April 2017

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News Update from Mark and Diane Vanderkooi

April 14, 2017

Dear family, friends, and supporters;

Written on Good Friday, this update brings together our current events with the celebration of Christ’s resurrection and the hope we have of eternal life and eternal glory. As the following news items will explain, these beautiful truths are more poignant than usual for us this year.

Your fellow servants,   Mark and Diane

“Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live.” Jesus’ words to Martha when her brother Lazarus died.

March 1, 2017 marked the end of the earthly life of Diane’s father, Donald Stocksdale, at 82 years of age following a short but deadly bout of pneumonia. We grieve the loss of a father, husband and brother but we also celebrate, knowing that he believed in Christ and has the resurrection hope of eternal life - life that is truly life. Diane was able to talk with her father on the phone from Chageen just a couple days before he died. Then, from N’djamena, she was able be with the family via Skype when in the hospital room they encouraged each other and their dying father with hymns of hope and Scriptures that spoke of the eternal glory awaiting him. Diane, her three brothers, an uncle and others from their church each shared at the memorial service later that week, clearly proclaiming the hope that Donald Stocksdale had expressed in a poem he wrote in his earlier years of faith: “Help me, Lord, to keep my eye fixed on none but you alone. That my life may signify Jesus Christ is on the throne.”   

Sharing the hope we have

Following the funeral, Diane was able to spend a few weeks with her mother, Patricia, at the assisted living facility where her parents had just moved at the end of December. It was a blessing to have them already established there so that Diane could simply help her mother set up new routines to carry on with life without her husband of 57 years at her side. As it is, she is battling with a cancer which continues to progress and is now attacking her liver as well as her bones. But as she says, “God must have a purpose for me to still be alive,”  and in that spirit, she and Diane enjoyed getting to know several of the other 30 residents of the facility and sharing the hope and comfort which only the God of all comfort can bring.

Giving the Kwong the Words of Hope and Life

As we write this update, Diane has returned to Chad, and we are in N’Djamena for most of the month of April before returning to Chageen. Mark and our translation team have been working for the past week with Antje Maass, a translation consultant with Wycliffe Bible Translators, to make the final quality control check to assure that 1 Corinthians is translated accurately  and clearly for the Kwong people.  They hope to finish in a few more days after which we also hope to check 1 Timothy. These books will be an important addition to our Bible school’s corpus of materials for the equipping of Kwong pastors to “to teach, to reprove, to correct, and to train in righteousness.”

“The Lord has risen indeed!”

May bree yee, Kumoyn jilin Kris dá dongodda ka mati wet mala, may uu tusi na jal ute pa’h dá dongodda ka mati pet kán Kumoyn ma da jaliy pata. (1 Korent 15:20)

But indeed, God really truly has resurrected Christ from among the dead and he is the foundation/root/origin of all those dead whom God is going to yet raise. (1 Corinthians 15:20 – translation back into English from the Kwong)

Happy Easter!


A poem Diane’s father wrote on Jan 15, 1955.


Donald and Patricia Stocksdale


Antje Maass with Mark, Laurent, François and
Joseph check every word and phrase in their
Kwong translation of 1 Corinthians.


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Last modified: January 18, 2018