On the 8th May I will go with the local pastor to revisit the village Z where we went after Christmas to talk of ‘Good News’, hoping to follow up with some of the people we had visited. We will stay until 9th pm so that I can go visiting and not just fill my time with seeing patients as rather happened last time. Pray for open hearts and minds, much time for visiting, fluency in speaking (most of the women there only speak Maba) and much fruit from this visit.
Praising God for a new believer ‘Ruth’, sister to the first in their village ‘Faye’ Although I had talked with Ruth on several occasions, it seems that Faye had been talking with her and letting her listen to the Maba Creation to Christ audio stories. Ruth in her turn seems to be speaking to her husband about it and says she gave him the Arabic New Testament that I gave to her (and then realised that she doesn’t read very well). Pray that he too will believe and that the enthusiasm of these ladies to talk of our Lord will not wane and will bear much fruit in their village.
The church’s visit to a nearby Maba village to tell them about the reason for Christmas went well: A good proportion of the church went, some to cook, some to pray and others to do acts of service and then go to visit people on the streets and in their homes. People warmly welcomed us and showed interest in listening especially to Maba audio recordings about the Christmas story. We also showed the Jesus Film with a good attendance.
Pray for this village. Many whom I spoke to had never heard of Jesus. The great challenge is that most of the women and children only speak Maba. I am learning Maba (pray for me) but there are no others in church who do. Pray that I can return to speak truth and that others of my small church here might also go.
The harvest is ripe but the workers are exceedingly few… Pray to the Lord of the harvest.
From 27th – 29th December, a group from the church (southern Chadians) will visit a small village hoping to impart the good news to the people there, doing acts of service – cleaning the market and health work – to demonstrate practically God’s love. Pray that a preparatory visit this coming week will take place and for the 3 day visit that God will protect from logistical challenges and that many might hear and understand the good news. Pray for enough Arabic speakers on the team and that we will meet enough Arabic speaking women to translate into Maba when necessary. Pray for much fruit and that the church will be diligent in following up those who show interest. There is no church at all in this village.
Praise God that after several years praying for more workers, we now have three preparing to join the one member. Pray for the one Maba lady who became a believer but has very little knowledge to persevere in her faith and to listen to the bible materials which she has on her phone. Pray that a lady from the local church will have opportunities to encourage her.
“The word of God is living and active” but if it is not available in a form readily understandable to people, it has little effect. Currently there is no scripture published for the Maba although Genesis has been revised and theoretically could be published. John and Matthew Chapters 1-7 were translated 15 yrs ago but never used. Now the one translator believes they should be revised before being used but she only works on Maba 40-50% of her time being involved in translation consultation otherwise. Pray for a miracle that something would change in this situation and more scriptures would become readily available. The literacy rate is about 14 % for adult females in Chad and only 31% for adult males. Obviously audio recordings are very necessary but it can be very time consuming making them.
Please pray for ‘Faye’. She confessed Christ about 6 months ago. Discipleship through bible study has been difficult because there are often visitors and she prefers not to read the bible with others present. Added to this, she is still used to people explaining texts to her rather than reflecting for herself. She has some oral bible stories on her phone in her tribal language and some Arabic New Testament but tends to lose her phone. Now is farming season and she is out from morning to night in the fields. I am away on home leave. The one person in the church who speaks enough Arabic to follow up with her has not found her at home. Pray that Pauline can meet with Faye and talk of Christ to her and that Faye will persevere in her faith despite the lack of support and that she will listen to the bible materials which she has and reflect on them. She is the only believer in her village.
I recently went to a circumcision party in a nearby village which I have rarely visited. Of 15-20 children 6-12 yrs old surrounding me to look at my camera, nobody had been to school. Nobody had heard of Adam and Eve or Abraham. It wasn’t clear whether they attended religious classes but maybe they just didn’t understand. They listened with interest to the Genesis recording in Maba telling the story of God’s covenant with Abraham and the sign of circumcision. None of them spoke Arabic. Maba scriptures and recordings are so necessary. Please pray for more workers for the Maba, more scriptures to use and wisdom how to use what we have amongst such people who are perishing without Christ. Pray for a better future for these children and that God will work in their hearts to give a hunger for God even though they rarely hear of him.
