Most people in North America know Madagascar as a funny cartoon with talking animals, but in reality this island off the coast of South Africa is a nation full of people that need Jesus.
Our outreach took place in the city of Sambava. The Prime Minister of Madagascar was on our plane. When we arrived at the airport, thirty people came to greet him. To his surprise, over 1,000 Christians were at the airport to greet our team of evangelists! The believers paraded through the middle of the city to welcome people to the Festival.
Thousands of people showed up at the Festival grounds. On the first night, a woman who was deaf in one ear was healed. Her eardrum was punctured and for nineteen years she was unable to hear in her left ear, but God healed her and she was able to repeat the quietest whisper. On the second night a seven-year-old boy who could not walk began to walk. These miracles prove to the Malagasy people that Jesus is alive today.
Ten thousand salvation cards were distributed to people who decided to follow Jesus. Over 1,500 believers came to the Fire Conference for an impartation from the Holy Spirit. On our last day in Sambava, 41 people arrived at our hotel to be baptized in the ocean. Great joy filled the city as the people rejoiced that so many had been saved and healed!
We also held a youth outreach in the capital city of Antananarivo, a two-day pastor’s conference, and ministered at many different churches.
Madagascar is the fourth largest island in the world. This nation is distinctively different from the rest of Africa. The people are a mix of Indonesian, East Indian, Arab, and African descent. Plus, the nation has an island feel to it that is dissimilar to sub-Saharan Africa. I found the Malagasy people to be friendly and hungry for God. In the northern part of Madagascar a large percentage of the population is Muslim.
Thanks so much for helping us preach the Gospel in Madagascar! Here are some excerpts from my journal during the event:
Tuesday: After flying for over 30 hours, I landed in Antananarivo, capital city of Madagascar, late in the evening.
Wednesday: Despite jetlag, first thing in the morning I spoke at a leadership conference for about 40 leaders. Then I preached at an evangelistic service announced by a local pastor on the radio. About 150 people came and over 40 got saved. Then we drove to a congregation on the outskirts of the city and ministered to about 200 people.
Thursday: We boarded a domestic flight to Diego, Madagascar. On the airplane, a stewardess told me she is praying for the campaign. Her aunt is on the planning committee and she is excited about what God is doing in Diego. When we arrived, hundreds of believers greeted us at the airport tarmac. We formed a giant Jesus parade complete with a semi-truck flatbed full of singers and marched through downtown inviting everyone to come to the Gospel Festival. The parade ended up at the soccer field where the festival will be held and we dedicated the field as holy ground. Directly behind the soccer field is a Muslim seminary. The students will be able to hear every word that comes out of our sound system.
Friday: In the morning, about 500 people attended our Fire Conference and I preached on Soul Winning, emphasizing the individual responsibility to the Great Commission.
At dusk, the ministry team and I arrived at the Festival grounds. The worship team was energetically dancing and singing. The music was led by an anointed young woman who had eight backup dancers. The lyrics of her songs included this Gospel truth, “There is a heaven; there is a hell; you must choose where you will spend eternity.”
The mayor of the city of Diego greeted the crowd and declared the festival to be officially open. He is a Muslim but he shook my hand and welcomed us graciously. There was a light misty rain the entire night but the crowd did not leave. They stayed to enjoy the music and listen to the sermon despite the dampness. I preached on the paralyzed man who was let down through the roof. Five young men enacted the drama. At the end of the story, the paralyzed man jumped up and started dancing across the platform. The crowd cheered. During the altar call, the light rain became heavy rain. But the people responded to the message. Virtually the entire crowd prayed with me for salvation. There were about 3,000 people in attendance. The church in Diego is few in number, perhaps a total of 1,000 believers in a city of 125,000. So, the number of people who responded to the Gospel was amazing.
When I prayed for the sick, a crippled man walked up to the platform. He was carrying his crutches. He had hobbled on crutches for two years but Jesus healed him. At first his steps were halting, but they got stronger and bolder. I asked him if he wanted to dance. He said, “Yes!” and the band began to play. He jumped up and down and danced energetically. I told the crowd that his moves are so good, he could join the backup dancers. Everyone laughed because it was true.
There was a ten-year-old girl who had a growth on her neck the size of a small fist. During the prayer time, the growth completely disappeared. She showed us where the growth was located on her neck and her neck was completely normal.
