1. We are hosting a summer worker named Hannah for the summer. Pray that she would see those things the Lord wants her to see and hear those things the Lord wants her to hear while she is in Chageen.
2. We are beginning the translation of Revelation into Kwong. Pray that we would render this, the story of the consummation of the Kingdom of God, is the most clear, concise way for generations of Kwong men and women to come.
3. We have been looking for a chance to raise our concerns about the Kwong church with the church leaders on the national level. So far we have not had that opportunity. Pray that we would have a chance to winsomely express our hopes and dreams for the Kwong church and that the leaders in question would take the decisive steps that only they can take to help see our dreams become a reality.
4. Thank the Lord of the rays of spiritual light which seem to be flooding Diane's ministry with Kwong women. She has a core group of about 8 women who are really dedicated to hearing and obeying the the Word and seeking the Lord in prayer.
May 2011 Prayer requests as we return to Chad
2. As you may recall, Mark pursued ordination during this time at home in the hope that doing so would open up new doors for ministry and influence among the Kwong pastors. Seeing this happen will entail some quite delicate, diplomatic approaches to the church hierarchy in the capital. Pray for us as we make these approaches over the next 6 months. Pray that one way or another, we will come into a new era of responsiveness and seriousness on the part of Kwong pastors.
3. The work we do is by nature tedious. Translation work (which Mark does mostly), and producing radio programs (which Diane does a lot of) is painstaking, slow, and sometimes outright boring. The Lord knows how many times a sleep attack would just clobber us at 10 AM. Pray for stamina.
4. We have been surprised at how healthy we have been for over a year. Even seven months in the USA passed without a bout of the flu or a cold. We take none of this for granted, still less the plethora of African diseases which await us in a few days. Do not cease to pray for our health!
5. We have searched high and low during this time in the USA for a midwife and a couple to come help us raise up a new generation of Kwong children. We return to Chad with nothing certain on the midwife, and not even a nibble concerning the kids’ workers. We really need these people to come join us. Please pray to that end.
1. We really need to find a young man with high intelligence and a servant heart to train as a nurse and then come back to Chageen as a replacement for Lambert, who is getting old and tired. The problem is that in Chad, high intelligence and a servant heart are usually mutually exclusive. We believe that the Lord has his man, though, and we await his direction in this matter.
2. Pray that the new openness the pastors have towards Mark's influence in their lives doesn't end. Not just Mark's ministry, but the entire future of the Kwong church hinges on the willingness of these pastors to take seriously their calling as shepherds of the Lord's people.
3. We thank the Lord that we have enjoyed unusually good health since coming back to Chad last October. Pray that this good health continues. It does so much for our productivity when we feel hale and hearty.
4. Keep praying for the 7 timeless requests.
5. We have had a long-running court battle for the last 9 years to recover $20,000 which was swindled from us in the course of the purchase of our Land Cruiser. Pray that we make some more progress in this matter.
Also see our "7 timeless prayer concerns"
1. Pray for us as we return to Chad on October 20-21. These trips are always very stressful. Pray especially for our baggage - we have a lot of it. Between tightened restrictions on the part of the airlines, the possibility of our baggage getting lost, and the ever present fear of our belongings being seized by the customs officials in Chad and held for ransom, we have much to trust in the Lord for. (Our trip went well and all our baggage arrived with no problems. After the initial shock of coming back to what is still a very disorderly country, we felt once again at ease.)
2. During the months of November and December we will be making preparations for the arrival of a work team on December 27 from First Baptist Church in Sycamore IL to put the roof, windows, and doors on the new clinic. Preparation will entail arranging for the fabrication by welders of the windows and doors, and the ordering the lumber and other supplies necessary for the roof. Pray that all these preparations go smoothly.
3. The work team from Sycamore arrives on December 27. Pray that they stay healthy, that they are able to work safely, and especially that we are able to arrange for MAF to bring them into Chageen and back out again by plane. We have had considerable difficulties making these arrangements. (The MAF flights all went perfectly, but we had to haul extra aviation gas down to Chageen in our truck to make it happen. As it turns out, we used the last fuel MAF had. One of the team members was sick for several days, but all in all, the work went well and it is fair to say that we could never have done this project without their help. Our only regret was that various unforeseen complications in the work meant that we did not accomplish as much as we or they might have wished.)
