Madagascar: Lost – and Found – in Translation2015 Mar NL p1a

The famous explorer Marco Polo set out from Venice in 1271 AD to explore the East, returning more than twenty years later to chronicle his many travels in A Description of the World, published sometime around 1300. In his writings, Polo described a rich African island he called “Madeigascar,” his attempted transliteration of the name Mogadishu, the port city in Somalia – not at all the same place! The adventurer’s confusion spread to European cartographers, who mislabeled the island on their maps with Polo’s version of a different place’s name, and so it is known to this day as “Madagascar.”

Centuries later, in 1818, three missionaries from the London Missionary Society (of which the notable Dr. David Livingstone was a member) – James Cameron, David Jones, and David Griffith – came to Madagascar to spread the gospel, build schools, and introduce the people to new inventions. Jones and Griffith translated Scripture into Malagasy, the native tongue, and Cameron oversaw the installation of the first printing press on the island. Their combined efforts produced the first Bible ever published in an African language.

2015 Mar NL p2aToday, nearly two hundred years later, World Missionary Press is carrying the torch of these LMS missionaries, supplying Dries D., our national coordinator for Madagascar, with regular shipments of Scripture booklets in Malagasy. Dries has been using WMP literature for almost a quarter of a century now, first encountering our materials while ministering in South Africa.

Since moving to Madagascar nearly twenty years ago to minister full-time as national director for Every Home for Christ (EHC), Dries has continued to order WMP booklets to the present day. In February, 2014, WMP sent him a 20-foot ship container carrying over 1,000,000 booklets. It arrived in late April and when it finally cleared customs in mid-May, Dries sent encouraging photos to WMP and wrote, “Thank you, WMP, for letting us have so many powerful tools from you, so that we can share the blessed Good News by giving a paper missionary to so many homes in our country.” Some days EHC teams in Madagascar visit up to 6,000 homes. They’d like to do that at least three days a week in different locations in the country. Each home gets a minimum of one Help From Above booklet (for adults) and one Way to God booklet (for children).

Recently Dries emailed an enthusiastic report of EHC ministry in 2014:2015 Mar NL p2b

“We had the best year ever … God is moving, and we need to be ready at all times with His Word. Our Harvest project (Nov/Dec) and our Christmas project were wonderful. Totals for the 2 projects were 145,650 homes visited, 353,000 tracts distributed, and 8,198 responses. Believe me, it is awesome.

“I can’t explain the feeling when I go through all the reports that come from our six regions. The other day, in just one day, more than 11,000 homes received two or three tracts per home. If I remember correctly, we had over 1,200 responses. God is so GOOD, dear friends. We are VERY excited about our next container (we are always excited about our containers). May our Lord and God bless WMP even MORE.”

Distributors all over Madagascar look to Dries for a supply of literature from the containers WMP regularly sends him. Islands Mission is leading an inter-denominational church-planting movement in the Indian Ocean islands. Already, third-generational churches have been planted in 1,500 remote villages. But in Madagascar’s mountainous region, crisscrossed with rivers, there are more than 15,000 unreached villages hidden in dense rainforest, many not even appearing on a map. “The people groups in these villages are steeped in generations of witchcraft, superstition, and animistic religions – unreached, and they need to be followers of Jesus Christ!” wrote Dinah R. when she asked WMP for the Malagasy material they need – more than 10,000 booklets for now.

Richard R. found WMP’s website and requested a small supply of booklets on behalf of a foundation focusing on the health of women looking for medical attention and financial aid in their fight against cancer. He wrote, “I saw these booklets for the first time in a waiting room of a private hospital. I took some and placed them also on my desk. I saw that the patients who came into my office were very interested to get some, either to practice English or really to look for help from God by reading them. I am not a good Christian, but I am trying to search a  better way to help other
people who would like to get a chance to know the way to God with the help of your booklets.”

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God’s love for Madagascar is obvious and so is His work there. WMP is glad to be a part of the continuing missionary tradition in this island nation – from the envoys of the London Missionary Society who first translated God’s Word into Malagasy to the devotion of Dries D. and so many other evangelistic distributors across the country today. May the Lord Jesus, the Word Himself, continue to make His love, a language free of mistranslation, clear to hearts in Madagascar, a land with a misplaced name.

  [You can help supply God’s Word to Madagascar. Your gift of $20 provides for about 500 Scripture booklets; $100 helps to supply 2,500 booklets.]

Grateful Quotes2015 Mar NL p3a

Sharing God’s Word from Michigan

“The Children’s Church program here at our church adopted your organization for a month and raised $80.00 to help support theUSS Scripture Booklets project. We are a small church and generally have 4-6 kids in the Children’s Church, so we were very pleased with the amount donated.

“I have enclosed a check and a picture of Avalon, Amelia, Autumn, and Olivia – the girls present the day the picture was taken. They took this very seriously and were very interested to hear all the info about what you are doing to spread the Good News. I actually have some of your booklets and passed them out in class and asked the girls to read them at home, but Avalon wanted to read hers immediately and did not put it down until she had read it through.

“Thanks for all you are doing in the name of Jesus!”      -Theresa P., Michigan

Meet the Team

2015 Mar NL p3bStephen M., Creative Team

I heard about World Missionary Press when my parents discovered WMP via Intercristo in 1994. After a trip to Indiana to investigate, and serious prayer for guidance, we moved from Reading, Pennsylvania, so they both could start working here. I was five when we relocated in September of that year.

