just like this rocky hillside, can be very difficult. How as Christians are we to thrive and grow amongst the “rocks” and “rough places” of life? The answer is in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ!
Please join us in praying that our team, the national believers, and ministry partners would be able to share with those that are living surrounded by the “difficult rocks” of life here in northern Madagascar. That we would share about the One who knows them and cares for them so much. May we speak joy, compassion, and truth into their lives as we strive to grow and thrive where we are planted.
“My chains are gone. I’ve been set free.” What soothing words to a heart, a life, a soul that is chained to the past, to village traditions, and darkness. God is doing a mighty work in Northern Madagascar. Yet, many are chained to false teachings, ancestor worship, and witchcraft. As we speak, many are dying chained to lies, never knowing the unending love and amazing grace of Jesus Christ. As we celebrate the independence and freedoms of the U.S. today, please pray that our Malagasy brothers and sisters would come to know the one who can truly give them freedom. May those that are lost be found, and those that are blind, see. May their hope be found in Christ alone, and may their fears be relieved by His grace.
Our research shows that over 400 people die each day in Madagascar. How many of those are believers? How many of those have heard? How many have had a chance to make a decision to follow Christ? Please join us in praying that God’s children would stand up and proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ! That workers would rise up to “declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples.” Could you pray every day this month that God would stir the hearts of believers in Northern Madagascar to go out and proclaim His story? It may be across the room, the street, or a village. It may be stepping out in faith to the next village, and the next, and the next. May the Lord give His people a heart of boldness to reach into the dark places and shine the light of Jesus Christ.
What kind of love brings you out here every week? What kind of love is this? ” By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35. Praise the Lord, God’s love is making itself known to this village. Praise the Lord that many who wouldn’t meet before are coming together each week to hear, to grow, and to ask. They are seeking His kind of love, the kind of love that sent His one and only Son, that who ever believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life. This is perfect love! Please continue to pray for this group that meets each week, that they would take the next step and make public professions of faith through Baptism. Pray that God would continue to draw them to Himself and show them His perfect love. Also, please pray for protection of this group and its leaders as they slowly push back the darkness that weighs heavy around them.
I know this picture is not of a narrow or wide gate, but doesn’t it look like a narrow path and a wide one? This is actually a bird’s eye view of swollen riverbeds in Northern Madagascar. This picture reminded me of Matthew 7:13-14, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road leads to life, and only a few find it.” It is so easy for people to live their life walking through the wide gate, not knowing or caring that it leads to destruction. Ancestor worship, spirit possession, witch doctors, and hardened hearts are just a few of the many reasons why the wide path and gate are so prevalent here. Please join us in praying for those who blindly walk this destructive path. Our prayer is the God would speak into their hearts and minds, and that the Northern Peoples would come to hear the good news and repent. It’s not too late to find their way to the narrow path. Pray that we would be bold and intentional in seeking those who are ready to hear and that they would in turn share and tell His story with others.