Weiser Maranatha Church Sponsors New Church in Madagascar

Idaho’s Weiser Maranatha Church members sponsored a Global Mission Pioneer worker to begin a new work in a remote, predominately Muslim, fishing village on the northwest coast of Madagascar. The six-month project, which began in February 2001, has energized the Weiser congregation to do outreach at home as well as abroad.

Weiser members Don and Jeanne Oltman went to Madagascar in January 2000 for a five-month building project. Native Adventist worker Luc Raveloharmisy led the team to provide roofing for an Adventist hospital, several schools, and more than 600 bush chapels.

During this trip, Don and Jeanne learned of an opportunity to sponsor a local Pioneer worker to raise a church in a village without an Adventist presence. Upon their return, they brought the matter to the Weiser congregation, which adopted and extended the project.

The location chosen for the venture was Ananalava, a fishing village on Madagascar’s densely wooded coast. Despite opposition from local religious leaders, the worker conducted two evangelistic series, hosted a third with the aid of 54 Adventist youth, and built a small church, which the Weiser members funded. The new congregation of 85 members is already outgrowing the current facility.

The project encouraged Weiser members to reach out at home as well. They distributed 15,000 pieces of Adventist literature during last summer’s Fiddler’s Festival to visitors from across America. They also conducted a house-to-house petition drive to encourage the local cable provider to carry Three Angels Broadcasting Network.

While the new Madagascar congregation offered prayer support, twelve members made the major evening presentations for a “New Beginnings” DVD seminar in February. The seminar served as a training ground for Weiser members, who hope to send their own team to Madagascar to visit the daughter church and to evangelize.

The need for workers in Madagascar is great according to Luc, featured speaker for a “Missions Abroad and at Home” weekend held recently in Weiser. District pastors routinely serve 15-20 churches, and there is a goal to begin Adventist schools in all nine of the island’s major population centers. The Weiser congregation sponsors three Madagascar seminary students-in-training, and have supplied urgently needed Sabbath School materials.

Our members’ support for the work in Madagascar is directly connected to our enthusiasm for reaching those close at hand. In the end, none of us are going anywhere until the final gospel message is preached everywhere. •

May 01, 2003 / Idaho Conference