These photos were taken between June and August 2012, when we first arrived on the east coast at YWAM Tamatave, and when Matimu had food poisoning (including a short trip to the capital city).
(08/10/2012, 65 Photos)
Watch this video for an introduction to the Antakarana people and our work among them
Praise God that we have a new teammate, our Malagasy YWAM co-worker, Narindra, who will be joining us in Ambilobe for long-term outreach to the Antakarana! We will have an orientation training for her here in Tana tomorrow, and she will join us in Ambilobe in early October. Please pray that Narindra has safe travels, is well-provided for, and adjusts well to this new part of the country and new ministry. Pray also for Lora and I as it will be our first time as leaders on a multi-cultural team... pray especially that together as a team we'll all be led by the Holy Spirit to participate in his work of reaching the Antakarana in our area.
Please pray for the Antakarana people right now! Every five years many Antakarana gather from all over and go to Nosy Mitsio to our former village and make big sacrifices to their ancestors there. Several overly full boats were headed out there yesterday and one boat sunk along the way and at least two people drowned! A friend of ours owned the boat and many of his passengers when it sunk were also our friends and former neighbors, though so far it doesn't sound like either of the two that drowned were people we personally knew well. However, some are reporting that more people died or that others are still missing.
Please pray for the families of those who died! And pray for the Antakarana as a whole! The main motivation for doing these sacrifice ceremonies is to appease the ancestral spirits and ask for their blessings and protection. Please pray that the Antakarana will see that these spirits they worship do *not* protect them and do *not* bless them, and pray that their eyes will be opened to see the truth of Jesus, his love for them, and the eternal blessings of being with him.
The last time they did this big ceremony on Nosy Mitsio was five years ago, just after we moved there. Here you can see photos we took from that time, as well as from some of the other ceremonies they do in the five-year cycle. These are the things which enslave the Antakarana and which we pray Jesus would free them from!
A photo album of the royal ancestral rituals that happened in our village on Nosy Mitsio and in the Antakarana sacred caves. And more photos of building our home, moving in, and the vibrant life of No...
We just finished a very nice, relaxing, and restful week-long vacation at Nosy Be! The last five months have been both very stressful and incredibly busy, bringing us to the point of exhaustion. So it was nice to finally take a break from it all and just enjoy time as a family. We found an affordable place right on the beach and there were plenty of nice restaurants to eat at. We even saw a couple of local friends while there. Now we're feeling well rejuvenated and ready to move forward again! ... See MoreSee Less
Glad that you all got to take time out & relax as a family. Looks amazing!
This morning we went to a Lutheran church here in our neighborhood. Most of the service was quite traditional (including it being almost entirely in official Malagasy, a language that most local people here neither speak nor understand well), but there were a few parts that were really cool.
For about 5 minutes at the beginning of his sermon, the pastor was teaching the kids (sitting in their own section at the front of the church) and he taught entirely in the local language and it was really cool! Though when he directed his sermon to the adults (and the rest of the service he led) he did it all in official Malagasy. I'm sure the pastor realized there was no chance at all the kids could understand him preaching in official Malagasy, so he was able to teach the kids in a way he was sure they could understand. But I also wonder if those first 5 minutes for the kids were also the most effective preaching/teaching time for most of the adults as well. It was the first time we've heard a national Christian teach the Gospel in the local language here and it was just really great to hear it (and what he shared was great too).
Another cool thing was at the end of the service. First they had their regular assortment of cash offerings, which they called "replacement for the harvest/fruit." (African churches rarely have just one offering.) Then they also had a big collection where people gave not cash but produce from their fields (like pumpkins, eggplant, or mangos) or baked/fried breads or things like that. Then they auctioned it all off one by one and used that as part of their offerings income. Of course this was the actual "harvest/fruit", not the "replacement" - so we figured out why they first called their cash offerings the "replacement"! It was really cool to see that local people who may not have had much cash to give could still give to the church in meaningful ways and it was a fun time for everyone! If we return again sometime, I'll buy some of their auctioned produce next time! ... See MoreSee Less
We visited one of the churches here in town this morning with a couple of our neighbors. I was interested to see that the only musical instrument they had was a full drum set (with a young kid, maybe 8-yrs-old, playing it). At first I thought it an odd choice if you were going to have only one musical instrument. And the first (fairly standard, slow-going) worship song increased my doubts - just some really loud drumming over a couple of ladies singing. (Though the drummer kid was good and he busted out some great solos in not-quite-appropriate portions of the song!) However, by the second song, I realized why drums were their instrument of choice. It was a very fast song, entirely done in the local rhythm (one we're very experienced with because it's the same fast 3-beat rhythm used for everything from holiday parties to calling on the spirits of the ancestors). Everyone there in the church really got into it and started moving around, and the song lyrics (which I couldn't actually hear/understand over the drums) at some points followed the same standard quick and repetitive call-and-response as is popular in the local style. Just like the typical festivals and non-Christian spiritual rituals practiced around here, the primary thing is that fast repetitive beat, and it doesn't matter at all if there are no other instruments at all - as long as there's plenty of loud percussion! It was probably the first time I've seen a worship song in Madagascar that was truly indigenous to the local styles/rhythm (not just the language), and it was impressive to see the difference it made on the people attending! And it certainly explained why they picked a drum set (i.e. loud percussion) over any other possible instruments. ... See MoreSee Less
The rest of the church service was just so-so. The pastor had clearly borrowed from more-typical charismatic stylings (in accordance with the denomination of their church) and spent over two hours mostly just yelling, and yelling loud enough that their speaker system just kind of muffled and distorted it quite a bit - so also hard to follow and understand. When he occasionally spoke softly (thus we could understand him) he had some solid stuff to say though.
And we met with the pastor afterwards and he was very friendly and said they're very open to working together with us in any way at all and are looking forward to meeting with us again. So that's a cool opportunity that we'll probably have a chance to follow up on in the future. Churches here are nearly always lacking in good opportunities for discipleship. But it's through discipleship that people grow in the Lord and become passionate about God's Kingdom coming to their unreached neighbors and surrounding areas. So, there's definitely a chance to look into those opportunities in the future, maybe doing some discipleship training or helping them start programs for discipleship within their church; and through that to hopefully find those God is leading towards reaching their unreached neighbors, and thus find more co-workers for the work here!
Madagascar is my love country and I continually pray for this country and your family. Thank you for these updates, they give direction on how and what to pray for as your family continues serving in frontier missions...God bless you