27 January 2016 // Articles & Stories

Meet the Antakarana!

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Connected to prayer

This article was first featured alongside our Prayer Diary in February 2016. You can download the February 2016 prayer points here or sign-up to receive future editions by post or email.

The Training in Ministry Outreach (TIMO) team serving among the Antakarana on Nosy Mitsio, Madagascar have recently had a month away from the island. During that time, Katie*, a member of the team, shared some photos of her friends from the village of Marimbehely. Please join us in getting to know some of these people. Please pray that they and many others among the Antakarana would submit their lives to the wonderful news that Jesus Christ has died and conquered death for them.

 

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Abodolahedy, Partner of Mama Najaty and father to Adimon (18), Kajdini (16), Abodolanjiji (15), Mwanahagni (13), & Rokilan (10) is a hard worker and is always either fishing and diving to provide for his family, or he’s helping to build and repair homes. In a culture where there isn’t any physical affection ever shown and it’s common (or even expected) to cheat on your partner, it’s heart-warming to see a man that loves his woman, the way Abodolahedy loves Mama Najaty. They’re a lovely couple and he’s so sweet towards her. Please pray that Abodolahedy would come to know the Lord and love Jesus with all his heart.

 

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Mama Najaty is the partner of Abodolahedy and a mother of six. She is youthful, animated and has so much spirit. She is always the centre of any community event and especially prioritises her involvement in the Nosy Mitsio women’s group. She had been getting really horrible toothaches with her face swelling because of them, leaving her unable to eat or sleep. A few months ago, my village held a traditional ceremony to seek healing for her from the spirits. Afterwards she appeared better. Please pray that Mama Najaty will know Jesus as her true healer and pray that he will show her that his power and goodness are so much more greater than the spirits.

 

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Mama Nasany is the head woman of my village. She is the mother to Soaravaka (Mama Sina), Aly, Jorotombo, & Abodolahedy (see Sunday) and she is the grandmother to many grandchildren. She is one of the main spirit mediums for northern Nosy Mitsio, so whenever any village in the north holds a traditional ceremony, she is most typically there seeking to call on the spirits and manifest an ancestor. She’s a wonderful woman who can’t help but smile when she talks and is the kind of person that takes care of everyone. She loves her grandchildren so much and takes good care of them. Please pray that God will show himself as greater than the spirits in Mama Nasany’s life and that she’ll come to know and love the Lord.

 

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Zokaniadija is the village headman. He acts like a father to me and welcomes my presence in the community. When it becomes time for my team’s monthly supply trips to the mainland he is sad to see me go. When he sees me coming home on the beach, he’ll come down and meet me and walk me the rest of the way back home. He is always so genuinely proud of me, especially anytime I learn something new about the culture or the ways of life on Nosy Mitsio. He often says “we’re learning” and loves even more that we learn together, that alongside my learning, we’re learning from each other. Please pray that Zokanadija will be eager to learn of the Lord and lean on him for his understanding.

 

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Mama Sina is the truest of friends, she’s always looking out for me and teaching me the Malagasy ways. But it didn’t start out this way. I was supposed to stay with her during my first week on Nosy Mitsio, but as soon as I arrived she refused to take me in. Eventually she caved in but it was awkward for a couple of days. Then, while working in her field one morning, I spotted a huge, terrifying snake, I was so scared I cried. She came to hold my hand and walk me past it with her. And it was that moment right there that began our friendship. She needed to see me human – as vulnerable and weak. Please pray that she would come to know her need of a saviour, and turn to Jesus for hope and strength.

 

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Osmini is the mother of five children. She is the daughter of Zokaniadija, the village headman but not the headwoman. Because she is not ‘fully’ family, she is often treated as an outcast, which is sad to see. At first she had no patience with me and I was a frustrating annoyance because I couldn’t understand her when she talked to me. And yet, she and I have just always clicked and so we’ve managed to form a great bond. Recently, she’s become a really great and patient language helper! Watching her learn how to teach and take initiative has been a real blessing. Please pray that Osmini will come to know the love and acceptance that she can find in Christ, and become part of the family of God.

 

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Abodolanjiji is 15 years old and is the spitting image of his father (Abodolahedy- see Sunday). I didn’t even have to wait until learning family terminology to figure that one out because they look so much alike and they spend so much father-son time together. Abodolanjiji is your typical teenage boy in every way. He loves football, he loves his friends, and he’s too cool for everyone else. Yet he is such an enjoyable presence in the community because he’s so full of energy and life. He recently left for the mainland to go to school, so he will now be gone for much of this next year and he will be missed! Please pray that whilst Abodolanjiji is away that he will meet Christians and come to know the Lord.

 

Katie* is exploring options to serve in a creative access location in the future, so her name has been withheld for security reasons.