A Cloud of Witnesses

…a scene of dust and blood, of body parts strewn haphazardly, some still twitching, disjointed, bleeding out. Not one piece is connected to another and thus the entire body, broken apart and moments from death, lies collapsed in the sand, unable to move, unable even to seek help.

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Working for a Harvest

Like our friends in the fields we must always be alert and ready, mud sticks in hand, for what might devour what we’ve sown. We must always keep watch and reinforce any weak parts of the fence. And like them, we must fight this battle together…

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Children of God

Our children have become some of the regular village kids. They squat nearby as they watch a man build his canoe. They gather in the crowded cooking hut with all the other village kids to eat a plate of rice and sour mango salad…

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Visiting the US Next Year!

That’s what our last few years have been like here on Nosy Mitsio: exciting! Challenging! Full of promise, hope, struggles, loss, and gain. In it all we see God at work. He’s maintained us, given us strength and perseverance when we’ve needed it most, and he’s opened our eyes to see…

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Praying With Our Eyes Open

I knelt down and put my hand on the young boy’s foot, right next to the gaping wound made from an ax that chopped in the wrong direction. I bowed my head, closed my eyes, and asked God to heal the injured boy. When I finished praying, I opened my eyes…

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People of Prayer

that’s what begins to happen when we pray. We put our desires and agendas to the side so that we can know him more intimately: his desires and his heart for the world around us. And it’s then, in communion with him, that we are transformed and made new…

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Back to Madagascar!

Just a few days from now, on Sunday, we’ll be leaving the US again to head back towards Madagascar! We’ve really had a great time in the States, but as great as this time has been for us, it also really feels like it’s time to get back to Madagascar…

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Video Introduction

Watch this video for an introduction to the Antakarana people and our work among them

Latest News

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22 hours ago

Willards in Madagascar - www.madmissions.com

We had a good time again with the discipleship group in Antanamazava today. Everyone put together some money as a gift to the man who had been injured last week (a relative of several of the members of our group). We visited him and presented the gift - he's been healing well but still badly injured. It was nice to see the group begin to demonstrate generosity for others, and a couple of the group members (relatives of the man) mentioned how much it meant to them that the group did that.

The coronavirus has also finally spread to our region of the country with a handful of cases. Our region is thus putting in place some very restrictive measures to try to prevent its further spread (mainly related to local transport). In the interests of the discipleship group, today we also brought a lot of cloth masks from town to give to the members of the group, and we taught them how to wear them appropriately and encouraged them to use them regularly. Since there are currently very few confirmed cases in our region (none yet in our town), and we meet in a small group outside, then if we all wear masks while we meet, the risk of spreading the disease through our group meeting time should be very low, and we hope to keep it that way.

The story today (John baptizing Jesus) went well also and was very well received, though the group dwindled a bit by the end. The discussion time went on much longer than usual and people had some very personal considerations to work through. People were amazed to see that Jesus asked John to baptize him, even though John was still "dirty" and Jesus was not. It encouraged them that God makes all people equal in his sight, and that no one needs to feel like they're too "unworthy" to approach God or to do what God asks them to do. At the end, everyone mentioned some very specific ways in which they want to see further growth in their lives, some poor habits they want to leave behind, etc.

And when asked who else they could share the story with, nearly everyone mentioned someone outside their families this time, which was the first time for most of them! So they're beginning to think on a broader scale of who else God wants to impact with what they've been receiving from him. There were also a number of regulars not there this time (almost the opposite group from last week), and those there this week brought up how they could easily start another meeting themselves to share the story with those absent, and even lead the group discussion and all the rest. So we hope that they're starting to take on leadership roles and that soon we'll see those currently more distant from the Gospel being reached by the efforts of the Holy Spirit through them!
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Comment on Facebook 983680748474252_1744500839058902

May God's face shine upon you. Stay safe🙏🤗

1 week ago

Willards in Madagascar - www.madmissions.com

One of the villagers in Antanamazava (the father of one of the members of our discipleship group) had a serious run-in yesterday. In the evening, he was riding his bike back from another more populous village area, transporting some sugarcane he'd cut down. Then a guy ran up behind him on the road and struck him in the head several times with a machete. Then the criminal stole the man's bicycle and rode off quickly and hasn't been identified or captured yet.

Thankfully the criminal missed the man's neck but he damaged both sides of the man's head pretty badly. Thankfully someone else found the injured man on the side of the road and took him to get some first aid, and thankfully the blood loss wasn't too serious. We visited him in Antanamazava together with many other community members and we had the opportunity to pray for him before he went to town to get further medical treatment and file a report.

So, that was a big distraction for the discipleship group today, as a couple of the most dedicated members of the group are part of his family and they were occupied with helping take care of him, and the rest of us certainly had that tragic event on our minds. There were several other distractions today as well, and also several first-time participants. Thank God though that despite the distractions we were able to move forward.

