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– I let God plan my life, says Holiharifetra Rakotondramiadara. She is a master student in theology at the
By Rebecca Solevåg
Now the word of the Lord came to me saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you.” (Jer 1:4)
When Holi is going to talk about her studies at MHS, she needs to fit it into a larger picture – that of God’s plan for her life. Holi comes from Ambositra in the Fianarantsoa province, and belongs to the Betsileo tribe. She grew up in different towns in western
– As a child, I loved going to church, to Sunday school, and to different meetings. Even though my whole family was Christian, I was much more interested than they were.
Wherever Holi went, she talked eagerly to everybody, made friends and learnt about her faith. A calling to work for God’s church was gradually growing inside her.
– God is rich
– When I was in high school, I told my parents that I wanted to go to seminary, but they wanted me to be an engineer. They were afraid I would be poor if I became a pastor. So I kept quiet, but I prayed, she recalls.
– When I was accepted at the seminary, I asked my parents for their blessing, but they didn’t want to give it. My mother was the first to come around; she blessed me out of fear for God. At that time, my dad could not sleep overnight. I remember, in dawn, when he noticed that I woke up, he was crying, saying to me:" Don't go to the seminary, my daughter!" I did not reply anything except praying in my heart. They finally accepted it and let me go.
– Since that time, I have shown to my family in many ways that God is rich and He takes care of his chosen people. It does not mean that I have never had difficulty since I decided to do God's work. What I have experienced, when I’ve had tough times is that God has prepared ahead of time a good solution for me. Even though I have not become rich at all, I have had peace and joy in my mind.
Mother and teacher
Holi now has eight years of theological training behind her. She has studied in the regional seminary STPL Marovoay and at SALT, the graduate school of theology operated by the Lutheran Church in Madagascar (FLM). After her graduation at SALT in 2006, she was pointed to teach Church History in the regional seminary in Marovoay. Holi came to
– I miss my children, but I am very blessed to have a mother who takes good care of them, she says.
As Holi has studied theology, gradually opportunities have opened to study more, to learn more, to travel. She got to travel to Denver, Colorado USA together with six Malagasy pastors, received a scholarship to study English in Madagascar , and finally, she got a scholarship to take a master’s degree in Norway.
– I don’t think I’m especially clever, but I believe that God has a special task for me to teach theology. That is why so many opportunities have opened up. God has blessed me with four children. When I graduated from SALT, I did not plan to study anymore. But, FLM’s General Committee decided to send me to
Holi is gradually getting used to life as a student abroad.
– In the beginning it was hard, because I was used to studying in French. The expectations are also different when it comes to writing assignments and exams. But I am getting used to it now.
Her roommates have helped ease the transition.
– We are a group of African students who share kitchen and living room. We have made very good friends. They help me with my English. It’s easy for me to make friends, because I am an open person and I like to meet new people. Since I came here, I have made many friends from
Holi is planning to focus on systematic theology in her studies.
–My master’s thesis will be on life after death. I will do a study of the Christian understanding of eternal life in view of Sakalava's perspective on the continuity of life after death, she explains. Sakalava is one of the tribes in the West of Madagascar.
– One of the things I appreciate about
She has also noted a difference between
– Women are more respected here.
Holi is engaged in the question about women’s ordination in FLM.
But, she adds, it has to be an internal decision made by the FLM.
– Pressure from outside is not enough. There has to be a conviction that the Bible opens up for it, she explains.
When Holi looks back on her life, she sees God’s hand.
– I let God plan my life, she says.
– I hope to take a PhD so I can continue to teach theology students and train pastors for our church.
MHS has many nice people around who will guide you through what is going on if you look lost. I like the Lunch time, even if I don‘t eat we just meet at the cafeteria and talk.The international student community is amazing. We have grown together like a big family. I feel like I get to know countries and cultures all over the world, and not just beautiful Norway.