Brossard and Zwiefel devote five months to mission

This article submitted by Erin Aagesen on 4/05/00.

Tami Brossard and Josh Zweifel recently returned from missionary work abroad. Brossard's work was done in Madagascar and Zweifel's was in Guinea.

The two did this through a program called Youth With A Mission, or YWAM. They dedicated five months of their lives to this program, from Sept. 25 until Feb. 25. First they attended a three-month training course in Tyler, Texas. Then, they spent an additional month in a related program. Brossard was based Kansas and Zweifel was based in Oklahoma. In their final month of service, they went to work in their respective countries. YWAM has mission bases all over the world.

During the training course, held on a YWAM base, the two attended four hours of class each day. They were lectured by different speakers. "They basically talked about how to know God and make Him known to others," explained Brossard of the classes.

The funds for the mission trips were raised through donations, which were last minute, and, according to Zweifel, "a miracle." He had his entire trip paid for by a woman who wrote out a check after witnessing a drama presented by his team three days before they left. Likewise, Brossard and other members of her team were sponsored by private generosity.

Tami Brossard Brossard(left)and her team of 13 Americans, most of them between 18 and 22 years of age, were based in Madagascar's capital city of Antananarivo, where they ministered six days a week.

The main ministry of the group was to visit widows. Brossard explained that the people were very poor and lived in small, mud huts, with grass roofs. "They were so glad to see Americans," she said, "It meant so much to them that we came over just for them."

The group discussed Christianity and the Bible with the people there, who, according to Brossard, had no access to Bibles and were confused with religion. "They are very superstitious people," she said. "Although the religion is half Christian, there is a lot of idol worship and ancestral worship."

They also played with children, shared Bible stories with them, and addressed topics, such as smoking and drinking, not typically discussed.

The missionaries could not drink the water, because of the risk of cholera, and had to be careful of malaria. "It's amazing no one got sick. The meat would sit outside at market all day with flies on it, and then we'd eat it for supper. We just prayed over it and ate it," Brossard said with a chuckle.

One of the team members did become very ill for two weeks during the stay. The group leader and some of the team members prayed over the girl, who went from barely being able to stand to being healthy and energetic in a matter of seconds. "It was really a miracle," said Brossard.

Another of these miracles, according to Brossard, occured with the wife of the city's mayor, who was angry and confused with God. One of her daughters had died, and another was sick with the same disease. Brossard's group prayed and talked with her. Later, the disease her daughter suffered from was discovered and treated. The woman began to become excited about God, and felt He had sent these people to help her daughter.

These experiences, along with close living conditions, helped to bring the teammates together. "We became very close," said Brossard, "I think our team became the closest of all of them."

Josh Zwiefel Zweifel's visit to Guinea was much like Brossard's stay. He and his 15- member team also stayed in a YWAM base in the capital city, Conakary, which is on the western coast of Africa. The main ministry of the group was visiting with children in schools and orphanages.

"All of the countries around Guinea are at war," he explained, "There are thousands of orphanages. We cared for the children and showed them love."

They put on skits and dramas for schools, orphanages, and colleges. A program for adult audiences was also presented. They worked six days a week, with one day off for touring and shopping.

"During one performance in the street, we had 70 or 80 people watching us," said Zweifel(far left in the picture),who described many as willing to accept their message. However, because of the Muslim background of the country, it was difficult. A Muslim who converts to Christianity could become disowned by his family. One belief, according to Zweifel, is that a Muslim can earn a way to heaven by killing a converted Christian.

He, also, described the closeness of his team. "We got to find out who everyone really was," he said. "We had to learn to get along, care for each other, cook for each other, and love each other."

What Zweifel describes as a "major learning experience," occurred on the way home, when the engine and fuel tanks of the airplane his team was riding on started on fire. It had just started moving when everyone on the plane had to evacuate, a chaotic chore which resulted in seven broken legs, but nothing worse.

"All of the people from my team were very calm. We knew it wouldn't blow up because we had prayed before we left," Zweifel said. "A lot of the other men on the plane were pushing the women and children."

Another "miracle"? Zweifel certainly thinks so. He later found out that all of the main fuel tanks were on fire, but didn't explode.

After a two-day lay over in Senegal, the group returned safely to the United States, where everything was wrapped up in a two-week debriefing. Both Zweifel and Brossard were required to attend.

Previous to this experience, Brossard had done two weeks of missionary work in Mexico, but this was Zweifel's first time. The couple, who plan to marry this May, can see themselves doing more missionary work together in the future.

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