When I was sixteen, I had the opportunity to fill a part-time position as an assistant to my dad, who was WMP’s Systems Manager at the time. I’ve been here for nine years, serving in a variety of areas including IT, data entry, field representation, and shipment tracking. Currently I’m working in the Creative Development department, which involves editing and producing promotional videos, graphic design and illustration (in which I have a bachelor’s degree from Grace College), as well as writing for WMP’s monthly newsletter.

I appreciate the opportunity to serve God alongside Christians of various backgrounds and convictions who lay aside personal preferences and doctrine to cooperate for the sake of the gospel. It’s also a privilege to be part of something that impacts people all over the world. The gratitude and enthusiasm of so many who receive Scripture booklets from World Missionary Press inspire me.2015 Mar NL p3c-shipstatus

In my spare time I enjoy drawing and painting, dabbling in music and writing, reading, and spending time with friends. I’m an only child and don’t live very close to many relatives, but I’ve been blessed with a number of close friendships here in Indiana, and there are always opportunities to travel and see extended family. I commute to WMP each day from Winona Lake, where World Missionary Press began and where I attended college while commuting from home in New Paris.

WMP Partners Around the World

Dennis G., Distributor in China

Since 2006, WMP has provided 432 ten-pound boxes of Scripture booklets for Dennis and his teams from the U.S. to distribute in China. Two pallets of literature will soon be produced and shipped to a storage/distribution facility in Hong Kong to help keep teams supplied.

WMP: Please describe your background and current ministry.

Dennis: I began gospel literature distribution in China about ten years ago. Our focus has been on unreached people groups. Over the years we have used WMP booklets to reach Chinese, Mongolian, Muslim, and Buddhist cities, towns, and villages across China. I would estimate that we’ve distributed several tons of literature in areas that had never heard a clear presentation of the gospel.

2015 Mar NL p4aWMP: How does the availability of free literature affect your evangelism in China?

Dennis: Having access to good, free gospel literature has been essential to fulfilling our mission of reaching the vast areas we focus on. This year alone we hope to take as many as four or five teams to China. Each team works for as long as a month to see that unreached areas hear the gospel message. I honestly don’t know how we would do what we do if it weren’t for the help we get from WMP.

Our supplies from WMP are used immediately. We order just enough to cover the needs of the teams on the field at that given time. We are currently obtaining a large shipment (384 boxes) from WMP that we hope will greatly meet the needs of our teams for a number of months.

WMP: What challenges do you face in the free and open distribution of WMP literature?

Dennis: Since the open spread of the gospel is not possible in our target country (China), our work is done during the night hours. We have been able to saturate areas with the Good News. A partner missionary on the ground in China is able to follow up when the teams have completed their work.

WMP: How would you describe the effectiveness of the topical Scripture booklets?

Dennis: It is an awesome thing to see people standing on the street or at the door of their business or home, reading the literature they find in the morning as they begin their day. This is by no means an unusual occurrence. In the mornings after we work the street in areas near schools, we often see young children sharing the gospel booklets they find with their friends. These booklets are read in China!

We work in areas where we often don’t know of any established churches. These are truly unreached areas. Often these booklets are the first seed sown in these areas. Thank you for your prayers for us as we work in China. We are very thankful for the help we receive from WMP to get the job done.

President’s Corner

We continue to stand in awe of all God has been doing at World Missionary Press. Now that new (for us) equipment is in place and operational, we are experiencing the greatly increased potential for production we anticipated. The six-color press and direct-to-plate equipment give much-needed flexibility in scheduling production of covers; and wow, can that press produce! The Pivano cover cutter is running like a champ, turning large press sheets into bindery-size sheets. The Osako bindery and our newest piece of equipment, the Palamides stacker/bundler, give greater efficiency and higher speed when binding and boxing Scripture booklets. What a blessing it was, as we zoomed through more than 9 million Help From Above-size equivalency on our binderies during the month of January! Praise the Lord!

The challenge now is to make use of this new production capacity to meet the urgent high demand for Scripture booklets throughout the world. Our operating budget for this fiscal year allows for production of 7.5 million booklets per month on average – but the need is for so much more! Would you join with us, fervently seeking the Lord for a significant increase in income – so we can bump that monthly average up to 9 million or more? The need is great. Distributors in countries around the world are crying out for more of God’s eternal life-giving Word, and our time is short. Because of economy of operation, WMP Treasurer Marie Mack calculates it will cost $45,000 per month over budget to increase from a monthly average of 7.5 to 9 million (only about 3 cents per additional booklet for both production and shipping).

Thank you so much for your faithful support for World Missionary Press! We greatly appreciate your prayers, all the time freely given each month by hundreds of volunteer workers, and the funds donated to the work of the Lord. We praise the Lord for you!

A long-time WMP supporter and distributor writes,

“Be encouraged and press on in this life-giving eternal work. Praise God for increases in output of Scripture booklets and Bible studies and all other food for the soul. Your improvements/changes in packaging the Scripture booklets [Palamides bundles] are making a difference in their condition upon arrival. The paper banding of bundles within the boxes helps keep them from moving and becoming bent and folded-over…. The new glossy color cover on Who Am I That A King Would Die In My Place? is outstanding.”

What a blessing to serve the King of kings in such a meaningful way!

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