Reflections about Madagascar-Part 2

Another rhythm of life that I enjoyed experiencing was the worship life of the Malagasy people.  We of course were close observers of the Lutheran Church and their worship life, but we also observed Christians from other denominations, primarily Roman Catholic and the Reformed Church, from the street view.  People walk to church, there are few who own and drive a car to church. So the streets are filled with wave upon wave of people coming and going to church.  You can tell they are church attending because you do not go to church with casual clothing. The people do not have much, but they do have dressy clothing and they ...

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Reflections about Madagascar-Part 1

There are rhythms in life.  Rhythms are defined as "a strong, regular, repeated pattern of movement or sound."  During our recent Global Mission Education Trip, and as I reflect upon the time in Madagascar, I felt a strong sense of the rhythms of Madagascar. Everything, everywhere, had this rhythm.  Especially during our trip between the towns of Bezaha and Manasoa.  It was only a total of 21 miles, but it took us 3 1/2 hours to travel this journey.  The roads were near non-existent for vehicles, but the road was full of people doing what they do daily and thus I saw this rhythm of life in this micro ...

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Back Without a Scratch

Back without a scratch. Well, not the kind one can put a band-aid on. The 2023 Education Mission Trip was very successful and extremely educational. We saw the very good work done by our partners in the Malagasy Lutheran Church. We also saw some additional needs that need to be addressed, but that is in God's hands. This is my left hand, holding the ziplock with the band-aids I brought. I didn't use any. The cuts and scratches I got there are not the type seen by the naked eye. They are deeper. Pray with me, please. Our God and Father, There are so many things we cannot understand, but we do know the grace and mercy ...

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Madagascar Travel Reflections from Jeff

A person can learn about the ocean by reading books and watching movies, but until you feel the sand between your toes and smell the smells coming off the sea, until you run into the water and get knocked over by the waves, feel the tug of the current and the taste of salt on your lips, you really don't have an appreciation for the ocean. Having recently spent two weeks in Madagascar, I gained a tiny sense of appreciation for that country and its people. To me, the Malagasy people are happy. They were smiling and cheerful. Our group was welcomed wherever we went. In the remote, rural areas we were treated almost like ...

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Trip Review and Returning Home

It's over, but it's not an ending. Friends of Madagascar Mission will be back in 2024, probably in October for SALFA's 40th anniversary. A continuation of commitment. We are departing, flying out from the most unusual country with the sweetest people. We learned a lot. The team met for three hours this morning. We went over each meeting, making sure our responses to the needs are understood properly. Dear Friends of Madagascar Mission. We hope you know how much you are loved here. We were told repeatedly that they know why we come, it's because we have love in our hearts, Christ's love. If you can make this ...

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Water, Children, Farewell Dinner

The team can report that the Evangelism Conference is over, we flew back to the capital and today, June 14, had a meeting with the Madagascar Water Project and Steve Lellelid concerning getting more water to villages in the southwest. They have done a lot of work already in the Betroka Synod and are willing to have us come alongside them. There was also a visit to the Children's Prison in Antananarivo and a meeting of the Prison Ministry Bureau. Tomorrow we are going to evaluate what we gleaned from our visitation. With money we have from a favorable exchange rate we will have a farewell dinner and invite some of our Malagasy friends. ...

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Day 11-Evangelist Conference Update

June 12, 2023 Three Synods' Evangelists meet on the grounds of FLM School for Visually Impaired at Tulear (we rented from the President of the synod of Tulear). FOMM works with the Betroka, Betioky, and Ambovombe synods. We have in our Evangelist Program 56 men and women who have been trained in the three Bible Schools we help support. They reside at the Bible School during two October to June terms. They learn the Bible and practical theology. It is hard to imagine more humble, cheerful, faithful, energetic servants of the Lord. It is an honor to help FOMM help these people. It was a very eventful day. David Lerseth taught ...

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Day 11-Evangelist Conference

Friends of Madagascar Mission asks that all of our friends pray for the success of our Evangelists Conference. We want the best training to happen and for our spirits to be refreshed. We will report tomorrow on the event. God bless you.

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Day 9-Manasoa Bible School

Today the team journeyed from Bezaha to Manasoa. We inspected the construction of new housing for the Manasoa Bible School. The road there was an adventure going up and coming back. Everything is very good, and we are too tired after that drive to say more than that. We have to get up at six to attend 7 am church at the Lutheran compound here. Then we will drive back to Toliara and welcome our Evangelists for what was our annual conference before the pandemic.

