Boko Haram is still causing havoc. Although Chadian forces and joint military forces from neighboring countries have had a great deal of success in pushing back the jihadist group, Boko Haram is still out to kill. Murdering, sending out suicide bombers, and now we hear of mines. Unfortunately, Chadian military were victims to one of these mines in Nigeria. Four died and twenty were injured.
Although it’s always hard to hear of deaths, we are thankful for the successes of the joint forces that have been able to push Boko Haram back into more inaccessible places such as islands of Lake Chad and the forests of Sambisa near the Cameroon/Nigerian border.
Since its inception in 2009, Boko Haram has caused more than 20,000 deaths and displaced 2.6 million people.
It’s been two months since we heard news of huge salary cuts and hospitals and schools on strike in Chad. We were concerned that this would be a repeat of 2016, when many government employees went without salaries for five months, which in turn left hospitals, schools, and markets vacant of people and merchandise.
So we are thankful to hear that, after only two months this time, everyone is back to work. Salaries are paid up and strikes are over. The hospitals are once again open to patients, and the schools are filled with students. Thank you for your prayers.
On another note, Art is planning another trip back to Chad in a couple of months. He will be there for about three weeks spending most of that time testing almost-completed Scriptures, and working on revising drafts of others. Our two oldest children will be going with him this time, Micah- to teach children, and Josiah- to help with computers. They are both excited about this opportunity. We would appreciate prayers as we plan for this trip.
We began consultant checking (the last phase before publishing) last Monday.
Unfortunately we were very disappointed to find out that the “back translator” was unable to help this time, so the team ended up with a replacement who has been rather frustrating in the past. We were hoping that someone else could be found, but here we are at the end of week one, and we are still trudging through the process with the replacement. Knowing that we’re stuck with this situation, we keep praying that God would open the eyes of understanding for this man as he back translates the book of Galatians from Dadjo into French so the consultant can ensure the translation is done well.
We are thankful that they have been making some progress, although very slow, and Art has been working every day via computer and phone to keep up with the comments and suggestions that the consultant has been making. After five days, they have finished up to the beginning of Galatians 4.
We were expecting that the team would have started with the book of Acts because there are only five more chapters left to complete the book, but the new consultant decided instead to begin with Galatians. Because of the time Galatians is taking to complete, we have little hope of making it through Acts next week before our time of checking is over.
As a result, we will likely have to wait another year before Acts can be finished.
This is very disappointing for us, but we trust that God knows what is going on and has chosen to allow it for His own purposes. So we try not to be discouraged, and keep on with the work as God gives it to us!
Just when we thought things were getting cool in Chad because of rainy season, they are starting to heat up.
We got a big surprise this Sunday when we found out that Chad is now on the travel ban list for the US. We were dumbfounded when we first heard this, there being no reason for Chad to be on the list. As many of you know, Art is planning on traveling to Chad in less than a month. Although this doesn’t directly affect us, it may if things are not fixed soon.
It seems that this ban is a result of a lack of security measures on Chad’s side for screening who leaves the country to the US. Chad is not a hotbed for terrorism, but it is surrounded by questionable countries. And now there are rumors that if Chad continues to stay on this ban list, Chad may wish to reciprocate the ban to US citizens traveling there. This would directly affect us as well as many friends in ministry there. Please pray that things get resolved quickly.
On another note, there have been two different incidents of missionaries being held up at gunpoint in the capital in the last two weeks. One of the incidents was an attempted robbery, but the other was a successful robbery. Although this has happened in rare cases in the past, the general consensus is that this is becoming more of the norm.
We came across an article about needing to address the huge influx of Africans to Europe. We were surprised to read that the president of Chad was among the seven leaders from Europe and Africa who met together to better relations between the two sides. Africans seeking to escape poverty and/or war are crossing borders of Chad and Niger into Libya to reach a better life in Europe. “Idriss Déby Itno, the president of Chad, said ‘poverty and a lack of education’ were the main drivers of migration to Europe.”
Life in Chad is not easy. Please pray that God would provide healing to those who are hurting in Chad. Political clashes and lack of sufficient food and water are causing people to reevaluate where their shelter is from. Our hope is that the people of Chad will find their shelter in God.
To find out more about the Migration Crisis, read this article from The Guardian!
Last April we wrote about a French citizen who was kidnapped in Chad. Unfortunately we find no updates on him. What we do know is that Boko Haram has been making a come-back. There are reports that 381 civilians died at their hands since last April, with the terrorists often using women and children to carry out their suicide bombings. This is mostly in Nigeria and Northern Cameroon, but it also has been impacting our beloved Chad.
“Across the Lake Chad region, millions of civilians are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance as a result of Boko Haram violence.” Here is a link to the article.
Art is planning another trip to Chad in the next couple of months. He has made great progress in translating more books, so at this point it’s time to test the translation. Testing helps Art’s team see if God’s Word is understood and sounds natural to local Dadjo speakers who have never heard it in their own language before. He will be gone for close to three weeks from the middle of October and into November.
There is much to be done before he leaves in order to prepare him for much that has to be done while in Chad. Please pray that his next trip will go smoothly and be fruitful!
Checking for the book of Acts starts this coming Monday. It goes for two weeks leading right up to Christmas. We were really hoping that Abdallah would be able to be the back-translator for this time, but once again, he said that he would not be able to go. This is a big disappointment to us because he has been the best back-translator we’ve had for checking. He is fluent in Dadjo, he knows French, and he caught on really fast as to what the consultant needed from him. The replacements that we’ve had to use the last few times have not worked that well, making the time for checking last a lot longer, along with increased frustrations of the team trying to help the back-translator through the meaning of the verses.
All this to say, another man was found that will hopefully/prayerfully work as the newest back-translator. We are leery about another man filling in because of the struggles we’ve had with past back-translators, but maybe this is all in God’s plan. There are some negatives in that he is from further North where they may understand some of the terminology differently than in the Mongo area. Also, because he has not done this before, will he be good at it or not???? On a positive note, he speaks his Dadjo like Izzo, he knows French, and he’s educated. Another note that may prove to be a big plus is that he apparently has some kind of background with the Catholic church. This is a big surprise to us as we’ve never heard of another Dadjo with anything but an Islamic background.
So we can pray not only that the next two weeks of checking go well, but also that this new back-translator will be touched to the core in hearing the Word of God in his own language.