My wife Alison and I arrived in Mandritsara, Madagascar, where a conference for 34 students at the local Baptist church was to take place. This is part of the training programme that the church and mission hospital runs for local Baptist pastors.
They learned how to preach, from Genesis 12 to 25, starting with seven steps from the text to the sermon, and moving on to introductory material on Genesis, and preaching from OT narratives.
The men prepared short sermons in groups of five; then at least two of them delivered what they had prepared to the class. I also surveyed church history, by getting the students to tell me which churches and cults could be found in Mandritsara. Then I did a timeline from the early church to the churches in Mandritsara today.
The men enjoyed it, although much was new to them. Living in villages with poor communication with the outside world, they have little opportunity to grasp the wider world and its history.
The following Sunday, I preached to 500 people at the main church service. I also spoke to the hospital staff and led the weekly Bible study.
The hospital is a remarkable ministry that achieves much with limited resources, although it is constantly looking for more medical staff to work there. At the centre of everything is the gospel, which is being made known all the time.
PTI ministry board