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Day 8-Bezaha

The team left Toliara for Bezaha. There is a Lutheran compound here that includes one of the oldest congregations in Madagascar. There is a K-12 Lutheran School as well as a seminary. There are 178 seminarians. It's a four year program, and the Synod arranges a parish assignment on graduation. The school has 326 students. We are asking the seminary leaders and the principal what their greatest need is. You may be surprised.

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Day 8-Toliara

We greet you from Toliara, Madagascar where our team is on our 2023 Education Mission Trip. We are on our way to the seminary at Bezaha and the Bible School at Manasoa. Sunday afternoon we will return to Toliara and welcome our 57 Evangelists to the conference on abuse that FOMM sponsors. This is all made possible through the generosity of Friends.

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Day 7-Healthcare Meeting

In the afternoon the team went to meet with the Director of SALFA, the Malagasy Lutheran Church healthcare division, begun by a project by American missionary Dr. Stanley Quanbeck which has grown into many hospitals, clinics and dispensaries. We heard proposals for several new clinics that would provide basic health care. Any of them would be providing care where there is none. The team is flying tomorrow to Tulear from where they will proceed by vehicle to two remote locations, one is a mission hospital, the other a Bible School. We will return to Tulear for the evangelist conference. David and Eric are eager to see friends from past ...

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Day 7-Supporting Children

Friends of Madagascar Mission (FOMM) hosted a meeting on the theme "Children in Peril" and the Director of Nofi i Androy Meta Paubert attended. She brought four young ladies who benefited from her program. All four are now in university, mostly third year and at the top of their classes. This was the ladies first trip to the capital. It was a powerful meeting. We will be sharing more info.

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Day 6-Caring for the Mentally Ill

This is Rev Paschal, the Pastor in charge of the church facility in Antsiribe that cares for the mentally ill. People are sent and families bring and stay with those who need special help. It is staffed by Shepherds, a special office of spiritual leaders. The hardships they go through, the Pastors, Shepherds, families, and patients is hard to imagine. For example; 200 patients are cared for by a staff of 18. They live in substandard housing. The food allowance is 50 cents a day. Shepherds receive $5 a month to live on. Please pray for them. We are going to pray that we can make this a new program of Friends of Madagascar Mission. We ...

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Day 6-Visiting the School for Visually Impaired

We had several reasons to come to Antsiribe, and one important one was to visit the Lutheran School for the Visually Impaired (in Malagasy, the Foibe Fanabeazana ny Jamba or FOFAJA). We were greeted and led on a tour by the director from classroom to classroom. There are 75 students and the average class size is six. It is a residential program. We were approached in 2018 for help because they were not receiving any funding besides the government paying teachers salaries. Other staff had no salaries, nor was there money for food or medical bills, plus other expenses. It was a very heart-warming experience. The children on learning FOMM ...

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SeFAM Visit in Antsirabe

The first two Norwegian missionaries Nils Nilsen and John Engh held the first Lutheran service in Madagascar in the city Betafo west of Antsirabe in 1868. Antsirabe was founded by T.G. Rosaas in 1872 as a hill station to serve as a retreat centre because of the much cooler climate and there are hot springs there as well. Churches were founded, schools begun, a hospital and eventually a residential school for children and youth who are visually impaired and one for those unable to hear.   We drove from the capital to here, a 100 mile trip lasting four hours because of the many twists and turns on a road with many potholes. We came ...

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Day 4 - Worship

Friends of Madagascar Mission went to two churches today because we are in a relationship with both, and were invited on the same day. The first is the home church of our translator, Luther. The second is the church of Pastor Theo, the leader of Prison Ministry. Both held great surprises for us, one of which being in church from 6:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. was not some sort of ordeal. Friends would like to share other impressions: Both churches had large choirs that we were in awe of. We thought the first was wonderul, not to be outdone, but the second did just that. Both choirs had babies and children ...

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Travel Challenges

In 2 Corinthians Paul wrote, “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” (2 Corinthians 4:17). On June 3rd, three of our team arrived in Antananarivo two days later than originally planned. The delays were caused by airplane mechanical issues that led to two missed flights and being re-routed through South Africa. At this time the team’s luggage is still missing. While all of this is not what we wanted or planned, it is nothing more than an inconvenience. The team learned perseverance which comes through trials. Paul wrote, "Perseverance must ...

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Day 3 - Dinner in Isoraka

Friends of Madagascar Mission having dinner together in Isoraka after hearing a presentation on the fundamental role of the revival movements in shaping the ministry of the Malagasy Lutheran Church, presented by Dr. Georges Samuela. Tomorrow the team gets up early to visit two congregations to which we are very connected.

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Delays

Due to delays in flights, the team is scheduled to arrive in Madagascar today. Please keep their trip in your prayers.

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