Success comes at a price
I mentioned B, a new Maba MBB missionary, previously. Positive news is that he is helping record an audio version of portions of Genesis (already translated) and hopefully other scriptures available for testing. There has been one lady turn to Christ but her family is trying to have B evicted from his house. Pray that God will help him in all these circumstances and that the audio project might come to fruition soon and bring glory to God
A lady “Zam” with HIV was becoming sicker and sicker but refusing to go to hospital. “It is a curse”, she said. Or, “It is too cold!” or … many other excuses. Praise God, she finally agreed to be taken to hospital. I treated her severe malaria and she is now taking her antiretroviral medicines. She has a solar player with Maba Bible stories, some of which the children can recite to me! Pray that she will regain enough strength to listen again herself and that she will recognise the wonderful gift which is being offered to her.
One lady with clinical malaria refuses to go to hospital. “It is the evil eye” she says. Pray for “Zen” that she can be treated and above all freed from her fear of spirits, sorcerers and evil eye. Sad to say she manifests little interest in talking of God. This is not uncommon.
“Far” is very different. Although she too fears evil spirits and has charms on her baby, she is interested to learn of Jesus. But it is surprising how many activities interfere with us meeting – mine and hers. Pray that we will have some good times of sharing so that she can understand how to listen to her set of Maba Bible stories with an open ear to understand more of God and the way of Salvation.
Pray for B, a relatively recent Maba believer, who has taken a 9 months Bible/evangelism training and just set off to be a missionary! He says he hopes to reach leaders particularly. Pray for him that he will be full of courage and discernment and compassion. As a child, he was one of those beggar boys carrying the bowls around to take back gifts to his ‘Faki’ from whom he learnt the Koran. May God use him and his knowledge of our cousins’ faith richly.
Pray for those he seeks to reach, steeped in fear of spirits and evil eye, trapped by tradition, and with little idea of God. May God open their minds and hearts and give visions and dreams to them which will turn them to Christ. May God open the doors for many more to work amongst this group.
A friend from the local church went into the market to share the word of God. That itself is a positive sign as the church has not been active that way. Two ladies told her that they see that Christianity is good. There is love, people come and share the word of God in the market, there is not the violence and vengeance that they see amongst their own people. But… “We couldn’t change. Muslim is what we are and have been.”
Please pray for the Maba that their eyes will be opened. So many people here do not understand anything of their belief system but go through the motions of praying and fasting etc. believing that is what helps them, while also wearing many charms and living in fear of being attacked by bad spirits. Meanwhile, vengeance and violence and corruption is rife.
Ishmael is dying from advanced liver disease. Today he heard the gospel although he is so sick that maybe he hardly heard it. Pray that somehow, God might open his mind and heart to understand and believe. Otherwise he will die without hope, maybe soon. Pray for his daughters, Z and F, and one of his wives, KH as they watch him suffer unable to do much to help. They too have heard the gospel. Pray that seeds sown will bear fruit.
Recently Mohammed Abdel Nabi, one of few Maba believers, died from liver cancer. Pray for his wife, Fatuuma and adopted children. His family have not visited them because of his Christian faith. Her family couldn’t visit because of the virus. Pray that his death will bear witness to the hope we have in Jesus
Please pray for Z, a 15yr old Maba girl who has been lying on a mattress for about 4 years unable to move her arms, hands or legs because of calcification of her joints. She heard the gospel last week and seemed interested to find a source of hope in her desperate situation. Pray that when I return I can do discovery bible studies with her and that she will find the hope of life eternal which surpasses all other hope. Pray for healing too and for her family. How heart breaking would it be to be stuck like that with all your life ahead of you or to see your daughter stuck like that with nothing you can do about it?
Pray also for team members for this fledgling team (one member!) about to move into a Maba village.
My arrival in a Maba town for one month has brought very many mentally ill and epileptic patients to see me. Many have suffered for years or even decades. Some suffer because their parents didn’t take them for medical treatment when seriously sick as young children. Pray that I can help these people in their suffering and that doing so opens many opportunities in the community to speak of our hope in Jesus. Pray that I will find people with open hearts and minds to believe. Pray that I can set up a base here and that other workers will join me.
Pray for A and H. Seeing the Jesus film together, H said ‘we must hear this again to understand it well”. It wasn’t possible to watch it all because of a curfew here but I will give them the film on an SD card. Pray that they will watch it through and God will speak to them through it of their need for salvation through Jesus Christ.
Pray for R. who, until recently, was hooked on tramadol. With some help from medications he has been able to leave it and now isn’t taking anything. He has decided to follow JC and has been coming to church for the last 3 weeks. His parents died several years ago and he is currently living with a Maba believer who helped him through withdrawal. He left his old religion 6 yrs ago but was frightened away from church by relatives after attending only twice. Pray that he will remain firm in his new-found faith and that he could find a means to support himself. Pray for others who want to know more but are frightened of their relatives’ reaction.
