Antakarana Team update

Adam & Lora Willard plan to lead a TIMO team amongst the unreached Antakarana people. They gave this update on how preparations are going and slowing…

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The team’s homes

Here on Nosy Mitsio, the last 10 months have flown by! The job of building team members’ homes has been both a new experience and a tremendous task for us. There’s very little economy on Nosy Mitsio because it’s separated from the mainland, still rural and undeveloped. Most people survive off of what they can grow or catch for themselves and they have little need to buy things or look for jobs for hire. So an endeavor like ours has encountered many challenges and some misunderstandings along the way. Finally, all of our team members’ homes were completed in May!


The people of the rocks

The Antakarana are one of Madagascar’s 18 tribal groups and one of the least-reached with the good news of Jesus. They number about 300,000 and live on the northern tip of Madagascar and small surrounding islands. The Antakarana speak the Antakarana dialect (about 70% similarity to official Malagasy).

In the early 1800s another tribe expanded their kingdom through warring. The Antakarana fled and survived for over a year in the limestone caves of northwestern Madagascar. Many Antakarana were buried in those caves during that time and the place became sacred to them, which is why they’re now known as “the people of the rocks.”

Pray for the Antakarana:

The cultural trap

Back in the US our team were also facing challenges: fundraising has been difficult for a few team members and the original deadline for leaving (July) was upon us. We also began to realise that our efforts at getting our team’s homes built, while successful, hadn’t left us the time needed to really focus on the people around us, on learning their lifestyles, and on learning the nuances of the local dialect. We got caught in the typical Western cultural trap of focusing on work and accomplishments to the detriment of having meaningful relationships with many of the people around us. We weren’t modelling the type of “learners” that we should be and which our team members will be.


The view back over Nosy Mitsio, where the TIMO team will live.

Slowing down

So the decision was made to delay the start date of our team. Now they’ll be arriving to join us here in Madagascar on 6 November. In the meantime, our own pace of life has slowed down wonderfully and we’ve been investing lots of quality time meeting with people in their homes and villages. People are now beginning to see us as fellow villagers and our relationships are growing quickly. Our team members’ fundraising is progressing and they now have a little more time to make a smoother transition. Living here will be very new and different for our team, but we’re all bringing something new with us: God’s Kingdom is ready to grow, even among the Antakarana!

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There are so many ways you can be a part of reaching Africa's unreached peoples with the good news of Jesus Christ.