About halfway through the group we were able to have a really great personal conversation where each person shared about the personal things in their lives in which they really felt the need for a "Savior". This helped a lot of people (especially the new participants) open up much more than they had so far. By the end many people shared a very personal "action step", based on what they learned from the Bible story today, that they would make efforts towards as a way to see their lives changed moving forward. We pray that God would empower them to live out these commitments in their lives, and to share what they're learning with many others!

We also committed as a group to gather some money or other help (such as rice or other harvested goods) to give to the man who had been attacked yesterday, to help him during his recovery. We'll gather it together and give it to him next week. This would be a first opportunity for this group to practice giving together, and together to help another member of their community. We pray this would become a regular practice of generosity for them, that they would be able to respond in transformative ways to the needs of their community and would be known and recognized for their loving generosity towards all those in need. Thank you for praying with us!
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Comment on Facebook 983680748474252_1737995693042750

Praying for the man and his family. How very sad.

2 weeks ago

Willards in Madagascar - www.madmissions.com

We had another great day with the discipleship group in the village of Antanamazava today, and several testimonies to share!

One lady said that she had a dream/vision of God one night this week and it encouraged her to share the Bible stories she's been learning with other people! She seemed a bit shy to share about her dream/vision but clearly she was still amazed by it!

Another lady (a local schoolteacher who grew up in town and part of a local church there) said that being with the discipleship group the last couple months is the first time she's ever been able to pray! She said she's never been able to pray before because she didn't think she was "able" to (probably because her past church experience was in a different language, as all the churches here are). But being part of the discipleship group, she finds it "simple" now and like the words just come to her, and she's able to pray easily and she was rejoicing in it!

Another lady from town had been in the village visiting relatives from our group (during the recent national holiday). They've been sharing with her the Bible stories they've been learning and telling her about the discipleship group. So she joined us today, but even before the group started she asked us to come start a discipleship group with her in her neighborhood in town! Just based on what she'd heard so far from her relatives in the village! And after participating well in the group today, she followed up to be sure we'll start a group in her neighborhood soon, and we traded phone numbers to do that.

Also, we had a different tuk tuk driver than normal (a young man) take us out to the village from town. He was willing to wait until we were done to take us back to town, so I invited him to join our group while he waited. He didn't interact much but he listened attentively. At the end he said he'd share the story with one of his young friends, and he also said that based on what he learned from the story today he was going to try to "enter into the faith in his heart" (or something like that, kind of hard to translate). I didn't actually think much of it because he was so quiet the whole time. As soon as we left the village though, he immediately started telling us how what we shared was "so clear" (or you could translate it as "so understandable"). Then he shared some of his own story of how growing up in town he'd tried visiting a couple different churches but didn't understand anything they were saying, and how a teacher in his school (while he was a student) tried to convince him but he just couldn't understand it. But today he understood, because it was "clear". He said he'll take us to the village again next week so he can join the group again. But I also offered to meet with him and his friends at their place in town if he wanted, and he seemed to like that idea. It would be great to have some more men being discipled, because right now we have very few that are consistent. But praise God for the seeds of clarity that were sewn for this young man today!

God is good! When we lay our plans before him, he directs our paths and helps us bear fruit that lasts! Please keep praying for the disciples in Antanamazava, and for the greater works that God will do through them and that place!
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1 month ago

Willards in Madagascar - www.madmissions.com
Heres a photo of David sitting on the bench under the tree at the local prison, where we usually meet to have our discipleship groups.  The prisoners dont want to appear in photos, so I only got a picture of David here.

Because of the coronavirus restrictions here, there was an extended period of time where I wasnt able to go visit the prison.  During that time, it seems that several of those who were previously more motivated have lost a lot of interest.  Since then it also seems like there are frequent and unexpected schedule changes at the prison that often interfere with the time theyve requested me to come lead the discipleship group. 

Please pray for us that we would know if we should change our efforts at all related to the people there at the prison.  Please pray also for the prisoners, that they would feel a sense of Gods presence every day, that the things theyve already learned in our discipleship groups would be cemented into their hearts and minds and that they would live it out, and that God would truly set them free in spite of the bounds of their current time in prison... that they would in turn be a blessing to others.

Here's a photo of David sitting on the bench under the tree at the local prison, where we usually meet to have our discipleship groups. The prisoners don't want to appear in photos, so I only got a picture of David here.

Because of the coronavirus restrictions here, there was an extended period of time where I wasn't able to go visit the prison. During that time, it seems that several of those who were previously more motivated have lost a lot of interest. Since then it also seems like there are frequent and unexpected schedule changes at the prison that often interfere with the time they've requested me to come lead the discipleship group.

Please pray for us that we would know if we should change our efforts at all related to the people there at the prison. Please pray also for the prisoners, that they would feel a sense of God's presence every day, that the things they've already learned in our discipleship groups would be cemented into their hearts and minds and that they would live it out, and that God would truly set them free in spite of the bounds of their current time in prison... that they would in turn be a blessing to others.
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