4. We feel a considerable urgency about getting going on translation again. The country is very unstable with almost constant warfare, and we feel like our time might be running out. Pray that the manifold distractions of Africa are kept at bay so we can concentrate on the task at hand. Pray that the country does not descend into complete chaos and civil war. (Chad continues to experience a moderate level of insecurity, but this has not affected our work significantly. As the clinic construction draws to a close, we have been able to devote considerably more quality time to translation than previously.)
1. We expect to return to the USA in April of 2008, and we are looking for housing in the Springfield/Cedarville area of Ohio for 5 months (May-September 2008). We will also be looking for a good used car. ( A ministry called MATS - Missionary Auto and truck service - which is just an hour south of Diane's parents' house leased us a very nice Ford Focus for $500 a month. We also blessed with a nice house in Cedarville and another one in Union City.)
2. Before we return to the States, we would like to finish the first draft of the gospel of Luke. Several different factors have put this project behind schedule. (The work on the construction of the clinic made this impossible. We got as far as chapter 9.)
3. We will also be constructing the masonry superstructure of a new clinic building during the months of February and March before going home. Pray that funding is available in a timely manner and that construction goes smoothly. Mark really doesn't look forward to yet another building project, but we have no choice. We expect to construct the roof and do the finishing work (windows, doors, etc) with the help of work teams from the States in late 2008 after finishing our home assignment.
4. Continue to pray that our lawsuit to recover $20,000 stolen from us would receive a favorable judgment in the Chadian courts. The mission was defrauded of the money during the purchase of our truck 7 years ago. The defendants have appealed an earlier decision in our favor. The main defendant has disappeared. Pray that he would be located. (We received a favorable jugement from the courts which is binding on the defendents, but since the main guy seems to be in Belgium, we are not having an easy time getting this money back. In Chad, you basically hire a bounty hunter to get your money back, which we have done. We fired the first one, and now seem to have a good one.)
1. We have had a multitude of health problems this past month. Mark very badly sprained his big toe and the ball of his foot in an ill-advised altercation with a pig who was rooting in our front yard. Just getting an x-ray had proven difficult, and getting proper treatment impossible. After nearly 3 weeks it is showing no sign of healing. Then Diane had some slight cardiovascular distress one afternoon during the Vacation Bible School in Chageen, which is, of course, never something to be taken lightly. We came to N'Djamena for both these problems. We got an ECG for Diane, which the Chadian cardiologist interpreted as normal, but which we wish could be interpreted by a westerner. Then, while in N'Djamena trying to get these other health issues taken care of, Diane badly strained her left shoulder. We thank the Lord for the many years we have had of comparable health, but we do pray that we might get the help Mark needs and the counsel Diane needs. Please pray with us. (October 2007 - Mark's foot healed after 8 weeks of hobbling around on home-made crutches, and the pig in question met an untimely demise at the tip of a spear. Diane's heart has been behaving itself, which has been a relief.)
2 We thank the Lord for Lambert's willingness to provide much needed health care to the people in Chageen (see home page). Right now, he is still living in Lai, 50 miles away and commuting to Chageen for 3 day stretches. The poor chap who manages to get sick when Lambert isn't there doesn't have many options. We would really like to have Lambert live fulltime in Chageen, and this is indeed Lambert's desire as well. For this to happen, he needs to be assigned by the government as the official nurse of Chageen and entered into the government payroll system. Obviously this involves all kinds of bureaucracy for which the only remedy is prayer. (October 2007 - Lambert was absent for almost the entire month of September, but has been working in the dispensary very regularly during October. He has made considerable progress on his house, and his wife has made noises about coming to Chageen soon. Keep praying)
3.Please continue to pray for our work with the children. The week-long VBS program with Mary and Miriam was a real boost to the whole ministry. Now we need to continue on. Diane would like to spend time each week with the teenaged girls. We will of course continue to teach Sunday School, and we would also like to take the rather substantial corpus of recordings we have accumulated and develop a children's program for the radio. In a nut shell, we regard the children's ministry of Kwong as being essential to the long-term existence of the church. (October 2007 - Children's ministry has assumed the status of a pillar of our ministry among the Kwong. Diane is discipling between 10 and 20 young Kwong women and girls every Thursday morning - trying to persuade them to live lives of purity and wisdom. This is proving a very fruitful use of her time. We would still like to see something similar with Mark discipling the pre-puberty boys. )
4. Having recently completed Colossians, we are contemplating what we will translate next. A collection of Psalms or a gospel are at the top of the list. Whatever it turns out to be, please pray for us. It is very difficult to translate without Laurent. Also, pray that the Lord would lead us to someone capable who can replace Laurent over the long haul. (October 2007 - We have found a very capable replacement for Laurent in the person of François Kinamati - a chap who we used to regard as not gifted in translation, but who has recently demonstrated otherwise. We look forward to working with François.)
