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As the snow begins to fall and the cooler weather arrives in the states, the rains begin to descend in Madagascar as the temperatures rapidly climb! Our Christmas season looks quite different from the white Christmas that seemingly fills all of our dreams! Though our hearts are longing for just a glimpse of snow in this season of heat and humidity, we have taken solace by enjoying countless pounds of fresh mangos, lychees and other fruits that fill our markets here!
Our schedule has seemed to be filled to the brim in these last several weeks as the church and the ministry are consuming much time. Though we have had some ups and downs, God has been ever so faithful to us and we are thankful for the privilege to serve Him in this needy place.
In these last three months, Dan has started two discipleships with two young men. They are hungry for truth and their desire for growth is contagious. Just a few days ago, Dan was describing to one of the young men the exchange that Christ made on the cross — our rags for His riches. As the young man pondered this thought, a smile broke across his face as he exclaimed, “That’s amazing. I can’t believe Jesus would do that for us.” As the conversation ended that day, we concluded that Christians, of all people, should be filled with joy and gratitude for all that Christ has done for them. There is no reason for an unhappy, ungrateful Christian!
Rachael has also been meeting with a young mother in our church for the last several months. Once each week, she brings her young son to our house and Rachael and her talk about life, work and the things of the Lord. Unfortunately, she has fallen on very difficult times these last several weeks. She is nearly 7 months pregnant and Rachael just learned that her husband is possibly abusing her as he often comes home drunk. Her faith, however, seems strong as she places her confidence in God. Yes, tears often flow and her heart is noticeably broken, but she often repeats thoughts she gleaned from each week’s message or another lesson she learned from the Word of God.
For the last several months, we have been printing and distributing booklets from Emmaus Correspondence School. These books, which were translated into Malagasy over thirty years ago, have been a great help to many people. One young man accepted Christ as a result of reading through these books. To date, we have now sixty people enrolled in the program and have distributed over two hundred books. The books are taken home where they are read and studied. Often, one book has twelve lessons. After each lesson, the students answer the questions and then return the book for correction. These books have been a timely resource as we were able to distribute many of them during the two confinement periods several months ago.
The church continues to progress. Just two weeks ago, we had our highest attendance of adults to date — 35. The children’s ministry is also progressing and just last week we had our highest attendance of children — 76. The people are excited to be coming and learning from God’s Word. In November, we started taking offerings and, even though these are still very difficult days for the people, they are giving generously unto the Lord.
It’s truly difficult to put into the words the sentiment that we often feel when being with young believers and a new growing church. There is so much joy and excitement and everything is brand new! Though times are still very difficult for many if not all the people, seeing them learn to pray and bring their needs before God and watching their faith be challenged and grow is exciting, encouraging and exactly the reason that we are here.
As always we want to thank you for your faithful prayers and support. It is because of you that we are able to serve and minister to these people here in Madagascar. God has been so faithful and you, our prayer supporters, have been so faithful in your prayers, love and support for us. We pray God will continue to use and bless you as much as you have been a blessing and encouragement 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