Source: Orthodox Missionary Fraternity
May 19, 2016
Dear friends of the Mission, rejoice in the Lord.
We give glory to God for all the blessings He gives us here in the mission field, for what He allows and what He economizes. We also thank all of you who work behind the scenes so that we can evangelize those near and afar for the glory of God and His Church and the salvation of men. It is With great joy I announce to you that the two churches you funded, the Holy Archangels and the Transfiguration of the Savior, have been completed and now we are fitting out the interior equipment. They are already in operation but there are still many things missing.
In this part of the year, a considerable obstacle is the torrential rain flooding the roads, which results in the locomotion being very difficult, if possible at all. Last month, I visited a church in northern Madagascar to oversee the works; during the return journey an area of 400-500 acres was flooded and became inaccessible. The roads were totally and completely covered by flood water, which, like a boundless sea, rolled down rushingly drifting downstream everything in its path. Transport was stopped and, since the road was severed at several points, hundreds of cars were immobilized and bus passengers were watching the phenomenon astonished.
At some point, I decided to move and cross the road in the jeep, but I risked being carried away by the stream when a sea of water fell upon the car and the cabin got flooded. Rapidly and fearfully I returned back praising God, Who saved us from certain death. We stayed on the road for three days until the rain had stopped and the water level had dropped from the 1.20 meters that it had reached in some places to 30-40 cm, so that we could pass through the dangerous crossings.
In the mission, one can meet unexpected situations. It’s a world both familiar and unknown that hides a lot of things. Adventures are something usual in the missionary course. God’s power and the love for the dissemination of His word make us defy several difficulties interposed in our missionary way. Conditions and appearances can be more or less disappointing. But the Gospel that we read gives us strength and drives out every thought of despair, since we contemplate what sufferings both our Lord and the Apostles and other saints endured for humanity and the fellow man. We are deeply moved by people’s thirst for Orthodoxy and their love for the Church.
They walk for hours to reach their church and participate in the holy services. They attend the Liturgy very carefully and finally they partake of the Holy Communion in due order, with thoughtfulness and fear of God.
Their life has nothing to do with ours. The financial crisis is a permanent state of affairs in this country. But this does not impede our missionary work at all. New parishes are opened constantly and people run like thirsty deer to learn the truth.
Once we say “Glory to God” that we have built churches for some parishes, suddenly new parishes are created, which also need a church. More specifically, we presently have four small villages with no church in the Toliara region. I implore you. If among you there are donors to fund these churches, I will be grateful to you. The cost for each church will amount to 30,000 euros.
Moreover, the orphanage in the capital city of Antananarivo has been completed and it will soon start operating. However, there are still many particulars needed. For instance, behind the orphanage, we are constructing an outbuilding to be used partly as an outdoor kitchen to cook on a wood stove for economy and partly as a laundry. It is essential that we have your help because there are always needs to be covered in the beginning. The beds for the children, the closets for their clothes, the tables and chairs, everything was made in our own carpentry shop. We understand the financial hardships people are facing and we demand nothing. We only earnestly ask for whatever possible.
†Ignatios of Madagascar
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