After a long time of praying and trying to make progress in having the Jesus Film translated into the Dadjo language, we are very pleased that there is finally some movement in that direction. The Jesus Film is a docudrama based off of the gospel of Luke, and it has already been translated into well over 1000 languages.
Early this morning, the Dadjo translators that Art works with boarded a bus to N’Djamena to be trained on making the Dadjo translation of the book of Luke fit the script and filming of the movie. There is a local Chadian in N’Djamena who is part of Campus Crusade who will do the training. This is just the beginning stage of this project. It will likely take a year or two to see the finished product, but we are very excited about the possibility of showing this film on the life of Jesus in Dadjo villages.
We would very much appreciate prayer through every stage of the making of this project and the impact it will have with the locals who watch it.
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.
It was just over a year ago during Art’s trip to Chad in 2016 that we were stunned to find how empty the shops were and how vacant the hospitals and schools were. Having not received pay for some time, most gov’t employees were on strike, leaving students with no educators and hospitals with no doctors or staff, which eventually trickled down to stores with no merchandise.
After many months of this, the country did recover, but now we are hearing of, what might be, another crisis. When the government workers received their paychecks last week, many found only a portion of their salary, some reduced by as much as 40%. Gov’t employees include police, military, teachers and hospitals. People are again on strike and frustrated. The hospital in Mongo just started sending patients home saying that there is no one there to help them.
Please pray for the people of Chad while the government works on stabilizing their economy once again.
Christmas is upon us and with it come many memories. The Christmas songs tell us that it is a time of snow, a time for Santa to climb down the chimney, a time of mistletoes, and a time of gift giving. Most of my childhood memories of Christmas are of trees covered with snow and gifts under a tree. I have memories of family gathering and times of joy. On my recent trip to Chad, Christmas memories again flooded into my mind. As I walked across the church compound that we used to call home in Mongo, I recalled how Christmas is celebrated by the church in Mongo. Mongo is about a 7 hours drive east of N’Djamena, the capital. It is dry and dusty at Christmas time, and the average temperature at this cooler time of year is 95F/ 35C. There is no snow, there is no talk of Santa, no mistletoe and no gift giving. It all sounds rather bleak until you realize that, at the time of Christ’s birth, life was not too much different than what Mongo is like today, and the church in Mongo has its own way of celebrating the coming of our Savior, a celebration that the town is invited to come and join in on. The dreary looking church compound is strung with lights. Seiko (grass fencing) is put up to partition the area and chairs are set up outside for visitors to relax and enjoy the festivities. Food is brought by members of the large congregation. Donations are given to help cover the costs of drinks for the guests. Children from the local blind school and Christian school do skits. Dignitaries, including the governor are invited. Music is played, and the neighborhood sees how Christ’s birth is celebrated. It is a great testimony to the people of Mongo and a wonderful encouragement to the church. So, the next time we think that Christmas needs to be celebrated in a specific way, let’s remember the church in Mongo. They celebrate Christmas in a very different way, but Christ’s birth is still the reason for the season. We wish you all a very Merry/Happy Christmas as you too remember and celebrate Christ’s birth.
It is the end of rainy season.
The rain brought cool weather and a much-needed crops. There was no rain in the month of October, and some of the crops may not survive. The mango trees that are growing in some areas lack the water needed to produce their delicious fruit. The same can be said about guavas and lemons.
When Art arrived in Chad on October 26th, he was not sure what to weather to expect. It turned out that the average temperature in Mongo was around 97 degrees Fahrenheit. With a bad cold, Art had trouble sleeping most nights. Thankfully, there would come an occasional gentle breeze that would blow through the dusty windows of the room he stayed in.
I’m reminded that God sometimes works through a still small whisper, a gentle breeze, as he did in the time of Elijah. The heat tends to drain us, but God’s gentle breeze refreshes. As Elijah stood on the mountain there was a strong wind, then an earthquake, and finally a fire. The Bible says that God was not in the strong wind. He was not in the earthquake, and He was not in the Fire. He was in that still small voice that whispered to Elijah, a gentle breeze that rushed across his face.
During Art’s time in Chad, he did not see miracles occur among the Dadjo. He did not see God reveal himself in a supernatural way. What he did see is Dadjo sitting in small groups listening as he read God’s Word to them. He was able to share the simple, yet powerful message of salvation through faith in Christ. That’s really all we can do. We can proclaim Jesus. God needs to do the rest. He may not do it in the timing we wish, and He may not do it by the numbers we wish, but He will accomplish His purpose through His Word (Isaiah 55:11).
After all, it may be just a still small voice with which He speaks and makes himself known to the Dadjo.
Please join us in praying for the Dadjo people of Chad, Africa. Pray that God will break our hearts for the unreached people. Pray that He will provide for their everyday needs. Pray that they will thirst for living water in the dry desert land, a thirst that only Jesus can satisfy.
As Art traveled to Chad once again, he saw changes from his last visit, but along with the changes were the signs of things that never seem to change. Last year, when Art arrived, the country was in financial crisis. It was a crisis unlike any seen in at least the last two decades. The shops were almost bare. The markets were empty. People could not pay their rents. Teachers, hospital workers and anyone else working for the government were mostly on strike. If you were sick, there was little option but to pray. One year later, most of these things seem to have improved. The government began paying partial salaries. The shops now have goods to sell. The hospital is open, and children are going to school. A closer look however tells you that outward appearances can be somewhat deceptive. When you begin talking to the people of Chad, you realize that Chad’s biggest employer, the government, has frozen a good part of its hiring. People who planned on being teachers are now on a waiting list that is years long. The same is likely true for most other government posts, including nurses and doctors.
On top of all that, livestock prices remain at around 50 percent of their value from two years ago. That means that the people of Chad who rely on livestock to live, now have 50 percent less to live on. This decrease in livestock value is possibly related to terrorism on the western borders of the country. Nigeria was once a major consumer/purchaser of livestock from Chad. With terrorism, trading across borders is now much more dangerous, and therefore not really an option.
During our many years in Chad, we have seen lots of improvements. More roads in the capital have been paved, gas stations have been built and access to fuel has become more stable. In many ways however, Chad is still the same as it was when we arrived over 15 years ago. With all the changes over the years, there are some changes that never seem to happen.