Bekily:  A warm welcome to strangers

OM Madagascar’s annual outreach, “Listen to Me Islands,” includes outreaches to three destinations in the southern and eastern regions of the country. The first leg of these outreaches was from August 7-17 in a city called Bekily. The town opened its arms widely to the strangers in its midst.

OM Madagascar’s annual outreach, “Listen to Me Islands,” includes outreaches to three destinations in the southern and eastern regions of the country. The first leg of these outreaches was from August 7-17 in a city called Bekily. This trip started well and finished way beyond the team's expectations.

In order to get to Bekily, an isolated place in the south of the big island, the team had to travel three days, including a stop in one major town to pick up some other participants. Although difficulties and challenges arose before arriving there – the bus broke down quite a few times along the way – the whole team received a warm welcome by the local churches upon their arrival. In this village, where witchcraft materials are sold in the market (as easily accessible as potatoes or beans), the team expected to find people traumatized by famine; instead they found people with generosity more fitting for a land flowing with milk and honey. This encouragement unified the team during their time in Bekily.

A prayer walk was initiated on the first day of outreach and ended up in the office of the mayor, who obliged the team for a few minutes and even prayed with them. God was preparing people’s hearts to be open and responsive to the gospel; the programs and events hosted by the team really had an impact. The people said they had never seen or experienced such a thing in their lives. The team was so touched by this statement that they resolved to carry out all ministry as if it was their last chance. The theme of self-sacrifice and servanthood taught during seminars, resounded across the community. The local people felt the reality of humility expressed by those “strangers” proclaiming the Word of God, as the team started off early one morning to engage with the locals while sweeping and cleaning the market.

 Although the outreach wasn’t all fun and games – some of it certainly was! Carnivals and competitions took away the monotony of daily life in Bekily – a place burdened by recent famine and where hopelessness looms under almost every roof. 

 The presence of the Almighty filled this broken region as many turned to Jesus and accepted Him as their Savior. Some were baptized and others threw away their idols and amulets in order to embrace new life found in Christ. When the team said their last goodbyes and prepared to leave, a massive crowd gathered to thank God and sent them on their way back home.

 

By OM International