Teaching Sunday school in Madagascar is an exciting experience

Teaching Sunday school in Madagascar is an exciting experience.  It is a special call like no other.  The only tool the teacher has is the Bible.  

In most of our Churches, children are the majority.  Sadly, some of these children have no one to teach them, but these children hunger and thirst for righteousness.  The few teachers are so committed to meet these children and transform their lives.  This means that the teacher must also be growing in their prayer life and seek to have a Christ-like character.  Given the limited resources in teaching materials and aids, one has to be very creative on how to pass the message to the young ones.  Especially, that most teachers have the zeal to teach but have not yet had enough training.  And so as the children’s coordinator, my first task was to train Sunday school teachers with basic teaching skills and how to develop a growing spiritual life.


For a long time, we did not have a teaching guide for the teachers and each had to do their own way.  Others would just sing with or just do a bible reading with the children until time is up and they go home.  It is only recently that we have adopted a book that we use as a guide but we are still in the process of designing a guide book that meets the needs of the children and teach the spiritual needs of the children.

A typical teaching session will include song and dance, prayer and thereafter a Bible lesson and a time of giving offering to God.  These are children who go through many issues and challenges in life for example, some come from single-parent families(and they feel that they miss either the father’s or mother’s love), divorced families, alcoholic parents, some drop out of school to help fend for their families etc.  With such a background, when they come to Sunday school, they would like not just to hear good Bible stories but also to learn how God will walk with them through these challenges in life.  And so after the teaching, we usually have a prayer session where we pray for the children individually for the Lord to intervene in their lives and that of their families.  We not only pray for them but we teach them to pray as well.

Teaching does not end in class though.  The teachers also visit these children at their homes during the week just to see how they are doing and pray with their families as too.  The teachers sometime offer advice to the parents concerning parental issues.  And is some cases, the teacher has to dip into their pocket to support a family that is needy.  At times, the teachers play the role of parents.  You will discover that some parents have no time for their children.  So we give the children a listening ear and give direction in how and what they should do.  The children on the other hand have developed trust in return and have become very open with the teachers and can speak to us about every issue they are facing at school, at home, or in their lives.  And the teachers are more than happy to give advice or have a talk with the parent.

Children, being good evangelists, we also teach them to bring their friends to faith and every once a while we organize an outreach for the kids and they go out to the village and bring their friends to church. That is why the number of the children is ever increasing. And even some of their parents have started coming to church and have become devoted Christians at the invitation of their children.


Just recently, we had the very first children’s conference in the Diocese, and it was awesome.  These children prepared for a competition where everyone had to show their ability in remembering the Bible stories accurately, memory verses and songs.  Their teachers were trained in Rooted in Jesus which is a very contextual disciple program for the kids.  This I believe will catapult the teachers to a new level in teaching as well as enable the children to grow in their faith.  As they interacted with their friends, one could see the joy they had.  One of the kids approached me and said, “teacher, I just want to stay here and not go back home again.”  That showed that they really enjoyed their time and fellowship with the new found friends and the teachers.

The work of teaching children takes a lot of patience and commitment but brings joy.  Especially, when you see a child growing from a point of naivety to a level of spiritual maturity and that they can teach others, it brings a sense of accomplishment to the teacher.  Being with them is always a reminder to us that the Kingdom of God is for those who are like children when you see their sincerity, love, humility etc.  And at the same time, one must be very careful lest one gives a bad example to them because that is what they will grasp.  Both the teacher and the children seek, serve and follow Christ.   

By Nolavy Osoro                       

Tremendous News!

Bishop Todd writes:
“I have just received official word that the Archbishop of the Indian Ocean and the House of Bishops have approved and accepted the candidate: Rev. Canon RAZAFINDRALAMBO Samitiana Jhonson as the new assistant bishop of the Diocese of Toliara.  PRAISE THE LORD!

Another glorious event in which we can celebrate the Lord’s doing.

Thank you Lord for guiding and directing us this year.  Thank you for raising up another leader for the Diocese of Toliara!  May you help him and his family during this transition.”

Click here to read more about Rev. Canon Samitiana


Welcome New Missionaries – Derek & Jane Waller!

Welcome New Missionaries – Derek & Jane Waller!

              Derek & Jane Waller
in Yei, South Sudan

We welcome Church Mission Society missionaries, Rev Derek & Jane Waller, from England who are coming to the Diocese shortly.

Please pray for Jane’s visa to come through as soon as possible.  (They already have Derek’s).  Pray also that they will learn the language swiftly and easily, and that all travel will be straightforward.

Derek will be working with local pastors and lay leaders to disciple Christians and grow the church.  They plan to stay for three years, after which they hope to hand over to local Christians.

They worked with CMS in the 1980s in South Sudan. In the 23 years after they returned to the UK, Derek was ordained and served in three parishes.  Jane worked in adult education and was also a magistrate.  But they never lost their passion for mission across cultures. When the opportunity came to return to South Sudan to be involved in theological education they believed that this was the call of God.  Sadly they were only there for 18 months before civil war broke out.

