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One of the greatest blessings of being a missionary is having a front row seat in seeing God at work in a mighty way. When we first arrived in Madagascar, one of our missionary friends put us in contact with a Malagasy man who works with a church in the countryside. He suggested that, if we had the time and interest, we should “tag along” with this national to see the country and learn the culture. At that time, I had no idea all that God had in store.
We began working with Ernest at the beginning of this year and soon learned of his burden for the people in the bush. It has been through his encouragement and help that I (Dan) have begun preaching in Malagasy. This has helped immensely in the language learning process.
For six months, I travelled with Ernest and his family into the bush to a work that he has helped and encouraged through the years. We have grown to love and appreciate the wonderful and humble people in this church and thank God for the privilege to work together with them.
More than six months ago, unbeknownst to me, this small bush church began praying about reaching a nearby village with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They did not know how, when, or through what means God would do the work, yet they simply asked God to go before them and prepare the way.
In May, we saw the fruition of these prayers in an amazing way. The church, together with the help of three men from Ambassador Baptist College who visited for a short time, were able to make the trip to this small village. We passed out tracts and New Testaments, sang songs, and then preached the Gospel. It was everything you can imagine an open air service in the bush would be like. Chickens pecked around for food, the nearby pigs squealed, babies cried, ladies began preparing the evening meal, and those passing by stared in wonder.
Yet, the Gospel was being faithfully preached with simplicity and clarity. When the message closed, Ernest asked how many would like to accept Christ as their Savior. Many raised their hands. Being hesitant to rush people into a decision, he explained the Gospel again, then asked a second time who would like to accept Christ. Many still raised their hands. He then explained the Gospel for a third time and asked who would like to place their faith in Christ alone for salvation. Nearly 20 people, both children and adults, raised their hands. To God be the glory.
Later that evening and in a dimly lit room, as we sat around a table and ate the traditional rice and side dish meal, we praised God for the work that He had accomplished. It was at that moment that I learned that the church had been praying for this village for nearly six months! And now, God had done the amazing work in saving many souls!
Since our first visit in May, I (Dan) have returned once and have witnessed more people calling on the Lord for salvation. My friend, Ernest, and two men from the church have continued to visit this village every Saturday. The people of the village seem to be eager to learn and are already faithfully attending the teaching each Saturday. We are now actively looking for a place to meet regularly so that they can continue to learn and grow in their new faith in Christ.
It has been such a joy for us to watch the hand of God at work in this small village. Though there is still much work to be done, it is exciting to watch the beginnings of a new church. Perhaps the greatest blessing is the fact that this small group is being carried primarily by the national people. Please pray that God would continue to do a wonderful work in the small village of Antanantsara.
~The Browns to Madagascar