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The Madagascar Mission

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Maryland Heights is the sponsoring congregation for the mission work in Madagascar.  In that role, we provide part of the financial support as well as much of the spiritual and emotional support for the local evangelists and new churches. 

Our mission is to:

  • Support local evangelists to plant and nurture churches across the island.

  • Identify, train and support new vocational evangelists to expand the effort to plant churches.

  • Spread the exciting news of the Madagascar Mission and invite more churches to join the effort

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The Madagascar mission began in 1993 when two American missionaries were on the island exploring the feasibility of beginning a mission work there.  Their taxi driver was Romain.  He was a leader in the Presbyterian church in Tana, the capital city, and agreed to drive for them during their stay. 

The History

Although the American missionaries decided not to begin a mission effort on the island, they left several Christian pamphlets in Romain's taxi before they departed.  Romain studied them carefully and began to see the differences between the teachings of Scripture and his church.  He decided to be baptized and immediately began hosting Bible studies and worship services in his home. 

Through Romain's zeal for the gospel and with the help of World Bible School Correspondence courses, this fledgling mission point grew rapidly.  The new Christians soon needed a larger place to meet.  They found a house with ample room for both the church's meeting space, as well as living quarters for Romain and his family.  As it grew, the church in Tana moved several times but has been in their current rented building for eight years.  

Soon Romain began to plant churches in the suburbs of Tana and small villages across the island. Through the efforts of World Bible School, Romain studies with people to win them to Christ and to train them to become more mature in their faith.   To date, there are fifteen congregations across the island made up of more than 500 disciples.

The Nation

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 The Republic of Madagascar, is an island nation situated approximately 200 miles off of the southeast coast of Africa. It is the fourth largest island and 47th largest country in the world and 1/3 larger than the state of Texas. It has a population of almost 30 million and is one of the poorest nations in Africa. In fact, 90% of the population lives on less than $2 per day.

The island was ruled by France from 1895 to 1957.  Therefore,  French is one of the national languages as well as Malagasy.  52% of the entire population maintains their indigenous religious beliefs and 41% believe in Christianity.  It is common for the people and institutions in Madagascar to blend these two religious traditions.  

 

​Antananarivo is the capital city of Madagascar and is often referred to as "Tana." Its 1,300,000 residents make it the most populous city in Madagascar. Located at a central strategic point on the island, Tana is the heart of Madagascar's political, economic, educational, and cultural activities.

While there have been sporadic periods of peace since Madagascar won its freedom from the French in 1960, there have also been several periods of political unrest and oppression.   The Nation has been led by socialists, democratically elected officials and military leaders.  It currently is governed by a President, a parliamentary government and twenty-two regional governing administrations.  The past two decades have been a period of relative peace in Madagascar.

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The climate is tropical along the coast, temperate inland, and arid in the south. Madagascar has two seasons: a warm, wet season from November to April; and a cooler, dry season from May to October.  Climate change is a significant threat to Madagascar's environment and people. Climate change has raised temperatures, made the dry season longer and has resulted in more intense tropical storms. 

The Evangelist

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Romain and his wife Nivo have dedicated their lives to telling others about the good news of Jesus. They have two adult children who are both married and raising their families in the faith that Romain and Nivo modeled.

Before Romain's eyes were opened to the simple gospel message, he taught school and drove a cab as a second job.  He continued working multiple jobs while bringing more people to Jesus.  Finally, his zeal was so evident that his supporters encouraged him to become a full-time evangelist. 

Romain and Nivo have dedicated their lives to telling others the good news of Jesus. They have both led studies with individuals and groups.  He has taught the gospel in church gatherings, at villages around the island, and on the radio.  Hundreds have become Christians because of their faithful service.

 

They live frugal lives, drive a car that needs constant repair, and even when support fluctuates, they trust that God will provide what they need for their lives and their mission.   

The Church

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In such a grass-roots mission, it's difficult to keep track of the number of disciples Romain has brough to Jesus.  But he's been instrumental in establishing fifteen churches dotted across the island with over five-hundred believers who have named Jesus as Lord.  

The church in Tana is the largest congregation with 150 members.  It is well established with strong elders as leaders.

Other church-plants range in size from eleven to 110.  Although Romain tries to nurture spiritual development in those churches, some are so difficult to get to that he only visits on rare occasions.  But with the help of printed teaching material, some of which Romain has created, he continues to help grow new disciples and win new followers of Jesus. 

Join The Mission

What can one person do?  Just ask Romain.  The church thrives in Madagascar today because one man was convicted by the story of Jesus.  Fifteen churches and over 500 believers are part of God's victorious Kingdom because one man decided that, with God's help, he could change lives forever.

But let's dream bigger.  What could God accomplish if there were more evangelists, more teaching materials, more benevolent support?  That's what we invite you to make possible.  There are millions of others on this island the size of Texas who have yet to hear the story that Romain found so compelling.  And somewhere, among those millions are others who might have the same zeal.

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Four Ways You Can Join The Mission

Sign up to receive our newsletter.  We regularly share good news and needs from Madagascar. Click the Newsletter button to start receiving exciting stories from Romain.

Financially support the work.  Romain and Nivo have accomplished so much with so little. But with a growing support base, they could do so much more.  Click the DONATE button to make a recurring or a one-time gift.

Share the news with your church.  We love individual donors, but we need more churches who help shoulder the support for this work.  Talk with your church leaders.  Forward the newsletters we send out.  Tell your church friends about the good things that are happening in Madagascar.  The more who hear, the more who will care.

Pray for Romain and Nivo.  There have been times over the past decades that they have felt alone and forgotten.  We vow to make sure they always feel loved and supported.  Although that is a huge task from thousands of miles away, we trust that God will be imminently close if we ask.  Please add these two and all the Christians in Madagascar to your prayer list. 

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