Summer among the Sakalava

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James Loney spent the summer of 2015 serving on a Training in Ministry Outreach (TIMO) Quest along with five other short termers among the Sakalava of Nosy Be, an island off Madagascar.

Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would ever go to Madagascar! But I’ve always considered that God might be calling me to long term mission and I wanted to get a feel for it first. The number of options available was a bit overwhelming, until I came across the Madagascar TIMO Quest trip. It ticked all the boxes and I really felt God calling me there.

Living like a missionary

“I know that if I continue to walk with God, then there is no need for me to be nervous.”

For most of my stay I served with Bryan and Rebe McReynold and their four children. I was able to shadow them and get a feel for what it is like to live as a missionary. I got to know the Sakalava community and was a part of the team’s ministry, establishing Bible studies and chatting about the Christian faith. At first it was tough, trying to adjust to my new surroundings, especially during a homestay with a Sakalavan family, having no idea of the language or how to act in that culture! But I met two young Sakalava men, Franklin and Rivaldo, who helped me with the language as I helped them with their English. Time spent with them was one of the highlights, together with the camaraderie of the team and the beauty of the island.


God’s word to the world

Since coming home from Madagascar, I wish I had made more of my time there. But it has heightened my desire for mission. I am actively looking for new opportunities, and while I haven’t decided if this something I will do once I have finished my education, I still want to experience the world and bring God’s word to unreached parts of it. It would be wonderful to know that people are praying about this with me, as very soon I will have to decide what I want to do with my life, a big decision! However, I know that if I continue to walk with God, then there is no need for me to be nervous.

To finish, Africa is an amazing place. I have never experienced such a rich and abundant culture, and the memories that I made there will never be forgotten.

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