A group of us will travel on Saturday 22nd to assess the suitability of a Maba town as a base for a Maba team. Please pray for wisdom in decision making, for safety in travel (with no water in Wadis) and for good contacts there. Above all pray that we will find new people to work there! The workers are few!
There has been fighting again between the Arabs (who started it this time) and the Maba. Houses and grazing land were burned and 23 died. The government finally has things under control but there is no doubt that ill will remains. Arabs here think surely the Maba started it as they hear little reliable news. Pray that the truth will come out and more importantly pray that this violence will bring people to think about the One Way to God.
A was recently asked to keep away from the grave when his stepmother was being buried because he is not a Muslim. His pain as he told us this was very evident. A.J. tries to help young men who have been on the streets and who often are on drugs or taking alcohol excessively. He faces accusations that he is bringing thieves and troublemakers into the area. Sadly some accusations come from a man who has claimed to be a believer but who lives in both camps to avoid persecution in a way that is offensive to those who are persecuted. Pray that Satan will not have his way in continuing this strife. Pray for wisdom for A.J. as he deals with people struggling with addiction who can be very devious. Pray that in hearing the Good News, they will find new life.
Please pray for B, a Maba believer. Saved only 2yrs ago he has recently decided to move away from our big town where it is easier to find fellowship and encouragement to a rural area where he hopes to find work. Challenges in his life have included death threats from his family and pressure to keep away from Christians. Pray that he will find fellowship to help him grow in his faith and that he might be able to share his new-found love for JC with people whose hearts God has prepared.
The Chadian pastor involved in the outreach programme in a mixed Maba/Chadian Arab village soon after Christmas, asks for prayer as he returns Saturday 20th April to visit the couple who made a commitment to our Saviour during that outreach. Pray also for the teacher in the village school who has been the only believer spending time with the couple up to now because the pastor’s motorbike has needed repair for the last 4 months. Pray that pastor and his church will consider it a priority to get the bike repaired soon so that he can do visits in surrounding villages as he used to do.
Following the death of Ousman, local leaders of our cousins have forbidden people to visit the home of Rachel, his widow, saying that those who do should fast 3 days. Stories are being spread of the bad behaviour (drinking alcohol, dancing etc.) that Christians are up to. Even Ousman’s brothers have not visited. In a society where community is everything, this is deeply hurtful. Pray for the small community of believers to have grace to show compassion and love to those who persecute them and not retaliate. Pray that this might impact the local community to consider the claims of the gospel.
Ousman had under his charge, for 6yrs, the son of his dead brother. He is now 8 yrs old. Because the family is so overcome with grief and the enormity of coping with his children (including another orphan) they are talking of sending the boy to stay with a great aunt. Pray that they would be mindful of how far they would be sending him from Christian influence and reconsider. Ask God to provide for this family.
Sad to say, Ousman, who we prayed for 5 weeks ago, died yesterday after 2 yrs of increasing heart failure. He leaves behind a wife, Rachel, and 5 children. The youngest is only 18mths. Pray for them and our small church. He was a founding member. Pray also for the Maba translation project which he used to help with. The lady leading it did find someone to try out working with them before she had to leave for N’djamena. Pray that when she returns in early April this man might continue and be enthusiastic about the project. Pray that through the work he might come to believe in Jesus as Saviour.
Pray for F who recently heard the Good News. Pray that a true faith might replace the daily round of rituals and that she might find true peace in knowing our Lord despite difficult family circumstances.
Pray for O, one of a few Maba believers, who is increasingly severely sick with heart failure despite every medicine possible. Pray that the peace which passes all understanding will fill his heart and will be a witness to his family, friends, and neighbours. Pray that God would intervene and heal him.
In December you prayed that the checking of the Genesis translation into Maba might restart. It had been apparently “forever blocked”. O has been the Maba person who used to work on it. This last week, another man, Ib was finally found to help. A few hours of work were possible before the person leading the translation had to leave for other responsibilities. She returns early April. Praise God the translation did restart, pray that it will continue when she returns in April and that O will be fit enough to take part. There is something very strange in the way the translation hasn’t moved forward, but it is difficult to get to the bottom of it. Pray against the forces of evil working against progress amongst these people.
The visit made by the church of southern Chadians led to leaflets with the word of God being distributed to 400 households with team members being welcomed by most. One couple decided to follow the one Saviour. Pray that they will grow in their fledgling faith. They have a new testament in local Arabic. Pray that they will understand it. The husband can read but it is not clear how well.