Saturday: At the Fire Conference, about 550 people attended. I preached on the Fire of God and our team laid hands on every person there. On the second night of the crusade we had good clear weather and lots of miracles!
Sunday: Our team preached at six local churches. Both churches that I preached in were packed full. I asked how many people came to church for the first time and many lifted their hands. The Gospel Festival is already making a difference.
At the final night of the festival, I preached on the lost sheep, the lost coin, the lost son, and the lost man (Zacchaeus). In total, we prayed with about 7,000 people for salvation.
Monday: We visited a nearby waterfall that is considered sacred to the local tribes. Believing that the spirits of their ancestors dwell at the waterfall, they regularly journey there to offer sacrifices and pray to the spirits. I ministered to the guide who showed us the waterfall and had the privilege of leading him to Jesus. He was beaming with joy and happiness. He said, “I think God brought you here to Madagascar just to talk to me.”
Tuesday: We had a final prayer meeting with the local pastors. Every pastor in town worked hard to make the Gospel Festival a success. They will continue to meet together for regular prayer meetings. Our time in Diego has produced a great move of God that will continue for many years to come.
Thanks so much for helping us preach the Gospel in the farthest corners of the earth!
At our Gospel Festivals, we see miracles. Blind eyes are opened by God. Deaf ears begin to hear. Cripples stand up and walk. These kinds of miracles are frequent and always exciting.
But, one of the greatest miracles at our recent Gospel Festival in Antananarivo, Madagascar, was how the local churches were unified in supporting our evangelistic collaboration.
Sometimes, getting pastors to work together is like herding cats. Churches often have their own agendas and their own schedules. Sometimes, when an evangelist comes to town, churches will politely decline to participate or even attend.
This is why I rejoice when pastors get excited about reaching the lost, and catch the vision for what God can do if the entire body of Christ works together. When pastors are willing to put aside their logos and their egos to work together, an entire city can be impacted.
This is the miracle we experienced in Madagascar. Arriving three days before the Gospel Festival was scheduled to begin, I asked a pastor at the airport, “What are the churches doing to prepare for the Festival?” He eagerly told me, “Tomorrow, we are meeting in the marketplace to pass out invitations to everyone there.”
The next morning, I was tired from jet lag but decided to go to the market to see for myself what was happening. To be honest, I thought there would be 15-20 people participating, but to my surprise, hundreds of church members from all over the city were gathered.
One man brought a bucket of homemade glue so he could stick posters to the walls. Another pastor had the creative idea to turn the Festival posters into walking advertisements. Church members glued a cardboard strip to the top of each poster and used string to turn the posters into a costume for a human billboard. They had prepared enough posters for everyone to wear.
The marketplace in Antananarivo is several streets wide and two kilometers long. It has everything that a Wal-Mart offers, but each item comes from a different shop. If you want tomatoes, you visit the tomato stall. If you want batteries, you stroll down a couple of streets and visit a battery store. If you want to buy a pencil, you go and visit a stationary merchant.
The teams fanned out across the marketplace and offered every person the enclosed flyer with the details of the Gospel Festival, visiting every stall and shop. They also asked, “What do you need prayer for?” Right there in the market square, before the festival even began, people were giving their lives to Jesus.
Our first day in the marketplace was so successful that the believers decided to return the following day. But on the second day, they brought their musical instruments. Soon, the sounds of drums, horns, guitars, and accordions filled the city center. The churches formed a parade and danced, sang and played in the streets.
As they marched, they announced, “If you need salvation, come to the Festival. If you need healing, come to the Festival. If you enjoy music, come to the Festival.” Because of the enthusiasm of the churches, thousands of Malagasy people came to the parking lot next to the soccer stadium right in the middle of downtown Antananarivo. Thousands of people were saved at our Gospel Festival.
It is your faithful financial support that allows us to print posters and flyers to invite people to come hear the Gospel and receive Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. Thank you! The part you play in helping us to print these flyers is just as important as the role of the believers who hand them out by the thousands, and their role is just as important as that of the preacher who shares the good news and invites people to respond to the altar call. We are all part of the body of Christ and every role is important. Thank you for playing your part in helping us impact the nation of Madagascar with the story of Jesus Christ!