Rocky Mountain Synod trip to Madagascar
planned for the summer of 2013
Application Form for Support Team
Three teams totaling two dozen people will join Bishop James Gonia for a three-week trip that will visit our four companion synods. The group will include people from high school age through adult. The trip will be a life-transforming opportunity to experience the Body of Christ in its global dimensions and to grow in your own faith as you experience the power of the Spirit in our Malagasy sisters and brothers.
The trip is expected to cost $5,000 – 6,000 per person; a more accurate trip price will be available in July 2012 when we have fixed the itinerary with our Malagasy partners. Tentative dates for the trip now are June 29 – July 20, 2013; these dates are also awaiting confirmation with Malagasy partners.
Support teams will covenant with trip participants as prayer partners, fund raisers and co-participants for planning ways in which the trip can transform people in our congregations. Applications and an information sheets are available here.
To apply, you will need to download and submit an Ambassador application plus a Support Team application. Be sure to also download and read the Information sheet.
Applications must be submitted by September 15, 2012 with a refundable deposit of $100; you may apply by scanning and e-mailing the form to us.
Please mail the deposit to the synod office and make sure that it clearly indicates the name of the ambassador applying. E-mail any questions about the trip to: firstname.lastname@example.org If you are considering applying, please send us an e-mail so that we can inform you of updated information (trip dates, cost, itinerary, etc.). Prayerfully consider this incredible opportunity and share this information with others!
Walking Together as Companions in Christ
It is a wonder to experience the bonds we have discovered with our brothers and sisters in Madagascar. Malagasy Christians glow with a passion for the Gospel of Jesus…...warm vibrant smiles expressing their love…rich harmonious voices raised in song…strong spirits able to rise above the economic poverty of their land. In our journey together the relationship between the Rocky Mountain Synod and our Companion Synods has moved from a formality to one of deep human connectedness and a shared bond rooted in the love of Christ.
The island of Madagascar is about as far away from the Rocky Mountain Synod as you can get geographically, culturally, and economically. The Rocky Mountain Synod has been privileged to share in relationship with four companion synods in the Malagasy Lutheran Church of Madagascar. The four companion synods are:
- Mahajanga Synod
- Antsiranana Synod
- Avaratra Atsinanana Synod
- Sofia Synod
The Antsiranana Synod celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary on November 13, and the Mahajanga Synod celebrated its own twenty-fifth anniversary on November 20, 2011.
Pastors Ron Roschke and Chad Kohlmeyer were in Madagascar these weeks representing our synod in these celebrations. They will also visit our newest companion, the Sophia Synod in Antsohihy. You can share in the celebration with a gift through your congregation to the RMS Seeds of Hope Fund, which supports special projects with Madagascar.
All four of our companion synods are located in the northern third of the island. The Lutheran presence in this part of Madagascar is the result of migration from the traditionally Lutheran southern parts of the island by people in search of work and fertile lands. They are powerful evangelists!
Three synods have experienced growth through their healing ministries and their zeal for the gospel. The Malagasy Lutheran Church’s Project Shalom is a health, literacy and agricultural ministry integrated with evangelism among Muslims in our partner synods and elsewhere in the country.
Betela Regional Seminary
Betela Regional Seminary serves all three of these synods and has been a primary focus of our financial support. Betela is included in the budget of the Rocky Mountain Synod and several fund raising projects have provided solar power and lighting, new student housing, an electric pump for the well, bikes for new pastors, and financial support for continuing education for their pastors, women theologians and catechists
The exchange of visitors has contributed significantly to the development of our companion synod relationship. Beginning in 1992, there have been nine major exchanges that have taken place. In recent years, the two camping programs of the RMS have had young people from Madagascar on their staffs. These exchanges have helped us build close personal relationships and a better understanding of the work of the Church in both cultural settings. Our most recent visit to Madagascar in June of 2005 numbered over twenty persons, and included high school and college-age students. In 2008, a group of Malagasy church leaders came to the RMS for the express purpose of sharing our faith stories with one another and engaging one another in conversation regarding our ministry contexts. This model was taken to seven different geographical areas in the Rocky Mountain Synod. Relationships grew deeper through these conversations.
All our activities with Madagascar are expressions of the ELCA’s mission philosophy of accompaniment. Accompaniment means “walking together in solidarity, characterized by mutuality and interdependence. In this walk we share gifts, experiences, and resources, but also advice and admonition that will assist both companions for expanding and deepening the capacity for ministry.”
Continuing the journey
As we look to the future we seek to grow in faith, mission and friendship with our companions in Madagascar. We ask you to join us.
Pray for the people and their powerful witness to the Gospel in a country which is just 50% Christian. Pray for the pastors and other leaders who serve in the midst of extreme poverty and all its accompanying challenges. Pray for our ELCA missionaries who serve in health care, education and leadership development in partnership with the Malagasy Lutheran Church. Give generously to special projects that allow us to share from our abundance. Receive the gifts of passion and zeal for the Gospel that spills forth in effective evangelism demonstrated by these Malagasy Lutheran Christians. Learn more about our companion synods through one of the many previous visitors eager to visit your congregation and from resources available on the RMS and ELCA websites.
"In Christ there is no East or West..."