Death in Madagascar
I know… not such a nice title nor subject. Nonetheless death in Madagascar is a huge reality. In one of the poorest countries of the world with little resources and most living in poverty, death is too common. Death from preventable and treatable diseases and conditions. Death that would have never happened had the person been living in a place of opportunity and quality medical care, a place like America.
The last three weeks we’ve been praying for a dear friend of ours, Maman’i Petana, who is dying. She is the oldest sister of our main ministry partner and is like family. Cancer has wreaked havoc on her body and she doesn’t have the resources for treatment at one of only a few hospitals in the country that may have something to offer. As I type this, she is lying in her small hot tin house, surrounded by her family 24 hours a day. The day is near. Too near. We spoke with Maman’i Petana last week. We cried with her on the phone. We told her we loved her and were praying for her. We told her good-bye. Death in Madagascar.
Less than 8 years ago, Maman’i Petana lost her only child to death. Petana was a teenager; a genuinely really cool kid. He was living with his aunt and uncle (both really close friends and ministry partners of ours) in the remote fishing village of Mahabana where it was still taboo Jesus Christ and the Bible. Petana was one of the few that would openly declare his faith in Christ. In the most blatant act of physical persecution in Mahabana, a local man in the village added poison to the family’s rice in an attempt to kill Petana and his aunt who was and still is, a key leader of the church. The two became violently ill and after a number of days, left with the first boat back to the city, a 3-5 day journey. While en route, Petana died due to the poisoning. His aunt, Maman’i Aby remained sick for over a year. Death in Madagascar.
This week we spoke with Josy, a main ministry partner in Madagascar. He just returned from the same remote village of Mahabana. He shared the news that a young man we recently met died last week. He was 24 years old. The condition that he lived with for 11 years was treatable. But he lacked the financial resources and he lived in too remote of a village for the medical and surgical care that he needed. Death in Madagascar.
Indeed, death is far too much a part of daily life in Madagascar. The need for quality medical care is overwhelming and the need is urgent.
Please pray for our friends and their families. Pray for Maman’i Petana who is suffering and in great pain. Pray for peace for her and her family- all of whom are Christ followers. Pray for the family of our young friend who passed away last week. Pray for Madagascar.
Maman’i Petana carrying our then 7 month old Isabella on her back, Malagasy style. (2006)
Maman’i Petana still joyful in the Lord. (2011)
Petana, second from left, was a strong believer and one of the few who would openly declare his faith in Christ and read his Bible in public. (2001)
The vibrant young man who died last week in the remote countryside of Madagascar. (2012)