How have they got from South Sudan to Madagascar? The short answer is through many tears and much prayer. In the months after leaving South Sudan, they grieved for the friends they will not see and the work they will not complete. However, a chance meeting with Bishop Todd McGregor led to an invitation to the Diocese of Toliara. They accepted and are now excited about starting a new mission adventure in their 60s!


Derek & Jane with their students, the local Bishop, the College Principal and visitors from Duke University







Rooted in Jesus

Rooted in Jesus

40 teachers and over 100 children graced the Cathedral Complex for Sunday School workshop and receiving Rooted in Jesus teachings. The Holy Spirit was flowing. Each District/Church presented plays, skits, songs…..there was tremendous joy all around praising God!!!!!




Small Gifts Making a Big Difference

Small Gifts Making a Big Difference

The World Bank’s estimate is that 70% of Malagasy live on less than $1 a day. SAMS Missionaries have been called to serve the people of Madagascar.

The Malagasy community is all too easily forgotten by most of the world, but your generous monetary contributions have allowed churches to be built, families to be fed, children to go to school, and student evangelists to spread the Gospel.

You might believe that your donations are minuscule but be assured they are not. Recently, a local priest approached the Rev. Patsy McGregor and thanked her genuinely for a clerical collar she had given him years prior. She was astonished he was still able to remember the small gift that she had completely forgotten. He proceeded to tell her how the collar was damaged by an electrical fire that destroyed 300 homes in his village. His eyes were sad and Patsy could tell the importance of the collar to him. He was so grateful, and to him this was a great treasure to possess for his calling and a reminder of hope in his life.

This priest’s story is an example of how even a small and seemingly unimportant gift to us can change the trajectory of another human. Your Missionaries in Madagascar were only able to give to this local priest because of the sacrificial donations from people like you. Someone like you first gave the McGregors extra collars and subsequently they could give collars to those in need.

Today Jacky Lowe a SAMS candidate is preparing to serve in Madagascar alongside the McGregors. After serving as a short-term Bridger, the Lord has called her long-term there. She will be working in the Women’s Center in the Diocese of Toliara teaching skills like sewing and cooking in order to help women start their own businesses. Would you prayerfully consider supporting Jacky and this ministry? May the Lord bless you all and guide you as you continue to be a blessing to others. Thank you for changing people’s lives in Madagascar.



God calls us to mission. We are chosen. How we answer the call is the important part of the equation.

Jacky Lowe

SAMS Missionary to Madagascar

Hope Among Turmoil: Mission in Madagascar

Hope Among Turmoil: Mission in Madagascar

By Kevin & Rev. Donna Steckline – Christ Episcopal Church, Gilbertsville NY, Episcopal Diocese of Albany.

When we arrived in Madagascar and got off the plane, we immediately saw poverty, garbage strewn streets, blank faces and stares at each street corner.  We realized the reality of the starving world right in front of us, the same as if we were in Sudan, Haiti or any other third world country.

The same feelings well up inside me bringing me close to tears as in times past, asking the Lord, “How can I help these people?  What can I offer in order to help this mass of poverty and illness that is before me?”

Ladies stripping the leaves from a tree to cook and put over rice – commonly used for blood pressure issues.

We soon arrived in Toliara, the 5th largest city in the country but has limited industry, and the poverty is starkly apparent, even more than it was in the Capital.  Bp. Todd and Patsy started with 3 churches in 2006. They have established 80 churches in 10 years in a diocese that is the size of Florida. It takes 6 days to travel through the diocese.  Unfortunately, the ratio is only one priest for 10 churches and transportation is mostly by foot or bicycle.  The Diocese of Toliara has 1.5 million people who are “Food Insecure.”  This means they do not know where their next meal is coming from, which became very apparent when examining the children and the elderly in the medical clinics.

We traveled to five different locations for the clinics, serving the many people who came for care.  Many of the patients, both young and old had diseases that have progressed well past the available treatments.  Many needed diagnostics that just are not available in the local area and people cannot travel to the capital nor could they afford to, so they suffer.  We saw mothers with malnourished children with no social support systems to obtain food or formula for their babies, so they are fed a rice gruel that has minimal nutritional value.

Praying for patients before they see the doctor.

We witnessed children who were 1-2 years old, not yet walking with flaccid extremities and could hardly keep their head up to nurse due to malnutrition.

Despite this turmoil, there is a community of hope, set in the midst of deep darkness and despair, severe poverty and starvation.  It is a community which has been planted by Bp. Todd and Rev. Patsy McGregor as they planted this new diocese of Toliara. Today there is a cathedral and gathering place in the diocese. Malagasy have come to worship, learn skills to start their own business, and participate in training for evangelism. They are filled with the hope of Jesus Christ and they grow in their faith and come together as a community.

The Malagasy people, as a population are in the same situation across the diocese.  Their faith gives them hope for the future.  Perhaps God’s ultimate plan for us is a ministry of presence.  We walk alongside our brothers and sisters assuring them that their toil is remembered by us, we have not forgotten them; they remain on our hearts. “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for and the conviction of things not seen,” (Hebrews11:1) so we remain hopeful.

Click here for original story and more about Madagascar.