We’ve been helping facilitate an indigenous church planting training in northern Madagascar this past week. Leaning heavily upon our national Malagasy leaders, we’ve been able to share our experience sharing the gospel, teaching young Christians, and starting churches among the Mahafaly. Tessa and a national partner, Edia (who has worked on crafting Malagasy Bible stories with her for years now), have specifically led sessions on sharing God’s Word through storying in a way that is easy for people to understand.
It has been an extremely encouraging week leading up to Easter in many ways:
- We’ve met brothers and sisters from many denominations who have been faithfully sharing God’s Word, teaching, and starting churches for years.
- Others have shared how God has burdened their heart for the lost in their city, province, and even the entire island.
- Over 100 people received training that we anticipate will facilitate even more excitement and practical next steps for reaching even more people.
- Prayers have been lifted for numerous leaders, denominations, churches, areas, regions, nations, and God’s work across Madagascar.
- Our Malagasy brothers and sisters have been and are ready to take the next step in owning the responsibility for reaching their people . . . even across the entire island.
As we went around sharing prayer requests for our different areas of service and churches, two ladies began sharing that they were about to go home. But their home is a very closed Muslim country where there are not many Christians. These ladies had come to Jesus in Madagascar and now were returning home to their Muslim husbands and a very tough situation. They were very realistic about the challenges they would face.
But let me share the Easter sermon one of our sisters preached with her simple, but challenging, testimony. She said, “You know, it is very hard to convince Muslims [to accept Jesus]; even good works the Muslims can duplicate and even do better than us [Christians]. But they cannot endure. We Christians endure. As loving wives and Christians, we can endure. We will outlast their anger and resistance with the love and endurance of Jesus.”
Underneath all of our devotion and super-spiritual trappings, Christians are convincing because our faith is built on the bedrock of unbreakable endurance. We are filled with the indomitable Spirit of the God whose love could not let us go and whose life could not be cut off by death. That is the Easter story. So then we can love so much that it may kill us. We can literally give others everything we’ve got. Because we endure. Because he endured . . . outlasting even death and standing strong and resilient on the other side.
The love he poured out in his sweat and blood now runs through our veins and will punch us through this to the other side of reality, just as he did. I could see it shining through our sisters yesterday. It is yours today if you have given your life to Jesus and are following him. No matter what you are facing or will face because you are doing what Jesus says, you can make it through. You can endure. We will outlast the competition. We endure because of him.