Have you ever looked out amongst your city or the place where you live and wondered, “If everyone needs a chance to hear the Gospel, where do I start?” It can be a daunting task. One of our national partners, whom we are walking side by side in church planting here in in Antananarivo, came and asked the same question. “Where do I start?”
My husband asked him, “Where is your Jerusalem?” In other words, where do you go every day and who do you see? After some thought, our national partner begin to list his daily routine. One of those routines included taking his children to school each morning. When he thought further, he realized that he talked to the security guard at that school every day.
“That’s your Jerusalem!” said my husband. With a smile on his face, our national partner said he understood. The next day he shared Christ with with that very security guard and the guard was ready to accept Christ as his Savior. Our national partner was so excited.
He called us and said, “It worked! Now I’m ready to disciple him.” We are now working with our national partner giving him ‘just in time’ training so he can disciple his new brother in Christ.
Where is your Jerusalem? Where do you go everyday? Who do you talk to? Matthew 28:19 instructs us to “go”, but that verb actually mean ‘as you are going’. As you are going to work… As you are going to school… As you are taking kids to practices… As you are going to the bank… As you are going to the grocery store. As you are going, proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ. That’s your Jerusalem!
Have you ever noticed that our devotion to God and our obedience to His commands are in direct proportion to our awe of who he is and what he’s done for us? How often do we forget that he traded Heaven for a wooden cross? He traded riches for poverty. When we renew our AWE of God, we once again hunger and thirst after righteousness and long to serve him and make his name known.
Like many cities, Antananarivo is busy. People are hurrying from one place to another and working just to make ends meet. And pretty soon life becomes just one big routine. The same is true for the church. They no longer operate out of devotion to God, but rather have settled into a comfortable pattern of traditions. Church has become something they just do. They have lost their AWE of God.
As we seek God prepared people in this city, our prayer is that they would renew their Awe of God so that out of that love and devotion, they will see the lost of this city and desire more than anything to make God’s name known. That, like Jesus, they too will be on mission to seek and save those who are lost.
On the 16th and 23rd of October, we have a great opportunity to teach The Father’s Heart and Four Fields to an evangelical church here in our city. We have already trained two key leaders of this church and their hearts have been changed. They want more than anything to reach the lost with the Gospel. They have now invited us to share with the whole church what we shared with them.
The two key leaders are praying. We are praying. Would you also PRAY now that God would be turning the hearts of the people there towards Him? Pray that they would come ready to hear from God on the 16th and 23rd of October and that they would renew their Awe of God. Pray that their eyes would be opened to all the lost in this city and that they, out of love and devotion for our Savior, would be ready to share the Gospel generously and teach others to do the same.
While we are teaching T4T (training for trainers) in Madagascar we are also passing on this training to each and every volunteer from the States that comes through Madagascar. One year ago we began teaching this process to one of our volunteers who had come to help facilitate a meeting. They were very excited and began praying about how God would have them implement it in Shreveport, Louisiana. They have now started a T4T group in Shreveport and, from that group, three other groups have been begun. Last night, we had the privilege of sitting in on one of their T4T meetings. It’s so exciting to know that our brothers and sisters in Christ are serving the same way in North America that we are in Madagascar. Our prayer is that the Gospel would spread quickly in Shreveport through the witness of these faithful brothers and sisters in Christ.
Antananarivo is said to be a city on a thousand hills. Matthew 5:14 says, “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill can not be hidden.”
Our prayer is that this city of Antananarivo would become the a true light to all the people of Madagascar, proclaiming the truth of the Gospel. Because there is a representative of each of the 18 tribes of Madagascar living here, the Light has the potential to reach an entire island.
Please pray for us as we share the Father’s Heart, 4 fields and church planing strategies to Tana City Church this Sunday, June 12. Pray that this church would become a light.
Please pray as we share the same training to two key members of a Malagasy church on the other side of town during the next three weeks. Pray that they would be lights in their church, who would in turn become a light in Antananarivo and throughout the island.
Please pray for the Ivato Evangelical Baptist Church as they have already been trained and seek to see how God will use them.
With an estimated 24 million people in Madagascar and only eleven units to cover the entire area, it is imperative that we train our partnering churches in the work of church planting. PRAY that these churches would catch the vision of the Father’s Heart to see all men come to know Him. PRAY that these churches and their leaders would also catch the vision to share the Gospel, make disciples, multiply disciples and then teach others to do the same. PRAY for our National Training Team and the missionaries here on the island as they seek to walk side by side with our Malagasy churches in reading this nation for Christ!
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!
After having been invited to attend and speak at a local Bible study, Jeremy and a Malagasy pastor drove the two and a half hours across town to get to the Bible study location. Once there, Jeremy realized that these were all very prominent people from all different religious backgrounds; some saved, some not. The lesson he would teach for the day? The Father’s Heart. He shared from Scripture God’s heart for reaching the lost. Everyone in the group seemed to come alive and become very excited about reaching the capital city of Madagascar for Christ. The Malagasy pastor who had come with Jeremy was genuinely surprised that such a simple lesson could elicit such response. But oh what a response it was! Even though the group normally meets only once a month, they asked Jeremy to come back on a weekly basis and teach them how to win their city for Christ. Please join us in praying that God would rise up the “laborers” to reach Antananarivo for Christ!
While waiting on a volunteer team to arrive at the airport, I began speaking with a young Malagasy man who is a taxi driver. Although we didn’t need his services, he was happy to stand and talk with me while I waited. I quickly asked him if he where he went to church. He told me that he didn’t go to church, but was very interested for me to teach him about Jesus since he knew I was a missionary. I gave him a Gospel presentation using ‘Two Paths’. We talked about the path that leads to death and the path that leads to eternal life. We talked about how it was only by the GRACE of God that our sins can be forgiven and we can choose the path that leads to eternal life…that path is, of course through Jesus Christ. “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” The young man smiled widely and said, “My name is Fahasoavana!” His name, in Malagasy, means GRACE. He said he needed to hear more about the grace of God and we exchanged phone numbers so that we could meet again. PLEASE, pray for Fahasoavana (Grace) to understand that the path to eternal life is through Jesus Christ alone. And, it’s all because of the grace of God.
In the capital city of Madagascar, Antananarivo (ahn-ta-na-na-REE-vo), there are many crossroads. Some crossroads are through rice fields while others converge in alleys and main roads. All of them have one thing in common: people are always coming and going on the crossroads. Pray that as we meet people each day on these crossroads, that God would give us opportunities to share the good news of the Gospel with each one. Pray now that their hearts would be prepared to accept salvation.
Andy and Ruth’s assignment is to see that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is accessible to the 19 people groups of less than 100,000 people each and 10 minorities groups (from other countries) that live in Madagascar. This is an extremely difficult task because little is known about many of these people groups and even locating them is a challenge. But these people desperately need to know the message that they have a Savior who loves them and died on a cross to pay for their sins. Pray for Andy and Ruth to have the Lord’s wisdom as they approach this task and God’s favor as they research these groups. And pray for divine appointments and opportunities. These people groups are spread across Madagascar, many in very remote areas. Pray that the Lord would raise up national believers to take His Gospel Message to the remote parts of Madagascar. The Truth must be proclaimed. Pray for the message of Jesus to go forth and for the silence to be shattered in Madagascar.