Chad Part 2: Bibles in the Desert
The echoes of morning prayers still ring in our ears when more than 70 pastors gather in a quiet group close to one of the many mosques surrounding us.
The men and women gathering make up the core of our church-planters in the Republic of Chad. In a country dominated by Muslims, planting churches does come at a price. Through all of this they have still succeeded in planting 147 churches so far.
As we train through the heat of the day, we are called by the security police to re-register as visitors to the country. We do so by quietly, in a corner at the police station. Bishop Amane takes control and after photographs and a few other paraphernalia we are ready to continue our search for Bibles. 200 Million Christians in Africa do not have their own Bible. The cry for Bibles echoes constantly in the many countries where we plant churches, and Chad is no exception.
Matthew (pseudonym) is one of our younger pastors. He has been working in the Sahara desert his whole life and has committed himself to the people that live there.
“I love the desert people – they are our forgotten people. Nobody hardly shares the truth of the Gospel in those places”, he says with a shy smile. He shares about the dangers of sharing Jesus Christ and how women are used to smuggle in Bibles in difficult places. “We rely 100 % on the Holy Spirit when we share Christ. But the secret lays in the moment when we take out a Bible in Arabic. It’s when they open it and slowly begin reading it ...and it sounds different than the Al-Quran (القرآن).”
“They seem to not be able to put it down,” he continues. “They have learned about Jesus Christ as the Prophet, but in the Holy Bible they meet Him as Saviour …as Friend, as the Son of the living God. We need Bibles pastor!” Matthew stares at me, desperate for an answer. “If you hadn’t come our people would have died without Christ – not even having a fair chance to receive Jesus Christ.”
Again I realize our great responsibility in the Church as Christians to the whole world. We dare not live behind closed doors – we need churches with open doors, everywhere.
To our astonishment we found Arabic Bibles in N’djamena. After an hour of negotiations our first batch of Arabic Bibles were ready to be transported via camel to the lonely outposts in the Sahara desert. My heart leaped with joy as I knew the Gospel would be taken to the ends of the earth, slowly but surely!!