New Life members serve in MadagascarNew Life Lutheran Church members Ron and Lorraine Simpson recently returned from a short-term mission trip to Antananarivo, Madagascar.
By: Laura Hanson, For the Budgeteer News
New Life Lutheran Church members Ron and Lorraine Simpson recently returned from a short-term mission trip to Antananarivo, Madagascar.
Sponsored by New Life, the Simpsons were part of an inaugural team sent by Friends of Madagascar Mission (FOMM) to support programs of the Malagasy Lutheran Church. The team also included a former Madagascar missionary who now lives in North Dakota, and three Chicago-area residents, including the president of FOMM.
The Simpsons will give a Powerpoint presentation about their mission trip during the Education Hour at 10:15 a.m. Sunday, July 21, at New Life Lutheran, 4424 Venture Ave.
“Ministry, Mission, Madagascar: A Pilgrimage of Hope,” entailed visiting prisons, schools, churches, seminaries and a leprosarium in three cities to share the message of God’s love through Jesus Christ. According to FOMM, more than 52 percent of the population hold to indigenous beliefs commonly known as ancestor worship.
The team researched how FOMM can best serve the Madagascar people through three specific projects of the Malagasy church: prison ministry, evangelist training and a nutrition program with Ejeda Hospital. The team stayed in a compound built decades ago by the Norwegian Mission Society.
“We thought we were prepared to see the poverty,” Ron said, “but it was overwhelming and everywhere. The people have a beautiful spirit despite their struggles trying to eke out a living.” Lorraine was especially moved by a young woman holding a baby who approached the team’s vehicle the first day to beg for money.
As musicians, the Simpsons were delighted to present two guitars and a drum donated by New Life and the Simpsons’ musical group Faith Journey to the director of the prison ministry. Their favorite gift, however, was giving Lorraine’s Bible to the prison director, Denise.
“Denise wanted to improve her English,” Lorraine said. “Reading the same passage in her Malagasy Bible and the English Bible will be of immeasurable value.”
The Simpsons are not new to the mission field: They have led monthly worship services at the Union Gospel Mission for 15 years and regularly lead praise services at local nursing homes with Faith Journey.
This trip, however, was their first international venture.
This marked the third group of New Life members sponsored in part by the church to serve on short-term mission trips this year. Last March, Christy Rice and her teen son Gabe served in Huehuetenango, Guatemala, as part of a medical/surgical team with HELPS International. In May, Amy Johnson and Debra Parks served in Kondopoga, Russia, as English teachers with the Friendship English Language Camp sponsored by the East European Mission Network.
For more information about mission programs at New Life, visit the website at www.newlifelc.org.
Submitted by Laura Hanson of New Life Lutheran Church.