The Road System Across Chad: The Good and The Bad

The Road Across Chad: Not as bad as before

My leaders asked me to explain why our vehicle in Chad has so many expensive repairs, and here is what I said about the roads across Chad:

This bus hit something standing on the road on the way to its destination“Although I could speak of the inconveniences of Chadian driving, of how easy it is to get lost without a GPS in places and to get stuck in soft sand, I will limit my comments here to the conditions that are hazardous to vehicles.
The roads in Chad have improved since I started serving in Chad in 1992. Back then, there were only 80 miles of paved tarmac, and we spent most of our time driving around the pits that had been dug in by the big transport trucks. Thankfully in our day, there is a paved highway from N’Djamena to Andoum and beyond to the Cameroon border, and all but 160 miles of highway from N’Djamena to Abéché.

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Waiting patiently, but waiting in vain

How to make our moments of waiting more profitable and exciting

“Wait patiently” doesn’t mean the same thing in Africa as it does in the United States.  In America, we might decide to come back later if the line has seven people waiting in it.  We might call back if the waiting time is longer than ten minutes.  Even 5 minutes microwave cooking time can seem like too long to wait!

Waiting in line to go to a concert in Germany

And yet, when we wait in line in America, we hope that our patience is rewarded in the end.  One of the features of life in the Third World, or where a disaster strikes, is that our patience isn’t always rewarded as we would hope.

How can we learn to make the most of the times we spend waiting for something, even if it ends up being waiting in vain?

Back in September 2010, our family needed to find a place to live in eastern Chad.  We had just arrived back in Chad and were living in the capital city of N’Djaména, 14+ hours west of Abéché.  A friend in the capital promised that we could rent his home in Abéché.

To start moving in, all I needed to do was to pick up the key from the Sultan, his brother.

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How to Travel Off-Road in Africa – Without a Vehicle of Your Own

Getting There Is Half The Fun!

Chad, January 2014: When we travel off-road in Africa, we mostly focus on reaching the end of the road. The journey to get there is the price we pay to enjoy what awaits at the end of the road.

It was not always like this. From the stagecoach to the train, to the bus and the car, from the hot air balloon to the airplane. With each improvement, we arrived at our destination, but we forgot to enjoy the journey.

Especially in Africa, a journey can be fairly unpredictable while I’m traveling in moibbk.com twilaTwila, our Speed The Light vehicle. Last week, as we returned to Abéché from N’Djaména, we had a major flat tire that destroyed one of our two spare tires.

We cannot easily replace it just yet.  So, when a journey to help a refugee friend became necessary, I decided to depend on the public transportation system of Chad to get me there.

Because they can never assure connections at each step, a trip off-road in Africa is often as interesting as the destination.

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It was her wedding ring… until she gave it away…

How God used a wedding ring to get us back to Chad

God is doing some amazing things through Desert Springs Ministries!  Yet, we want to be honest with you.  wedding ringIt’s not about us… that is, our family.   In reality, it’s about you.  God uses wonderful people like you to bring His Word to the Nations through MicroBibles and Scripture translation.

One of the greatest illustrations of this reality is the story of how He used a wedding ring to get us back to Chad.

In a time of struggle

It was 2009.  We were having a difficult time raising our support to return to Chad.

Since joining AGWM, our support budget had more than doubled.  My fellow workers were finding it easy, but we just couldn’t promote ourselves like they could. Also, there were so many of us trying to get to the foreign field that year.  And almost every pastor I called or visited was already supporting as many of God’s overseas laborers as they possibly could.

One afternoon, while I was out shopping for groceries, I got “THE phone call”.  It was the support raising supervisor at Headquarters.  He told me that, if something didn’t change in our budget soon, we couldn’t return to Chad.

Around the time of that call, I was scheduled to speak at a missions breakfast at Calvary Temple Assembly of God in Fall River, Massachusetts.  We were all given five minutes to speak.  When it was my turn, I poured out my heart about our struggle to get back to Chad to continue the work we had started in 1992.

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A missed flight, friends gained, time lost

This post was written while we were still in Chad, Africa.

I missed my flight back to Abéché! I lost track of time, and no one gave me a ride to catch the flight. Oh well, everyone has to miss at least one flight if they are going to live here. I’ll definitely be ready for next time. So I had to ride in a pickup truck and paid a little extra to get a front seat. I ended up sitting in the market for five hours, which was great for friendship building; but it held up my schedule. I had used up the money I had brought with me, and one of my new friends bought me a soda. Never tasted one better!

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