News Update May 2009

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 Vanderkooi News Update - May, 2009

After three months in the village of Chageen, we have finally come out to “civilization” (if N’Djamena so qualifies) for a short break. Seeing as how we had almost completely run out of food, we really didn’t have much choice. Here is a summary of our life and ministry in Chad:

*      After two months of very hot temperatures (110°), the first rains have brought welcome relief. It has been amazing to see how the trees and shrubs around our house all “knew” the rains were coming and began to bud out even before the moisture arrived. This “Frangipan” tree in our backyard is the most spectacular example. At night, its fragrance fills the air.

*      The rains have also begun their annual destruction of the road to Chageen. As we “4 wheeled” through mud and water two days ago to leave Chageen, we pondered once again why it is that some people in the USA actually pay good money to 4-wheel for “fun”. We also wondered whether they would think it such fun if the nearest tow truck and hospital was 200 miles from their playground.

*      You may recall that for many years we have been discouraged by the disconnect between our vision for the Kwong church and that of our local Kwong pastors who frequently take precious little interest in the spiritual wellbeing of their parishioners. We have been encouraged these last few months, however, by a new openness to Mark’s teaching and counsel. Some excellent teaching by Moses the Younger on the shepherding task of pastors was the initial impetus. (You may remember that Moses has been a missionary among the Muslim nomads since leaving our translation team about 10 years ago.) Mark followed this up by gently imposing on them to follow through on all the pious things they said during those meetings and the result is that Mark now has a foot in the door with them.

*      The clinic building  is very close to completion. The delivery room still needs paint, the windows still need screens, a couple sinks need to be installed, and the waiting area needs a gate to keep the village goats out (goats hate rain and take cover there, and of course poop all over everything), but other than that, the building is basically done. Pray with us as we look for a young man who we can send for nurse’s training to staff the clinic in the future.

*      Other ministries – teaching the kids with Jonas, the radio station, Diane’s discipleship classes with the women, the boys’ club and girls’ club, and of course the Bible translation project continue to go well. We have been remarkably healthy and in good spirits. We will return to Chageen in a week or so after purchasing a 6 month supply of food to take us through the rainy season.

That’s all for now.

Love, Mark and Diane



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