MAMRE FJKM’s Chronicle N° 23/18/01/22 FIANGONAN’I JESOA KRISTY ETO MADAGASIKARA
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ.
May the Lord bless you and keep you! May the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be merciful unto you! May the Lord turn his face towards you and give you peace.’ (Numbers 6:24-27)
The Mamre sisters are delighted to greet you and wish you a Blessed New Year in 2022 with the words of this gracious blessing from Almighty God. Yes, during the last six months of 2021 and up to now we literally live on these blessings. In our fears, our anguish, and difficulties like illness, and every kind of insecurity God’s protection has reassured us. He takes care of us day and night in the face of thieves who keep on coming into our yard and garden. They steal everything they can find in our garden, but the almighty Lord has protected us from their violence.
The situation in Madagascar remains precarious and ever more difficult, both on the social and political levels. There is a huge difference between the minority of rich people and the majority who are poor. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Many private companies have closed and these closures cause a big rise in the number of unemployed and these jobless people have to live on their stealing and that is the reason why the number of thieves and brigands who attack people in towns in the bush is increasing. They also attack people travelling on the main roads by day or night. Murder is everywhere. All regions of Madagascar are red zones.
In spite of long periods of lock-down due to Covid-19, our Lord Jesus Christ granted us the grace of completing the consecration service of our four sisters in one of the intervals between lock downs. This consecration service took place in Ambavahadimitafo Church our parish here in Antananarivo, on the 24 July 2021. They chose as their theme, words from the Gospel according to John chapter 17, verse 11b which says: ‘...Holy father, keep them in your name, the name you have given to me.’ The President of the FJKM, Dr IRAKO ANDRIAMAHAZOSOA Ammi, preached on this verse with these three challenges: holiness – trust – communion.
The FJKM Church had to catch up by having a General Synod (GS) in 2021 having been unable to hold it in 2020. Five sisters: Sr Pierrette, Sr Minah, Sr Danie, Sr Elisabeth and Sr Angeline got ready for their mission just after the consecration service. The GS was taking place in Sambava, in the north part of the Island from the 11th to the 18th August. Sr Danie, Sr Elisabeth, Sr Minah and Sr Pierrette took on the prayer chain together with local Christians available to take part in this task during those days, while Sr Angeline followed the meetings as the delegate from Mamre. Sr Minah fell ill after a few days and could no longer follow the prayer chain, so Sr Angeline had to look after the patient and missed the meetings.
Dr IRAKO ANDRIAMAHAZOSOA Ammi was re-elected as President of the FJKM. After the GS meetings ended, the three sisters: Sr Danie, Sr Elisabeth and Sr Angeline took advantage of their stay to see the land belonging to the community bought by Marie Homburger at Sambava. We got home safely on the 30th August 2021.
Faced with the great need of people living nearby, our sisters in Moria with two other helpers made the daring decision to welcome the canteen children all through the lock-downs. The schools were closed but the children were still welcomed. They were divided into five groups of twenty and they ate in the open air in the yard, the other activities had to be stopped for the time being but they continued the meals so that the children were sure of one meal each day during that difficult period. The hygiene was very strict and remains so: masks, sanitiser, handwashing with soap, keeping distance, keeping clean and all this always accompanied by the prayers of the sisters. As a result, everyone kept safe and well.
They prepared their Christmas show with fervour but have not been able to perform it yet because the schools have not yet returned.
Our sisters in Horeb have continued receiving guests particularly in the times when the lock-down was relaxed. They have improved their pig-farming and sell the piglets after they are weaned. In October, Sr Dina, Sr Lalatiana and Daniel followed a course on dairy farming organised by our parish in Ambohinaorina, Sabotsy Namehana. They have since applied their knowledge on their own cow who has produced a calf and the milk production has improved. At our fraternity in Soar, Antsapanana, Moramanga on the road to Tamatave: Sr Elienne is living there permanently at present. Other sisters and novices take turns to go and be with her. Sr Pierrette is there since a few weeks after her consecration. They have continued to improve what they had already started:
* Improving the way to grow the animal feed
* Improving the drinking water by installing a pump
* Improving the crops (rice, manioc, vegetables, fruit trees)
* Tree planting
* Improving the farming of chickens as people prefer to use them as food (already sold about 50 hens)
* Improving the care of dairy cows by reducing the number to two (we are expecting both to calve this year)
We are starting to receive guests by welcoming our close friends, just as we are, but our wooden house needs to be repaired as the rain comes in. Our presence in the village is a Christian witness of faith to these villagers, who live in incredible poverty and most of whom are illiterate. They come to us to sell little things they grow themselves and they share their problems with the sisters. Of course, we cannot give them much but they are comforted by our listening ear and our encouragement. May God who is rich in his bounty and grace fill you with his wealth all through the year 2022. And may the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ flood the life of each of you, we are united together in Him in spite of the geographical distance that separates us.
Sister Angeline and all her sisters.
Translated by Rev. Eleri EDWARDS