Children’s camp

There is a children’s ministry growing in Sakalava: pray for an upcoming children’s camp, that the timing would be good and that it would bear much spiritual fruit. Lift up plans to celebrate Pentecost with a baptism, that it would be a great witness to the village/Sakalava people. Pray for leaders who can continue a Bible study started by 2 Malagasy missionaries, that many will see the light, for God’s glory

Open door

Jean and Melias (two of our Malagasy partners in Nosybe) did a survey in Ambanja this past week which went well and were able to have Bible Studies in different homes. Sadly they had to leave at the end of the week because of other commitments, however, we see this as an open door for when the CEFOI Bible students go there for a week of evangelism in June. Please pray for prepared hearts and that there will be much fruit for God’s glory. Please pray for leaders to be able to continue with these Bible Studies.

Struggles

Ancestral worship is a strong force across Madagascar; some Sakalava church members continue to follow these practices. Pray for missionaries to have the wisdom in approaching them about this. Pray the Holy Spirit will convict them of their sin. Many couples in the village are struggling in their marriages and young girls get pregnant very early. Pray for God’s blessing on a training being offered about what the Bible teaches about marriage and relationships between boys and girls. Pray for open hearts.

Let the little children come

We are really seeing fruit in our children ministry: we have a children’s group each Friday and more than 50 children come. We also had a children’s camp last summer with 50 children and a special event at Christmas with 240 children! Please pray these children will trust in Christ.
Also pray for a musicians’ group which meets each week for discipleship. Pray they will grow strong and mature in their faith.

Marriage and relationships

We have heard that some church members continue ancestral worship. We need wisdom to find how to talk to them. Pray the Holy Spirit will convict them of their sin.
Many couples in the village are struggling in their marriages and young girls get pregnant very early. We would like to give a training about what the Bible teaches about marriage and relationships between boys and girls. Pray for open hearts.

Healings and Deliverances!

God is doing great things in this new village of Befotaka where Melias is based now. The village is full of spirit-possessed people and they know it is a power that controls them. They did not know that there is a more powerful name that can deliver them from this oppression. The gospel was made known to a very small circle of people and they were delivered from the oppression. They like studying the Bible, twice/ three times a week. God literally accompanied this ministry with miracles. A few got delivered and sick people got healed when they prayed to the Lord. People knocked on Melias’s door at night asking him to come to pray for their sick. They got healed. This is just God! Praise be to His name.

Leader’s Seminar

Our partners in Nosybe held a Leader’s Seminar from 15-20 November. This was for leaders from Diego, Ambilobe, Antsohihy, and Nosybe. The theme of this seminar was ‘Maturity in Leadership and in Marriage Because God is Mature’. We thank the Lord for the good attendance of 30 leaders. Pray that those who attended this seminar will apply the teaching taught and will mature in their responsibilities as leaders in the church.

Lord is working!

The Lord is working in the lives of many in the different villages around Nosybe and we praise Him! However, as we all know, when the Lord is working, Satan tries to hinder. Please pray for the Lord to protect His children. He is all powerful and the forces of evil must submit to Him.

Spiritual warfare

Melias experienced spiritual warfare in the middle of the night which lasted for quite a time. A day or so later the church gathered for prayer meeting and three ladies were delivered from evil spirits. They plan to have a baptism for a couple this coming Thursday. The churches from the other ministry locations will join them for this baptism. Praise the Lord!

This is the second case we have received this year from Missionaries/Malagasy partners of spiritual warfare activity in new outreach areas. Please pray with us for the Lord’s protection on all our missionaries and partners and that the way will remain open for sharing the gospel, and that lives will be changed for the Lord’s glory. Yes, we are in a battle, but we are on the victorious side. The Lord has already defeated the evil one.

Kids’ camp report

We praise God for a successful week-long children’s camp in Nosybe with 60 children. It seems all had a great time and wanted to continue for another week! We praise the Lord for good fellowship. Also, two of the campers made public professions of faith! Please pray for their continued growth and interest in the things of God. Many were from non-Christian homes, and some of them have told their parents that they want to keep attending children’s club. Pray that more of these children will come to personal faith in Christ.

Kids’ camp

Please pray for our kids’ camp! The pre-camp with the counselors starts on Thursday August 5th and the children arrive on Sunday August 8th. Pray for open hearts and transformed lives!

Christian band

Pray for the worship band made up of Sakalava believers, who came to Christ several years ago as a result of a church-planting team there: that they would spread the message of Christ through their music & personal lives. Pray for strength and wisdom in continuing to spread the Gospel according to the Lord’s plan. Pray for the people of Nosy Be, a tourist area: it has been a difficult year financially as the community relies on tourism for a great part of their economy. With the borders still closed due to covid, it has had a great impact on the tourism industry.

Hunger

Pray for the people suffering with widespread hunger in their community as food supplies are depleted. Pray for physical relief through rice distribution and for Christ to become their Bread of Life. Ask the Lord to work through his people to bring the gospel to the lost, giving new life and freedom.

