Missionary Travels to Remote Madagascar
A nation needing God
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With This Ring
By Nate Lashway
Nate and Tammy Lashway are missionaries to Madagascar
The pastor and his wife were so gracious as we sat together in the cramped, wood-walled, single room they called home. Their three-month-old baby squirmed and fussed in the heat as the pastor's wife tried in vain to provide some relief to her small child. Their five-year-old daughter, Deborah, played a bit of "Hide and Seek" from my camera as she shyly peeked around the mosquito net hanging in the doorway leading outside.
This is a similar scene I have experienced many times since we have come to Madagascar. I love visiting pastors in their homes to hear their hearts and pray with them. What happened next, though, I was not expecting.
"We had to sell our wedding rings recently so we could pay the bills," replied the pastor.
His wife, a bit self-consciously, tried to hide her left hand but then she responded, "It's really okay; we still have each other."
I was a little short on words at that announcement, yet one of the two pastors I was traveling with doing children's ministries training spoke up: "My wife and I had to sell our wedding rings a few years back to make ends meet. We have really struggled in our village too. The ministry is not easy." He then continued to talk to and encourage this pastor to press on in faith that God would help them as they tried to plant a strong church in the village where we sat that afternoon.
Church planting in Madagascar can be a very challenging process. Getting people to raise their hands to accept Jesus in a crusade is not the difficult part. Getting people to leave behind ancestor worship, pagan customs, witch doctors, and other such baggage makes disciple-making so hard.
There are still huge parts of Madagascar with no Christian witness. Who will reach these people? It is our pastors who are on the frontlines, making sacrifices to advance the gospel.
Please continue to pray with us as we work with the hundreds of pastors in the Madagascar Assemblies of God to plant churches and disciple their believers. As I travel this island, my heart aches for the lost people and the unreached tribes. When I fly over isolated villages, I ask myself, How will they hear and who will go?
The harvest is ripe, but the fields are often difficult and treacherous. Yet someone must go.
I am glad to call these pastors my friends. I am glad I have an opportunity to work side by side with them as they develop new leaders and plant new works in outlying areas. Some of these pastors have given more than a wedding ring for the gospel. Some have given the lives of their spouses and children. The work is not easy, but each of these pastors is proud of be a part of the mission of God in Madagascar.