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Madagascar is a nation full of young people. It is estimated that 65% of the population is under the age of 25 and many believe that as much as 40% of the population is under the age of 14. These statistics are staggering. However, if you walked up and down the streets of Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar, you would find them to be true and accurate. This island nation is full of young people and children. Our church is no exception. Half of our church is comprised of children and the young married couples in the throes of raising those children. Often, these young couples express their desire to learn more of how to build a godly home for Christ.
In May, we held a two day family conference which focused on building godly homes for Christ. We were blessed to welcome for the first time to Madagascar our sending pastor and his wife (Dan’s parents) who spoke at the conference. We thank the Lord that the conference was well attended with hungry hearts seeking help and direction in building godly homes for Christ. During the two days, there were four sessions which included thorough teaching on godly homes, godly marriages, godly men and women, and raising godly children. The people are still recounting the lessons they learned and the applications they are making in their homes. Perhaps what has been most encouraging is the visible fruit in two couples who have been living together unmarried. Both couples approached Dan separately during the conference and expressed their desire to get married and make their home right before God. Lord willing, we will be meeting with these couples to plan a simple and God-honoring wedding so that they can have a household that pleases God.
Whenever God is at work, however, the devil is never far behind! Soon after the conference ended, one of the ladies in our church approached us and explained that she and her husband were struggling. In fact, they were talking about divorce! We were shocked and saddened by this news as we had already spent much time in counseling them on their marriage. After spending some days in prayer, we thank God they were able to resolve their issues and are still together. We ask for your prayers for this couple, especially for the man as he is unsaved despite many efforts in sharing the Gospel with him.
God continues to work in our children’s ministry. In March, we shared that our coworkers would be leaving for furlough and, when they return, will plant a church elsewhere in Madagascar. After they left, our church was slightly shell-shocked from losing a family that had done so much for the church. God began to give a burden to many of our people, however, in filling in the gaps and keeping the ministries alive, especially the children’s ministry. Several adults and many youth have taken the initiative to teach the next generation the Word of God. Currently, we have three teams of five who rotate teaching each week. The number of children averages 40 each week with visitors regularly. What is most encouraging, however, is seeing the people catch the burden for the next generation. Children are often overlooked in Madagascar, but God has given our people a vision for reaching them for Christ.
On June 26th, we celebrated Madagascar’s independence day. This was the third year our church celebrated this national holiday. It has become tradition to take a picture of the church to mark growth and remember God’s mighty works. Looking back at the previous two years, it is exciting to see how the church continues to grow, slowly yet surely, all for glory of God!
Thank you as always for your prayers and support. We truly could not do what God has called us to do without you! We pray always that God will 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