Sometime in the next few days – Tuesday being
most likely – Mark will be embarking on a relatively difficult and
potentially discouraging journey for which we are asking you to pray. He
will be travelling 107 kms (about 65 miles) to spend several days at a
cluster of villages called Mobou. These villages are at the outer fringe
of our FM station’s listening area, and he is going there to install
two FM radio repeaters which will enable the church people there to hear
our broadcasts more easily.
That sounds relatively simple, but in fact
there are a myriad of things that can go wrong, not least of which is
that the repeaters may or may not actually work - which is why we are
sending out this prayer bulletin. Here, in detail, are our concerns:
the repeaters ready
It is still early in the rainy season here, but there has
been enough rain that we are concerned about the conditions of the road.
These 65 miles take 4 hours in the best of circumstances, and Mark
really doesn’t want it to take any longer. As a matter of fact, he
would be hard pressed to come up with anything he dislikes in Chad more
than road travel. (Diane, incidentally, is going to stay at home for
this trip. She had enough mud and water last week getting to a women’s
The basic idea is that Mark will install a large antenna
that looks like the old pre-cable roof-top TV antenna. This antenna
will, so the theory goes, pick up the very weak FM signal, and then pipe
it into a box full of electronics which will rebroadcast a strong signal
so that people can listen easily. The trouble is, it didn’t
work very well either of the two times Mark field-tested it.
(Field-testing means driving several hours through the bush to find a
weak enough signal, so that’s not something you want to do too often
either.) Now, however, we might have a solution to the technical
problems, but no time for further field-tests, so the installation of
the antennas in Mobou is the field-test.
Those of you who work with Mark know that he (and Diane,
too, as far as that goes) can be kind of obsessive about making sure
everything is “just right” in these things. As the forgoing
paragraph suggests, nothing about this junket is even close to being
“just right”. However, we are pressing ahead due to the
impending rains and an upcoming trip to N’Djamena to get the book
of Genesis approved for publication. In fact, due to the rainy season
and our furlough (which begins when the rains end in Oct or Nov), this
week will be our last chance for at least another year to install these
repeaters and visit with the churches in Mobou.
The people of Mobou speak a dialect of Kwong. However,
they are so far away from Chageen, that they fall in another church
district, the pastors of which all preach in an assortment of other
languages, but not Kwong. The upshot is that the believers in Mobou
rarely hear a sermon in their own language. So it is easy to see how The
Voice of Chageen could be a tremendous encouragement to them – if they
can hear it. All that to say that it is important to get these
repeaters to work.
Even if the repeaters don’t work, it is important
that the people in Mobou see us face to face. Being in as remote a place
as they are, they have precious little contact with us, but they look up
to us as their spiritual uncles, speaking as we do their language. And
when, as has sometimes happened, we go a couple years without paying
them a visit, they can be very hurt. This is perhaps the main reason for
making the trip even knowing that the FM repeaters might not work.
As you receive this letter, Mark is spending every spare
moment getting the antennas and electronic components ready for the
trip. Pray that he doesn’t forget anything.
Your fellow servants,