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“I can’t wait until this year is over!” “I wish we could go back and start the year over again!” “This year has been a complete waste!” These are a few of the many comments we have all heard about this year. Whatever your take on the year may be, we hope to encourage you by reporting once again on God’s wonderful work of grace in Madagascar. In this update, we would like to share three testimonies of God at work in the lives of three completely different people, all in the midst of difficult times and circumstances. These three stories show the various stages of the many different people to whom we minister.
A Hungry Believer
As we shared at the close of our last prayer letter, because of the rising number of cases of COVID-19 in Madagascar, the government decided to enforce a second confinement period. Naturally, this meant that the doors of the church were closed once again. However, feeling led by God, we decided to begin visiting the folks that have been attending church. This normally took several hours each Friday afternoon and Saturday morning as we made our rounds, sat in the people’s houses, and took time to encourage them in the Lord.
One Saturday morning, as we sat in the small home of a dear lady who had been faithfully attending the services, we talked about the news, the weather and life in general and then shared a few encouraging thoughts about our faith and trust in God during difficult times. Toward the end of our time, she interjected, “Pastor, if it is okay, I’d like to start going with you and sharing the Gospel like you do. God has been speaking to my heart about serving Him and this is what I want to do.” What a blessing it is to see God working in the hearts of new believers!
A Ready Convert
In our last few prayer letters, we asked for prayer for a young man named Ulrich. Dan has spent much time with him since we first moved to this side of town. What started as a few free English lessons soon turned into deep conversations about the Bible. Finally, Ulrich said to Dan one day, “I can’t lie to you. I believe in God but I don’t believe in His Son, Jesus Christ. I have seen too much hypocrisy from people who talk all about Jesus but live so sinfully.” He concluded, “Because of that, I just can’t believe in Jesus.”
Several months passed and Dan continued to meet with Ulrich, often sharing that Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven and that we cannot judge Him just by those people who profess to know Him. Finally, one afternoon during the quarantine, Ulrich began to message Dan. He explained, “God is doing something in my life and I am so happy. I want you to know that I am now believing in Jesus Christ.” Later, Dan was able to ask him what exactly he meant. He said, “I have now taken Jesus Christ as my Savior!”
A Fearful Skeptic
In the month of May, a young lady named Tahiry accepted Christ as her Savior. Her hunger for the things of the Lord has been evident ever since and she has faithfully attended church. Her husband, however, is a different story. Upon hearing of our church, his first reaction was to forbid her to come, fearing that we were a cult. Every time this young lady wanted to attend our services, her husband either scoffed or warned her about our church.
During the quarantine period, Dan was able to visit with Tahiry and her husband in their home. Her husband quietly sat in the corner of the room while Dan talked to Tahiry. Finally, at the end of the conversation, he began asking questions about the church. After learning more about the church and our beliefs, he concluded, “When this confinement is over, I will come and visit.” We are now praying that God will continue the work in his heart and bring him to salvation.
God certainly works in mysterious ways! He has chosen to use two quarantine periods to help start and then strengthen His church here in Madagascar. Though it has certainly been an interesting year, we cannot but praise God for the way He has used the most unexpected circumstances to do an unexplainable work in Madagascar. We are often reminded that man’s limitations are often God’s opportunities!
As a final note, we want to once again express our appreciation to you, our faithful supporters, for your generosity during these last several months. We are humbled by your kindness and we thank God for you. We pray that God will bless you as much as you have been a blessing to us!
The Browns to Madagascar
“That thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations. Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee.” Psalm 67:2-3