We’re Adam, Lora, Matimu, and David Willard and we’re missionaries to Madagascar, the fourth-largest island in the world, located just off the southeast coast of Africa. As missionaries, we’re part of YWAM (Youth With A Mission) Madagascar, leading a church-planting team to the Antakarana people in isolated northwestern Madagascar. Our primary home/sending church in the US is Sanctuary Church, located in Tulsa, OK.
As leaders of the team, we’re living in a rural village on the remote previously-unreached island of Nosy Mitsio, learning the language and culture of the Antakarana people there, engaging in sustainable small-scale community development, and starting an indigenous church-planting movement among them. This work is the continuation of a vision that God gave Adam over a decade ago to serve God on the island of Madagascar.
We strongly believe in the incarnational reality of Jesus, our God who became a man like us in order to bring new life to the world. We strive to model ourselves after him, “becoming all things to all people so that by all means we might save some.” (1 Cor. 9:22) To us that means speaking the local language (Malagasy) and dialect (Antakarana) and partnering in works with the local Malagasy people that are formed in such a way as to be both recognizable and deeply challenging to the culture they live within. We work together to spread the Kingdom of God in Madagascar and bring the abundant life of Jesus to those who’ve never known it or even heard of it.
Adam and Lora have lived and worked as missionaries in Madagascar since 2011. So far, we’ve completed intensive Malagasy language training in Madagascar and now use the Malagasy language to interact and develop relationships on a daily basis and to share the Good News of Jesus. We’ve also worked with YWAM Tamatave on the east coast of Madagascar, participating in a church-planting Discipleship Training School, lived in a rural village, worked in health/sanitation development, and started multiple Christian fellowships among rural villagers who had never heard the Good News of Christ before. We contributed a small part to the work of the YWAM Tamatave team, who have started over 45 churches and 30 rural clinics, all of which are led and managed by the villagers themselves.
The current stage of our ministry is on the small island of Nosy Mitsio, where we’re co-leading a team to bring the first Gospel witness that the island has ever received. The Antakarana people are one of the least-reached tribal groups of Madagascar and historically resistant to outside influence. Our goal is to learn from them and to work alongside them with sustainable small-scale community development, sharing Jesus’s abundant life with them as they’re ready to receive it. Then, once received, we want to see the Antakarana people take ownership of the work of Christ among them and we want to be catalysts to a self-sustaining church-planting movement that will continue to multiply throughout Nosy Mitsio and throughout northern Madagascar.
To start this work, we’ve pioneered the first efforts on Nosy Mitsio, establishing the area as a base of ministry for outreach to the Antakarana. We spent our first year and a half alone on Nosy Mitsio, to prepare the way to bring out a team to join us in ministry. When our team arrived in late 2014, we spent the next two years training them in an intensive language, culture, and ministry training program (TIMO) and together we developed our plan of ministry and long-term strategy for reaching the Antakarana of Madagascar.
Currently, our team’s ministry on Nosy Mitsio consists of three primary areas: We’ve developed an evangelistic Bible story set of 16 Bible stories in the Antakarana dialect, which we’ve begun to share multiple times a week through Discovery Bible Studies in multiple villages on Nosy Mitsio. Our team is also engaged in basic healthcare training and provision in direct cooperation with the local communities of Nosy Mitsio. We’re also engaged in sharing Bible stories and songs at the local primary school. As we make these ministry efforts and demonstrate a life of faith lived alongside our neighbors and friends in our villages on Nosy Mitsio, we expect to show the Antakarana people the possibility of life lived with a personal, intimate, loving, and all-powerful Creator, known in Jesus, who is with them in the hardest times, who takes an interest in their quality of life, and who, through his Holy Spirit, can protect and empower them in the spiritual warfare they encounter on a regular basis.
Adam has a bachelors degree in both French (one of the national languages of Madagascar) and Pastoral Christian Ministries: Missions from Oral Roberts University. Lora has a bachelors degree in Speech/Theater Education from Northwest Missouri State University. Previously, both Lora and Adam were certified public school teachers in the Tulsa, OK area, teaching everything from preschool to high school between the two of them. Adam has also been an adjunct professor at Oral Roberts University and a child welfare specialist for the state of Oklahoma. Both Adam and Lora are ordained ministers by Emmaus Road Church (a daughter church of Sanctuary Church) in Tulsa, OK.
Both Lora and Adam have also spent two and a half years as US Peace Corps Volunteers in South Africa (from 2008-2010) where they lived and worked in a rural community to develop the local primary schools and educational resources of the surrounding area. Together and with the help of excellent co-workers in South Africa, they accomplished such projects as creating two libraries, two computer labs, an after-school art program, a literacy curriculum for the youngest grades, and plenty of teaching and training to improve the skills, teaching quality, and effective use of available educational resources of their South African counterparts.
We believe that our skills and our experiences, and most importantly our willingness, have been developed by God to be greatly used in the island of Madagascar, to serve him by “knowing God, and making him known.” (The YWAM motto)
To download a print-out version introducing ourselves and our work and a few financial details, to be shared with whoever you would like, please click here: Willards Ministry Basic Info – 2017.pdf (To save to your computer, just right-click the link and choose “Save link as…”)
This video is a short introduction to our ongoing mission to reach the unreached Antakarana people of Madagascar. It showcases the lifestyle of the Antakarana on Nosy Mitsio, their religious beliefs and rituals, and our team’s different ministry efforts at church-planting among them. All of the footage is from 2013-2016. Go to our Videos page to see more videos from Madagascar and our work there!
Listen below to a couple of recorded messages from us:
Go to our Audio page to hear more messages from us!