How often do plans get changed?
Why are we surprised?
Isaiah 55:8-9 tells us, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Yet when it comes to plans any change can be so hard to accept. Recently, there was a bush trip planned. Brett and Katelyn were so excited to follow up with a village they had shared at previously. About two and a half hours into the trip, their car broke down. They wanted to press on but were advised to turn back so the car could be repaired and they could be safe. They obliged. But it wasn’t until they arrived in town after being towed in and got the news that the issue with the car was serious that they accepted the change and were thankful they’d turned back. The next day they got word that the national partner they were going to work with had a baby that morning. We don’t always know why plans change, but we can rest assured that God is not surprised. His ways are higher than our ways. May we trust him at all times in all ways!
Recently, Adam made a trip to the capitol, Antananarivo, to visit the seminary and convention leaders. As he was at the seminary he was able to see a handful of students from the South of Madagascar. As he was reporting back to me on the visit and as I later saw the picture of some of the students I was so encouraged.
Sometimes we forget how the Lord has worked and moved in the lives of the nationals when they go away to pursue theological studies. May we reflect and remember all the Lord has done and may we pray as Paul in Philippians 1:3-6, “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” God is doing a mighty work among the people of South Madagascar. Would you remember them in your prayers and agree with me that he who began a good work in each of them will bring it to completion?
Every rut, every rock, every turn made my brain feel like it was bouncing inside my skull. At the end of the longest day, my whole body felt out of sorts and I wasn’t sure if my head would stop hurting. I never felt like I was in such bad condition that I needed medical attention, but a few times I wondered, “What in the world are we doing!” You see, a few weeks ago our family spent two weeks traveling around the Southern part of Madagascar visiting national partners, new churches, teammates and taking care of a few errands. We we’re on the road anywhere from 4-11 hours in a single day with some days interspersed of little to no travel. The saying rang true for us that the people are “unreached for a reason.” The roads are terrible! There are a few nice stretches but others were nearly impassable. As you pray for the people of South Madagascar today, ask the Lord of the harvest to send workers from the fields. Pray more nationals would continue to evangelize and make disciples. We’re seeing the beginnings of a movement, but it won’t come without resistance from the enemy. Pray these national believers will be able to stand firm as each and their respective families are persecuted and face spiritual warfare like never before.
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
Nina, a pastor’s wife in a Masikoro village in southwest Madagascar shared her story with IMB missionary journeyman Drew and Christina about the difference Jesus has made in her life. Please read and be blessed by her story but please also pray for a great harvest of souls among the Masikoro. May they experience the same blessing of salvation that Nina has experienced.
Christina wrote out her story in English: The Masikoro area is one of the poorest of the impoverished Southwest Madagascar region but there is a small group of families in the village of Anjebetrongo whose hope shines bright a midst their tough physical circumstances. A short, strong woman, Nina is a young mother and wife who is passionate about following Jesus. Nina did not have hope in her life before she followed Jesus. Nina said that in her life before, she “went to church, but I didn’t have faith. I [only] went [to church] because it was a Sunday. But I didn’t know about Jesus.” Thankfully, a pastor came to her village of Anjebetrongo and “he taught us the Bible and I found how to follow God. I feel it. He works on me still now.” Nina has so much hope in her life now and she says that, “I thank God in my life daily. God helped me to have a good daily life. He saved me.” Nina describes how much harder her life was for her and her children before she followed Jesus. Nina said that, “it was difficult for me before I knew God. When my children were sick, I went to the witch doctor and not the hospital.” She told me how difficult it is to visit the witch doctor because he asks for a lot of things in payment – money, valuable animals such as goats and chickens. All of these things are so burdensome for her family, as they are farmers and barely live off of two dollars a day that they earn. “But,” Nina told me, her face shining brightly as we sat outside her grass-thatched hut, “my life now is not burdensome as it was before. If I have a problem I give it to Jesus’ hands. Jesus has a solution for the problems. When my children are sick, I run to Jesus and Jesus heals them.” Nina also told me how much different her marriage with Kandre, her husband, is now that they both follow Christ. When they were first married, Nina’s husband would get drunk and abuse her. Nina describes this as a difficult time where “I suffered in my house, and our children suffered too.” Now, Kandre is the pastor of their local group of believers and he is a changed person. Nina said that “the Christian path is easier [for the married couple] because they live under the word of God. If there is a fight, one of them concedes and agrees with the other one.” Nina also said that, “it is true that there are hard times in my life but I thank him not only for the good things he has done but the bad things too. There is a change in our life. We are very changed. It is good to follow God. It is very good.” Nina’s life is forever changed because of Jesus and she has hope in this most impoverished area because she is rich in her relationship with Christ. There is a change in her life. “I don’t stop to call on Him for whatever in my life,” she says. “I never stop. Jesus is not burdensome,” says Nina, hope flowing from her words and her fulfilled life.