Abide

Pray for the leaders and members of the growing Sakalava church to continue to abide in Christ and share their testimonies with fellow Sakalava. Pray that the recorded worship songs and scriptures in their language would reach many more, that they’d be cut to the marrow by the Spirit’s Sword.

Growth is Happening!

Pray for continued growth in leadership and discipleship of our 2 Sakalava churches in Nosy Be.
And pray for the evangelistic outreach and Bible studies in Andrafia and Andimakabo villages.

Open Hearts and Open Homes

During this pandemic time, good things have been happening in Ambatozavavy – Nosybe with the church plant. Instead of having church service in one place, we now have house church three times a week. Christians are keen to lead meetings in turns and their close neighbours are not shy to attend. Also, new people are more interested and want to host the gatherings in their homes too. God is good!

Tourism Hit

There are currently no COVID19 cases confirmed on the island of Nosy Be, but people are still feeling its effects. The island depends heavily on tourism. Since Madagascar has closed its borders indefinitely, that source of income is completely gone. Many people pick ylang-ylang flowers and sell them to a factory to be turned into oil. But the price per kilo is one fifth of what it was last year. People are struggling to pay their loans and feed their families. Pray that the church would come together to help people. Pray that God would show Himself to them as the Great Provider.

Word and Deed

R is still in Ambondrona, a different part of the island, working on translation. It’s harder without a team. Pray that God would bring the right words to her mind and that He would use this story for His glory. The church in the village of Ambatozavavy is handing out packages of rice and beans to help old and frail people, and Christians in the village. The need is so huge at this strange time! Pray that people would be drawn to hear more from the church.

No tourism income

The island of Nosy Be, which is usually bustling with tourists, is being harshly affected by Coronavirus and all the travel bans that come with it. Lift up the small businesses and the people who were relying on this income. Ask that in the midst of the fear and uncertainty , they would meet Jesus. Ask that while they can only see lack, they would have their eyes opened to see abundant provision in their saviour. Ask that God would have mercy and use mysterious and miraculous ways to provide for their material needs.

Party in Heaven! Rejoice!

Saida came to our house and told me and the leader of our church plant that she is tired of worshipping spirits and wants to come to Jesus and go to church. She wanted to burn her witchcraft equipment. After talking to her and explaining the way of salvation, she accepted Christ as her saviour and the instruments used for witchcraft were burned the next day! She and her husband are now coming to church and worshipping with us.

Grief and Questions

Alexis has faced many challenges since he started Bible School here in Tana in preparation for serving the Lord full time. He left his wife and eight children back in Nosybe which was not an easy thing to do. This past week, Alexis was called back to Nosybe because his two year old daughter was very sick. Sadly the little girl died on Wednesday before Alexis made it back.  Please pray for Alexis and Mbotizara (his wife) in this time of grief, may they find God is sufficient in this great time of loss. Alexis and Mbotizara are the first people to become Christians in their family and village. People in the village do not understand why Alexis has left his family for Bible Study in Tana. Now they have many thoughts concerning the death of his daughter, some thinking it is a curse from his ancestors, others are wondering if his studies are making him rich. We thank the Lord that Alexis is standing strong in his faith, and believes God is in control of everything. Please pray for the people of this village, that they will be challenged by Alexis’ life and testimony and they will come to believe in his God. Also pray for Alexis and his family during these remaining months of studies that they will remain well and that he will be able to focus on his studies.

memory cards

Lift up the work of producing memory cards for people in the village with portions of scripture and words from gospel songs on them. Ask that those who receive them really would commit them to memory and start to hide God’s word in their hearts.

For healed hearts

A thirteen year old boy has been sick for years with a heart condition. He was pale, always short of breath, and stick thin. They knew he needed to see a specialist, but just didn’t have the money. God provided the money and he has recently gone to see a specialist. They are still working out the exact nature of his heart condition, but already he is eating more, the color has returned to his skin, and he can walk across the room without being short of breath. Praise God he is getting the care he needs! Pray that he would be completely healed and that his healing would show God’s glory to his village.

Studying & Seeking

Mama and Papa Pepe have a lot of knowledge of the Bible. But they still think people need to pray hard and do good things to get into heaven. Mama Pepe told me she reads her Bible in official Malagasy and when there’s something she doesn’t understand, she listens to the Sakalava Matthew on her memory card and then writes in what it means. Praise God that she is reading and thinking about the Bible. Please pray that they would come to know that only trusting in Jesus will save them.

Open Villages! Correction

This post was originally posted in error under Antakarana, please pray for these open Sakalava villages!
Surveys here on the island these last few weeks have revealed three other villages open to hearing the gospel. The first village has offered to give a plot for missionaries to build their house on. The second village has offered a house for the missionaries to stay. The third village has openly expressed their desire to have a service held in their village every Sunday. We praise the Lord for these opportunities and need wisdom in organizing our time well. Praise the Lord for these new opportunities of ministry and pray for wisdom for our Malagasy missionaries (Melias, Lebaba, Noel and Jean) as they organize outreach to these villages.

Open villages!

