Madagascar – Ken Brownell July 2013

Huge opportunities – if we can overcome the translation and transport problems!

This was my second trip to Mandritsara, in northern Madagascar.(picture of the town above.)
I taught 38 pastors (and several women) at the Baptist Church as part of a national training programme organised by the Bible Baptist churches.

It involved much interactive small group work with excellent engagement and questions.
Some of the men were very switched on spiritually and intellectually. Several are being encouraged to do training at a higher level.

It was well received but in retrospect I would teach it slightly differently, instead working on different types of literature in the Bible with a shorter book at the end of the week. But they were very enthusiastic and want me to return next year.
Lessons learned from the conference(s):

• The pastors in Mandritsara are exactly those PTI wants to help – men with little if any formal theological training working in difficult places.

• The work there is very impressive. At the heart of it is the hospital from which many other ministries have emerged. There is an excellent team, both Malagasy and expat, working together for the kingdom. Theologically and practically this is an exact fit for PTI.

• A big problem is translation. Officially Madagascar is Francophone but these pastors speak Malagasy or a local dialect. We will need good translators who can speak Malagasy and English or French. Key books will need to be translated into Malagasy.

• Another is transport. Madagascar is larger than Britain and the roads are very poor. Taxi-busses are very tiring and sometimes dangerous. MAF planes are available but are expensive. Scheduled flights are cheaper but much less flexible. Deciding the best solution will require much thought and prayer.

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