A look at ministry in...

The countryside village of Sakalava, Madagascar

Dear Friends and Family,

As you know, we are sending
out a separate newsletter for each of the places we ministered in and visited during our trip to Madagascar. We hope this will show you a little bit of what life and ministry would look like in Madagascar. The bottom of this newsletter lists our most recent prayer requests.
  • Our first newsletter listed our impressions from our three-week trip to Madagascar.
  • In our second newsletter, we shared about life in Antananarivo— Madagascar's Capital City.
  • This newsletter is about ministry in the countryside village of Sakalava.
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Video Trailer (1 minute):  Sakalava—The Movie

A Note from David:

First thing Sunday morning (August 6, 2017), we packed up all of our luggage and left Antananarivo for the countryside village of Sakalava where our team was to lead the Sunday morning service.

This is a rural village which is probably about 4 hours away from Antananarivo. But sometime after we left, the pastor of the church in Sakalava called us and explained that the dirt roads to the village were impassable because it had been raining so much recently.

This meant that once we got to the dirt road, we would have to hike the rest of the way and then lead the church service as soon as we arrived.

To reach the church we would have to travel 7 miles on foot. So we prepared to hike through the mud to Sakalava!

Hiking through the hills and muddy roads on the way to Sakalava left me in wonder at God's goodness to us. What first seemed like a major setback had become a great joy. Our team was able to view the beauty of God's creation, spend hours in fellowship, and have an experience to remember.

Our hike also spoke volumes to the believers in Sakalava. They were encouraged that our team was willing to walk such a long muddy road in order to minister to them. What first seemed like a negative turn of events, was actually a blessing from God.
Early morning start (4:30 AM) to travel to Sakalava.
Our 7 mile hike started from this location.
This is our group starting out down the road. Three Malagasy pastors joined us. At first, the dirt road to Sakalava seemed fine . . .
But then we saw that this road would indeed be challenging for most vehicles.
This is what's known as a Malagasy pothole.
Just as the pastor in Sakalava had said, the roads were extremely muddy along much of the route.
Here's a tip: If you are walking through slippery mud, put your phone away!
I dropped mine directly into a muddy puddle here. But hey, it still works!
What a joy it was to serve in ministry together.
This burial site along our path is where people would come to worship their ancestors. This site used to have a pole in the middle, but as Christianity spread to this area, the pole was remove and the site was no longer maintained. Sadly, some forms of so-called "Christianity" in Madagascar try to blend in ancestor worship.
These humpback cows are called Zebu.
It is not uncommon to see young children working hard alongside their parents. It was also normal to see people working or traveling without shoes.
The valleys below are filled with rice fields. Imagine families having to hike up and down these hills just to manage their fields each day.
Finally... the village of Sakalava was in sight! The villagers could see us coming, and even from this distance, we could hear their excitement. They had been waiting for hours to hear us teach from the Word of God. The church service would start as soon as we arrived.
-Click on the picture to see a higher resolution version-
Once we arrived, we greeted everyone and then started the church service.
This is the church building in Sakalava. That night we would sleep in the loft area above the church (see the top-left part of the church).
After some singing, I started off by teaching the youth from Matthew 7 about building on the solid foundation of obedience to the words of Christ.
Scott preached on The Cost of Discipleship from Luke chapter 14.
For dinner that night, they fed us chicken with LOTS OF RICE! They would normally reserve eating chicken for special occasions like Christmas and Easter, but they sacrificially killed a chicken for us both days we were there.
That night we slept in a loft area above the church. We slept in a mosquito tent to guard against malaria. The people were so hospitable that they even gave us their own mattresses (a fitted-sheet filled with hay) to use underneath us.
Late night visit to the "101."
A "101" is a nickname for this kind of bathroom facility. 1 foot on each side of the hole — or, a "101."
Handing out crackers and sweets to the little ones.
In the morning our Youth Outreach Event started. This Outreach Event had two preaching sessions followed a soccer tournament. Can you find the two Americans in this picture?
Creating goal posts in Madagascar is easy — just find three large sticks!
After the game, Faly presented the gospel to all of the soccer players.
We then had to say “good bye” to this precious pastor and his wife before leaving Sakalava.
Some ladies from the church sang “goodbye” to us.

A Note from Ashley:

For me, our trip to Sakalava was one of the biggest highlights of our time in Madagascar. Our hike through the hills was absolutely gorgeous with breathtaking views (I was literally out of breath too!).

The experience of meeting the people who live in these remote villages where life is basic and simple was a tremendous privilege. I showed the ladies pictures of our girls and our life, and they absolutely loved getting to see our four "dolls".

During our time singing worship songs and hearing God's Word, I kept tearing up. I couldn't have been farther from home or the life I've always known, but these people were my brothers and sisters in Christ! What a glimpse of heaven! The pastor never stopped smiling, I thought he was going to burst with joy that we were there. As modest as their means were, they were incredibly generous to us and very hospitable. I will never forget the 24 hours I spent in Sakalava - or the ride back on the Malagasy Uber!

Veloma! (Goodbye)
We call this a “Malagasy Uber.” This tractor was our taxi ride for the 7 miles back to our van. Watch the video of this below!
We crammed 12 people and all of our luggage into this tractor cart for the bumpy ride home. This made for quite the adventure. After 1.5 hours, we made it safely to our van. Watch the video of this below!
We call this a "Malagasy Uber." Instead of hiking 7 miles of muddy roads, we took this "taxi" back to our van after we left the countryside village of Sakalava.

Praise Report:

  • Praise God for the believers in Sakalava. We witnessed great hospitality and love from these saints.
  • Praise God for those who have given us counsel about our pursuit of missions in Madagascar and who are caring for our souls.
  • Praise God for those who have helped us begin to think through the best way to learn French before we would move to Madagascar. Our current plan is to learn as much French as we can now and if we feel like we need greater immersion in French later on, we can pursue language school in Albertville, France.

Prayer Requests:

  • Pray for wisdom for our next steps in regards to Madagascar.
  • Pray for our visit to our home church this December (Christ’s Church of Tucson). David will have an opportunity to preach there on December 17th and share about Madagascar for the evening service.
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We want the men we train to be better preachers of Christ's Gospel, better shepherds of Christ's flock, and better slaves of Christ and His Church.
View our previous newsletters here.

Faly's Ministry Blog:

We also wanted to let you know to checkout the ministry blog maintained by Faly:
View our previous newsletters here.
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