Tana City Church
On October 21st, Peter Howard-Browne arrived back in Madagascar for the first time in two years. He was accompanied for the five-day visit by Jan-Louis van den Berg and Patrick Neumann from their home church New Generation, in Somerset West, South Africa. It was a much-anticipated visit, Pete's first since he suffered a massive stroke just two years ago. The stroke was so severe that the doctors said he would never walk or talk again, but that did not account for Pete’s indomitable spirit, or God’s role in his life.
We are hugely encouraged by Pete's love for Madagascar. He has visited the island since the 1990s and has returned over 50 times to strengthen churches here. Pete is the man who sent Gavin and Rhoda Jordan to plant Vision Valley Church (now Tana City Church) in 1999 and he has also worked with many local churches and their leaders over the years – teaching, exhorting, encouraging, discipling and befriending. In every way, we thank God for the massive impact Pete's ministry has had on our lives. AND Jesus is still bringing the Father glory through this man's life!
A few of Pete's messages preached in TCC over the years:
Peace with God
You are your city's hope for success
Transforming culture through transforming Christians
After a bit of a break visiting the Manambolo area and the Bemaraha Plateau, we went on a three-day trip from September 28th to the 31st. These times are both very busy and way too short.
On the first day, en-route to Begara, we flew over the Bevero basin where we noticed shacks being constructed near to the old village of Bevero, which had been devastated by fire. (See more about this story here.) This was an answer to prayers, and we decided to land. To our surprise, the villagers had rebuilt almost all their homes, and said that they had been awaiting our arrival. Although this stop had not been scheduled, we stayed with them for a while and Dr Justin was able to do some consultations. We will schedule more trips to see them later in the year.
From there we carried on to Begara. After we set up our camp, Sedera took the floor to share the good news of the gospel, while Dr Justin, helped by my son-in-law Alexandre, did dental extractions and some consultations. In the evening, we screened the movie “Magdalena" ...
The next morning I had the opportunity to share with the christians of the nascent Church of Begara, while Dr Justin did consultations. Later I left with Sedera for Ankilisoa where we were welcomed warmly by the population. Sedera also got to share the gospel. After a few hours we rejoined Dr Justin and Alexandre, then left for Befosa.
Once there, we kept to the same programme as in the village of Begara. We also watched the testimony of a wizard who had converted. The Head and the villagers were really touched …
Every trip is unique and life changing. We look forward to many more opportunities to minister to these communities.
Since January 2015 we have been to Ankavandra and the Bemaraha plateau three times. Our most recent trip was from 27 to 29 May this year.
We landed at Ambohirano close to our store room. As usual, many children and women were there to meet us. We had a bag of clothes to distribute and Tojo took the opportunity to preach the good news.
Then we went to Befosa where Doctor Justin did some consultations, Tojo shared the gospel and we were able to show a movie at night. Unfortunately, half of the villagers were not there due to the fact that they where harvesting some miles away. The next morning we went to Begara, where several houses had been burnt by the dahalo a month ago. Here we distributed another two bags of clothes - much appreciated by the villagers. Doctor Justin also did many consultations, including circumsions and tooth extractions. A young church, with about 30 people, was born in that village last year, and they were keen to meet with us. Amongst other things they wanted to know our intentions with our visits, as well as more about the Bible and the good news. So I shared with them why we were visiting them and our vision for this area. Tojo did the translation from French to Malagasy. Jean-Christophe, our Helimission pilot, also shared some words with the fledgling christians. We were told that two other villages in this area would like us to visit soon. This trip has been very encouraging for us and we are looking forward to going back in June.
On our way back we flew over Bevero, the village that was burned in February. It seems as if the village has been abandoned, as nobody came out to greet us. This is very sad for me personally, as we had many good relationships with people there.
For the last few years TCC has led teams into the area along the Manambolo river in Madagascar, around 220km west of Antananarivo, but largely inaccessible by road. From 11 to 18 May 2013 a team of eight men - four from SA and four from TCC went to help build the base. They dug and built a long drop. They found a location for a new well and dug deep enough to obtain clean water. They cleared the site for the house and threw a concrete slab over half of the floor area. They started the exterior wall.
Why are we doing this? Because we want to be able to place people at the base for extended periods of time to serve the local community with basic education, medical help and discipleship training. This trip was a big step forward in preparation for the ministry we look forward to bringing to an area with much need. Please see the photos below to get a clearer picture of the work.
March 2010 saw a team of 6 adults (including the pilot) and one baby fly down to the Manambolo, this time with Helimission. In so doing they were able to reach areas that a 'plane can't land in and that would take days by 4x4. The reason there was such a big gap between trips was because it is too hot to travel there in the height of the summer, which is also the rainy season in Madagascar. On this trip they were able to use our multi-function venue for the first time as a teaching venue.