Area: 587,041 sq km
The world’s 4th largest island 1,600 km long in the Indian Ocean 600 km off the coast of Mozambique; a great degree of flora and fauna is unique to Madagascar.
Population: 20,146,442 Annual Growth: 2.72%
Official language: Malagasy, French and English (though not widely used) Languages: 20 All languages
Largest Religion: Christian
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Madagascar is locked in a battle with poverty, even though it is often called the 8th continent and is rich in ecology, ethnicity and history. The majority live on an average of less than $1US/day and survive by subsistence agriculture. The common slash-and-burn technique is destroying the rainforest cover as well as many unique plant and animal species. About 80% of the original rainforest cover has already been lost. Repeatedly, cyclones further hamper development and destroy property. Pray for appropriate and sustainable development that lifts people out of poverty, and for a long-term approach to this complex challenge.
Christian support ministries. Pray for increased impact of the following:
a) Aviation ministry. Because much of the land is inaccessible, the ministry of MAF and Helimission is very strategic in flying workers and supplies to the places of greatest need. MedAir and several secular aid agencies benefit from these organizations.
b) Bible translation. The Protestant Malagasy Bible has been available since 1836. A revised modern version, using more current Official Malagasy, has been produced by various collaborating denominations. Currently, only the official Merina dialect has the Bible; translation work is ongoing in 10 different Malagasy languages. The Bible Society (UBS) has a widely recognized ministry and a vigorous distribution programme, but lack of foreign exchange limits importation and printing of the Scriptures. The Childrens Bible is also a popular resource as is the Bible on mobile phone; a high proportion of Malagasy use mobile phones routinely.
c) Christian literature is in short supply. There are few good spiritual books in Malagasy. The Lutherans and Catholics have printing presses, but they badly need modernizing. Quality Christian material that speaks to the Malagasy mindset is also needed.
d) Audio Scriptures are vital in a country where literacy is below 50% and functionally as low as 30%, which makes all the more valuable resources such as FCBH and audio teaching in 13 languages on offer through GRN, GNM and UBS.
e) Christian radio. Christian programmes such as those by UBS and SU are regularly aired on national and many local FM stations in the larger urban centres, but organization and consistent quality programmes remain a need. Avotra, a local ministry, has a radio station in Nosy-Be with good local impact. HCJB has helped to set up a number of the FM stations in different parts of the island. Both TWR and the Adventists broadcast in Plateau Malagasy. Most crucial is providing isolated rural peoples with radios and radio transmissions that reach them; the cities are well covered already.
f) The JESUS film is now available in seven languages, the result of recent translation work. Five more are in progress. Pray for its effective use.
For an additional 8 Challenges for Prayer see Operation World book, CD-ROM, or DVD-ROM.
The Operation World book, CD-ROM, and DVD-ROM provide far more information and fuel for prayer for the people of Madagascar.