It feels like just yesterday that I heard direction from the Lord telling me to pursue go to Madagascar as a missionary. I had never heard of Antananarivo (Tana), the capitol of Madagascar, and now I will be living there in just a few short days. Preparing for this trip has been exciting and nerve-racking all at once—exciting because I was preparing to go to a new land and nerve-racking because I will be apart from everything and everyone with whom I am comfortable. However, the Lord made it clear to me that this was His plan. I obtained my new passport, visa to Madagascar, and all my vaccinations with no problems. Yet as I said goodbye to my family in Texas and boarded my plane, I wondered if I was making a huge mistake or embarking on one of my life’s greatest adventures.
I can feel the Lord reassuring me every day that He is in control. He will complete in me the good work which He began; part of that completion might be bringing me here, to Africa.
Before I left the USA, my mother encouraged me with these words from 1 Chronicles 28:20, ‘…Be strong and courageous and do it. Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed, for the LORD God, even my God, is with you. He will not leave you or forsake you, until all the work for the service of the house of the LORD is finished’ (ESV).
People have asked me if I feel as though I’m wasting a semester of college, or have told me how great I am for sacrificing my time in college to go to Africa. In those times, I’m reminded of a quote by the missionary David Livingstone: ‘If a commission by an earthly king is considered a honor, how can a commission by a Heavenly King be considered a sacrifice?”
I feel so honored and blessed beyond words to be chosen by God for this task. I’m looking forward to arriving in Madagascar!
When I was a little girl, I learned a song called “Jesus Loves Me”. As many times as I’ve heard this simple song, I’ve never realized the profundity of the phrase “they are weak but He is strong”. There’s nothing like experiencing a new culture to make you realize how weak humankind is. We’re all vulnerable, broken and completely dependent on the grace of God. Some countries in our world are more developed—they’re cleaner, maybe even safer, yet the people in our world are all the same: weak.
This probably sounds like a very negative thing to say. But the reality is that none of us has anything valuable to offer this broken world apart from the strength of Jesus. His strength is what runs in our veins, fills our lungs, and gives us the ability to live and love effectively.
One new friend here in Madagascar said, ‘Just your being here gives me strength to carry on in ministry, because I know that someone across the world cares.’
I’ve been in Antananarivo, Madagascar, for only one week, and several times already I’ve been approached by fellow believers telling me that my presence here has encouraged them. One new friend here in Madagascar said, “Just your being here gives me strength to carry on in ministry, because I know that someone across the world cares.”
I’m humbled that in the same way Jesus encouraged me to come to Madagascar, my presence here has also encouraged someone to do what is difficult—carry the name of Jesus to the unreached.
All this is to say that I am weak, but He is strong. We often pray for God to raise up workers to go into the mission field; I would urge you today to be willing to be the answer to that prayer. God is ready to use weak vessels, with lots of cracks and holes, so that His strength will shine through to the nations.
The first glimpse I caught of Sainte Marie, a small island off the east coast of Madagascar, was so beautiful it almost took my breath away. Even through the tropical rain, I could see the numerous palm trees and small wooden canoes floating about.
It looked like a deserted island from a Hollywood film, but fortunately I wasn’t deserted. In fact, I was one in a group that included people from Nigeria, Netherlands, UK, Madagascar, Brazil, El Salvador and South Africa.
After traveling for more than 15 hours by bus through the jungle and two hours by boat, we all breathed a sigh of relief when we arrived at our destination.
It’s not up to me how many people accept the good news; it’s only within my power to offer them hope.
Witchcraft has a stronghold on Sainte Marie, like it does in much of Madagascar. Some parents even dedicate their children to Satan after birth. We knew we needed to be very diligent in prayer.
We woke up every day at 5:00am to praise the Lord and pray for the day’s activities. Some days included children’s ministry, street and door-to-door evangelism or youth outreaches. The harvest was truly ripe, and at least 100 people accepted Christ as their Savior!
I’ll never forget one particular moment, sitting on the floor of a grass hut sharing the gospel with a woman who had never heard the name of Jesus. Just moments later she joined the family of believers and was saved for eternity. It’s a privilege being part of this ministry.
Madagascar is a stunning and exotic country, with souls ready to hear the good news. I have been challenged to take this passion home with me and be more proactive in sharing about God wherever I am.
Jesus said, “…go and make disciples of all nations…And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matt. 28:18-20; NIV). It’s not up to me how many people accept the good news; it’s only within my power to offer them hope.
Please, join with me in thanking the Lord for how many He rescued in Sainte Marie.
The moment I set my foot on the bike pedal the rain started falling. It’s going to be a long 10 kilometers, I thought to myself. It was during a recent outreach to Manakara, a city in southeast Madagascar, that I visited Maroala, a truly rural village of about 200 people that can only be reached on foot or by bicycle. After carrying the bike through a steep mudslide in the tropical rain, I started to doubt my decision that riding was a better alternative to walking. Nevertheless, 10 kilometers later I stood in the village of Maroala covered in mud and sand.
Though I had tried to mentally prepare myself, I was still shocked at the poverty in front of me. As I looked at the children with swollen bellies and mothers with hopeless looks in their eyes, I wanted to shut them out and cause my heart not to feel for them. The team had brought clothes for these people, which we passed out after a gospel presentation. Still, I was distressed that I had no food to offer, no immediate relief.
But I heard Jesus remind me: “I am the Bread of Life and Living Water; whoever comes to me will never be unsatisfied.” He’s our great provider and ultimate satisfaction. Please pray with me that His name will be made great in the village of Maroala.
Since being in Madagascar, I’ve experienced things I never imagined I would—like riding a bike through the jungle. Most of these experiences have made for hilarious stories that I’ll never forget, but some have broken my heart.
For instance, I never thought I would hear a little girl say she wanted to grow up to be a prostitute. But the dark reality is that prostitutes on the small island of Sainte Marie, off the northeast coast of Madagascar, appear to be the wealthiest and most satisfied individuals. They have the nicest clothes and the most customers. This little girl doesn’t realize that these women are used, abused and hurting. She doesn’t realize that she’s been created with value. She hasn’t been taught to dream beyond her small island home.
I felt so saddened by this little girl’s answer, thinking that if she only had more love and support, perhaps she would dream beyond prostitution.
Then it hit me: maybe the Lord looks upon us, His Church, and feels the same emotion. He has provided unfailing love and the unending support of a Father, yet what do our dreams look like? Can we see beyond our circumstances? Do we believe anything is possible with Christ, that He can really change a nation? Let us pray for this nation, interceding on their behalf for God to do miraculous and marvelous things among them.
For more information about international missions, look up the following organizations:
Adventures in Missions
Youth With A Mission