Pray for the unreached Sakalava people

Who are the Sakalava?

The Sakalava live in the west and northwest of Madagascar. They are a minority ethnic group, making up about 6.2% of the population. Related to the Antakarana, they are semi-nomadic agriculturalists and fishermen, and also keep cattle as a sign of wealth and for sacrifices. Sakalava identity focuses on respecting, honouring and working for both the living and the dead Sakalava royalty. They have a caste system which includes the descendants of royalty, then nobles, commoners and slaves – everyone knows their position in society.

What do they believe?

They believe in a remote, Creator God, who was the first ancestor. He can be reached through ancestral spirits and human mediums. People seek spirit possession, often amid much drunkenness and sorcery and witchcraft are rampant. Fear is a constant companion: fear of punishment, of displeasing ancestors, and of death. Taboos are observed in almost everything to do with their daily life. Everything is geared towards pleasing the ancestors of the royalty.

What is being done to reach them?

A TIMO team served among the Sakalava from 2013-2015, during which time they saw several people come to Christ. Among these new Christians were ‘The Band’, a group of musicians who have been writing Bible songs in the Sakalava language. Rosina Ferdinand, the TIMO team leader, has continued to minister to the Sakalava, together with one family from the TIMO team. Four Sakalava couples, who are new believers, have recieved biblical training to equip them to evangelise their own people. This year, two more AIM families are planning to join this work.

Prayer from AIM’s Daily Prayer:

Pray for Hervé and Nathalia serving in Nosy Be, Madagascar who have made the decision to return to ministry there rather than remain in Switzerland as planned following Home Assignment in the summer. Pray for them as they adjust, Nathalia has had to give up the idea of returning to her previous job. Give thanks they feel at peace with their decision and are keen to develop further ministry among the Sakalava. 

One of the Sakalava villages in Madagascar has many spirit-possessed people. A small circle of villagers had the gospel shared with them and have been delivered from spirit possession, and now they study the Bible together several times a week. God has also been miraculously healing people when these new believers have prayed. Praise God for how he is working powerfully among the people in this village, and please pray that more people will be freed from spiritual oppression.  

Pray for Bible translation projects and gospel sharing initiatives going on across the island of Nosy Be in Madagascar. Memory cards are being produced that can be used in mobile phones, and through these devices the Sakalava are listening to the Gospel of Matthew and songs in their own language. Thank the Lord for this technology and pray that many will come to faith.  

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