Current News Update

[Home] [Current Prayer Concerns] [Current Newsletter

News from Mark and Diane Vanderkooi

Cedarville, OH -- December 18,  2010

Africa filigri outline with Chad 2


  Goodbye to Chageen - for now

On October 23, we said goodbye to our friends in Chageen and began the long journey home to Indiana. As usual, preparing to leave was much more difficult than the actual business of travel. MAF (Missionary Aviation Fellowship) graciously picked us up and took  us to N'Djamena where we would board our flight to the USA. A large part of the village and virtually all the Christians came out to the plane to see us off. Pastor Old Moses prayed for us first, and then Mark rose and prayed the Lord's blessing on the Kwong as well. And with that, we boarded the Cessna, roared down the airstrip, and began our journey to the USA. 

  Hello USA

After an uneventful but tiring 27 hours in airports and airplanes (but no pat-downs or revealing body scans), Diane's parents met us at the Indianapolis airport and welcomed us back to the USA on October 28.

The next day, the rat race of American life swept us up in its loving embrace. We acquired that quintessential mark of autonomy, a car, (leased from Missionary Auto and Truck), insured the car against our very tolerant but strangely litigious society (thank you Standard Agencies, Union City), got our debit cards reactivated so we can do our part in stimulating the economy (can't use them in Chad, so they stop working as a matter of course), renewed Diane's drivers' license (one more day and she would have had to take the driver's test), and replaced Diane's old computer. (No, we haven't joined Facebook, thankyou. But yes, we would be most honored to be your friend.) Then a few days later, we topped it all off by voting in the mid-terms. Never in the history of America did a more clueless couple of citizens walk into a voting booth. 

 Ah, the smell of Bacon

"Kill them! Kill them!” our dear old Chief Luba bellowed  at the top of his lungs. That was all we needed to hear. The next morning, Mark’s private militia, armed to the teeth with newly minted spears and clubs, headed out to our grass airstrip to make bacon of the domestic pigs which were plowing it up in search of tasty foot-long earthworms.

The pigs in Chageen are a grade-A nuisance every year, but this year was particularly bad. Quite apart from the fact that the airstrip is our only means of medical evacuation during the rainy season, it was also going to be our means of leaving on furlough. We had to do something, and hence our request to Luba for permission to slaughter them.  By the end of the week, 19 of the vermin had gone to the big mud hole in the sky, as the smell of roast pork wafted over the village of Chageen. The owners were none too happy with this turn of events, but Mark had personally visited most of them in the preceding weeks, urging them to tie up their pigs - all to no avail.  

 The Evangelical Clinic

3 years ago when we made an appeal for money to build a new clinic building, part of the case we made was that if we had decent facilities, we would attract and retain better quality staff. We are happy to report that our prediction was well founded. Over the past year, we have assembled an excellent, dedicated staff for the clinic. It is headed up by Emile Togengar who recently graduated 7th in his class of 135 at the Chadian government nursing school. He has handled some very difficult diagnoses and saved hundreds of lives during this first year with us. He is assisted by Merkis Marier who we sent for training as an assistant nurse last summer, and by Leah Kuma who is our cashier and pharmacist. All three of them labor for Christ and present an excellent testimony to the Kwong community as well as to the many Arabs and nomads who also receive care at our clinic. Lambert, you may remember, was our nurse for 3 years. He moved on when the government offered him a post at a clinic to the south of us. He was a tremendous help to us.  

  Everyone One Hundred

How about a new year’s resolution to pray for missions? For the second year running, TEAM (the mission society we belong to, in case you forgot) is organizing a special 100 days of prayer for missionaries around the world. Each week for the first 100 days of 2011 TEAM will furnish you by email with prayer requests from around the world. You may find out more and register at  



Pastor Old Moses (right) and Mark praying with our Kwong friends under the wing of the Cessna. Our colleagues, Ken and Beth Leverich, as well as our pilot Greg Vine’s family came along for the ride. Greg’s wife Jill took the picture.


This is the first time in 17 years that either of us has seen significant snow.


Let’s spear some pigs!


We did not think the pilot would be amused.


Emile, Merkis and Leah in front of the new clinic.



  Merry Christmas

Finally, as the advent season culminates in just  a few days with Christmas itself, we want to wish each of you - our family, friends, supporters, and pray-ers - a very Christ centered and joy-filled Christmas, and a blessed new year.

                Mark and Diane

PO Box 524 Cedarville, OH 45314     Tel: 937-766-3779 or 937-621-1336 (cell)

Serving with the Evangelical Alliance Mission







Send mail to with questions or comments about this web site.
Copyright © 2010-2011 Vanderkooi's Ministry in Chad
Last modified: May 28, 2011