St Alkmund’s Church has recently begun a new partnership with Dr. Ted and his wife Dr. Rachel Watts, who will be going with their children Ethan and Jamie to a hospital at Mandritsara in the north of Madagascar in November of this year.
The Good News Project started 20 years ago, with the aim of bringing the Good News of Jesus Christ to the people of Mandritsara district. The work started as a small clinic and has grown over the years to include a hospital, community health work, a nursing school, a radio station and a primary school. The mission of the project is to proclaim the Good News of salvation through Jesus, to teach the Bible, and to care for those in need the way Jesus did.
Through the work of the hospital, community health team and church, there are now around 70 groups of Christians meeting in villages across the Mandritsara district.
Medicine and the Gospel of Jesus Christ
Our passion is for bringing gospel hope and compassionate medical care where both are so desperately needed.
The people of Mandritsara district, Madagascar are predominantly subsistence rice farmers. Many live in extremely remote villages that are very difficult to access. The predominant spiritual beliefs in this area are animistic – belief in the power of spiritual beings and forces over everyday life. Animism is characterised by fear and guilt, which offers no hope beyond the here and now.
The medical need faced by the people of Madagascar is huge, with around 1 in 20 children dying before their 5th birthday, women and babies dying in childbirth, and young and old facing life-long disability from diseases that can be treated very simply when resources allow.
The Good News Project provides the opportunity to minister gospel hope to the many thousands of visitors to the hospital each year, at the same time as offering them compassionate medical care.
The Gospel is wonderful news for those from animist backgrounds. In Jesus Christ guilt is paid for, fear is cast out, demonic forces are defeated and deep joy is found.
After a period of language study, we will both be working at the Good News Hospital. Ted will mainly be doing surgery of all types and Rachel will focus on paediatrics, but we will both be caring for patients with a wide variety of problems. We anticipate that Ethan will attend the Good News School and that we will both be spending some time at home with Jamie, at least initially.
As well as medical work and evangelism at the hospital, we hope to serve the project and the people of Mandritsara in other ways. We are excited about the potential for us to be involved in supporting small village churches and Bible training for village church leaders. We also have a heart to see God raise up mission-minded Malagasy healthcare workers.