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Yes, you read that correctly! After a wonderful outdoor Easter service and a good start to the month of April, Covid-19 cases continued to rise here in Madagascar causing the Malagasy government to reinforce preventative measures to help control the spread of the coronavirus. When these measures seemed to have no effect, the government decided to enforce a weekend confinement. “What is a weekend confinement,” you may ask. Well, it simply means that everyone was confined on the weekend! Churches were shut down, markets, stores and businesses were closed and all weekend activities were suspended!
When we heard this news, we were quite shocked. First, we were perplexed wondering if a weekend confinement would actually be effective. Secondly, we were saddened because the church was closed… again! God, however, has used each confinement in an amazing way to grow our church and bring Him glory. If you remember, our church was born out of the first confinement here in Madagascar. During the second confinement, we were able to visit our people in their homes which allowed us to share the Gospel directly with each person and get to know them better, knitting our hearts with theirs. So, when we heard the news that the church was closed again on Sunday, we wondered how God would use this third (and hopefully last) confinement for His glory.
In speaking with our co-workers about what to do, we decided to open our home during the week and invite the people in. We offered two in-home services each week, one on Thursday and one on Friday. The word quickly spread about meeting in our home that first Thursday and our people responded amazingly. In fact, the first week we actually had a greater attendance than our Sunday services! The church was moving forward despite the devil’s efforts to stop or discourage the believers.
Because we were meeting in our home, we decided to change the format of our service and offer a time for the people to share a testimony or some Bible verses in an effort to encourage one another. Each week, we walked away blessed hearing how God was working in the hearts of His people. We noted definite growth in the lives of certain believers.
Finally, during the six week confinement, we were able to start building a better relationship with two lost men in particular. Both of these men came faithfully to the services in our home and heard a clear presentation of the Gospel multiple times. Please pray that God would continue to work in their hearts and bring them to salvation soon.
On June 6, church opened up again. How refreshing it was to come together and worship the Lord corporately. Around this time, a family in our church had a baby and asked if we could pray and ask for God’s blessing on the baby. This gave us a great opportunity to have our first baby dedication. While we did ask for God’s protection and blessing on the baby, Dan also charged the couple to raise their child for the Lord and teach her God’s precious Word.
The month of June ended with a wonderful celebration of Madagascar’s independence day. While the actual Independence Day was June 26th, we celebrated together as a church on June 27th. The entire service was focused on God working and blessing Madagascar. It was a blessing to see several visitors come. We had more than eighty children in attendance and nearly sixty adults.
As always, we thank you for your faithful prayers! God is at work in Madagascar and we are privileged to see this first hand. May God bless each of you as much as you have been a blessing to us.
The Browns to Madagascar
“The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth labourers into his harvest.” Matthew 9:37-38