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The Madagascar Antanananarivo Mission consists of three islands: Madagascar, Mauritius, and La Reunion (the latter, an island belonging to France). Positioned on the south-eastern side of Africa, these islands are of tropical climate with central highlands, grassy plains, rainforest, and beautiful coasts. Similar to any third world country, many of the residents in these countries survive with very little and walk long distances to get water. The people, however, are kind and friendly.
The first member in Madagascar, Razanapanala Rameandricso, was baptized in France in 1986 and then returned to his home country of Madagascar in 1989. From here, Rameandricso spread the gospel, teaching small groups of people in his home. Rameandricso contacted the nearest mission president, President Girard Giraud-Carrier of the Mascarene Islands Mission, to come and visit the country. Near the end of 1990, President Giraud-Carrier visited the country and five converts were baptized. In 1993, the church received legal status in Madagascar.
Today, church membership is just over 9,000 members, with two stakes and two districts. Missionaries, about 60 for the country, continue to spread the gospel.
As a missionary in Madagascar, expect to eat rice everyday with a side dish of meat or vegetables. Fresh fruits range from litchis to native berries.
Missionaries typically walk and use local bus transportation.
See Madagascar’s crime and safety report
Manakory or salama-Hello in Malagasy
Bonjour-Hello in French
Wear quality shoes. Missionaries there walk a lot and will need durable shoes.
A good raincoat is recommended to withstand the rainy season.
Small hand sanitizer bottles are essential to pack and use constantly.
Bring a small, lightweight proselyting bag.
Straight from the Madagascar Antananarivo Mission:
*What items were hard to get or not available?
“Peanut butter, root beer, fresca, tampons (TMI, I know, but it’s crucial for sister missionaries!), good candy/cookies, cake, brownies, boxed meals (nonexistent), mac & cheese”
*What did you eat the most of?
“Cocacola, rice, rice, rice, beef, ramen noodles, tropical fruits”
*What is the craziest thing you ate?
“Nasty tripe. I know it’s common in other places, but when it’s done in Madagascar, it’s the nastiest thing on the planet! Other elders who were more brave at cow tongue. Yuck!”
*What was most surprising about the culture?
“The poverty and the extremely horrible living conditions. No indoor plumbing. No real houses. Just brick huts. But also how humble the people are and how accepting they are of the message of the gospel. They’re ready. ”
*What advice would you give to someone going to the Madagascar Antananarivo Mission?
“For sisters, bring tampons and floss and the most sturdy shoes you can find. They’ll break a few times in the mission, but there are cobblers on every street corner to fix your shoes for 50 cents. ”
*What do you wish you had known before you served?
“That I would be sent to both the French island of La Reunion and also to Madagascar, and that I was going to have to learn two languages. I also wish that I had known that I was going to have to deal with a “European” mentality in the French island. No one will accept the gospel. I also would have liked to know more about the religions in Madagascar and in Reunion beforehand. In Madagascar, everyone is evangelical. In Reunion, everyone is different: Muslim, Hindu, Catholic, Malbar (yes, it’s a religion.) ”
“If you’re sent to the mission French speaking, you’ll most likely go to Reunion first. But if you’re sent Malagasy speaking, then you’ll be sent to Madagascar. But missionaries are often transferred via plane to other islands in the mission that speak a language different than what you learned in the MTC. So be prepared for anything!”
**Did you serve in the Madagascar Antananarivo Mission? If so we would love to hear your advice and your stories! Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org**