The International Summit for Expository Preaching

In October 2017, Madagascar 3M was officially registered as a company immediately set things in motion to organize the first-ever conference for church leaders focusing on Expository Preaching. Then, the day came on October 10th and we are so thankful that God in His goodness allowed such a gathering to happen.

Our name stands for what we believe the minister of God should be: a preacher of God’s Word, a shepherd of God’s people and a servant of Christ. Our vision from the start has been to work with existing structures and contribute to the identifying, training and equipping of people for the work of the ministry. Nothing embodied more that vision and desire than this conference.

To see the 200+ people from different church denominations, from the city and the countryside, pastors and laymen, young and old, really filled my heart with gratitude.

For 4 days, the preeminence of God’s Word was asserted. We affirmed its inerrancy, its authority and its sufficiency. We looked at the responsibility of the preacher to preach the Word, as per the theme verse of this conference in 2 Tim 4:2. We delved into how he must do it and why He must do it. We examined what makes preaching a unique encounter with God.

I would like here to greet and thank the speakers and dear brothers who came to serve us for that week. We are from different countries, from different backgrounds, but we all share a passion for the exposition of the Word of God. They have been examples to me in following Christ, and their messages were all very encouraging and challenging.

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My prayer is that the conference was for those who attended it a blessing and a time of nourishment to their soul. I pray that it shaped convictions in their heart as to why and how the Word must be preached. I pray that relationships were built with like-minded brothers and sisters and that this would be the launch of a movement here in Madagascar promoting faithful exposition of the Word and a faithful representation of that Word by those who preach it.

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We at Madagascar 3M want to continue to serve and equip the church to do the work the Lord has called them to do. We want to be instruments to spread the glorious gospel of Christ in our land.

Isaiah 42:10 says:

“Sing to the LORD a new song,
Sing His praise from the end of the earth!
You who go down to the sea, and all that is in it.
You islands, and those who dwell on them.”

May the Lord’s name be sung unto the utmost parts of Madagascar.

We are already planning and inviting you to attend the second International Summit for Expository Preaching which will take place on October 9th to 12th 2019, Lord willing.

Therismos – Fueling the Lord’s Harvest

We are proud to announce the launch of Therismos Investment Company, a joint venture between Madagascar 3M and iBluesky, LLC headed by visionary Christian entrepreneur and Amazon best-seller author, Steve Adams.

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“Therismos” is the Greek word for “harvest” in Matthew 9:36-37: “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.” Our motto is “Fueling the Lord’s harvest”. We are unapologetically committed to use the profits made to contribute to the advancement of the kingdom of God.

Despite its many resources, Madagascar is one of the poorest countries in the world. Almost 75% of the population lives with less than a dollar per day. Churches in major cities and in the countryside are struggling financially. Pastors are usually bi-vocational holding an additional job as a farmer or a stock breeder.

The vision of Therismos Investment Company (TIC) is to contribute to help pastors and church leaders towards a sustainable income so they can focus on the ministry of the Word and prayer. TIC also desires to support the evangelism and missions efforts carried out by our partner churches and Christian organizations. Finally, TIC has been established to contribute to making Madagascar 3M self-sustaining in a few years, and thus be a model to other local Christian businesses.

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Ethanol is an alcohol found in alcoholic beverages and is used in industry as a solvent or disinfectant. Concentrated and hydrated, ethanol becomes bioethanol, a biofuel that is mixed with gasoline or diesel for the consumption of engines. Bioethanol can also be used in homes, with specific stoves, as a replacement to coal or gas. It can be made from cassava or sugar cane. Cassava is going to be the crop of choice for the project because it is a crop that grows with minimal water, and also because people are stealing sugar cane to make illegal alcoholic beverages.

In the first phase, TIC will help countryside pastors to plant cassava and then sell the produced cassava to a partner company which produces ethanol.

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In the second phase, TIC will look at diversifying by exploiting other cassava-based products for the local and international market.

Finally, our ambition is to be able to build a Bioethanol distillation plant in order to give work to some of our church leaders and members, as well as to increase their income as they sell the finished product. This will also contribute to a change in practices as we will encourage people to move towards a green source of energy.

Please pray that the Lord would be merciful to us as we will soon plant the first batch of cassava. Pray for rain, for good soil, for growth and protection of the crops. A new venture for our organization, yet with the same God and the same desire to serve Him.

