Saturday, May 16, 2020

Praying for Mamre Community in Madagascar

The World Council of Churches Ecumenical Prayer Cycle is a wonderful guide for prayer. From 17-23rd May, Madagascar is named (as one of the group of Indian Ocean Islands - Comoros, Madagascar, Maldives, Mauritius, Seychelles).

The Fiaraha Miaima Amim Bavaka MAMRE* FJKM (Mamre Community) in Madagascar is a member association of DIAKONIA World Federation, and of DRAE (DIAKONIA Region Africa Europe), with about 11 members.
(*Mamre is remembered as the site where Abraham pitched the tents for his camp, built an altar (Genesis 13:18), and was brought divine tidings, in the guise of three angels, of Sarah's pregnancy (Genesis 18:1-15)).

Sister Angéline writes:
Dear Sisters and brothers in Christ Jesus
“… and others do not marry for the sake of the kingdom of heaven…” (Matthew 19: 12b)
I thank Almighty God Father, Son and Holy Spirit, for giving his grace to each member of the Mamre Community. By this grace we can continue to live out our three vocations of prayer, consecrated celibacy and community life - our main testimony in this Malagasy nation and in the world. We are very happy with this life and in God’s calling for us. At this time of world pandemic, we are intensifying our prayers for the world because we trust that only God in his power can deliver this world. We continue to grow our faith in his Son Jesus Christ, the one who was victorious over death, the one who has all authority on earth and in heaven. In normal times, many people come to our homes for prayer and a time of silence. We are glad to continue our service to people in need:
* Evangelism of the prisoners once a week. The men are happy to have a time of prayer and they can share openly their sorrow with the sisters.
* We are still occupied with helping the primary school children who live around the community and go to the local state school. We give them lunch every school day. We have Bible study with them. We help them with their studies. They are delighted to come to the center and don’t always want to go back home.
I am sure all of you are carrying on with your service in your country, as much as you can. I encourage you all to serve our Lord Jesus Christ in the needy people around you, because you serve Jesus in them. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with all of you.

COVID- 19 means some of these activities cannot be offered at this time. 

Missionaries from the Norwegian Missionary Society were very significant to the establishment of the Deaconess community in Madagascar. (Image is sourced from Digital Library)

Madagascar is the world's fourth largest island, and lies some 350 kilometres off of the coast of Mozambique in the Indian Ocean. The island is renowned for its diversity of terrain, climate and ecology, as well as being subject to occasional severe tropical storms. In recent years large oil and gas reserves have been discovered in Madagascar and its territorial waters which may bring new wealth to the island. Environmental groups have warned that these resources would only serve to alleviate poverty if measures were put in place to ensure accountability and transparency in the handling of petroleum revenue. Madagascar's ecologically unique forests face widespread pressure from extractive and large-scale logging industries, driven by mismanagement and corruption; the island's prospects for further development of eco-tourism is also threatened.
Madagascar's Constitution forbids associations that 'call into question the unity of the nation, and those that advocate totalitarianism or ethnic, tribal, or religious segregation'.
Madagascar is one of the world's least developed countries, and the poorest Malagasy are particularly vulnerable to storms and drought, and frequently must rely on international food aid. Madagascar also has a reputation for official corruption. (Source: Refworld)

COVID-19 has reached Madagascar with 228 cases as of 7th May (and zero deaths).

Lord Jesus,
the storm is life and life is the storm
and there is no escaping it;
but what matters is that you are in the storm with us,
a beacon and a presence that is sure.
(From Madagascar,

Our heavenly Father,
in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, we glorify you,
we give thanks to you,
for in your infinite mercy you extended your family
to include the islands of the sea,
even islands at the end of the earth:
Comoros, Madagascar, Maldives, Mauritius and Seychelles.
We praise your name
for you moved your Holy Spirit
who stirred and sustained
a century-long revival movement in Madagascar,
an awakening to your power that brought transformation, reconciliation,
healing and empowerment.
We magnify your name
for through this revival the different denominations have discovered
a spirit-filled way to come to a unity in diversity.
Lord of the church,
we pray that the churches be strengthened in their spirituality,
one that would powerfully engage them
in a priestly and prophetic way in the midst of their local contexts.
Strengthen the churches to recover their sight
and so to resist overt and covert manipulation
in the political arena,
from either government officials or politicians.
God of all creation and nature, we pray for the inhabitants of these islands,
that they may be spared the devastation of cyclones or typhoons
with the open seas lashing every year against the coastal areas,
causing suffering and loss for the population.
(2005 Péri Rasolondraibe, Antananarivo, Madagascar)

We are thankful for:
•    the spectacular scenery, exotic plants, rare animals and abundant sea life that flourish in the region
•    how people who are ethnically and religiously diverse have long lived together
•    the economic developments that have lifted some out of poverty
•    the vital evangelism, social and public witness of churches, and how the churches relate to people of other faiths.

We pray for:
•    the fragile environment and the unique plants, animals and lands, that they will be protected, especially as the sea rises
•    tourism and other economic developments, that they will not threaten, but enhance life for all the people in these countries
•    churches, that they will  grow through evangelistic efforts and in their work with those of other faiths
•    Christians to be bolder in their public witness for justice and reconciliation, especially in times of political turmoil.

Fascinating information about Madagascar in Bradt's Travel Guide. Madagascar is the oldest geological island on Earth (it split from the African and Indian continents 60 million years ago) and is the fourth largest island in the world. There are over 200,000 species on Madagascar, some unique to the island. Google Earth even lets you explore Madagascar online. 

No comments:

Post a Comment