Since the beginning of the Good News Hospital in Mandritsara, its priority has been that of Gospel outreach. Together with the local Baptist church, it began to support church planting in local villages. The first church plant was in the village of Ambodimadiro. Evangelism started in 1995 and a church was established in 1996.
At first, the church was well attended but as some key members moved to live in Mandritsara, the numbers dwindled until only one lady, Catherine was the sole Christian going to church. Yet, for 5 years she went on Sundays, opened the church, and sat reading her Bible and praying. Twice a month she travelled for an hour to the nearby village of Beangezoka to meet and have fellowship with the little group of believers there. In 2003 Christine, a member of Catherine’s extended family, came to live in Ambodimadiro. As a Christian too, Christine started attending the little church with Catherine. For years, they prayed for their husbands and children.
Until the start of this year 2023, there were still only 5 baptised members of the church – Catherine and her husband Edmond, Christine and her husband Rakotojaona and another lady Maman’i Christina. Early this year, the little church in Ambohimandroso, near the Good News Hospital was approached by a missionary and asked if they would consider sending a representative to preach in Ambodimadiro once a month. The church readily agreed and so, on the last Monday in March, a little band of 4 (Mr Sarindra, his wife Claudia, Bako and Debbie) set off on the wet and muddy road en route to Ambodimadiro.
Not long after they set off, they were stopped by an ox-cart which was going to Ambodimadiro. The driver agreed to taking Claudia and all their backpacks with him. Due to the state of the road, those in the ox-cart were not travelling any faster than those going on foot. So, as the rest of the team walked, they could hear Claudia, starting from creation, explaining the good news of the gospel to the driver of the ox-cart.
The following month, Catherine explained to the Ambohimandroso team that God had blessed Claudia’s witness and that the ox-cart driver’s wife, her daughter, and a friend had come to church the following Sunday and were still coming. Also, Maman’i Christina’s husband, Patrick, for whom we had been praying for many years, had also started to come to church during April. During the past 5 years, both Catherine and Christine have followed and now finished the T.E.E. (Theological Education by Extension) programme, started by a missionary several years ago. This year, there is a new intake and a further 4 from the church in Ambodimadiro have signed up. There is a hunger here to know God and His Word.