ANALALAVA, Madagascar

Dan is now involved in a new project working with several branches of the PC(USA)’s partner church in Madagascar, the Fiangonan’i Jesoa Kristy eto Madagasikara (FJKM).

The new project will help the church explore how it can help protect creation and how it can implement innovations in growing fruits and vegetables so that they can benefit pastors, congregations, and  branches of the church. 

The new work builds on the course in practical gardening and growing fruits that Dan and colleagues have taught at the Ivato seminary for the past seven years. As part of that course new pastors received fruit trees to plant at their new churches. 

A new component will be the installation of intensive vegetable gardens at the Ivato seminary to both help the students get good healthy food and help them improve their gardening skills.

Training will be extended in 2014 to the Fianarantsoa seminary. Other trainings will take place in regional synods and at meetings of various branches of the church. At churches, church schools, seminaries, and other church properties native trees will be planted for beautification and environmental education to help people know about the wonderful world that God created in Madagascar and the need to protect that creation from extinction.

Another new component of the project will be follow-up with pastors after they graduate from seminary. The new project will work with some of the pastors who received training in the past to explore how their skills in growing fruits and vegetables can best be used to help the work of the church and surrounding communities.

Pastor Benja Rakotondrainibe, Evangelist at Analalava, is one of the pastors who will benefit from the new project. Pastor Benja graduated from Ivato seminary in 2011 and became an FJKM evangelist pastor in Analalava in northwest Madagascar.  

The next year he came back to Ivato to get his 10 fruit trees to plant. Unfortunately, on his trip home his bus had an accident and Pastor Benja returned to the capital in a coma with a fractured skull. Fortunately he recovered.

He got new trees and planted them near the church at Analalava. The existing FJKM church is 3 km from the town of Analalava and serves a community of believers mostly from outside the area. Pastor Benja is reaching out to the Sakalava people of the Analalava area and will be planting the cornerstone of a new church in downtown Analalava later this year. 

There are many Sakalava who have become Christian and who have been ostracized from their families. Pastor Benja sees the need to help them develop sources of income, and he recognizes the potential of fruits and vegetables to be helpful in his evangelization efforts.

Later this year Dan and colleagues will visit pastor Benja at Analalava to better determine how the new project can be of help.

To visit the web pages of all Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) mission workers, visit Mission Connections.