Look closely at this picture! Do you see the man in the foreground with bare feet? This business man, Leon, aged 50, almost died twice this year. This past February he came down with a very rare bacterial infection which over took his entire body. He went from a very fit, healthy young man, to one whose life was almost taken from him. Twice his four girls, ranging in age from 4-18, were called in by their mother to say goodbye to their dad.
Now for some background. Back in September 2017 this small group of Christians started meeting together in Leon’s home for the purpose of learning how to be a “disciple who makes disciples”. From September until when Leon got sick, this small group met to learn some “tools” to help them obey the Great Commission from Matthew 28:19-20. Jesus commands His followers to “Go, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and Son, and Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey all that I have commanded them…”. Then in February 2018 Leon got terribly sick, and was in ICU for several weeks. We stood by his hospital bedside, praying to the Lord to spare his life. God heard our prayers, and has allowed Leon to slowly recover. It is now August, and Leon is recovering day by day. GOD HAS USED THIS ILLNESS TO GET HIS ATTENTION. Leon and his family (who host this group),have now expressed their desire to make this discipleship group “church”. We will need a larger meeting place than this living room pictured, and are prayerful for God’s perfect will to be done in this next step. Will you pray right now for Leon and his family? Pray for complete healing for his body, and protection over his family. Please pray for a new location for us to meet, and pray for this body of believers, that much fruit for God’s kingdom will result from this church plant.
Like much of Africa, the entire region of southern Madagascar has been experiencing an inconceivable drought and subsequent famine. As a result, many have died, are severely malnourished and have no hope of future harvests. Some villages have sold the last of their livestock and are surviving off of bitter, often poisonous, manioc.
In October, we partnered with BGR and coordinated the “Seeds of Life” seed distribution project. Through the sacrificial giving of Southern Baptists and others all over the world, we were approved to help aid in this time of crisis by providing seed to the Mahafaly people, in hopes of a reproducible harvest next year. Despite being limited on preparation time, God heard our prayers and provided 165 tons of seed. If you are like me, and struggle to understand how much 165 tons really is, imagine about fifty-five elephants! You can imagine what it took logistically to get that much seed way out to the remote Mahafaly villages!
Our first generation church leaders played a major role in the planning and implementation of the seed distribution. They received training from BGR on distribution protocols and worked hard to develop an evangelism strategy. Each first generation church/village was given the seed for their village, along with the bags of seeds for the villages of their second, third and fourth generation churches. Each first generation church took seed to the second generation church and helped them distribute within their village. This continued on with the third and fourth generations.
In all, we were able to distribute over 3,000 (50 kilogram) bags of corn, cowpeas and peanuts to 55 villages with a combined population of nearly 41,000 people! The Gospel was spread to thousands who have never heard God’s saving message and over 700 people have received Christ. Over thirty new villages have new groups of believers meeting!
Now that the people have seed to plant, please pray God would send rain to the dry, parched land. Pray for a bountiful harvest, not only in their fields, but also among their hearts. Pray for many more to come to Christ and for the believers to continue to grow in their faith and commitment.
Thanks so much for praying for the Urban Conference in Harare. Urban Specialist, Kurt Holiday, showed us how to learn more about our city, the people in our city, and how we can be pro-active in bringing God’s “shalom” to our cities.
The discussion groups were lively as people began to generate practical ideas their churches could use to engage in Kingdom activities in Harare.
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One Sunday morning with Faith Baptist youth.
Sharing his testimony before being baptized in the Klip River.
In the last few weeks, three young men, from two churches, have been baptized and we are praising God. Coming 2-9 January 2015, fifteen youth from Faith Baptist Church in Snake Park are registered for summer camp. Pray none would back out. Pray those unsaved would meet Jesus there. Pray for leaders to emerge from the group. Pray when camp is over and school begins they would continue to live out what they learn at camp. Pray for them as they live with family members. Only one of their mothers comes to church.
Over 10 years ago, Matt and LuSinda came to Madagascar and assumed IMB leadership for the Indian Ocean Islands. Not long after, Taisir and Kristi arrived in Madagascar to handle logistics. All four began praying for more missionaries to come. God has answered that prayer. There are currently 8 other career missionary families and 6 other journeyman or ISC units serving throughout Madagascar plus 3 career units on another island. But with the blessing of more workers comes greater responsibility and challenges. Pray for Matt and LuSinda and Taisir and Kristi to have wisdom for the decisions they need to make. Pray for the Lord to fill them with His strength and encouragement. Pray for all of them as they minister in and around Antananarivo, the capital city of Madagascar.