an Earthquake Coronavirus.
To download a printable PDF of this prayer letter, please click here.
Recently, I read in Acts 16 about the Philippian jailor who nearly died without a Savior. As I reflected on the story, I realized that it took an earthquake to get the jailor’s attention. God, as He so often does, perfectly orchestrated the events so that the right men (Paul and Silas) were in the right place (in prison!) at the right time (after an earthquake) ready to minister to the jailor’s spiritual needs. Having no hope for his life, the jailor found Paul and Silas and cried out, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved.” As the account concludes, we learn that the jailor and his whole family accepted Christ as Lord and Savior. But it took an earthquake!
As for our ministry, it seems like it is going to take a worldwide pandemic to start a church here in Madagascar! We started off the month of March with much excitement and fervor as we launched several outreaches and a Bible study. However, after just one week, we received news that everything must come to a halt because of the Coronavirus. To say that we were disappointed would be an understatement! But God was still at work!
Not being allowed to go to church for worship, we brought church to our home. We invited our neighbors for a Bible study and were thrilled when they came. God has used this time to help us build a solid relationship with our lost neighbors and begin pointing them to Christ! But it took the Coronavirus!
After cancelling our ESL class because of COVID-19, we received a call from a man who asked if we could study one on one. We agreed and welcomed him into our home for the study. What started as an ESL class soon turned into a discussion on salvation and the Bible. Just a few weeks ago, this man declared, “Studying English is slow and sometimes boring, but when we talk about the Bible, the time just disappears!” After our conversation, I asked the man if he was ready to make a decision for Christ. He kindly replied, “I need to read the Bible more to see what it says before I make this decision.” We pray that we will soon see this man accept Christ as his Savior. But it took the Coronavirus.
Living in an impoverished country has been one of our greatest challenges we have faced. We have adjusted to the language, the culture and the day to day life, but the poverty is still a great challenge and burden. After speaking with another missionary, we got the idea to help the more impoverished people by giving away rice, beans, soap and a mask. Being new to the community, we decided we needed help from our local government. After meeting with the president of our town, we informed him of our plans, all of which he gladly accepted. Then, we asked him if we could simply pray before we distributed the supplies to the people. He thought for a moment then replied, “Why don’t you take time to explain who you are, what church you are from and them preach a short message to the people!” Of course, we were not about ready to turn down this opportunity! When the day came, the people quietly and patiently lined up and listened to a Gospel message before receiving their gift. We praise the Lord that we reached over 800 people in our community who not only heard a clear Gospel message, but also received a Gospel tract prepared specifically for the occasion. We praise the Lord for this, but it took the Coronavirus!
Soon after we had distribution the supplies, people began asking where our church was and when we met. This propelled us to start looking for a location for the church plant. After looking for a few days, we found a private school on a main road connecting several growing neighborhoods. We have decided to start meeting this month for all those who asked and are interested in coming. But all of this took the Coronavirus.
Presently, we have met with several people in their homes and explained the Gospel. We have others coming to our home for a Bible study that is centered on the Gospel. Every time we walk the streets or go to the market, people greet us and thank us for the gift. Slowly, we are building relationships, meeting people and sharing the good news of the Gospel with those whom we encounter. Though we have not yet seen the eternal fruit from these outreaches, we are confident that God is at work. As we continue to sow the seeds of the Gospel, we are sure that God will soon bring the harvest.
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