Meryn from Hook Church journeyed to Chad from 3rd - 13th Nov 2017.
This was partly to accompany Art Aviles, a translator, on his trip. It was also personal fact-finding mission for Meryn, as a precursor to his vision of showing the JESUS film to the local people group. Meryn gives below his personal account of some of the highlights of his trip.
I [Meryn] met Robin (from the Chadian Arabic translation team) at the airport in Paris and we travelled together on the plane from Paris to N’Djamena in Chad - a blessing! I stayed Thursday and Friday nights at the SIL (Summer Institute of Linguistics) compound.
On Saturday morning, after a 4 a.m. alarm(!) and some disquieting moments, I made the 7.5-hour bus journey East to Mongo.
Hook has been keen for the three Chadian missionaries to the local people to meet, collaborate and support one another. So it was good that they all met together with me on Saturday afternoon. I presented gifts from Hook for them and their families.
I was invited to deliver the sermon on Sunday at the church in Mongo, and I spoke on “Jesus - The Word of God”.
The worship Service was followed by a very useful business lunch with the Pastor and church elders. We were asked if we could increase the number of bursaries for local students to be able to attend the Internat school, which is connected to the church, as many were turned away this year. The Internat is keen to have lighting available for students to study at night and an improved water supply. The limited solar power available is used solely to power laptops for teaching. The formerly unreliable town water and electricity supplies are now non-existent. The diesel-powered pumps and generators are in need of repair yet nothing will be repaired until the outstanding bill for diesel fuel has been paid.
On Monday morning, I walked around the neighbourhood, taking in the sights and sounds. In all my time in Africa (48 years), I had never been so overwhelmed by the poverty and dereliction which I witnessed in Mongo. This challenged me, my conscience and my purpose in the work in Chad.
For the rest of that week, I visited several villages with Art and was deeply touched by the kindness, politeness and generosity of the people, in spite of their abject poverty.
During our travels, I was able to observe ‘back-translation’ work on the final draft of Philippians, by Art and 2 others and quickly became aware of how important yet mentally taxing that work is.
And an update from Art Aviles
the man who is working to translate the Bible into a local Chadian language:
Firstly, I received the sad news on 16 January that a local back-translator, had passed away. This man had begun working with the team about a year and a half ago, and his role was to help in the final stage of the translation work before we publish it. He was a great asset to the team, but when I met him on my trip to Chad this last October (2017), he had been in the hospital for around two months with some kind of problem in his leg.
The team is currently working on revising the last two chapters of Philippians and on translating the book of 1 Corinthians. The first draft (a very rough translation) of 1 Corinthians chapters 1 through 6 has been completed. I am now working through the exegesis and notes for the first revision of those chapters. It is a very slow process. We will likely be working on this book for the next year. In December, 2 men spent a week in the capital receiving training for working with a new version of Bible translation software.
During my last trip to Chad, I was able to do village testing of the book of Ephesians and work with the team on the first two chapters of the book of Philippians to prepare them for future village testing.
Literacy courses will begin again among the villages on February 1st and run until the middle of June. There will be 13 classes for adults and 3 for children. The literacy teachers received updated training at the end of December.
Art’s Chad Trip Oct/Nov 2017
I met with the 3 Chadian missionaries to the local people and presented them with radios that play SD (memory) cards. This will allow them to play these people oral bible stories for the people they minister to. Two of the missionaries have been doing this already with their phones. The SD cards contain Bible stories from Genesis all the way up to the resurrection of Christ.
I was able to meet with the national representative of the people (CRU) who do the Jesus film. He stated that he would request that the film in a local language be made a priority for CRU. He needs to have authorization from their main office in Orlando. We will need to patiently wait for their response, although I am continuing to gently try moving this forward. It is a major item for prayer. Assuming they agree to go ahead, it will be a significant undertaking, but I believe it will be well worth the investment of time and resources.
I met with a local chief during my visit, and it is the beginning of a needed relationship that I hope will open more doors in the future. He was made chief around a year and a half ago. I also met again with another chief.
I am hoping to travel to Chad again in the beginning of June 2018, Lord willing.
CHAD PRAYER REQUESTS
▪ For Art in the translation work
▪ For the Hook Chad team to have continuing unity and insight
as they continue the search for the right partners.
▪ The development of evangelistic tools, the “Jesus
Film” and (SD) memory card scripture.
▪ For our Chadian contacts
▪ For the interest of young people in the work.
▪ For Sam & Katie, new missionaries in Chad