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:

The Ramangalahy family arrived in Madagascar in the middle of September, and were able to travel to Nosy Be last week. Please pray for the family as they settle into life and ministry on the island. Pray for the furnishing of their new house, which was empty when they arrived. Pray for the children’s homeschooling. Pray that they will adapt well to life in their village and settle in well to their ministry team.

The Ramangalahys are preparing to join a ministry team working among the Sakalava on the island of Nosy Be in Madagascar. Madagascar’s borders are currently closed, and the Ramangalahys are waiting for them to open so that they can begin their assignment. Praise God for the family’s commitment to ministry among the Sakalava, and please pray that they will be able to travel to Nosy Be soon. shares: “Pray for the work of producing memory cards for people in the village with portions of scripture and words from gospel songs on them. Pray that those who receive them really would commit them to memory and start to hide God’s word in their hearts.”

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