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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Less-reached areas and peoples:
a) The northern and southern extremities of the island host the least evangelized of the Malagasy peoples. Animism prevails with strong Muslim influence in the north and northwest, and 80% of the south is still non-Christian. Inaccessibility is the greatest challenge, and missionaries have thus far failed to penetrate these regions effectively. Malagasy evangelists travel for days to reach such villages pray for health, bicycles, finances and faith for them.
b) Malagasy ethnic religion dominates among the Sakalava in the west, Tsimihety in the north, Tandroy and Tanosy in the south as well as the Betsimisaraka, Antesaka, Antemoro and Tanala. These are just the larger groups. Shaman healers and witchcraft abound, and demonic oppression is common. Some mission organizations are actively targeting these areas: NMS, AIM, IMB, the Anglicans and others. Pray for the love and power of Christ to be demonstrated to these people groups.
c) Muslims are growing in numbers among Sakalava groups on the west coast, the Antemoro in the east and the Antankarana in the north. Extensive Islamization efforts abound; mosque building, radio broadcasts and offers of education are gathering momentum. Folk Islam is the norm. Pray that these peoples are not abandoned to Islam by the Church. Specific outreach to Muslims, though very limited, is proving fruitful; pray for more. The Lutheran Church has a vigorous outreach through the Shalom programme, and AIM has started a ministry among the Sakalava and Bara.
d) Ethnic minorities. Pray for the Muslim Comorians, Gujaratis and Arabs, with few known believers among them.
The Protestant mission force remains smaller than the formidable needs and challenges. Most urgent is the need for more pioneer workers to go to areas where health and living conditions are difficult. Long-term commitment to and love for the people, their language and their culture is needed; short-term outreaches abound but their lasting impact has yet to be established. Trainers and teachers are still needed. The endemic poverty means that there are plentiful opportunities in aid, development, vocational training, education and health. Many expatriates are committed to ministry with and for existing indigenous denominations in these capacities. Largest mission agencies: AIM, Norwegian Mission, AoG, CCCI, Loving Concern International. Two indigenous Christian associations (AMEN in Fianarantsoa and CEMI in Tulear) seek to address the overwhelming social problems from a Christian worldview. The Lutherans and FJKM do excellent work in health care and education.
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.