A Kairos Moment In Madagascar
Kairos is an ancient Greek word meaning “the opportune time when all the right things are aligned for something magical to occur.” Although it is a moment of favor and divine grace, it is also a moment of great challenge and crisis that is able to turn into an opportunity if seized. In other words, a God moment. It is a time when Heaven’s possibilities intercept Earth’s challenges and creates an opportunity for transformation.
This was the case in 2009 when Carol Hafer, the newly hired Mission Director of First Presbyterian Church of Orlando (one of the Nehemiah Project’s church partners) traveled to Madagascar to assess one of their projects. While in Madagascar, the democratically-elected president, Marc Ravalomanana, was ousted by an oppositional leader who was determined to take power away from him. This led to an economic crisis for the country. Political instability has lasted four years and continues today to a certain degree, despite the fact they have a newly elected president. While it seemed like the worst time to consider whether new projects were viable in Madagascar, it was a kairos moment. It was a moment of great uncertainty, hopelessness and despair, but it was also at that moment that God chose to act. It is often in the dark that the light shines the brightest.
First Presbyterian Church of Orlando caught a vision for an innovative approach to missions. In 2010, Carol connected with Nehemiah Project and the Biblical Entrepreneurship (BE) program and developed a partnership to launch BE in Madagascar as a part of First Pres’ mission work there. When others, including the American government, seemed to be running out of Madagascar, First Presbyterian Church of Orlando was preparing to go in.
First Pres joined forces with their local partner, the Church of Jesus Christ in Madagascar (FJKM), a reformed church with 5,600 congregations and over 3.5 million members. FJKM, under the leadership of President Lala Rasendrahasina, took ownership of the program and appointed Pastor Hubert Rakoto as the individual to help champion the initial efforts. Their goal was to nurture the potential of the Malagasy people through entrepreneurship, instill a spirit of righteousness in the culture while creating sustainable opportunities for job creation, funding local mission projects and fueling evangelism.
Two years after certifying the first group of teachers, and in the midst of the tremendous political, economic, and social upheaval that resulted from a coup d’état, Biblical Entrepreneurship Madagascar has trained over 650 Biblical Entrepreneurs throughout the country. A number of them are already operating small to medium size kingdom enterprises in several industries including printing, manufacturing, agriculture, retail stores, finance, education, and import/export.
In 2012, a BE graduate from Madagascar produced a winning business plan that placed second in the International Biblical Entrepreneurship Business Plan Competition that was held in Portland, Oregon. Malanto Raybary’s business plan was to launch the first Christian credit union in Madagascar. As part of Phase I, she is in the process of creating a microfinance organization which will provide low interest loans and coaching support to local Biblical Entrepreneurs. To date Madagascar has even certified 28 BE Teachers.
In a country that often feels isolated and forgotten by the world because of its location and history, God is at work in the marketplace, and its people are determined to build transformational enterprises that create jobs and bring change to their country. With the on-going support of First Presbyterian Church of Orlando and the involvement of its business professionals, I believe Biblical Entrepreneurship can and will bring important change to the country of Madagascar.
Patrice Tsague is the Founder and President of Nehemiah Project International, and the author of the Biblical Entrepreneurship curriculum. Our relationship with our partners with the Nehemiah Project and in Madagascar is the result of prayer, generosity, lots of hard work on the part of our mission teams and God’s extraordinary goodness. If you would like to know more about how you can do business God’s way in your own city or around the world, visit beorlando.com
Be a part of Nehemiah Week: Come see our Malagasy friend, Manitra, compete in the International Business Plan Conference on Friday evening, September 19, or attend the one day conference on Kingdom Philanthropy, Saturday, September 20. For more information, go to:
This month, two of our Madagascar BE Leaders will be in Orlando for Nehemiah’s International Conference. Come hear firsthand about their projects, their plans for BE and life in Madagascar. Check fpco.org/madagscar for dates and times.