Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Gospel Crusade in Madagascar

Big News!
God has given us the nation of Madagascar. After a decade of building relationships in this country we will be headed back this month for our fourth and largest Gospel Festival.

The Gospel Festival will take place right next to the national soccer stadium in the middle of the capital city of Antananarivo. We expect thousands of people to attend each afternoon. Please pray for many people to be saved and healed.

In addition, our festival directors have informed us that over 4,000 pastors and church leaders are coming to our leadership conference in Madagascar. These front-line shepherds will be coming from all over the island. This gives us the unprecedented opportunity to speak to the entire nation. Please pray for God to anoint our words as we minister to these precious leaders.

Both the Gospel Festival and the leadership conference will be taking place at the bottom of a cliff. At the top of the cliff is the traditional palace of the kings and queens of Madagascar. Many years ago, local pastors were thrown off the cliff to their deaths below. Our festival will be taking place within sight of where these Christian martyrs gave their lives for the Gospel. Here is their story…

Persecution in Madagascar
In 1818, the London Missionary Society sent missionaries to the nation of Madagascar. At first they were welcomed, particularly because they taught the people how to make bricks and other practical skills. They translated the Bible into Malagasy and taught literacy. Several hundred people were baptized into the Christian faith.

But in 1835, Queen Ranavalona forbade her subjects to become Christians. She was worried that their Christian beliefs would undermine the traditional religion of the Malagasy people. As Queen she relied on the traditional beliefs for her authority and so she felt threatened politically by Christianity.

At first she forbade Christian marriages, church services, and baptisms for the Malagasy people. Later she expelled all the missionaries. Finally, she ordered that anyone who had a Bible, attended a church service, or claimed to be a Christian would be fined, jailed, tortured, or executed.

Fifteen Christian leaders were taken to the top of a high cliff. When they refused to renounce Christianity, they were shoved to their deaths in the rock-filled ravine below. Many other believers were condemned to hard labor or had their land and property taken away. By 1849, over two thousand Christians had been punished for their faith.

Tertullian said, “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.” Despite the persecution, the Church in Madagascar continued to grow. When Queen Ranavalona died, her son King Radama II, publically converted to Christianity. One of his first actions as king was to order a church built next to his palace. Queen Victoria of England sent stained glass windows as a gift for the new church.

Today, the church in Madagascar is built on blood, first the Blood of Christ, and second the blood of the martyrs who gave their lives for the sake of the Gospel. We are excited to follow in the footsteps of the original missionaries who preached the Gospel in Madagascar. Our upcoming crusade and pastor’s conference will take place at the foot of the cliff where the martyrs of Madagascar gave their lives.

Thank you for your prayers and your financial support! We thank God for you.