To download a printable PDF of this prayer letter, please click HERE.
How quickly our time is passing here in Madagascar. By the time we send out our next prayer letter, we will have completed our first full year on the field (having already completed one year of language school in France). How grateful we are for the privilege to serve the Lord in this needy country.
As our first year draws to a close, we are excited as our future begins to open. As we continue to progress with our studies in the Malagasy language, we are nearing the day when, Lord willing, we will begin our first church plant. Last month, we were able to take one of the “first steps” in planting a church…finding the location.
At the end of February, we were blessed and encouraged by the visit of a supporting pastor and friend, Daniel Patrick. Pastor Patrick and I were able to go to a large suburb of Antananarivo (the capital of Madagascar) and survey an area for a possible future church plant. We learned that this suburb is the second largest district outside of the downtown area. Hundreds of thousands of people live and work in this area, yet, as of now, there is just one small Baptist church. In speaking with some residents, we learned that most did not know of this church, yet alone, what a Baptist church was. This showed us that this area is in desperate need of another Baptist church.
We then met with the president of the district to discuss with him our possible future plans of planting a church in the area. We wanted to learn what requirements we would need to fulfill as a church as well as what the public interest for a new church would be. As of today, Antananarivo is teeming with hundreds of churches, yet very, very few of them preach the Gospel. In the eyes of the government, our church would be just another one of the many churches already spread throughout the area. We wondered if they would be open for yet another church in the area. After explaining who we were and what we would like to do, we were greatly encouraged by the warm invitation of the president ensuring us his support and interest in our work. He then expressed his love and appreciation for missionaries. What a blessing!
After our visit with the president, we preceded to some crowded street corners and open markets where we distributed nearly 1,000 John & Romans. Many people, after receiving one copy, returned to ask for more copies to give to their friends and family. One man, named Elia, even stopped to help us distribute the John and Romans. He was very interested in our work. We exchanged contact information and hope to follow up with him in the near future.
In many ways, this is but a “small step” towards our future goal. Though we have not determined that this will be the place of our future church plant, it is a possibility. We will continue to pray for the Lord’s wisdom and clear direction as we seek His will and guidance concerning the place where, one day, we will plant a church. We are truly excited as we approach the day of seeing people not just saved, but baptized, discipled, and added to the church where they can be trained to reach their own people with the Gospel.
In the meantime, we would appreciate your prayers as we continue our language learning. Though we have begun taking the “next steps,” we still have much work to do in learning the language. Pray that God would give us the grace, strength and patience we need to learn Malagasy well.
As always, we wish to express our gratitude for your faithful prayers and support. Because of you, we are enabled to do the work God has called us to do. May God bless you richly for your investment in His work around the world.
The Browns to Madagascar