Monday, October 17, 2016

What Can God Do When Believers Work Together? Madagascar Report

At our Gospel Festivals, we see miracles. Blind eyes are opened by God. Deaf ears begin to hear. Cripples stand up and walk. These kinds of miracles are frequent and always exciting. 

But, one of the greatest miracles at our recent Gospel Festival in Antananarivo, Madagascar, was how the local churches were unified in supporting our evangelistic collaboration.

Sometimes, getting pastors to work together is like herding cats. Churches often have their own agendas and their own schedules. Sometimes, when an evangelist comes to town, churches will politely decline to participate or even attend.

This is why I rejoice when pastors get excited about reaching the lost, and catch the vision for what God can do if the entire body of Christ works together. When pastors are willing to put aside their logos and their egos to work together, an entire city can be impacted.

This is the miracle we experienced in Madagascar. Arriving three days before the Gospel Festival was scheduled to begin, I asked a pastor at the airport, “What are the churches doing to prepare for the Festival?” He eagerly told me, “Tomorrow, we are meeting in the marketplace to pass out invitations to everyone there.”

The next morning, I was tired from jet lag but decided to go to the market to see for myself what was happening. To be honest, I thought there would be 15-20 people participating, but to my surprise, hundreds of church members from all over the city were gathered.

One man brought a bucket of homemade glue so he could stick posters to the walls. Another pastor had the creative idea to turn the Festival posters into walking advertisements. Church members glued a cardboard strip to the top of each poster and used string to turn the posters into a costume for a human billboard. They had prepared enough posters for everyone to wear.

The marketplace in Antananarivo is several streets wide and two kilometers long. It has everything that a Wal-Mart offers, but each item comes from a different shop. If you want tomatoes, you visit the tomato stall. If you want batteries, you stroll down a couple of streets and visit a battery store. If you want to buy a pencil, you go and visit a stationary merchant.

The teams fanned out across the marketplace and offered every person the enclosed flyer with the details of the Gospel Festival, visiting every stall and shop. They also asked, “What do you need prayer for?” Right there in the market square, before the festival even began, people were giving their lives to Jesus.

Our first day in the marketplace was so successful that the believers decided to return the following day. But on the second day, they brought their musical instruments. Soon, the sounds of drums, horns, guitars, and accordions filled the city center. The churches formed a parade and danced, sang and played in the streets.  

As they marched, they announced, “If you need salvation, come to the Festival. If you need healing, come to the Festival. If you enjoy music, come to the Festival.” Because of the enthusiasm of the churches, thousands of Malagasy people came to the parking lot next to the soccer stadium right in the middle of downtown Antananarivo. Thousands of people were saved at our Gospel Festival.

It is your faithful financial support that allows us to print posters and flyers to invite people to come hear the Gospel and receive Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. Thank you! The part you play in helping us to print these flyers is just as important as the role of the believers who hand them out by the thousands, and their role is just as important as that of the preacher who shares the good news and invites people to respond to the altar call. We are all part of the body of Christ and every role is important. Thank you for playing your part in helping us impact the nation of Madagascar with the story of Jesus Christ!