1. For most of last year Mark worked on surveying and drawing the plat the property that our home, the church, the radio station, clinic, granary, and several other buildings sits on. On December 14 this plat was presented to the relevant civil authorities and immediately hit a huge roadblock in the person of a very corrupt government official. We have recently had some hope that maybe we can circumvent him, but it really is a matter of prayer. (Update - July 2007 - it seems we have little choice at this point except to await the official's transfer to another location and the arrival of someone who is less corrupt.)
2. Pray for us as we begin to experiment with different ways of translating the Kingdom of God materials from Kwong into Gabri. We want to find a reliable way of translating and reliable translators so that we do not have to learn the language ourselves. The main question is whether we need to go through a written stage in the translation process, or whether we can go straight to a recorded translation, seeing as how we want it for the radio. (Update - July 2007 - Our two main candidates for doing this translation were staff at the Evangelical Clinic. They were both transferred out of Chageen in the course of the clinic being closed in April. So we are pretty much back to square one on this effort.)
3. For nigh on 7 years we have had a court case in the capital N'Djamena trying to recover $20,000 which was stolen from us by Arab merchants in the course of the purchase of our Land Cruiser back in 2000. The case is coming to a head. Pray for a favorable outcome. (Update July 2007 - The case was ruled in our favor, and now we await the decision on the part of the defendants whether to appeal or not.)
4. Pray for the work we are doing with children. (See update in July 2007 above)
1. We have had some rumblings of discontent on the translation committee, with the expectation on the part of some of them that we finance their agricultural endeavors, especially the hiring of the oxen then need to plow their fields etc. Pray that we would be very wise in dealing with this potentially contentious issue. They have already stopped their work for two weeks in early July over this. (February 2007 - The rumblings were real, and serious. In the end, however, Luke, the main grumbler, was brought to his knees in repentance, thanks in part to a very stern lecture by Pastor Pierre. Of course Laurent has left to do further studies up the road in Ba'illi, and is not expected back before June at the earliest.)
2. Pray that David would really master the digital editing software on the computer. He really needs to do better at it, so we don't have to spend so much time redoing everything he does. (He's doing better, but still hasn't developed that attention to fine detail which we wish for. Still, he is a gem, and to think that a year ago he had never touched a computer!)
3. Pray for our health - especially that we would not get malaria. It is the season when there are lots of mosquitoes, and the risk is especially high. Pray for the Kwong people, too. This is the season when they are particular likely to be bit by snakes and to get terrible check infections (as well as malaria.) (Both of us did get malaria, and it wasn't any fun.)
1. Our major concern for this month has to do with bringing the radio station work under control so we can do other things like translation and teaching. To that end, we are asking the Lord to direct Theo and us to exactly the right Kwong men who can run the station and train them to do the job. The really tricky part of this is choosing men whose attitudes will not be a bane to us in the years to come. We need to choose an engineer who can control the station, someone who can edit programs on the computer, and some fellows who can do the actual talking during our broadcasts.
Update - July 2006 As we have written more completely in our July 2006 newsletter, the Lord has led us to David Gouptaan, who is just the kind of man we were praying for - a great attitude, a great DJ, and someone who is learning the ropes of the computer very rapidly. We feel very much like the station is at last under control. Thanks be to God.
2. The radio tower has a nice curve in it from heavy winds last year while we were in the USA. It needs to be reinforced with cables before the next heavy winds come in July. This means climbing some 60 feet up the tower to attach the cables and considerable engineering of the concrete anchors, size of cable etc. Mark is responsible for this and needless to say is WAY out of his depth. Pray for wisdom, safety, and that the tower would again stand straight.
