Madagascar: The Beginning

In 2003, a friend of ours was asked to join the Luis Palau "Next Generation Alliance" and travel to Madagascar where Next Generation would hold a week of evangelistic meetings in 4 cities using 4 teams. All of the teams arrived in Antananarivo, Madagascar in August 2003, and our team departed for our host city, Antsirabe, the next morning. Our team was made up of people from the Fargo-Moorhead and Fergus Falls Area and included prayer ministers, teachers, musicians, and our young evangelist. We were excited to see the fruits of the Crusade. For many of us, it was our first trip abroad, and to be doing it for ministry was a thrill. Many friends and family had contributed to cover the team's expenses.

One man on our team had been asked to bring a box filled with medical supplies for a Lutheran hospital in Antsirabe. Although the medical supplies got held up in customs, three of the team members were able to break away one morning to go and meet the doctor with whom they had been in contact to deliver the supplies. At the hospital, they met the young doctor, Dr. Harison Rasamimanana, who had just taken over as head administrator and head surgeon at Hospital Andranamadio. He was eager to show the team members around the hospital and to pray with the patients. On one cot lay a young Muslim man, Nzaka. He had traveled several hours from his village with a broken leg. He laid on the cot; his leg unattended to. He had no money for the plaster to construct a cast, and the hospital had no way to provide the plaster. This type of scenario played out often as poor people came to the only place where there was any chance of receiving help without prepaying.

One of our prayer ministers asked Nzaka if he knew who Jesus was. Dr. Harison translated as the story of God's love for Nzaka and for the world was revealed. When Nzaka was asked if he wanted to receive forgiveness for his sins, he received Christ and the covering of His blood. The team members then proceeded to pray over Nzaka for healing of his leg, but they were not aware that any healing had occurred. It was an exciting moment for our team as this story of salvation was related over dinner that night. This was the second to last day of the crusade, and there had been many who had given their lives to Christ.

The next evening, Dr. Harison and his family came to meet the whole team at the hotel in which we were staying. Questions by the team were asked about was he...anything new to report? Dr. Harison proceeded to relay the morning events. When Dr. Harison came to visit him on his morning rounds, Nzaka was putting on his trousers standing by his cot. Dr. Harison told him to get off the broken leg, but Nzaka insisted the leg was OK. He even stomped his leg a couple times to convince Dr. Harison. We were all astounded at the news. We were then told that Nzaka had plans of returning on Monday morning to meet with the hospital's chaplain and to receive his own Bible. We had looked forward to seeing souls saved and healing happen at the crusade, but God's plans and purposes were not quite yet in our vision.

A Calling from the Lord was evident that night on Harison and his wife Domoina as we prayed together. They had been so discouraged. After years of medical school and interning in Gabon Africa, the family was anticipating a very comfortable life in Madagascar. Instead they had come to a dilapidated hospital with many personel problems and huge debt and all of this for a fraction of the salary the family was anticipating. Now the Lord was not only blessing us by allowing us to participate with HIM in bringing someone to HIM, He was backing it up with healing. He was also letting Dr. Harison and his wife know that something much greater awaited these two faithful servants and their children. We wept together. The next day the entire team visited the hospital and sang and prayed over many beautiful Malagasy. The Lord had cemented a relationship that would reach around the world to many in America.

A year later, we found out that a few weeks after Nzaka's conversion and healing, NZaka returned to the hospital with some men from his village. They had walked from their village to meet with Dr. Harison to be prayed over to receive Christ.

At Nzaka's request, Dr. Harison and Domoina visited their village a few weeks later, traveling first a couple hours by truck then riding 2 hours by bicycle. When Harison told us of their trip to Nzaka's village, we were so surprised and delighted that He and Domoina would take their Sunday to travel hours by bike and share the gospel outside the Hospital setting. Their lives are extremely busy! The Lord was faithful to bring around 22 in the village to the Lord that day.

Nzaka and his wife left his village within the year to travel to predominantly Muslim northern Madagascar where he has started evangelizing among the locals. Through a member of our team that prayed with him, Nzaka was able to purchase a small plot of land for $500. He is supporting himself and being mentored by a local pastor.

Every once in awhile, we hear news of Nzaka through Dr. Harison and one day we hope to greet him again face to face.