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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
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! Several of the 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 four 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
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.”
Walk with our siblings in Christ in Madagascar and celebrate God's love around the globe. The trip will start late in May 2020 and travel for 16 days through much of the north of the country.
This is not a sightseeing trip or a service trip but participants will be ambassadors from the Rocky Mountain Synod walking alongside with our friends, building relationships with seminarians, and experiencing the work of the church through our companion synods.
Download the application (here) and return it by October 31. The cost of the trip is estimated to be $5,000 per person. Refer to those listed on the documents if you have further questions. This is one of those life-changing opportunities that you should prayerfully consider and take the leap to experience. Questions can be directed to the 2020 Madagascar Trip Planning Team:
- Pr Brad Doty
- Pr Diana Linden-Johnson
- Pr Paul Judson
- Deacon Erin Power
Seeds of Hope
Since April 2002, congregations and individuals have contributed to the Rocky Mountain Synod Companion Synod Project providing funds for solar lighting and power at Betela Lutheran Regional Seminary, bicycles for pastors, and funding for theological conferences which allow Malagasy pastors and women theologians to gather for discussion and support. Since its inception, Seeds of Hope has generated over $200,000 for projects in Madagascar.
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..."