The trip to Maba villages with memory cards of Maba stories went well if not quite as planned. We spoke with several people about God, sharing recorded stories and giving some cards and 2 Bibles, but much time was taken up seeing 32 patients who came to see the expatriate. Most of these were mentally ill or had epilepsy and had never received treatment. We were able to pray with most and showed a portion of the J film to some until the pressure of numbers became too great. Praise that these people could receive help, pray that seeds of compassion and prayer and the word will bear fruit. Pray that people will be miraculously healed or continue faithfully their treatment. One man had been successfully treated for one year but then his family stopped taking him for treatment. When I met him he was chained to a tree. Lord have mercy on him.
Pray for our brother Abd – one of the handful of Maba MBB’s, who this week is accompanying an expatriate worker to some Maba villages on the outskirts of the major city center where he lives. Abd is going out with SD cards that contain portions of the gospel in Arabic to share and distribute. Pray for boldness and wisdom as Abd goes and interacts with people. Pray for sensitivity to the Spirit’s leading to know who he should share with.
A while back people prayed that a trip to take Maba Bible stories into some local villages would take place after being postponed several times. It did take place but unfortunately, the SD cards were forgotten! Some useful contacts were made and the word of God shared. A return trip including other villages is planned for 7th – 9th January. Please pray again that the stories will be accepted, listened to and reflected upon and that many will understand their need for Christ
Please pray that peace will reign between the Arabs and the Maba in Northern Chad in a gold mining area. 30 were killed in clashes in the last few days of December and this last week, ‘dozens’ have been killed in fresh fighting. We’ve been told soldiers have been sent to sort it out. It is certain that many people here have relatives and friends that have been killed. There is intermarriage between these two tribes who have been fighting each other intermittently for decades. Pray that there will be a lasting peace and for those touched by the deaths of loved ones to consider their eternal destiny and turn to the one Saviour.
Visiting a Maba town recently, the SD cards of stories were well received. A church there made up of believers and church attenders from Southern Chad has planned to ‘do evangelism’ in a village of Maba people and Chadian Arabs from 27th December for 3 days. The church is very southern in its way of doing church and many of the 60 people who attend on Sundays do not speak Arabic. Please pray that this enterprise will be effective in reaching the people and will inspire the people who go to trust more in God and to make contacts with people in their own Maba town rather than staying in their small Christian enclave. The religious leaders of the receiving village were already objecting to their going a week ago but the administrative authorities gave permission. Pray that this effort will not antagonise but rather win souls.
Please pray for translation of the Bible into Maba. It seems that it is forever blocked. Pray that no fear or other distraction will stop the checking of the Genesis translation- (completed many years ago but not published) in December.
This past week I heard about M – a young man who has been seriously studying the Quran from a young age. He has traveled to the Middle East to further his knowledge of the Quran and was teaching others here in the capital city. Through M’s own intense study of the Quran he gained an interest in Jesus Christ and eventually realized that Jesus is the way to salvation. M secretly sought out Christians and a church where he could find answers to his many questions. Not long ago he even took the step of being baptized. Family members soon found out about his new faith and beat him and locked him up several times. A local church recently decided to help him head back to his home area in eastern Chad but after being dropped off at the bus park, relatives found him trying to escape and they beat him and took all of his stuff and destroyed it. A fellow brother in Christ took care of M’s wounds and this past week helped this brother to again secretly travel out east. M was able to get on the bus but there has been no word since his departure – we are fearful that he was found by family members and that they have done something to him. Please pray for M and that his faith would stay strong despite whatever he may be going through at the moment. There is a small MBB church in his hometown out east that is led by some men from his same people group. Pray that if he has made it out there, that he would somehow be able to connect with this church.
There are plans to take the Maba ‘Creation to Christ’ recordings to several Maba villages next week where there is no witness. 2-3 times before this has been tried and hasn’t worked out. This time one guy essential to the plan is unwell. Pray that he will be well enough to go and that those who hear will want to listen to the full set of 40 stories and that they will believe what they hear and put their trust in Jesus.
There is no Maba scripture published although two books were translated. Recently however, a set of 40 chronological stories was completed and is available on micro SD cards to put in phones. Twice there have been plans to go out into local Maba villages to let people listen to these stories accompanied by two of 3 Maba- speaking believers. On both occasions the trip was postponed. Pray that these stories will bear much fruit and that, when rainy season is finished, such a trip can be accomplished.