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Missionary Travels to Remote Madagascar
Months ago, BGMC helped Missionary Nate Lashway with his evangelistic efforts in Madagascar by providing him with "half mile hailers." These portable, handheld PAs enable Nate to travel to remote villages without electricity and to share the gospel message with large crowds. Click here for that related story.
Recently, Nate traveled to remote parts of Madagascar, and once again the half mile hailers were put to good use. Here is his account:
Dear Family and Friends,
This past month I was able to fly down south with the Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) and do another survey trip of the unreached southeastern coast of Madagascar. What made this trip unique is that we flew down but then we met my Land Cruiser-which was driven down there by a Malagasy pastor so I could drive it back to Antananarivo over a series of days. This allowed us to explore villages, talk to pastors in the region, and visit new church plants to see what God is doing.
Together with a pastor from the United States, one of his church members, and another missionary friend, we left Tana on a Wednesday morning and flew to Vangaindrano, the town at the end of the paved road. We had quite a reception when we arrived, since a planeload of white people is fairly rare there. The police, military, and director general of the region met us and searched our bags, believing we must be searching for gold or precious gems in the area. They had a hard time believing we only wanted to share the gospel.
Finally-after finding only clothes, Bibles, and cameras-they left us alone. (Sadly, because of its vast mineral wealth, one cannot pick up or examine a rock in Madagascar without giving local people the impression he is searching for riches.)
After bidding farewell to the police and all the other curious onlookers, we were able to do a fly-over of the region with the local pastor, and together we gained a new appreciation for the remoteness and lostness of the area.
Upon returning to Vangaindrano, we said goodbye to our MAF pilot and took to the roads to explore the region. Mud was the singular memorable feature of the roads in this area, but in spite of the condition of the roads, we were able to visit several church annexes where the local pastor is discipling new believers in the faith. It was encouraging to see what God is doing in this virtually unreached region. That evening we returned to town and slept without power or water in the town's only hotel.
The next day we headed north to the town of Manakara to visit our Tanzanian missionary co-worker Paul Balela, who is training young believers to become church planters. It was such an encouragement to see 20-plus eager students studying in a half-built, rented building, hoping to be sent to the far reaches of the region to preach the gospel. One student had walked three days barefoot for over 30 miles through the remote hill country with a 40-pound sack of rice on his head as his contribution to his schooling. He couldn't walk for several days after, but he wanted to study so badly. These young people are so committed to getting the job done.
After visiting with the students and Balela's family, we drove to several new church plants to see what God is doing in the area, finally arriving in a remote village miles from power or plumbing. After spending the night there, our long return trip to Antananarivo made us all the more aware of the great difficulty of accessing this area. God is at work in these places, and we are so glad to be able to witness and be a part of what the Lord is doing in His Church.
We are equipping and training these eager new pastors to take the Church where it isn't. Please continue to pray that God continues to call new pastors to answer the call to the lost places of Madagascar and beyond. I am so grateful that I get to be a part of this great work, and your prayers and faithfulness in giving make it possible.
This coming month we are expecting to receive some new missionaries from the U.S. who will be focusing on this part of the island through the Live Dead Initiative. Pray that they can learn the language, make friends, and help the work here to continue to move forward.
Grateful for what God is doing,
Nate and Tammy Lashway, missionaries to Madagascar