Nosy Mitsio, Madagascar
A VISUAL JOURNEY
“There is such beauty on this island… but beyond that natural beauty, there is beauty in God’s best creation – people. The people of Antanamivony, our village, have welcomed us with huge open arms. They’ve allowed us to plant right beside them in their fields, they cook for us just about daily, give us fish, teach us, and LOVE us. We are so thankful that God has placed us where He has.”
Vary is the Malagasy word for rice, and it is the staple on Madagascar and the surrounding islands. In fact, more rice is eaten in the region per capita than any other place on earth. Here some of the Antakarana Outreach team members learn to harvest rice from one of their neighbors. “During our first week on Nosy Mitsio,” write Shawn and Angie, “our family ate plain rice three times a day, sometimes with fish water.”
Nosy Mitsio is part of an archipelago of about 12 other smaller islands off the northwest coast of Madagascar, only two of which are inhabited. The island is considered a hidden paradise, with miles of uninterrupted, pristine beach beside turquoise blue waters in a calm, coral bay.
“The kids have become much more comfortable in their life on the island,” write Shawn and Angie, “and have made great friends with the children in our village. [They] are learning [the local language] and our village loves it!”
Ancestor worship is a central part of Antakarana culture. In an event that happens only once every five years, the Antakarana light palm-leaf torches and make their way deep into a Royal Ancestral Cave for a special ceremony. “In the past they’ve sometimes lost people,” writes team leader Adam, “presumably from wandering into side passages without a light, and never found again.”
Relationships and sharing day-to-day life with the host community are at the heart of AIM team ministry. Here Angie serves bread with her Antakarana neighbors at a funeral. “Pray,” writes Shawn, “that as we share the Gospel with the Antakarana that their eyes would be opened and see the truth and be able to accept it with an open heart.”
Once rice season has passed, fishing becomes a primary means of making a living for many on the island. Sometimes that means an up-close look at a freshly caught shark.
Cool critters: it’s one of the perks of being a missionary kid.
Recently Shawn and Angie made their way to the top of a hill near their village. “It brought such amazing views of our little island, but what we enjoyed most about it was the view of our ‘corner’ of Nosy Mitsio. We were able to visualize the six villages, including ours, located on the northeast part of the island. We feel as though these villages are our family’s circle of influence. We want to use our family to serve this corner of Nosy Mitsio, our little corner of creation.”
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