ANJAMBETRONGO, Madagascar -- She spends her Sundays traveling from house to house in the small island village. One of the few in her area who can read, Brigette Manirisua proudly wears her glasses on the tip of her nose. Her passion is sharing God’s Word with those who cannot read by orally presenting stories of Jesus.Every Sunday Brigette travels house to house in the Madagascar village of Anjabetrongo in order to share the love of Jesus Christ. “We really want not for people to just learn more, or to have more knowledge, but to be converted, for their hearts to be changed,” she said.
Every Sunday Manirisua travels house to house in her village to share the love of Jesus Christ. “We really want not for people to just learn more, or to have more knowledge, but to be converted, for their hearts to be changed,” she said.
“It’s really heavy on my heart that everyone becomes like me to believe,” Manirisua said. “I really pray that the Holy Spirit will be strong in the church and the believers so that when they share, people will hear and believe and they will become sharers of God’s Word so that it can continue to spread.”
But just a few years ago, Manirisua cared nothing about the advancement of God’s kingdom.
“Before I was a mean, mean person, that’s one of the things the devil did to me,” Manirisua said.
When Manirisua was younger, she was among the many in her village plagued by demons. While her parents were Christians, the death of her mother forced her to be raised by non-believing relatives who practiced ancestral worship – which she believes contributed to her possession. She spent many years afflicted with the demons and clearly remembers the pain that resulted in a life void of a relationship with Jesus Christ.
“The devil has really made me suffer. There were times when I didn’t eat over the course of two months,” Manirisua said. When she did eat, she often filled her stomach with the white dirt she found in her village.
Every believer has a “180” story – a testimony of transformation from a life of sin to a life of love and grace. Millions in Africa need to hear this story and experience the transformation for themselves.
But things drastically changed when Manirisua had a dream.
“It was a big circle like the sun,” Manirisua explained. “And then out from that big circle was a voice like a person. And the voice called me by name, and he said, “Brigitte, from now on you will pray. You will be a believer, because God wants you to be His messenger.”
When she awoke, her husband was preparing to gather honey. Before he headed for the forest she stopped him and told him about her dream.
“I said to him, ‘There is something that appeared to me. I am afraid. And I’m going to pray now, I’m going to be a believer,’” Manirisua said. “And so that’s how I decided to be a believer.”
Before knowing Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior, Manirisua was possessed by demons. “The devil has really made me suffer. There were times when I didn’t eat over the course of two months,” she said.
After accepting Jesus as her Lord and Savior, Manirisua experienced a complete turn around. From burning the magic charms and powder that once filled her house to the transformation of her attitude, God has continued to alter every aspect of her life.
“Once I had the dream [the spirits] were gone, and they never came back. They were afraid of Jesus,” Manirisua said.
Manirisua was baptized and now studies the Bible under a local pastor in hopes of learning how to better share the Gospel of Christ with others.
“Once I was a believer and started to study then my mind was freed,” said Manirisua. “I was kinder, I learned humility and gentleness, and then when people would do things to hurt me I would sometimes cry but in the end I would just pray and not respond the way I used to.”One of the few in her area who can read, Manirisua spends time studying the Bible in order to share oral presentations of the Gospel with those in her community who cannot read.
One of the few in her area who can read, Manirisua spends time studying the Bible in order to share oral presentations of the Gospel with those in her community who cannot read.
Though Manirisua now experiences a life filled with Christ, there are still many in her village who do not know Him as their Lord and Savior. Though many in Anjambetrongo have heard of the sacrifice of Christ, most continue to practice ancestral worship and still spend time sacrificing cows and goats.
“We really want not for people to just learn more, or to have more knowledge, but to be converted, for their hearts to be changed,” Manirisua said.
Manirisua’s hope for those in her community is that they would know the transforming love of Christ.
“A person’s life is worth so much, and that, in the end, that’s what really convinced me. It was Jesus’ love that caused Him to give up His life for us--that was worth more to Him than His own life.”
Writer and graphic designer Elizabeth James served in Africa for five months through the Hands On program.