So many of you are faithful to pray for the Lord's work here in Madagascar. I wanted to share with you a recent blog post from one of our jguys - Nathan. He did a great job of summarizing the major prayer requests in each of the 4 main villages where they are meeting regularly to share stories from God's word. Please prayerfully read about what's going on and how you can be an intricate part of lifting these people up to the Father...
You might remember my post about Kilimary going out and sharing the gospel (the Bible stories they first learned) with the neighboring village of Andohasatra. They are still continuing in that work and so we ask that you pray for their commitment to the task as they go out. It's really no different or any easier for these villagers to go over and start teaching about Jesus than it is for us to walk over to our neighbor. They are not always sure they want to and you can bet that every time we get ready to go other things start popping up to distract them. But being here makes it much easier to see the importance of carrying the message to the next person. If Kilimary doesn't take seriously their command to go and make other disciples then the good news will only go as far as we can go--which isn't very far. But if they take it and model for Andohasatra the love and commitment to tell others then they can both continue to go and tell and just with that the whole face of Southern Madagascar would change. In the end we know, of course, only God can bring about changes that big. That's why we ask that you talk with him, plead with him on behalf of Kilimary that they would stand strong in the faith, not falling back on the old ways of ancestral worship and continue marching headlong into the glorious calling of our Lord, shining like stars and spreading his light in this dark place.
Meeting with Tanantsoa is always an adventure. There is a dedicated few here that meet and have been visibly growing recently. Please pray that they continue to grow in faith and knowledge and they will continue to separate themselves from those around them. Not separating themselves from loving those around them but in practice of the good way of Jesus and the freedom which comes with it. This group of believers has not yet been baptized because of the water situation. Pray for the believers to understand the full cost and commitment of following Christ so that when the rains come and we have water they will be ready. On that note, Tanantsoa especially suffers from lack of water since there is no pump or well near them. If they want water they have to go and buy it at another town. Please pray for God's provision for them.
There are many things you can pray about for Besatra but the most pressing one now would be for the pure faith and pure teaching. Recently another pastor, a Malagasy man we know from nearby, has moved to Besatra. While we count this as a gain right now we also cannot ignore that his denomination is notorious here in Southern Madagascar for preaching false doctrine and proclaiming salvation comes through baptism. While we have already done our best to prepare the believers we ask that you would pray for their strength and discernment. Also please pray for the pastor, Efiliarzony Jean Baptiste, that he would not be tempted into teaching anything other than Jesus. We have already seen God at work, guiding this situation but we covet your prayers as we try and walk this tightrope.
There is a faithful group (three or four committed men and several women) who gather to hear the stories. They are really doing well hearing the stories and understanding them. It's clear to them that all the stories lead up to Jesus and salvation depends on him. Based on some of the questions they've been asking it's also clear that they are genuinely struggling with the decision to leave their ancestral worship and follow Jesus only. We thank God that they are struggling with this and ask you to pray for their conviction that Jesus really is the only way and forsaking all else to follow him is, in the end, no sacrifice. This group also has already approached us about baptism saying they are convinced and ready. It's very cool. Do pray that they would also be convinced of the necessity of sharing these stories with others, even within their own village. And their wells just recently dried up so pray also for rain to come their way.