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Bezara, a Sakalavan man from Madagascar shares about the impact of outreach and evangelism in his life.
Living with our ancestors
I was brought up in a family with 14 children. We lived in a village and my parents were farmers. We were very involved in ancestor worship. In my early age I was possessed by spirits. My whole family was so happy about it, because we believed that we had our ancestors living with us and blessing us.
The Sakalava Team
In April 2013, the Sakalava Training in Ministry Outreach (TIMO) team arrived in Nosy Be, Madagascar, to start ministry among this unreached people group. They went because they answered Jesus’ call to outreach and evangelism in Matthew 28:19 to go and “make disciples of all nations”.
They had the joy of seeing a number of Sakalavans come to know Jesus, including ‘The Band’, a group of musicians who set Bible passages to music and, as they explored those passages, got to know the author! Now ‘The Band’ are working hard to record their songs to be used on the local radio and at Sunday services. You can hear people passing by, singing the melody of the songs even though they do not know the words. The songs are in people’s mouths.
Recently 18 Malagasy young people were able to undertake some biblical training, including four Sakalava couples. They completed an intensive two month theoretical course and four months on the field. They are now doing outreach ministry in various areas including their own village.
The women are involved in children’s ministry in their villages. Their husbands are travelling regularly to the nearby villages, sometimes going in a group, or two by two. God is doing great things. Many people attend Bible studies and Sunday services. Recently, a witch doctor called Maxa gave all his equipment to be burned and followed Jesus. He is so eager to study God’s word.
What an encouragement to see young local people committed to mission! It is not easy of course, as struggles come from their own families. But we ‘bother’ for people like Bezara and Maxa who now know freedom in Christ. We pray that more and more will rise up to go and share the gospel with others like them, for the Lord’s name’s sake.
The spirits were demanding, asking for special clothes, hats, sheets, towels, drinks and more. My family made every effort to satisfy them even though we were so poor, expecting that we would be blessed. Some other people from the village came to consult the spirits to seek healing and blessing.
I got married and now have seven children.
In my village, there was a family of white people, living with us, learning our language. They were kind and loved everyone in the village. Every month, with their other friends, they held a gathering in my village. They’d invite us all to attend, and they talked about the story of God who created the world and other stories. They spoke in our language and their leader was from our people, so I understood well what they were talking about. I never missed these gatherings and I remember they talked about God who wants to come and stay in my home, if I would invite him to come.
I want God in my home
Very often my children got sick and we asked for help from the spirits, but nothing really helped. Lastly the spirits told me that they needed a zebu (cow) from me, to be able to heal my child. A zebu? How could I? I began to wonder if this was really helpful. I put my little one on my back and I took him to hospital. He was unconscious, as if he were dead. On the way, I said: “God I will trust you with my son, either he will live or die”… He was healed a little while after that.
At the next gathering I told the leader of the white people that I wanted the God they talked about to come to my home!
These people came to my home and talked about Jesus and Lazarus. Lazarus was someone who wanted to see Jesus, and Jesus came to his home. My wife and I accepted Jesus as our Saviour. We gave the belongings of the spirits to be burned. We are free.