Menu Helping in Jesus' Name™

A Community Changed by a Simple Gift

In the arid region of central Madagascar, there is a remote area that one of our teams visited. On arriving, there were hands waving from the entire community, so excited, as many had never seen foreigners before.

Trucks had travelled two days to the village of Ampananganana via bumpy, dusty roads, bringing in several cartons of OCC shoebox gifts. Older children were dancing obviously well-practised steps on top of a make-shift stage made of rough wood sitting on top of old oil barrels. The younger children were focused on following the mysterious cartons being laid out in front of the stage. The adults couldn’t help but be curious as well. This day could be a marker in the memory of these people. Who knows how often they would tell the story of when the village was visited by foreigners who brought gifts and told about them Jesus and God’s love.

A few of the children from the area received shoeboxes two years ago. They became so interested in Jesus that they began walking over 16 kilometres to the nearest church every Sunday. One of the children’s grandfathers was the community witch doctor, but when he saw the children were walking so far, he donated some of his land so that a church could be built in the village. Pastor Roger moved to Ampananganana, a village of 200 homes, to
help start the church. The community itself put up the mud walls.

That afternoon there was a graduation for 40 children, aged seven-14, who had completed The Greatest Journey discipleship program. The midday wind picked up, blowing dirt and sand through the doors of the church. The sun was beaming in through holes in the thatched roof. The children wiped dust from their eyes as they recited memory verses and proudly sang songs they had learned in the discipleship classes.

One of the songs was written by Pastor Rodger, who found The Greatest Journey instrumental in teaching the children about the Good News of Jesus. “(The teaching materials) were helpful to me because they gave me an overview of the steps of the Gospel,” he said. “The Greatest Journey teacher training was precious to me to help reach many children.”

Pastor Rodger said that The Greatest Journey booklets gave him spiritual growth and this is helping him be a better leader. “It was very clear, the message of the Gospel,” he said. “In fact, in every book there is a call to faith that I can use to encourage the children. At the end of the second booklet, many of the children came to Christ.” In the very first group of children that Pastor Rodger took through The Greatest Journey, 38 of the 40 children gave their life to Christ. “Two are still unsure, but we’re praying for them,” he said.

To financially support the work of Samaritan’s Purse, please donate below.