A song of grace for Sakalava

By October 5, 2015
Courtesy Photo of Africa Inland Mission

(Photo courtesy of Africa Inland Mission)

Madagascar (MNN) — Do you remember learning in school how stories were passed along orally, like through song? Did you ever think that in today’s world, with all of its marvelous technology, the gospel would need to be passed along the same way? If not, then you’re just like me.

Off the west coast of Madagascar there is a tiny island called, Nosy Be, home to the Sakalava tribe. In 2013, Tori Alverson and her TIMO (Training In Missionary Outreach) team went to the island to serve. But how do you give the Gospel to a group of people who are foreign to the church, speak a different language, and have no biblical resources available to them in their tongue? Well, you revert to the days of old, and prepare a song.

You see, within this community lived a group of misfit men who formed the band, Groupe Tsinfitaka. These men were considered trouble, and the TIMO team was warned to stay away from them. Yet, God had a plan. He used this group of misfits in incredible ways when Tori Alverson and her team asked them to write a song based on the Scripture the team’s leader, who was originally from Nosy Be, had translated.

Within one day, the song was written.

After this, Alverson knew “this was the start of God revealing Himself to this little island.” From there, translation became a priority for the team, supplying the group with more Scripture to create more songs.

Once enough resources were created from the translation process, team TIMO held an outreach event, which has become known as “The Gathering.” The Gathering was held

Courtesy Photo of Africa Inland Mission

(Photo courtesy of Africa Inland Mission

once a month in two villages and eventually grew to be in five different villages. At The Gathering, “the biblical narrative from creation to the Fall, redemption to restoration” was given, taught through readings, songs, and stories.

What began as a small village gathering turned into the first-ever Sakalava church, holding its first service on June 21, 2015. How amazing is it that this first church was created by God through those of the village others had avoided. It’s a ministry and church founded by God so the Sakalava can reach the Sakalava.

To learn more about the Sakalava and the work in Madagascar, click here.

To learn more about TIMO, click here.

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