What are we doing in Madagascar?
Like many other activities around the world, the PEACE Plan has been impacted by Covid-19. Therefore, we shifted our first priority to relief work. Due to the virus, the capital of Antananarivo, was under various stages of lockdown from early April to mid-September. As a result, people were unable to work and had no source of income. With no savings or government benefits, it has become a desperate situation for many.
However, the people of Faith Community Church have generously donated enough money to provide food for approximately 100 families, or 600 people, for seven months (so far) through our Families Helping Families: Madagascar initiative and our Let’s Do This! giving. We are grateful for the radical love they have shown our brothers and sisters in Madagascar.
Second, Faith Community Church is continuing to educate pastors on Healthy Church Principles and in PEACE Plan community development topics. From our recent Covid-19 experiences, we realize the benefits and cost savings of presenting the teaching digitally rather than by sending teams of Americans to do live teaching conference style. Therefore, we upgraded our mission partners technology to make this possible.
We are also committed to empowering the people of Madagascar to make these principles and the teaching their own by giving them leadership training and helping them transition the teaching to native Malagasies.
Third, we are helping them to develop the skills and knowledge necessary to help them lift their country out of poverty in the long term. Before the Covid-19 crisis, 80% of Malagasies lived on $5 per day or less. We are currently developing both business and financial training to help the people of Madagascar improve their circumstances.
Overall, we are helping them to grow their churches strong so they can reach out to help their communities effectively.
Why are we training pastors?
The Healthy Church principles, focused on the five core purposes of the church, allow churches to sustainably grow and become stable foundations for reaching out to their communities. Previously trained by small teams in seminar formats, COVID-19 has revealed the need for distance learning and local mentorship. When it is safe to travel, we will schedule additional trips to work with Malagasy churches to develop community resources.
The PEACE Plan takes a different approach to working cross-culturally:
Go to serve the local church
For many Christians, we’ve thought the best we can do to serve globally is pay for missions efforts, pray, and stay out of the way. However, we believe that when Jesus commanded us to go in Acts 1:8, he actually meant go! We live in a unique time in history when it’s never been easier to serve in our neighborhood or around the globe. Every believer has something they can contribute to the body of Christ.
Bring ourselves, not “stuff”
PEACE Plan Community development topics address some of the core issues that keep a nation impoverished. We do so in a way that gives the local church ownership of the results. Rather than go and directly meet what we perceive to be their needs, we listen and find out what their needs really are. We then help them determine solutions that they can enact themselves with little to no outside support.
Foster local ownership of local problem
Local believers are experts on their communities – and they will continue to live in that community long after cross-cultural visitors leave! When we shift our focus on empowering local believers with tools and training, the outputs of cross-cultural work are sustainable and reproducible. This also treats our friends with dignity, they become the heroes in their context, the local church is seen as the source of hope for that community and God gets the glory.
What is it like to go to Madagascar?
Ask anyone who has been on one of the past trips and they’ll tell you traveling to Madagascar is a unique and amazing experience! The country is beautiful, the pastors are passionate, and the work being done to advance God’s kingdom is incredible. Even more inspiring is the testimony of the spiritual growth and learning that happens when ordinary people, empowered by God, take a step of faith to travel across the world and advance His kingdom. Hear what the experience is like from them directly in the short video below.
How can I learn more or get involved?
We would love to hear from you and to tell you more. We would also be happy to share with you dates for upcoming information sessions or arrange a time to meet with you one on one to discuss the PEACE Plan. Please feel free to email Cathy Meister for more information or to get involved.