First Pres is committed to creating sustainable partnerships in Madagascar. One of our strategic mission partners, the Madagascar Initiative is comprised of two important connections: The Church of Jesus Christ in Madagascar (FJKM) and the Biblical Entrepreneurship Initiative. 

This page highlighted the team as they traveled to Madagascar during the Fall of 2013.

October 28

The FJKM's development office, SAF, has a program with 90 co-op associations. There are 8-10 people per co-op who are the most vulnerable in society, many of whom are illiterate. After training by amazing SAF social workers, the co-ops are free to choose their own materials, products and set their own prices. They make a myriad of high quality goods that celebrate Malagasy culture and appeal both to tourists and Westerners. Then, the SAF social workers get the products to two distributors, one in California and the other in France, for market. Fair wages, fair treatment, empowerment and sustainable living. Sola Deo Gloria!

Please keep us in your prayers as we leave tomorrow for a very long journey home!

FPCO business leader, Dave Kagrise, shares his Christian business testimony with a Biblical Entrepreneurship (BE) class.

October 26

It's movie day from Madagascar! Presbyterian missionary, Dan Turk, describes the reforestation and nutrition project of Mahatsinja. Oh, and did we mention the nine hour round trip drive into the bush, the last five miles of which were off road? Muddy? And eager to get us stuck? Never a dull moment in Madagascar.

October 25

Today we visited three Biblical Entrepreneurship graduate's places of business to hear how BE has empowered them to grow.

October 24

By Dr. Case Thorp, Associate Pastor of Mission & Evangelism

Relationship. Relationship. Relationship. While other days are focused on engaging the poor and touring ministry projects, today was about sharing fellowship and discussing ministry strategy with dear friends in Christ.

We began a long day with meetings at the FJKM denominational offices. Pastor Marinasy (pic one, far left in sport coat) is the General Secretary. He is the head administrator just below President Lala who manages the major departments of the church. He gathered his entire staff to meet us and share about their amazing reach. One example: the church runs 573 schools for preschool through high school age!

President Lala welcomed us with great warmth to his beautiful office overlooking the city. After many one on one meetings between our team and their leaders, we treated the senior officers to a lunch together (I fed 33 people for $100!!).

We ended the afternoon with a meeting between a representative from Overseas Council, a long time partner with FPCO, and the dean and lead professors of the Faculte Theologie (Theological Seminary). I learned a tremendous amount listening to a Sierra Leon professor from Nairobi share with these Malagasy professors, several of whom were trained in the UK and US. All I can say...we have a great deal to learn from the Christians of the global south.

We ended the day with a lovely dinner in the home of Lanto and Malanto Rabry. Their beautiful home has a great view of the city, hardwood floors, spacious porches, and exquisite hosts. We were treated to a catered meal, fine conversation, and then best of all, their children performing a classical concert on the piano and violin. Another young man from their church played the classical guitar like no one I’ve ever heard.

We ended the night singing hymns together. They were unfamiliar with the hymn Amazing Grace. I shared the story behind the hymn with John Newton, William Wilberforce and the ending of the British slave trade. The story captivated their attention. We explained the verses with translation, and we sang it together. Again, I leaned volumes from my Africa family in Christ.

From their apartment we could hardly make out the opposite ridge due to the thick smoke blanketing a city full of tense expectation. Tomorrow are the first presidential elections since the coup of 2009. Expectations are mixed: some neutral, most negative. EU and AU observers suggest legitimate elections to me, an American, but sniff of colonialism and outside manipulation to others. The smoke is a non-confrontational, quite Malagasy, form of protest. People burn trees and wood to make their statement of objection and disapproval. All day we have prayed with our friends for peace, peace, peace, and for God's will to be done. I ask you, please, stop now and pray the same.

Beautiful classical guitar playing!

October 23

By Dr. Case Thorp, Associate Pastor of Mission & Evangelism

This morning we began with a meeting at the Beririka Girls' School. This ministry of the FJKM provides vocational training for impoverished and orphan girls who otherwise would have no trade. They greeted us with a beautiful rendition of 'Jesus Empowers Me'! I gave a meditation to the students on the denomination-wide verse of the day: 1 Chronicles 22:11-13.

Afterwards we toured the sewing class rooms, investigated products for possible export and sale, and met several girls who were blessed by the retreat led by FPCOers this past summer.

FPCO treated the Biblical Entrepreneurship (BE) leadership with lunch. We shared fellowship, prayer, and heard the business plans each candidate presented in the BE III competition. A second generation of students started a new cycle in August of this year. Our business men and women were paired with Malagasy counterparts and shared their spiritual insights to business with one another.

After lunch we visited two businesses impacted by the BE experience. One man began a computer assembly and sales business to accompany his kitchen installation business (I know, strange mix, but BE helped him evaluate his customer. People who install new kitchens also have the means to buy computers, and voila!) We ended the day with a visit to a 6,000 member church begun in 1869. Their pastor has started Rice for Jesus. Members donate a spoon-full of rice, it is sold to the poor for half the market rate, and proceeds benefit their mission budget! Great concept! We were impressed with their 'convertible sanctuary' in process of receiving a new roof. They meet sans-ceiling for a year as it is constructed!

What happens when you mix Malagasy toddlers and iPhone reverse image video? 

October 22

By Dr. Case Thorp, Associate Pastor of Mission & Evangelism

Upon arrival in Madagascar, our team was warmly greeted by Dan and Elizabeth Turk, Presbyterian missionaries. They welcomed us to their home for dinner on the grounds of the Ivato Seminary.

Ivato principal, Pastor Juliette (in pictures) proudly presented the children's playground that FPCO has helped renovate. Not only do the many children of married seminarians utilize the site, each weekend the grounds have become a picnic destination for the community. Allison Bratton and I simply had to try out the equipment! Still to come: finished fencing and shrubbery.

October 21


By Dr. Case Thorp, Associate Pastor of Mission & Evangelism

A long road is ahead of us. 26 hours of flying to get to a far away place, but one of great familiarity and love. Orlando to New York to Johannesburg to Antananarivo. There we will be greeted by long time friends, brothers and sisters in the Lord, who will welcome us and change us for the better.

Ken Uncapher, Dave Kagrise, Allison Beck, & Don Brown (not pictured) have heard the call and responded. Allison, Don, and I (Case) are Madagascar veterans eager to taste Malagasy food and again encounter the amazing harmonies of the singing in worship. Dave and Ken are experienced in global mission work, but first timers to Madagascar.

Prayer Requests:

  • Traveling mercies and generous attitudes.
  • Deep reflection for what is to come.
  • An openness to the Spirit with each gate agent, seat partner, and flight attendant we'll meet along the way.


  • The FPCO staff without whom we couldn't have gotten organized and ready: Carol, Robin, Judy, Debbie, Rick, Sarah, and more.
  • Families who send us with their blessings.
  • Supporters that make this trip possible for some.
  • Prayer warriors at home covering us.


Our Summer Madagascar Team posted a great journal along the way. Retrace their steps here.