Women of the Church in Madagascar

The PCUSA group gathered at Akany Gazela girls home with members of the Mangoro Moramanga Synod

We drove 3 1/2 hours from the capital city of Antananarivo to the community of Moramanga.  Fifteen minutes into the trip, we realized that one of our leaders, Mission Co-Worker Elizabeth Turk, was not in either vehicle.  She had been left behind back at the hotel and phones were not working.  Elizabeth is a very resourceful person and hopped into a taxi, catching up to us at a Total Petrol Station where Kirk was happily buying a motor oil container for his collection.  So the bit of lost time was in no way wasted and maybe a lesson was learned about checking that the whole group was actually on board?!

Pastor Dyna Rafaramalala, head of “Dorkasy,”  FJKM’s Women of the Church organization, joined our journey to speak extensively about the impressive scope of projects “Dorkasy,” a.k.a.the National Women’s Ministry, has undertaken to advance women in Madagascar over the past 50 years.  Their 50 year Jubilee Celebration is currently in planning mode to happen in 2019.   They are building and planning to dedicate a second women’s dormitory in Northern Madagascar like the one where we met in Moramanga.   The dormitory in Moramanga, known as “Akany Gazela” was funded in part by a PC(USA) Presbyterian Women’s Offering of $50,000.  The home provides safe housing, tutoring, and life skills at the dormitories for secondary girls some distances from their homes.  In addition, Pastor Dyna and Pastor Miora Raveloharison, the director of Akany Gazela, noted that the home protects the girls from early marriage, a tactic used by the growing Muslim community in Madagascar to add to their numbers.
Another amazing project of the Dorkasy is their  every 4-year National Dorkasy Gathering where the attendance for the four to five day meeting is 20,000 and more.  These are women who help with orphanages, the care of abandoned children, recycling, literacy for women, national disasters like cyclones, the plague and much more.
What do you love about life? Serve that.
What fills you with joy? Serve that.
There isn’t enough love and joy in the world,
but those are the spiritual and soul forces that nurture life.
May peace fill your entire being.
Contributed by Barbara Clark of First Presbyterian Church, Pendleton, OR

About the Travel Study Seminar –

The Presbyterian Church (USA)’s partner, the five million-member Church of Jesus Christ in Madagascar (known by its Malagasy acronym, FJKM), has multifaceted and holistic ministries that seek to respond to the challenges of poverty, human exploitation, social and political conflict, and environmental degradation as an integral part of what it means to follow Christ.

A group of ten US Presbyterians is visiting Madagascar November 7 to 17 under the auspices of the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program and Environmental Ministries to learn more about the FJKM’s various ministries of reconciliation and peace-building, as well as its efforts to promote sustainable human development whilst protecting the integrity of creation.

The group includes Rev. Carl Horton, the coordinator of the Peacemaking Program, and Douglas Tilton, the PC(USA)’s Regional Liaison for Southern Africa. In-country leadership is provided by PC(USA) Mission Co-workers Dan and Elizabeth Turk and two representatives of our FJKM hosts: Pastor Lala Rasendrahasina, the immediate past President of the FJKM, and Pastor Lala Nirina Rakotoarisoa, the former head of the FJKM’s Chaplaincy Program.

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