Members of the first United Methodist church in Madagascar stepped up to be the hands and feet of Jesus for people devastated by Cyclone Freddy earlier this year.
Ricocheting across the Indian Ocean for five weeks, the tropical cyclone wreaked havoc on the island nation, as well as Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe, killing more than 1,400 people.
“We brought foodstuffs to offer our brothers and sisters here in Andranomavo II, in the district of Mananjary, as a response to their suffering after Cyclone Freddy,” said Justin Rakotoarimanana, a member of Ambodifasika United Methodist Church in Antananarivo, Madagascar’s capital.
The food was purchased through a grant from the United Methodist Committee on Relief, which also awarded grants to provide emergency rations and hygiene supplies to nearby Mozambique and Malawi in response to Cyclone Freddy.
The Madagascar aid was distributed in Andranomavo, one of the poorest rural communities in the country, situated about 335 miles from Antananarivo.
Poverty in the country is rampant, due in part to the isolation of the island of Madagascar from Africa to the west and Asia to the east.
Jean Aime Ratovohery, a lay pastor and the spiritual leader of Ambodifasika United Methodist Church, said the congregation went to work after the cyclone hit the area.
“We heard the cry of God’s children and were moved to act. We contacted the government and local leaders,” he said.