Surveys here on the island these last few weeks have revealed three other villages open to hearing the gospel. The first village has offered to give a plot for missionaries to build their house on. The second village has offered a house for the missionaries to stay. The third village has openly expressed their desire to have a service held in their village every Sunday. We praise the Lord for these opportunities and need wisdom in organizing our time well. Praise the Lord for these new opportunities of ministry and pray for wisdom for our Malagasy missionaries (Melias, Lebaba, Noel and Jean) as they organize outreach to these villages.

God’s Word on phones

We are so delighted to see many people in our village listening to the gospel of Matthew and songs in Sakalava on their phones. We have given out a few phone cards to villagers and there are still others asking to have it as well. Thank the Lord for this way of getting the gospel into the homes of the Sakalava people. Please pray that many Sakalava will come to faith in Christ through this outreach ministry. People here like playing music loud! May the whole village be filled with the gospel of Matthew and Sakalava songs.

Open village

After doing a survey in a new village this weekend, the FUEL team had the opportunity to share the gospel with the villagers of this new village. The villagers were so open! The young guys in the village went door to door to invite the villagers to the gathering and many children came. An old man said he thought of the team as his children. A piece of land was offered to the team if they wanted to stay. Amazing!! Visitation to this village by the FUEL team will continue every Saturday. Praise the Lord for this new opportunity of ministry here on Nosybe. Please pray for the Lord to work in hearts of the villagers and that they will be open and receptive to the gospel!

Word going out

We have started distributing memory cards with Matthew, Ephesians, and many Scripture songs on them. Pray as people listen to them that the words will enter their hearts and that they will share what they learn with their friends.

Finished projects!

We have lots of finished projects over here in Nosy Be: Caleb and Groupe Tsinfitika (the Sakalava music group) finished their album this week! Please pray that these scripture-songs reach the Sakalava far and wide with the gospel. Also, we completed the translation of Sally Lloyd Jones’ “Jesus Storybook Bible” into the Sakalava language. We’ve been reading the stories on Sunday as they come out, and the kids love them! Continue to pray for the salvation of many Sakalava people!

Harvest is ready!

There is a lot of interest in the village of Antsahabe. It is only in this past year that missionaries have gone there regularly to share the gospel, but already there are believers and several of them are interested in being baptized. Praise God for this! Also pray that these new believers would be grounded in their faith and excited to tell others of the hope they have found.

Measles

“This time of the year is the difficult one for people as the fields are still green and there’s no harvest. There’s been an outbreak of measles, which has caused much suffering as well. The situation is not yet under control. But vaccinations have been done in villages. Children have died in our village these last weeks and many others are sick. Please pray for God’s protection.”

This little light

This Thursday the musicians in Nosy Be will be filming a music video in Hellville. The song, “Lay Mazava,” is all about the light of Christ, so pray that His light would shine as they play this song all over town. (It’s way cooler than “This Little Light of Mine” by the way. But same basic idea…)

Caught up in works

Pray for Armand who leads the Catholic church in his village. He, like many others in his village, are interested in following Jesus, but have been caught up in the works-based and syncretistic teachings of the Catholic church. Pray that they would truly understand the gospel and worship Jesus in spirit and in truth.

Love your enemy

Mama Anita wants to follow Jesus, but she is having trouble loving her enemy. Pray that she would have courage to do what Jesus says.

Discipleship opportunities

There is a good group of new believers who need discipling and church leaders who need training. Pray for wisdom in knowing who to invest in, and that those people would be faithful and passionate to pass on to others what they are learning.

Changing lives one stitch at a time in Madagascar.

There is a project called “Mama VaoVao”, which is encouraging Sakalava women in the village to use their skills- hand stitching, sewing sacks, bags, pillows, and hand towels. They have just celebrated their one year anniversary. Many women gave their testimonies at the celebration. One said, “My life has changed, I am now able to care for my household with the money I get. I was just able to buy a table. And I have come to know Jesus!” A little thing can do a great thing in peoples’ lives! Pray for “Mama VaoVao” project to achieve great things in these Sakalava women’s lives, helping them to know Jesus as their Savior.

Worshiping God not man

In Sakalava culture, having a funeral or building a grave always involves ancestral worship. This weekend a Christian family, having finished the grave of their mum, will have a party, inviting all their families and friends to worship God. Please pray that it would have a great impact on the attendees, helping them to see who should be worshipped!

Sakalava Scriptures

The former team made great strides in translations of several books of Scripture into the Sakalava dialect but the work ended as there was a lack of people able to help. Please pray for us to find new people skilled in English who will be interested in translating the Bible into Sakalava. With those identified, the team would be able to get the translation project up and running again.

To Meet Jesus

SALAMA is her name. She is a Sakalava woman seriously practicing her mu$lim faith from childhood. It happens that she is a helper in a Christian home for the last couple of months. She openly talks about her faith and respects the Christian faith her boss has. She has heard about Jesus but is not excited about it. As the month of fasting is getting closer she is so excited and has prepared herself for the event in a big way. She has asked she would be given a break every Friday from next week so she could go to mosque, which her employer agreed to. Please pray for Salama that she would meet Jesus in her dreams during this time.