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Message from Madagascar
During their recent month-long trip to the United States, Bishop Rakoto Modeste and his wife Jeannette Baonizafimanana took time to befriend Americans across the country…including a stop at the First Lutheran Church in Pontiac.
The Lutheran bishop from Madagascar complemented Pontiac and its residents on the caring nature of the community.
“It’s good for us to visit here because you have quite a few things here that we don’t have. Like the home for the old people, the home for the mentally retarded people…you take good care of your people and that’s great.”
“We appreciate the love that other Christians have shown us. They are good, nice people. They are very much committed to their faith.”
The bishop also noted uniquely American qualities among Pontiac residents.
“We just visited the Route 66 Museum. The Americans love their history. It’s amazing. People are very engaged in what they love. That shows a lot of integrity.”
As a visitor to the States, Modeste challenges Americans to become more aware of the spiritual in life.
“I would tell them to be more serious about the spiritual side of what the Bible is telling us. The human side, the Americans are very great about what the Bible is telling us. But the spiritual side, I would say, you need more concentration on that.”
“We should be more cautious about the wholeness of the action that we do. So that what we say be in accordance with what we do. We should be careful about our faith.”
While the bishop did not have time to take in a baseball game, he did have one task to complete before leaving for home – to reciprocate the hospitality he received during his visit.
“We invite people to go to Madagascar…to come and visit us. Not only to see the people, and see the animals and the trees and the mountains, but to see the churches also. How alive are the people and the churches!”
Thanks to our visitors from Madagascar for the words of wisdom and the open invitation to a land very different, but very much the same, as our own.
As Modeste points out, “The Christian faith. That ties us together.”