Discover How One Woman’s Faith Transformed Her Life and Community

Marie Julienne was born in 1957 in Ankazondandy, a small town in central Madagascar, where she still lives. Despite the challenging circumstances—Madagascar ranks 10th in the top 10 of the world’s poorest countries—she laughs easily. Her narrow eyes blink from under the edge of her blue-grey beanie. Her clothes are simple and stained, her bare, sturdy feet covered with dirt.

As she sits on a large square rock in one of Ankazondandy’s dusty streets, three dirty-faced children huddle around her, exchanging places on her lap. The children’s facial expressions constantly mirror the elderly lady’s emotions. “Two of these are grandchildren of mine,” Marie Julienne says. “Their parents are in the field right now. They are farmers.”

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Marie Julienne with two grandchildren and another local child. She watches the kids while their parents work in nearby farms. She still has to work odd jobs to afford food.

A Poor Farming Community
The family makes a living by crop and livestock farming. Marie Julienne has 9 children and 16 grandchildren. Not all of them live in the village; some have moved to Antananarivo, Madagascar’s capital. Because of the limited job opportunities in the countryside, large numbers of rural people migrate there in search of a better life. The elderly, like Marie Julienne and her husband, stay behind.

“I’m 66, but who is going to feed me if I don’t work?”

On regular days, the couple goes fishing, labors in the field, or tries to find small paying jobs to do. “We have to!” she exclaims. “Who is going to feed me if I don’t work? all my children are adults trying to take care of themselves. I have only one daughter left at home. She’s separated from her spouse.”

Rural communities in Madagascar face multiple challenges. Their craving for spiritual help is huge—help only God’s Word can bring!

Marie Julienne weeps as she continues her story, and the children wipe their eyes, too. The elderly lady points at one of the children around her. “I feel sorry for the child,” she sobs. “That boy is my daughter’s son. My daughter has a mental problem. After her husband left her, she returned to Ankazondandy. But then, she went to the witch doctor, and after that, she went a bit crazy.”

Although Marie Julienne disapproved of her daughter consulting the witch doctor, she couldn’t stop her. “I don’t want to be involved in things like witchcraft at all, not at all!” she stresses. “Yet, my children are adults…” She adds with sadness, “They even practice exhumation.”

A Malagasy Custom
With that phrase, Marie Julienne refers to a Malagasy custom. According to Wikipedia, it’s a funerary tradition in which people bring forth the bodies of their ancestors from the graves, rewrap the corpses in fresh cloth, and carry them over their heads around the tomb before reburying them again.

“I will not participate in such things because I stand firm in my faith,” Marie Julienne states with vigor. In Ankazondandy, where she lives, a local pastor named Jacques runs Bible League’s Bible study ministry.

With your support, spiritually needy people like Marie Julienne can have their own copy of the Bible. They are craving the truth!

Jesus’ Healing Power
“Pastor Jacques showed me the right way. He did an amazing thing, teaching me about Jesus Christ. If it weren’t for Jesus, I wouldn’t be alive today! I had an infection in my face; you can see the scars.”

Marie Julienne lifts her beanie and touches her forehead, where a sizable patch of scar tissue is clearly visible.

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Marie Julienne still bears the scars from a terrible infection that made her blind and deaf. God miraculously healed her, one of many answered prayers in her life!

“It was really disgusting,” she recalls. “My eyes could not see anymore. People cried because in two days, I became deaf. In the Bible, it is written that the deaf shall hear, the mute shall speak, and the lame shall walk—and it became true to me! When the Bible says Jesus took mud and put it on the blind man’s eyes and then the man could see, that’s true because I have experienced it.”

 “In the Bible, it is written that the deaf shall hear, the mute shall speak, and the lame shall walk—and it became true to me!”

Marie Julienne’s wrinkled face beams with gratitude. “At that time, whether the pastor was with me or not, I prayed continuously,” she recalls. “No matter where I was, in the field or walking, I prayed for my healing. Before that, I also prayed, but out of hypocrisy. I didn’t mean what I said. But now, I do believe, with all my heart, that God will answer me whenever I pray. Sometimes, we don’t have anything to eat at home, and I pray, and God provides.”

God Provides
A couple of geese come waddling by, squawking loudly. It brings an example of God’s provision to Marie Julienne’s mind.