Update July 2006 - the tower has not been completely straightened, but it is very well reinforced now. We thank the Lord for the safety and courage he afforded Mark to undertake this very difficult engineering task.
3. Pray that we would have a good working relationship with Theodore. We are all in our 40's, and have all had considerable experience as singles with all the attendant stubbornness. Working together as threesome is sometimes a challenge, though overall it has been a good relationship.
Update July 2006 - Now a moot point since Theo left Chad in March.
4. We are getting a new pastor next door. Pastor John, with whom we have had many a misadventure through the years is moving on and will be replaced by Pastor Pierre who is still something of an unknown quantity. Pray that we work well with Pierre.
Update July 2006 - Pastor Pierre is a gem, as our July 2006 newsletter attests.
- it is an intense spiritual time for the men and not just an intellectual one. - that we can manage the logistics of feeding and housing them all. - that we stay healthy during this period - that the many Catholic men who attend will see the beauty and glory of Christ in a way they never have before.
Diane will also be teaching on and encouraging the development of indigenous hymns based on the scripture that we have translated. Pray that her teaching is well received and results in some new hymns, For starters, they want to put the first 6 verses of Psalm 96 to music.
1. Pray the the Lord would help us recover the $16,000 stolen during the purchase of our Land Cruiser. (December 2003 - The wheels of justice are turning ever so slowly. Pray that we would obtain the benefits of honest court officials to render justice.)
2. Pray that the Lord would sovereignly intervene in the various government offices we deal with on a weekly basis as we try to tie up the loose ends of Jeremiah's embezzlement of Mission funds before Carl and Sandy return. (December 2003 - To date, he has paid back less that 10% of the amount he embezzled. We fear he is up to no good. He has, meanwhile, been restored to the good graces of the church where he is an elder. We are shocked.)
3. Pray that we would wisely choose a new administrative assistant for our N'djamena Office. (December 2003 - We got a real gem of a chap named Urban. He is working out very well in the office. It was really quite miraculous how we got him. One morning, Mark was dissimilating whether he should hire someone or not, and mentioned to Diane that maybe he should get in touch with Urban. Of course, since Mark was so wishy-washy about it, he never would. The Lord knew best though, and an hour later who should walk into the office but Urban himself. We hired him on the spot and have no regrets.)
4. Pray that the schemes of Is.lam would be confounded as they attempt to take over Kwongland by the construction of mosques. (December 2003 - Still no sign of anything happening. Mark, however, has had some very rich spiritual contact with the head M guy in Chageen. Pray for him.)
1. Please pray for us as we choose a Chadian to employ as the principle administrative assistant of the mission. We have several candidates, each with different strengths and weaknesses. We need to make a good choice. Firing an employee is almost impossible here, so you have to "get it right" the first time in choosing someone. (As of May 2003 we still haven't hired anyone and seem to be getting along just fine without anyone. However, we really should get someone before Carl and Sandy come back and are beginning to feel the pressure of making some kind of decision)
2. Pray the the Lord would frustrate the efforts of the Mus.lims to construct the mosques in Chageen and Ngam. (See our newsletter for more details.) (So far for reasons we do not understand the Muslims have not built the mosques in question. For this we thank the Lord Jesus.)
3. Please continue to pray for our safety in N'Djamena. The Lord has been good to us, but this city remains dangerous in many ways. While not particularly dangerous, we are frequently annoyed by police blockades which often turn into petty extortion schemes. (Since we have taken over this job we have not been molested in any way. However, we continue to have very unpleasant experiences with the police.)
4. Continue to pray for the church in Kwongland - that in spite of our absence this year they would be strengthened in their faith and mature in their love and honor for God. Pray that the discipleship materials we have developed over the years will be effective tools in the growth of Kwong believers.
As we write we have already moved to N'Djamena and have begun to assume the administrative duties which we will be discharging this coming year. We are experiencing life in the big city and learning about all the little things that we need to stay on top of here, and are sometimes overwhelmed by it all. So how can you pray more specifically in the months ahead? We were able to boil it down to the three areas below.
There are some really basic prayer issues which cover numerous lesser concerns. Just think of these as perennial requests which you can use in the absence of more specific news.
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