[ Madagascar 2017 ]


This is now my third trip to Madagascar in as many years. It was good to be back at Montasoa with Martin and Mary and see the progress that has been made on so many levels. From the last time I had been there, back in March 2016, things have moved on leaps and bounds. The first block of three classrooms is now complete and in use and two of the three classrooms in the second block are also now built. Work was well and truly underway on the third classroom and along with that the foundations were being laid for the staff rooms and resource centre that will in time become somewhere for teachers from around the area to be trained.

One of the joys of this trip was travelling with a small team from Redeemer – Gary Lynch, Phil Memmott, Rachel Cain and Gareth Wilson. On arriving at Mont
asoa we all got straight to work in various ways, Gary and Phil took on various plumbing projects around the school, as well as building a load of kitchen cabinets for the house that will be used for the school director and his family in the coming months. Gareth and myself built some football / basketball posts for the sports field and Rachel worked with Mary, getting involved in some of the classes and activities around the school. Along with that we continued to work on some of the longer term projects such as establishing the child and teacher sponsorship scheme and renewable energy sources for the school and centre.

The team also had the privilege of sharing their testimonies with around 25/30 men and women from the area at a mens and ladies breakfast held on the Saturday and Monday of our visit. It was a real joy to be able to talk about how the good news of Jesus has changed our lives and pray for a number of people at the end. Again on Sunday afternoon we had a precious time worshiping, sharing and praying together with a number of folk from around the area, which concluded with us playing games and eating food together at Martin and Mary’s. It has been good to see so many familiar faces and continue to build and deepen our friendships.

It was also great to spend some time with Martin and Mary, talking and praying together about the future of the work at Montasoa. Clearly, over the last 30 years, God has used them to sow the seeds of the gospel into many peoples lives as they have loved and served their community in word and action. They have seen much fruit over this time, but I believe there is a greater harvest to be had in the coming days. My prayer remains that we will not only continue to care for Martin and Mary as they seek to serving the practical needs of a community – in seeing the school established – but that we will also play our part in seeing a thriving gospel community planted there in the years ahead.
There have been so many highlights for me on this trip, it’s hard to capture them all in one article. Probably one of the best things was getting to know the team from Redeemer a bit more and see God at work in their lives. It is amazing what you find out about people when you spend a prolonged period of time with them. Things like the fact that Phil is a food monster, especially when it comes to jams. Rachel can’t go more than an hour without a cup a tea. Gareth is a real hunter gatherer, especially on the plane, and Gary does some of the best impersonations I have ever seen.

All in all it has been a fun and very fruitful trip. We have all worked very hard, been very encouraged and feel very blessed to have been there and I look forward to hearing about and seeing all that God will do in the days ahead.

Grant Van Schalkwyk
(Elder – Redeemer Church)

Redeemer Church Office | St Barnabas Terrace | Plymouth PL1 5NN

Tel: 01752 568400

Charity No : 1125216   |   Company No : 6390847