Affected by the dark reality of hopelessness she’s encountered in Madagascar, Caitlin Red prays that God will do miraculous things amongst the Malagasy people.
Caitlin, a university student from Texas (U.S.), is spending a semester interning in communications with OM in Madagascar. From August - November, she’ll capture what God is doing through OM on this island off the coast of southeast Africa. The following is the fifth in a series, written by Caitlin, in which she shares her insights about what it’s like to serve on this diverse and exciting mission field.
The moment I set my foot on the bike pedal the rain started falling. It's going to be a long 10 kilometres, I thought to myself. It was during a recent outreach to Manakara, a city in southeast Madagascar, that I visited Maroala, a truly rural village of about 200 people that can only be reached on foot or by bicycle. After carrying the bike through a steep mudslide in the tropical rain, I started to doubt my decision that riding was a better alternative to walking. Nevertheless, 10 kilometres later I stood in the village of Maroala covered in mud and sand.
Though I had tried to mentally prepare myself, I was still shocked at the poverty in front of me. As I looked at the children with swollen bellies and mothers with hopeless looks in their eyes, I wanted to shut them out and cause my heart not to feel for them. The team had brought clothes for these people, which we passed out after a gospel presentation. Still, I was distressed that I had no food to offer, no immediate relief.
But I heard Jesus remind me: “I am the Bread of Life and Living Water; whoever comes to me will never be unsatisfied.” He's our great provider and ultimate satisfaction. Please pray with me that His name will be made great in the village of Maroala.
Since being in Madagascar, I've experienced things I never imagined I would—like riding a bike through the jungle. Most of these experiences have made for hilarious stories that I'll never forget, but some have broken my heart.
I never thought I would hear a little girl say she wanted to grow up to be a prostitute.
For instance, I never thought I would hear a little girl say she wanted to grow up to be a prostitute. But the dark reality is that prostitutes on the small island of Sainte Marie, off the northeast coast of Madagascar, appear to be the wealthiest and most satisfied individuals. They have the nicest clothes and the most customers. This little girl doesn't realise that these women are used, abused and hurting. She doesn't realise that she's been created with value. She hasn't been taught to dream beyond her small island home.
I felt so saddened by this little girl’s answer, thinking that if she only had more love and support, perhaps she would dream beyond prostitution.
Then it hit me: maybe the Lord looks upon us, His Church, and feels the same emotion. He has provided unfailing love and the unending support of a Father, yet what do our dreams look like? Can we see beyond our circumstances? Do we believe anything is possible with Christ, that He can really change a nation?
OM Madagascar’s vision is to empower Malagasy Christians "to run faster and fly higher" because we serve a big God who is capable of all things. Let us pray for this nation, interceding on their behalf for God to do miraculous and marvellous things among them.