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Diocese of Antsiranana
(Church of the Province of the Indian Ocean)
Fording the river on the way to Bethlehem Church
Photo No. : P071008-4
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The bishop is welcomed at Andrafainkona village
Photo No. : P071008-5
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A solemn moment during the confirmation service
Photo No. : P071008-6
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Bethlehem Mission Church in Andrafainkona Takes up the Challenge of Evangelism
By Bishop Roger Chung
 
ANTSIRANANA 071008-2
October 8, 2007

[Diocese of Antsiranana - Indian Ocean] The Bethlehem Mission Church in Andrafainkona is slowly transforming the lives of the community. The land was offered to the Diocese of Antsiranana by the Mayor of the Village during the visit of Bishop Roger Chung Jaomalaza two years ago. The church is almost ready, needing only the finishing touches, and the parish priest, the Revd Jean Modeste, has begun to build the rectory adjacent to the church building.

The church is built on the top of the hill that overlooks the area and dominates the whole village. The site previously housed the police military camp, but was abandoned because of the strong winds always blowing during the cold weather at this high level. But the diocese is greatly blessed to have been freely offered this plot of land for the renewed mission and evangelisation throughout the diocese.

At the eucharistic and confirmation celebration, to which all the village people were invited, the Church of Bethlehem was packed and the congregation overflowed onto the steps. The elders of the village of Andrafainkona met with the parish priest and expressed their gratitude for this new mission church and also for the new project of a school to be started soon. They have offered their support to the work of mission and education with the advent of the new church.

This new mission with a prophetic name of Bethlehem Church, situated on a promontory, is reminiscent of the hymn "O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie..." Pray that this mission will grow and bring new blessings to the people in the rain forest.