News Update - October 2009

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Here in brief is a summary of our life and ministry in Chad. We hope that you find it informative, and that it enables you to better pray for us. 

Mark, Joseph and François tested the book of Luke with 4 Kwong high school students who were back in Chageen for the summer holidays.  We read the book to them in its entirety, verse by verse, and had them translate it into French. In this way we were able to discover those parts of the Kwong text which were misleading and make adjustments to our translation accordingly. Three of these young men are not believers, and heard about the teaching and works of Jesus in a way few people in Kwongland ever have. They were, we might add, very impressed by what they heard. Pray for Yermay, Galsungo, and Lamdey.  

Besides her usual ministries (supervising the radio station, discipling women and girls, editing Jonas's stories, etc) Diane is going though our translation of the book of Luke with François and Joseph and putting all the new vocabulary and expressions into our computerized dictionary where it will be more accessible for future translation work. It is always fascinating to see how the Kwong slice and dice the world semantically. The Kwong have, for example, a perfectly good word “to heal”, but when Jesus healed the ten lepers, the proper expression in Kwong is that he “slipped them out” of their disease. Leprosy is, as it were, not an infection like we think of it, but a kind of strait-jacket or prison.

We continue to crank out a new Old Testament Bible story each week with Jonas. We have gone through the history of Israel from the time of Joseph until the reign of David – over 60 stories so far. These stories are going so well and are such a hit for children and adults alike on FM 95.2 that we are dreaming of pushing right straight through the Maccabean period and the early church, and then just keep on going with the stories of Augustine, Luther, and other great men and women of faith, right down to the modern age. We’ll see just how long Jonas can keep doing this. If the Lord gives him another 5 or 6 years of life, there is no reason we can’t achieve such a feat. We pray frequently (and so may you) that he, or for that matter any of the half dozen men we depend on, doesn’t get bit by a snake or die of malaria.

Twenty years ago, on October 9, 1989, Mark arrived in Chad for the first time. His first impression as the big DC-10 made its final approach over the outskirts of N’Djamena was something like “Oh my word. This must be what the end of the earth looks like. Heaven help us.” 20 years on, his impression of Chad (though not of N’Djamena) has changed much for the better. During his first two years he traveled around southern Chad surveying the languages of the area in collaboration with a couple of Wycliffe missionaries. Then in 1991 he moved to Chageen to begin work on one of the the languages he had surveyed, the Kwong.    (Mark with his parents at O'Hare field in 1989, back when your family could still see you off at the gate.)

In our last update, we were pushing a squeegee 24/7 to evacuate the water which was leaking into our radio studio. After that, the rains moderated, and were as close to perfect as ever was possible – about an inch every 2 or 3 days. For this we are very grateful to the Lord. Besides letting the squeegee dry out, it meant that Diane’s vegetable garden has been one of the best ever. Now, however, the rains - and our favorite time of year - has come to an end and we’ll have not a drop of water for another 6 or 7 months.

That’s all for now.

                                      Mark and Diane



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Last modified: December 20, 2010