“This morning, I had nothing to eat,” she says. “My husband and I are breeding ducks for sale, but they are still ducklings right now. Yet, the lady who wanted to buy our ducks already gave me the money. She said, ‘I’ll get the ducks when they are bigger, but you can have the money right now.’ That’s all God’s doing!”

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A duck waddled by as we spoke to Marie Julienne, and it reminded her of the constant provision of our Lord. God shows Himself faithful over and over to her. Despite her challenging circumstances, she experiences His true joy.

A concerned look now clouds Marie Julienne’s face. “I’m just worried about my children because they are not Christians yet, so I pray for them all the time.”

Marie Julienne’s children are not Christians yet. Will you pray with her for their repentance?

The Gospel’s Impact
Simultaneously with the conversation with Marie Julienne, her husband is taking part in a Bible study group. Excitedly, she talks about the impact of the Gospel in his life.

My husband and I were tobacco addicts,” she recalls. “When I became seriously ill, the pastor told us to quit smoking. I stopped first, and my husband followed me. He also used to drink but quit that, too, saying, ‘I will not drink anymore. I’m going to pray with you.’ He started to thrive in life, and I said, ‘We need to thank God because He’s been good to us.’

Marie Julienne had started participating in the Bible study program, too, when she was still sick. “My mind wasn’t really on it, though,” she says. “But I would like to continue because it’s a good thing to learn. I love the stories of Joseph and Ezekiel. When God asked Ezekiel to speak to the dry bones, they became alive again.”

“This is what the Lord God says to you: I will cause breath to come into you, and you will come to life!” Ezekiel 37:5 ERV

Marie Julienne’s Bible knowledge is impressive, although she doesn’t currently have a Bible. Her husband will receive one upon finalizing the program, but that doesn’t satisfy her. “Yes!” she laughs, “but what about me?!”

Remembering Scriptures
At home, Marie Julienne had already examined her husband’s Gospel of John booklet, which he uses in his Bible study group. “I know how to answer all the questions in that booklet,” she says. “I do remember a lot of Scriptures. Once I read something in the Bible, I don’t forget it. The story of Joseph touches me every time. It is a sad story because when the wife of Potiphar came to seduce Joseph, he was falsely accused and sent to prison. But when Pharaoh had his dreams, Joseph was summoned, and he could tell everything about the bread and the cows. And then, he became the ruler of Egypt!”


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Even though she does not have her own copy of the Bible, Marie Julienne can recall verse after verse. She craves more of the Gospel, and longs for her children to experience a relationship with Jesus. Though they still practice witchcraft right now, Marie Julienne will never stop praying for their salvation.

A Plan for Marie Julienne
God had a mighty plan for Joseph, and Marie Julienne becomes emotional again when she realizes God has a plan for her life, too. “The fact that I’m living today proves God has a plan for my life. My husband and I are very poor. We have nothing at home. We always pray to God and then go fishing and He provides. We catch enough fish. And God’s Word says we have to share with others. So, even though we are poor, we test God on His Word, and we share.”

Despite her own poverty, Marie Julienne shares with others from the little she has. The fruit of the Spirit is obvious in her life!

She falls on her knees, lifts her hands in adoration of her Lord and Savior, and adds, her voice trembling: “When we share with others, God doubles it back all the time. So, I can tell you, there is a God. He exists and has a plan for my life!”

Marie Julienne has witnessed the faithfulness of God over and over. His faithfulness makes her crave His love and His comfort even more. Reflect on the prayers He has answered for her:

  • Healing from her infection
  • Her husband’s life transformation
  • God breaking addictions
  • God’s continued provision


A Desire to Read God’s Word
Marie Julienne has a tremendous craving to read God’s Word—it’s the only true source of hope she knows. Your generous support allows her, and many new believers in her village, to receive a Bible. The elderly lady expresses her gratitude:

“Thank you so much for coming here to serve us and for all the work that you’ve done.” Then, unexpectedly, she raises her hands once more and starts praying, “May God bless you richly. In everything that you do, be blessed. In Jesus’ name, amen.”

The Word of God breaks through spiritual strongholds in Madagascar. As you send Bibles, you feed the hunger of people like Marie Julienne to have God’s Word in their hands. It’s the Good News that sets them free from witchcraft and idol worship. It’s the Gospel of hope that helps them cope with their dire circumstances. It’s more than a book. It’s a lifeline.

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There is a deep craving for the Gospel in Madagascar. People are longing for help and hope that can only be found in a relationship with Jesus Christ. His love is evident in the life of Marie Julienne. Thank God for faithful servants like her.