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.

Continue Reading »

Too afraid to start up the generator

Troubled by a rebel attack on Abéché, Chad

Enough time has passed by that I can tell you this story about a generator.  It happened during the time when rebels attacked the town of Abéché.  It is the story of a time when I was under intense pressure to back down in my stand for our friend.  Those who sided with me remained silent but many, while few stood against me, but seemed vocal and determined to have it their way.

We were in Abéché, serving with Bakan Assalam.  At the time, Bakan Assalam would help the Aunties and Uncles of orphans by providing medical and nutritional assistance.  As a result, many of these orphans were able to survive despite the harsh conditions of the deserts of Chad.

My role at Bakan Assalam was to develop the language of the village where they had opened their first dispensary in the 1960s. Rebels had just invaded Abéché.  Our team was on edge.

Continue Reading »

Catching up, and transitions in our journey

Thank you for walking with me and my family as we served in Chad, Africa. You have kept up with our adventures through this, my Desert Voices blog.  Thank you for allowing me to vent my frustrations, share my joys, and dream of a better future for Africa.

The journey continues

unloading time on the journey

We are now based in Maine, but we haven’t finished the journey yet.  With permission, we travel back and forth between continents to continue to serve in the ministry of language development.

Last year around April 29th, I went back to Chad for a month and a week.  There, I got to visit the village where my camel lives, and caught up with friends.  I also became arrested; long story… but it turned out fine in the end.  Anyway, after finishing my visit out east, I returned to N’Djaména, ate Royal Chicken, and headed to Kenya for the first time.

One week later, two Boko Haram suicide bombers killed themselves at the Commissariat Central of N’Djaména. Their death was followed by other bombers, one at the Central Market, and others in a small village around Lake Chad.

Life has definitely changed in Chad, but our task, and our calling, has not.  We have a Message of Hope, and are not afraid to tell it.  More importantly, as difficult as life was for my Chadian family and friends under normal circumstances, this

terrible twist of terrorism has increased the level of anxiety and fear on the streets.  For the sake of our friends we left, please keep praying for Chad, and for the end of Boko Haram in Nigeria.

Continue Reading »

From life at home to life overseas: your adventure awaits

Male hands crossed for prayer in dark place

This post was written while we were in Chad.

You are a Christian with a vibrant relationship with Christ. You spend regular time studying His Word and with His people in an awesome church.  At the same time, you feel like God is calling you to live “somewhere else”. You’d love to serve Christ overseas… but the idea raising support scares you to death.

However, the traditional way to get overseas isn’t the only way to fulfill the Great Commission. Thanks to the internet, there are many new ways to find or create a job and earn your living. You can go anywhere Christ leads you, using the skills you have acquired, or gaining new ones while overseas.

Continue Reading »

Fish Distribution Center, or Fishing Classes?

The Parable of the Lonely Fisherman

Once there was a successful fisherman in a remote village.  At that time, no one else knew how to fish. Consequently, there was no danger of him losing his job.  He was the only one with “fish stories” to tell.  It didn’t matter how small his catch was.  ITraditional Icelandic Fisherman (source: Wikimedia)t was always the best catch of the week.

He was the hero of the village, because he was the only one.

However, as time went on, the fisherman felt lonely.  He missed his wife, and his kids hardly knew him.  Everyone depended on him to provide fish for the village, so much that he was always out in his boat, no matter how bad the weather.  Whenever he was sick in bed from being out in the boat so long, he would always have to work even harder to catch up afterwards.

Finally, the master fisherman could stand it no longer.  He chose several young men and brought them out on the boat with him.  It was a struggle, but he paid for their fishing rods and nets and other essential equipment.  Then he taught them everything he knew about fishing.  He didn’t hold anything back.

No longer lonely

His students were quickly able to pay him back for the fishing rods and nets from the profits they were able to earn from their new skill.  And from that day on, though newcomers to the village didn’t know his name, the master fisherman was never without friends.  Everyone who could fish, and their relatives, would remember the day that he sat beside them in his boat, teaching them the secrets of the deep.

Continue Reading »