Latest report from Jonoro in Madagascar

Jonoro and Hanitra, our partners in the Mikea Forest of Madagascar have recently sent in the following report. Here it is in Jo’s words, with explanation only when necessary….

Political Situation in Madagascar

Our political and economical situation is at an impasse. We need prayer for wisdom for our leaders and also for the Malagasy population.
[We’re not political, nor are we interested in taking sides – but just for the sake of understanding the current situation, here’s where its at: a year after President Marc Ravalomanana was ousted from power by current President Andry Rajoelina, (backed by the military), Madagascar continues to experience turmoil and severe economic hardship. Since it does not have an internationally recognized government, major donors have withdrawn all but extreme humanitarian aid – a problem considering that donor funds previously accounted for 70% of all government spending. And now the African Union has just imposed sanctions  – promising to freeze economic assets and further isolate them diplomatically. Politics aside, the humanitarian situation is deteriorating daily in a country where 70% of all people live below the poverty line.)

Weather and Consequences

Rain is very short this time, almost people in the Mikea area had to sow their crops three to four times since all the former seed was dried because of drought. The rainy season lasted only for the month of  February! People in the Mikea area are short of food supplies and  insecurity is increasing.The question is: How will people will live until the next year’s crops? – the roots are few now!  It’s difficult to find roots without traveling very far – 06 hours to to find enough food for one cooker! And how they will find seeds to sow this coming year?

[Because of the lack of rains and food insecurity, crime is on the rise. Jo tells us that because thieves came into a maize field and shot and killed the man for his crop, the rest of the people were frightened into harvesting too early.  Some of them were too afraid to even look after their fields, so just gave up and left them to the thieves.]

Here is a picture of the only clean water source in the village…

Visiting Medical Team

From Feb 04th to 18th, 2010 a visiting medical team  from Mandritsara Good News Hospital visited Anjabetrongo and neighboring Ankililoaka.  Hover Aid, a humanitarian NGO, helped with the logistics and the team treated more than 100 patients, performing surgery in four cases.  For the surgery cases, the team transformed our house into an Operating Theater. Please pray that the partnership with the government hospital in Ankililoaka will continue to go  well. This would be a good resource for the needs of the Mikea. [By the way, remember that airstrip we marked out and painfully cleared, thorn by thorn and burning stump by stump? As you can see, it’s in use!]

And here’s Jo and Hanitra’s house turned into an operating room!

Children’s Programs:

Anjabetrongo

We thank God for the school and the children we have. Their learning process is satisfactory comparing to their cultural worldview. They like going to school but some can not have opportunity to join. Sometimes parents have to move, taking children with them to another place to look for water or better soil.  Some students miss school because of they have to help their parents to dig roots so the family can eat. Even some children have to stop because they have nothing to eat – they are so hungry!!!

Analabo

The kids are happy for their 03 hours daily program. The teacher still needs more training but the apprenticeship is encouraging – please pray for this teacher!  It is still pre-school program, and we plan in future to develop this to be a formal school. Like Anjabetrongo, some children complain that they cannot attend because their parents send them into the fields and lout digging for roots. ( Analabo is a village near to Anjabetrongo where Jo and his team are working and preaching)


Deep forest struggle

Deep in the forest, the Mikea are are struggling through to get roots for food. The children are very skinny (skeletal). They have to wait till 04.00 pm every day for their roots. And the same problem about the drinking. The World Bank in cooperation with Madagasikara National Park (a governmental branch of the environment preservation) is helping the Fandaharas on growing crops and maybe with a well point near their camp.

Please continue to pray for their spiritual growth. We thank God to have as friends Fandahara’s son living in Anjabetrongo, and his granddaughter in our school in Anjabetrongo. But to live in Anjabetrongo is not very easy for him, and he needs some help on cultivating his field.

Rising Native Leaders

“We need you and Noely to help us growing, to teach us more things in Bible and practical ministry; but we can not depend eternally to you. One day you will leave, and it will be us as native will run our church. If we are waiting on you for the running of the church, we will be in trouble. We need to be trained so that we can run our church”, says Kandre – a young leader in training.

How encouraging is such a statement! For us it is a breakthrough and a sign of a step forward. To see them ministering, preaching and sharing with the neighborhood is encouraging; to know that they are eager to learn more things about Bible and Ministry. Please pray that we will have the wisdom to help Kandre  and Mazikiny to grow in the ministry. [Here is a picture of Mazikiny and his wife Reliny. There were once the lead musician and dancer in the village for the devil possession ceremonies called “tromba”. Now they are both leaders in training – and Mazekiny leads worship in the church.)

Visiting Churches and Training

In their learning process, time to time we bring them out for training. This time, we visited Ankililoaka church for training. It was a time for them to share their faith to the village, and singing, of course.  And it is a time for them to study the first five chapters of the Book of the Acts – about the characteristics of the “new rising church”. We used a simple method with many stories, aiming to help them remember and re-telling it to others. Remember most of these young disciples and leaders are still illiterate. Our plan for this year is to help disciples and leaders grow in knowledge and skills. We took several members to Ankililioaka and Toliara for training sessions over the course of a week.

Outreach

After the training, rising disciples from the forest were encouraged to disciple new believers and rising new leadership in their ministry  in Anjabetrongo and Analabo. One of them is starting a new preaching point, in the village of Belitsaka.

Toliara

During our stay in the coastal city of Toliara, we also used our time to help the leadership of the church in Andakoro, taught classes on discipleship and evangelism, Please pray for disciples who are beginning to evangelize and are starting new home groups. One encouraging sign was an elderly illiterate woman who, after hearing a Bible story, was able to re-tell that story!  Please pray for the 2 on-going home groups aiming at becoming house churches, and for the 03 new home groups that are starting.

PRAYER REQUESTS

To sum it all up, we ask for your prayers

God bless you and thank you for your love and support for the Mikea and the people of Madagascar!