It has been busy the last couple of months. Thank you for praying faithfully for us as we are serving the Lord here in Madagascar.
I have had the opportunity to preach at a Malagasy church in town. We are attending services there on Sunday and have been invited to teach a series on discipleship, which will begin on March 6th. Please be in prayer concerning this teaching. It is my hope to mobilize this church to evangelize, and grow from this teaching on biblical evangelism and discipleship.
Our teaching in the village of Ambohimahatsinjo is going well, and we recently completed the doctrinal portion of the program. Now we will begin teaching some sessions of biblical interpretation, sermon preparation, evangelism, discipleship and bible study methods. Please pray as we finish up the teaching in the village, and prepare for a graduation in June.
Our visas expired on January 1, and there were also a number of new changes to the immigration laws here. So, when we began the paperwork process for visa renewals there were a number of set backs. Contracts with the sponsoring NGO needed to be approved. Some of the papers that were submitted were correct, but had extra stamps that they did not want. So, we needed to get the papers signed and stamped with the appropriate stamps, no more and no less, and submit them again. Finally, the paper work was accepted, and we could then begin the visa renewals. Because of the lateness of applying for new visas, they charged a late fee, which amounted to $1,800 for all 9 of us. Even though unexpected, the late fees are way cheaper than being forced to return to the US for an unexpected furlough.
We are sponsored by an NGO, which allows us to live here in Madagascar. One of the things we must do is some sort of humanitarian service. This past year we were able to help plant a personal garden for a family in the village, pay for beans to be planted during the off season, purchased school supplies and gave them to children returning to school, and gave money for the roof of the new church building in Ambohimahatsinjo. One project that we had been given money for was mosquito nets. We were finally able to find them for a good price, and purchase 1,000 nets. In April we will be working with several churches to distribute the nets as a church outreach in the Eastern part of the country. We are striving to make the most of this humanitarian requirement to further help churches here spread the gospel.
As part of the continued services we need to have to maintain our NGO visas, we will begin teaching a Farming God’s Way program in the village. Our aim is to us the program to disciple people in their walk with Christ, and to help them over come some of the cultural roadblocks that keep them from farming in way that will bring abundance. We desire to see the huge issues of malnutrition be solved in this village.
In January, we also began to survey a new location to plant a church. Bro. Ernest and I went out on a Saturday morning, and stopped by a park. We met several people that we spoke with,and one young man accepted Christ as his Saviour. Please pray as we continue our survey work, and look forward to beginning to plant a new church in September of this year.
Paul, Laura, Mazerik, Andrea, Javan, Evelyn, Ingrid, Jowan & Joram Hostetler