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From famine to faith: God is working in Madagascar
  • by Zhien-U Bakarich
  • February 5, 2021

Following the distribution of food relief by Christians in the Anglican Diocese of Toliara, Madagascar, to people starving as a result of severe famine in the land, many have come to Christ as a result of the love shown to them by the family of believers.

Earlier this year, Anglican Aid (www.anglicanaid.org.au) sent over $20,000 in emergency funds for rice, beans, and water for more than 200 families across the Toliara region. The food packs were distributed by Bible college students who are being sponsored to study through Anglican Aid’s Bible College Student Sponsorship program.

Reverend Gaston from Amboasary Parish in southern Madagascar, where the famine is most severe, participated in distributing the relief. He said his church is now packed.

“A lot of people are being baptised because they were being touched by the love, and asking ‘what religion is this that cares?’”

“A lot of people are being baptised because they were being touched by the love, and asking ‘what religion is this that cares?’”

 

Reverend Berthier Lainirina, the Provincial Secretary for the Anglican Church of the Indian Ocean, told Anglican Aid that the gospel accompanied the gifts of food. Even though there are other NGOs responding with food relief in Madagascar, it is the care shown by Christians that is making an impression on locals.

“We do not only share goods, we share the history [gospel] and motivation of Jesus. The testimony makes the difference.

“People have responded to the Love of Christ testified to them through distribution of foods. We may think we’re just giving money, we may think we’re giving foods, but through this, people are being saved eternally by God’s grace,” said Reverend Berthier Lainirina.

Berthier described one church that was so full, there was not enough room for people to sit.

Establishing new believers

Berthier has travelled down from his home in the north of Madagascar to the Diocese of Toliara – normally a four to five day bus trip – to help disciple these new Christians in the faith. In the span of his trip down, the number of people registered for baptism has grown from 500 to 1000, and the number of new churches the parish has planted has grown from nine to thirteen. Praise God!

He asks, “Please pray that they genuinely commit their life to Christ.”

Please also pray for the new Catechists being trained to lead these village churches.

Rev. Gaston is the parish pastor overseeing this multiplication of new churches, which will be added to the twenty churches already in his care. Gaston was trained by Al Lukabyo through the Anglican Aid-supported pilot PTC* program in Madagascar. We praise God for these fruits of the growing gospel partnership between Sydney Anglicans and Madagascan Christians.

Anglican Aid is now providing materials to help establish these new believers in the faith. 1000 families have asked for a Bible, and 1000 more want to grow as Christians but are illiterate. To provide for them, Anglican Aid has purchased 250 ‘Megavoice’ solar-powered audio players for $50 each. These hand-held devices have been loaded up with materials in the local language, including health information on Covid-19, a discipleship program, and an audio Bible.

 

Families receive food packs

Hundreds fill churches after experiencing Christ’s love

The Rt Rev Samitiana Razafindralambo (Assistant Bishop Samy) of the Diocese of Toliara, said the integrity of the church set them apart from other NGOs distributing food. “They have received what we planned to give for them. People were touched by integrity and trust. They have noticed that other (organisations) kept some of the donations.”

“The Diocese of Toliara has been called by God to become the hands of his heart full of love for everyone. People want to know Christ more through us. Many were baptised and want to join us.”

Anglican Aid CEO Canon Tim Swan said, “Praise God for this growth from the midst of tragedy.”

To the Christians in Australia, Berthier says, “Thank you again for your support, please let us continue to walk in partnership for the Gospel.

 

*The PTC pilot program used Moore Theological College’s Preliminary Theological Certificate materials, which have been translated into French and Malagasy.

Let grace flow through generosity

Make a tax-deductible donation to Anglican Aid’s Madagascar Famine Relief online or call 02 9284 1406. To enable Anglican Aid to respond to emergencies and disasters like this, please consider giving to our Emergency Relief activities.

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