While others chose to leave, one church chose to stay and invest more!
In 2011, the country just underwent a near civil war with the democratically elected leader of Madagascar being illegally removed from power by a French-backed thug who would undo the social and economic transformation that was beginning to take place in a country that had long suffered as one of the poorest countries in the world. While the world watched and did nothing, First Presbyterian Church of Orlando (FPCO) decided to transform its current mission in the country from only meeting social and spiritual needs, to sustainable mission, by training and supporting entrepreneurs that would contribute to the development of their own country while supporting the local church.
To accomplish this objective, after taking a Biblical Entrepreneurship class taught by Glenn Repple, Carol Hafer, FPCO Missions Director, decided to partner with the Nehemiah Project to use the business development system of Biblical Entrepreneurship training, Kingdom Business Coaching and access to compassionate capital as a part of their strategy.
My first trip here was in 2011with Carol Hafer, the visionary of the BE Madagascar initiative under the Leadership of Dr. Case Thorp, the Mission Pastor, and Dr. David Swanson, the Senior Pastor. When others were leaving the country, they chose to go in. Six years later, it is nothing short of a miracle for what is happening in Madagascar today.
This is just my second day here and each day I’m giving praise and glory to God for what has been accomplished. They have trained over 500 entrepreneurs, launched a Micro Loan Fund to fund Biblical Entrepreneurs (several of which have received funding), and several jobs have been created through the various businesses.
The political situation is still uncertain but the hope that I see in the leadership of BE Madagascar and those who have gone through Biblical Entrepreneurship is amazing.
BE Madagascar today has become Nehemiah’s leading international partner among the 20 countries where we have active programs. They have produced two first place international business plan competition winners and two-second place winners. Their goal is to win again this year, which would make them the country with the most first place wins in the history of international business plan competitions and they will get to permanently keep the trophy!
The President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Madagascar (a five-million-member church), who leads the program locally, says that Biblical Entrepreneurship is a part of their strategy to expand the gospel throughout every part of society while creating economic viability for their country. His is grateful for the partnership of FPCO and their commitment towards economic development with the gospel.
In the next two weeks, Carol and I will visit some of the businesses that have been created through Biblical Entrepreneurship, meet with government and church leaders to discuss strategies to expand the program throughout the country, attend the local national business plan competition that will identify the winner who will go to Orlando to compete for the International business plan competition, conduct strategic planning sessions and training with the leadership and teachers of BE Madagascar, conduct a special BE training for some of the larger companies in the country, conduct coaching sessions for some of the businesses, and produce a video documentary of the impact that BE is having in the church and the country.
While everyone was leaving the country, one church chose to take a risk, thinking outside the box, not just stay but increase their commitment. And today, there is hope in the midst of political uncertainty and jobs are being created in spite of a struggling macroeconomy. They are leading the way in spite of their difficulties, all because someone believed in them.
I will continue to update you on the trip so that you can pray with us and be encouraged to know that God is at work in Madagascar. Thank you to First Presbyterian Church of Orlando, the Church of Jesus Christ of Madagascar, the Nehemiah Board of Directors (who committed scholarship dollars to come alongside FPCO), and all of you who support our mission. This could not have happened without you.
– posted by: Patrice Tsague