This Week in AG History -- November 15, 1930
The Pentecostal movement came to Madagascar, the island nation off the southeast coast of Africa, in 1910 in a great revival with signs and wonders. The revival began when a 60-year-old woman, Ravelonjanahary (known to English-speakers as Ravelo), who was believed to be dead, suddenly sat up during her own funeral. This caused quite a stir in her community, and she became known as "the resurrected one."
Eighty-five years ago, the Pentecostal Evangel published an account of Ravelo's resurrection and the ensuing revival. After being raised from the dead, Ravelo was baptized in the Holy Spirit and felt God tugging at her heart to share her testimony and to preach the gospel. Ravelo initially rejected this call to the ministry. She reasoned, "I cannot speak, I am not clever." But she heard God's voice again, saying, "Go! Preach in My Name and heal the sick."
Ravelo obeyed God's voice and began ministering in a simple manner. She went from town to town, sharing God's Word and her testimony. Before praying for a sick person, she would ask, "Have you repented? Have you given up your idols?" Ravelo's ministry met with remarkable results. All across the countryside, people were healed and began to follow Christ.
At the time, Madagascar was a French Protectorate, and the French governors were hostile to Christianity. They introduced laws restricting the religious freedom of natives of Madagascar, showing particular opposition to Protestants. Ravelo persevered in spite of opposition from the government and society elites.
Local newspapers covered the revival, often defending Ravelo against attacks. One newspaper editorial noted that scoffers questioned whether Ravelo had really been raised from the dead. The editorial reasoned that proof of Ravelo's resurrection was unnecessary, because the miraculous healings under her ministry were profound, frequent, and undeniable. Another newspaper defended her against charges of sectarianism, stating that she was not trying to build up one particular church.
People who were healed and who became Christians crowded into Lutheran, Reformed, Pentecostal, and other churches. Ravelo's revival spilled into the broader Protestant church world, and to this day it is common for Madagascar Protestant churches of all stripes to encourage healing, exorcism, and biblical spiritual gifts.
The great revival sparked by Ravelo's resurrection helped to lay the foundation for the Assemblies of God in Madagascar. In 2014, the Assemblies of God reported 102,000 adherents in the island nation.
Read the entire article, "How Pentecost Came to Madagascar: A True Story of a Great Revival," in the November 15, 1930, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.
Also featured in this issue:
• "War, the Bible, and the Christian," by Donald Gee
• "Praying William: A Liberian Convert Testifies in His Own Words"
• "Healed of Bright's Disease and Dropsy," by Frank B. Anderson
And many more!
Pentecostal Evangel archived editions courtesy of Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center.
Pictured: Rev. Rasoamanana, president of the Assemblies of God of Madagascar, and his wife, 1978. Photo courtesy of Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center.