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The saying goes, “time flies when you’re having fun.” During these last few months, we have found that to be so true! Though we don’t know if we would characterize everything we do as fun, we can certainly say that it is exciting! God is at work in Madagascar and we are so blessed to have a small part in it.
We’ve see good growth and fruit in the lives of many believers. Two months ago, we started a discipleship with a new believer and she asked, “What can I do to stop sinning?” Wonderful!
Another lady going through discipleship asked, “What do I do when my family and neighbors constantly tease me because I don’t say or do what I used to say and do?” Amazing!
Another young lady in the church shared with us that she’s amazed at the change in her husband. “Last year,” she said “he didn’t want to go church or talk about God at all. Now, anytime I doubt God, he tells me to stop doubting and just trust Him.” Great!
Finally, another man shared that he took some tracts from church one Sunday morning. Later that evening, he and his wife went into their neighborhood and distributed all of them. He shared that at first he was a little embarrassed because people teased and mocked him for what he was doing. But when he and his wife returned home later that evening, he shared, “We were so full of joy. We didn’t mind what people said about us.” Tremendous!
Of course, it is easy to share only the good stories and talk only of the good things God is doing. Rest assured that there are still plenty of challenges and backward steps. However, it is amazing to see the growth that only God can produce in the hearts of His people. Our hearts are full of joy as we see the change that the Gospel is making in the lives of these dear people.
In November, we had the privilege of baptizing four men and one teenage girl. It was a wonderful day as these five individuals declared publicly their faith in Jesus Christ. The baptism was followed by a church-wide picnic. Many invited family and friends and we had a wonderful day. There were over 100 people in attendance!
Also in November, we had the privilege of having a small part in a traditional Malagasy wedding (called the “vodi-ondry”). This was a great privilege for us as very few foreigners are invited to attend, let alone take part. In this tradition, both families of the bride and groom come together and one man from each family is designated to be the the spokesman. These two men spend anywhere between two hours to two days discussing whether or not the bride should be given to the groom. The family of the groom must bring a large sum of money that is given out little by little until finally the family of the bride accepts! Promises to love, cherish and care for the bride are given in the eyes of all the witnesses and finally the bride is presented to the groom! Dan was asked to open everything in prayer as well as share a short challenge from God’s Word about the importance and responsibilities in marriage.
December has now come upon us and, like many, we are in the thralls of Christmas preparation. The youth and children in our church will be performing a Christmas program for the church. It’s exciting to see their eagerness and faithfulness in all of the practices. We plan to distribute one thousand invitations throughout our community for this Christmas day event. Please pray that God would bless this outreach in tremendous ways, that many visitors would come, and most importantly that we would see souls accept the newborn King, Jesus Christ, as their Savior.
We appreciate your ongoing prayers for Rachael. We are now just weeks away from welcoming our newest family member into the world! Despite many ultrasounds, the gender of this baby remains a mystery, but we look forward to unwrapping this little gift around Christmas (the 27th is Rachael’s due date).
As always, we appreciate your prayers and support for the work God is doing here in Madagascar. May God bless you as much as you have blessed 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.”