Over the last 20 years, thousands of children have come through the doors of the AMI-4 Street Kids Center, a Nazarene compassionate ministry center, to receive holistic development through physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual support.
In observance of its 20th anniversary, the center kicked off six months of celebration 27 January by giving glory to God for what He has done at and for the center.
"The aim and spirit was always about giving God the glory and thanking Him," said Therese Ravelomanantsoa, the center's director.
Additional celebration activities included singing, dancing, hymns, and a poetry contest.
The festivities continued until the week of the main celebration, 18 to 23 July.
"We did an open house for parents, children, and neighbors to learn more about the work we do at the SKC," Ravelomanantsoa said. "We also had different workshops to use this opportunity to further train and educate our people. There were also talent shows, crafts on display, and games for people to play — all with the help of our youth volunteers."
The celebration culminated in a special service with the local congregation as 850 people came together to celebrate God's mighty work.
"What a great and amazing celebration," Ravelomanantsoa said. "Besides the praise led by the youth and the preaching, we could share a lunch together and spend a wonderful time fellowshipping together."
When the Street Kids Center first began, staff had two choices: feed 500 street children for three months or feed 100 street children and provide literacy, Bible study, and health care through the support of Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) for one year.
"The long-term choice was made, and now, looking back, God's mighty hand and His work can be seen," Ravelomanantsoa said. "The main mission of SKC is sharing. It started like that — by sharing food and care for the kids who were on the streets. Just as it did in June 1997, today kids from SKC do the same — they share God's love with the kids who are still begging in the streets. Because they have received the love of God, they want to share it with others."
In November 2016, as the staff began to think of ways to celebrate this milestone, they put everything in God's hands.
"As it says in Proverbs 16:3,'Trust your work to the Lord, and your plans will work out well.' The staff put everything in God's hands — everything that was even thought of — and trusted in Him with everything," Ravelomanantsoa said. "The celebration of 20 years was a great and important event for the Church of Nazarene in Madagascar and the world, as well as for the kids at the center where they are becoming Christlike disciples in Madagascar and beyond."
As the center looks forward, Ravelomanantsoa knows God will continue to be at the heart of the ministry.
"Jesus was and is and always will be with us," she said. "Greater work is still waiting for us here with the kids, but we thank God for what He has been doing for 20 years and what He will continue to do."