Please pray for Kandre and Nina as they share the good news of Jesus in their village and surrounding areas. May the Word of God go forth in power and may many lives be radically changed just like Kandre and Nina. Praise the Lord for the difference He makes in the lives of those who put their trust in Him.
Unreached People Group : Masikoro (pronounced mah-sy-KOO-roo)
The Masikoro people are a sub-group of the Sakalava people who live inland from the coast. They struggle day to day to provide for their families, and spend the majority of their time farming and raising livestock.
The Masikoro people practice ancestral worship as their main form of religion, believing the blessings and curses of life come from their ancestors, and by appeasing their ancestors, they can reap beneficial rewards. While acknowledging that there is a God, the Masikoro see him as distant and inactive in their lives.
At present, there is no complete Bible translation available in the Masikoro dialect. There is Christian work among these people, though syncretism (a mixing of two or more different sets of beliefs and practices) with ancestral worship is common among those who profess Christ. As of now, there is no IMB missionary focusing on church-planting among the Masikoro.
Please pray for churches to be planted among the Masikoro, for the Masikoro to leave their false religion behind, and for someone to come work full-time among the Masikoro.
Pray for strength and protection for believers in the Masikoro forest.
Many of them are the only believers in their family, and daily face the challenges of standing against loved ones and generations of tradition to be faithful to their beliefs.
Pray that He will remind them that He is greater than anything that comes against them in the world (1 John 4:4)!
The Word of God is amazingly powerful but unfortunately most of the Masikoro can’t read. Even if they could read, they very few can understand the foreign dialect of the Malagasy Bible.
ISC missionary Tessa has been working with Masikoro believers to put key Bible stories into the local dialect in an oral form. Tessa asks you to pray for the Masikoro believers in the story-crafting group as they prepare to test their stories in another village. Pray for God to open the hearts of the hearers and to bring them to a knowledge of Him. Pray for the storytellers to speak with His Spirit, boldness and wisdom.
Praise the Lord that the Masikoro can experience the powerful Word of God. Pray for a great harvest of souls among this very lost people group in SW Madagascar.
Praise God for this time of harvest of crops among the Masikoro. Praise Him for providing for them, for His grace over their lives. Madagascar is a very poor country but the Masikoro are one of the poorest of the poor people groups. The Masikoro land in the southwest part of Madagascar is often plagued with drought. Thankfully, this year there has been a successful crop. Ask the Lord Jesus to continue to provide for the Masikoro. Ask the Holy Spirit to use this time of harvest to stir in them an awareness of the One who has given all they have. Ask Him to bring an abundant harvest of believers among the Masikoro!
The Masikoro are an impoverished people group both physically as well as spiritually in the southwest of Madagascar. ISC missionary Tessa asks you to pray for Masikoro children. Praise God for a few schools in their area, one of which is a Christian school run by a local church. Pray for children in this school as they learn stories from God’s Word with their other studies. Pray for the light of His Word to transform their lives and families little by little. Pray for health, peace, protection, and love for these children. Pray that they will come to know Jesus as their Savior.