Any involvement in ministry has its ups and downs.
In Fort Dauphin, we just wrapped up a week of ups! Sixty brothers and sisters in Christ came together every day this past week to learn under the teachings of a seminary professor and pastor from the States. In the mornings, they studied and discussed Christian Ethics. These sessions included much conversation about cultural influences on a Christian’s life. In the end, the Word of God is the plumb-line. Each afternoon, they looked at God’s grace. What an amazing study with unfathomable reason, but for grace! These individuals represent 25 churches that have been planted in recent years. There was not enough space for all our partners, but these individuals will go back and teach their disciples and congregations what they’ve learned. Pray they will continue to ponder the truths they learned as they teach others and spur one another on. Also, praise God for all he’s done and is going to do in the Antandroy and Antanosy regions!
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?”
It’s that time of year, when many people pack up and prepare to serve the Lord around the world. International World Changers from the state of Louisiana are in route to Fort Dauphin, Madagascar. They will be on the ground from May 19-30. Pray for the villages they will serve, including Tsihombe, Salohimahasoa, Marovato and more. Pray for the hearts of those they will be sharing with to be receptive to the Gospel. Pray also for their time in Fort Dauphin as they use sports ministry to reach the youth of Madagascar. Pray for logistics and their health.
There are other volunteer teams in and coming to South Madagascar. Keep this area of the country in your prayers. Pray the Lord would continue to see the missionaries and these volunteer teams through to the finish
As the time of singing came to an end, the congregation waited in anticipation for the young preacher to begin his sermon. He set his Bible and notes on the table before him and paused. “Raise your hand if you’re alive?” he started. “Raise your hand if you’re alive?” One-by-one most of the people raised their hand. He proceeded to preach verse by verse from Colossians 3 about putting on the new self. When he reached verse 3 he asked the congregation again to, “Raise your hand if you’re alive.” This time there was hesitation. “Raise your hand if you’re dead,” he rephrased his question. More hesitation, but again one-by-one hands started going up.
You see, we are called to die to ourselves and be hidden in Christ that when he returns we would join him in glory. In Galatians 2:20 we are reminded, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” This young preacher captured the attention of the congregation and made a lasting impact on the fact that we need to put away the old self and “whatever we do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” (Col. 3:17)
Pray for this congregation to live out Colossians 3.
John and Laurie and their three children have completed their official Malagasy language training and have just recently arrived in Ft. Dauphin, Madagascar. Ft. Dauphin will be their home and base of ministry as they seek to take the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the Antanosy of Southeast Madagascar. The Antanosy hold deeply to their traditional religious practices of ancestor worship. Some consider themselves to be Catholic or Protestant but they still hold on to the worship of their ancestors. The great majority have very little understanding of the Bible, mostly due to lack of access to Scripture and Biblical teaching. So please pray for John and Laurie as they take this needed Biblical teaching to the Antanosy. Pray that many wouldn’t covert simply to a religion but that they would be radically changed and set free from sin by their Savior Jesus Christ. Pray for John and Laurie as they begin learning now the Antanosy dialect of Malagasy which is quite different than official Malagasy. They desire to teach the people in the heart language of the Antanosy so pray that they will be able to learn and apply what they’ve learned quickly.
May the name of Jesus be exalted among the Antanosy!
Adam and Suzie, along with their three daughters, have known for several years that they would live in Ft. Dauphin, Madagascar in order to be close to the Antandroy people of South Madagascar. Adam and Suzie first learned official Malagasy in a city in the center of the country. Then they moved to a city in the Southwest to be near their supervisor and other teammates while they learned the Antandroy dialect. They have been working with Antandroy people who lived there and have seen God do some great things. Now they are finally in the city of Ft. Dauphin where they can plant their lives and ministry to reach the Antandroy for Jesus Christ.
Pray for Adam and Suzie and their three daughters as they make a home and develop relationships in this new city. Pray for the Lord to give them His vision for reaching the Antandroy. Pray for continued improvement in the very difficult Antandroy dialect. And pray for Adam and Suzie to be filled with the power of God as they proclaim the name of Jesus and the way of salvation. May God open the eyes of the Antandroy to see Jesus as Savior. May the Antandroy turn from their ancestor worship and sinful lifestyles and trust Jesus as the one Lord of their lives.