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Soles for souls

The discussions are raging currently within the evangelical church in the USA around social justice. These are I believe important ponderings, especially when it pertains to the preeminence of the Gospel. Yet, one of the things that sadden me is to see how easily it has become a war on semantics and a conflict of perspectives, to the expense of developing a Christ-like compassionate heart for others. I have been even more saddened because I saw a more empathetic attitude from the members of a non-Christian organization, Soles 4 Souls, who were here in Madagascar to give away shoes to the poorest.

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I have been observing these ladies washing dirty feet, hugging children, wiping snotty noses and giving away even their own shoes and clothes to the people we visit.

They are not doing it for a photo-op, but out of love. They are all from different religious backgrounds and walks of life, but they all share the same heart and zeal for people.

In the span of 7 days, we were able to distribute shoes in 7 different locations, giving away footwear to children aged 4 to 14 in partner children clubs. The monitors within these clubs are giving their time, energy and often from their own money to take care of these children every Saturday; it was so good to see the smile on their faces as brand-new shoes were placed on the feet of the children they love and share the Word of God with.

Even though it was a short visit, these ladies have developed a heart for our country and I am thankful that the Lord brought them our way. I am thankful that Soles4souls chose to entrust Madagascar 3M with the organization of the trip. I am grateful for all the interns and volunteers who helped us with the planning and the distribution.

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As we gave to the “little ones” (Mat 10:42), we were the ones who gained the more. I pray that this partnership will continue in the future. These children are being taught from Scripture every week; the salvation of their souls remain our utmost priority. But they do need shoes, and clothes, and school gears, and health care, and so much more. Are we not to help them if we can?

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I am not confused about the priority and singularity of the gospel, but as gospel bearers in a country where poverty, injustice, and corruption are vividly part of our daily reality, every believer in this country ought to contemplate how he practically can live out loving his neighbor as himself. Why are we not as Christians pouring out into the lives of others around us the love we have undeservedly received from above?

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Material aid has never been and will never be the first responsibility of the church; making disciples of the crucified Christ is. But along the way, I pray and challenge us as individual Christians to not close our eyes to the depravity around us, not only at the spiritual level but also at the physical level. Needs are everywhere, within the church and outside. The same heart of compassion compelled Jesus to teach people many things and feed them (Mark 6:34-44). May we all seek wisdom from the Lord and follow His example.

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TMAI President visit to Madagascar

We had the privilege of having Dr. Mark Tatlock, president of The Master’s Academy International (TMAI), visit us a few weeks ago. He is one of the pastors of the fellowship group we attended at Grace Community Church and was my boss at work during our time in the USA. We became friends and I have always looked up to him as one of my mentors and so always cherish any time I have to pick his brains and learn from his example.

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His visit was very encouraging to me as I was able to show him the context in which we serve as well as hold a few key meetings and discussions on what a TMAI involvement in Madagascar can look like.

 

He was also able to visit and preach at our home church, have lunch with some of the members of the congregation, and meet with the eldership team.

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There are still a lot of building blocks that need to come together for this to become a reality, but it was so uplifting to be able to frame the potential future a little bit better. Please continue to pray as the Lord is at work to raise more worshippers and witnesses of His great name here in Madagascar.

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You can read Mark’s impressions from his visit here.

My Time in Madagascar

By Hannah Cullen

From the moment I first heard Faly entreat the students at The Master’s University to come to do ministry with him in Madagascar, the Lord put it on my heart to chase that supplication until it became a reality. Now that I’ve experienced what Madagascar has to offer and what fervent ministry is being done each week on the large African island, I am eager to witness more of what the Lord has in store for Faly and my other brothers and sisters in Christ serving there.

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After landing in Antananarivo and driving through the busy city, I was surprised by the landscape. Maybe I was expecting to be in the jungle? Maybe I was expecting lemurs on the side of the road? What I did know was that I had been to Africa before but the scenery was far from what I had imagined it to be in Madagascar. I was reminded it was a third-world country.

