July 27, 2018
Recently All Saints sent a team to visit our missions partners, the McReynolds on the island of Nosy Be off the coast of Madagascar. The McReynolds are involved in some amazing work there. Below are some observations from All Saints Missions Director, Matt Ziehr, on some tangible ways we can help.
Stay tuned in the coming weeks for ways you can contribute to these efforts!
PROBLEM: Better shelter and location
PROBLEM: No playground
Sarah is a social out cast of the village. She is literally the low of the low, I imagine the way she is treated is similar to how lepers would have been treated in biblical times. Sarah has seizures and paralysis of her left hand and foot. She has no place to live; her family has cast her out; she has been mistreated since she was a child, and now she knows very little of how to communicate to people without being upset and yelling. Sarah was recently taken in by the McReynolds in an attempt to love her, keep her safe, and show the people of the village what it means to love your enemy. In the time I was there Sarah went from yelling at almost everyone, McReynolds included, to having a much softer demeanor. The love of God through the McReynolds is changing this women. Rebe has been able to give her medicine that helps control her seizures and has given her small tasks to help out with Mama Vao Vao. The people of the village are starting to come around although this will be a long process. Because of Sarah’s attitude people will walk by and make fun of her and rile her up. People are afraid to touch her in fear they will get what she has. Currently Bryan has paid for a house to be built for her right next to theirs. The reason they started giving her shelter was because people were raping her during the night and throwing rocks at her in the morning. This house was mostly finished by the time I left.
This is the gospel. Plain and simple Jesus came to save people like Sarah and the McReynolds have taken her in as one of their own when nobody else wanted to care for her. It hasn’t been easy, its hard on the whole family when Sarah has her outbursts, but they continue to love her, talk with her, feed her, and protect her.
The biggest need here would be making sure Rebe has medicine to help with Sarah’s seizures.
Music and Worship - This is headed up by two members of the community, Rosina and Ladice. Rosina does the children’s message and Ladice leads the worship. Bryan does the main message most days but is also training up Ladice and a few other guys to do the main message. There are two villages that worship together every Sunday. One is in the jungle. They are very rural and have had some amazing conversations. About 20 to 30 people gather to worship on Sundays - most of these being small children. The other service is held at Rosina’s house in the evening. This is in the same village that Bryan and Ladice live in. This service usually has about 10-20 people. As of right now they only have the books of Matthew, Genesis, and Ephesians translated into the local language. They have a few psalms and random verses translated as well. This is probably the biggest need and limitation for Bryan right now. The problem is he and a few people have to do the translations themselves since the Sakalava language is so unique to their location. Big companies have translated the Bible into Malagasie but that is only similar at best to what is spoken on Nosy Be.
Ladice and Bryan have built a music studio in their village, it is a very impressive studio for being in the middle of a third-world country. All of the music they sing was written and composed by Ladice. There are some very catchy songs, the only problem is I have no idea what they are saying. Bryan tells me they are based off of the psalms and some from Genesis. Their next goal is to make the production level of these songs better and hopefully get them on iTunes. There are more missionaries coming to the island soon and they have great expertise in this area so hopefully they can help this become a reality.
One of the most powerful things that I witnessed in my time there was seeing these two villages come together and travel to another village to share the gospel. They are so excited to hear and share the gospel they literally gave up a day of work to all pile in a boat and share the gospel. The boat ride took about 45 minutes each way. Then we had to walk about 2 to 3 miles to the village. They played songs, Ladice gave a great message about his life and the gospel, Bryan told the story of creation, Rosina delivered a children's message. It was truly powerful stuff.
The biggest need here is getting the entire bible translated into Sakalava.