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Being immediately struck by the friendliness of Faly and his team, I was on the edge of my seat ready to get started with the next two weeks. We spent our first few days meeting people from church, adapting to the lifestyle and prepping for a Vacation Bible School (VBS). Then on our first Sunday afternoon, we went into the heart of the city to meet with children varying from ages 2-14, introduce ourselves and share some of our testimonies. The smiling faces on each child’s face brought instant joy to every member of our team. I would say it was a greater encouragement for us to experience the eagerness and generosity we received from them as they welcomed us into their classroom.

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The more we discussed the logistics of the VBS, the more excited I was to have a massive sleepover with hundreds of kids. My teammate Sarah and I began preparing the crafts and all the supplies we needed to bring. Even so, there was a factor of mystery. We had no idea what our “craft room” would look like, how many kids would actually attend, if we had enough supplies, and whether or not the message behind each craft would leave an impact on at least one child. It was our first test of faith. Sure enough, on Monday morning, with the help of some of our team, Sarah and I began building our craft tables out of bricks and old doors. We had prayed the translators would understand our instructions to the kids and would know of ways to occupy their time with us. The the first wave of children came. It was just the right push and from then on we were motivated to bring the gospel into each craft, prayer and activity.

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Whether we were washing our own dishes in a small water bucket or sleeping on a sheet of wood, those three days taught me three things: you don’t need a shower or mattress for a successful VBS, children around the world are virtually interested in the same thing, you can never have too many glue-sticks.

 

 

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Prayer and flexibility gave way to an exciting, small week of worship, fellowship, and creativity to a team of Americans. Remembering why we were where we were was just the motivation we needed to set aside our comfort and serve a group of children who were thirsty for the pure milk of God’s Word. It is for that reason, our Savior never stopped providing for us.

Teaching Out of my Comfort Zone

By Ferris Smith

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An American who had never been out of the United States going to the bush of eastern Madagascar was an incomparable experience, to say the least. After two days of hiking into the bush, in the rain, we arrived at Tratramarina.

The people there were such a blessing to us. They served us coffee sweetened with sugarcane and more rice than we could eat. The next seventeen days were nothing that I could have fully expected. The hospitality of the villagers was something that I cannot ever forget. They gave us everything they could. When we arrived, they gave us a hut to stay the day in, and before the day was over, they gave us two more huts to sleep in. When that was not enough room for us, they gave us ground, enough to set up two tents on. In the first day, they did more for us out of kindness – yet they had no way of knowing anything about us or what we could do for them – than anyone has done for me in my life. When we left, they gave us chickens out of the abundance of their hearts.

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During our time in Tratramarina, the rest of my team and I were responsible for teaching the children the bible. Starting in Genesis, with Creation, through the Old Testament to the Gospels. It was, of course, impossible to cover everything in that time, especially with kids. However, we made it our goal to touch on the important points in-between Creation and the Gospel that would most prepare the children to understand the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. I taught only twice while in Tratramarina. I taught the ten commandments, and I co-lead the lesson that recapped the whole time of teaching at the end of the time in Tratramarina. Teaching the Ten Commandments to three to twelve-year-old children was a difficult thing to do. I am under the conviction that if you teach and you do not show in your teaching that God is great, then you have failed in your teaching. Teaching the Ten Commandments was more than telling them some law that Jesus summed up. I knew I had to give them the theological reasoning that should be behind us when we obey the Ten Commandments. In other words, I had to answer the question, “why does this commandment matter so much to our relationship with God and other people?” It might seem impossible to teach such theological principles to kids, however, I am now under the conviction that most children can handle more theology than we give them credit for.

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At the end of that lesson, I realized one of the biggest problems I would have here in Madagascar: I couldn’t have any type of verbal or non-verbal reaction for my audience to better understand if they truly understood what I was saying. So I had to make sure that everything I taught had to be grounded in 3 things: an accurate representation of the Word of God, an effort to show that God is great, and a full trust that the Lord would permit everything to be translated correctly, so that that they were understanding exactly what God wanted them to understand. It was difficult for someone like me who is usually able to know how the audience reacts to what he says when preaching or teaching.

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The Lord grew me in many ways while I was in Tratramarina, but the biggest lesson for me was to realize that I had some measure of fear of man in my teaching. There, I had to trust God for the content of my message and for the ability of my hearers to hear it. Learning to trust God and not myself was the most liberating thing, not because it took the responsibility off me, but because it was a way to worship the Lord wholly in my teaching, as I feared Him and no man, woman or child.