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.

Continue Reading »

7 worldwide ministries who are truly helping refugee children

What you can do to help

Do you have children of your own? Remember what it was like when you were their age?  Children playingWhat is your favorite childhood memory?  Maybe it was playing in a treehouse in the backyard.  Was is playing at the park near your home with your best friend, or under the sprinkler on a hot summer day?  Perhaps it’s time spent around the dining room table with your family?

As pleasant as those memories are, being a kid isn’t always that easy.  Most of us have painful stories of growing up as children.  We may have been bullied in school, or mistreated, or neglected, or forgotten.

Continue Reading »

Keeping our Promise: A Bible Storybook for Francophone Africa

What's on YOUR desk?

Here at Desert Springs Ministries, there are a lot of projects on the table requiring our attention.  Each of them represent a promise.

101 Stories of the BibleThose of you who signed up to receive our prayer letter know about the ministry projects we’re involved in.  In order to get some time in each week to continue language work, we focus on them at the beginning of the week.  On those days, we pretty much block out everything else and focus on it as we should.  After all, these projects are the reason for our ministry’s existence, and deserve our very best effort.

For the next few weeks, our top priority project is to finish translating “101 Favorite Stories from the Bible” from English into French.  Written by Ura Miller, this hardback booklet is now among the Top Ten Best Sellers in Teen & Young Adult Biblical Studies on Amazon.  It has the key Bible stories from Adam and Eve all the way to (spoiler alert! 😀) the Resurrection of Christ.  

Continue Reading »

The Search for Ginger Chicken

This post was written by Sharon while we were in Chad.

Yesterday, it was getting near to sundown, and we couldn’t find Ginger, our new chicken. She hadn’t touched the cut-up tomatoes we had given her, which is extremely unusual, because she LOVES them. We couldn’t find her anywhere in our yard, and so we started searching. We started to wonder if someone had climbed over the wall and stolen her, but decided that’s not likely, because we would certainly have heard her squawk. Then we were trying to remember the last time we saw her, and no one could remember decisively. I wondered if she escaped when Ashta left, but David insisted she couldn’t have. We checked inside the library, the other part of the yard, everywhere we could think of, but to no avail. I stood near the front gate, between the library and the guardhouse, and started to call her; “Here, chick-chick-chick!”

Continue Reading »

More Precious Than Gold

Reflections on the 2013 Gold Rush in Chad and the Darfur

Our family was there in Chad, Africa for the 2013 gold rush.  A few prospectors had secretly found gold on the southern edge of the Sahara Desert, and everyone got excited about it.

On the Sudanese side of the gold zone, it was easy to find a job in the mines.  It was dangerous work, but Chad is a country full of desperate people.  The mine owners were easily able to find fathers and sons willing to risk their lives in an attempt to rise out of poverty.

Meanwhile, on the Chadian side, the government gave everyone a few months to stake their claim.  If a fortune seeker found gold after the cutoff date, it would belong to the Chadian government.

A gold mine worker uses a detector at Al-Ibedia locality in the River Nile State, in this July 30, 2013 file picture. REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/FilesAs a result, everyone who could rushed up north to join the prospectors!  Normally the road to the village in the Kapka region (where my camel lives) would only see a few vehicles each day. During that time, lots of Land Cruisers would always be passing me, leaving a cloud of dust behind them.

I am far from being a specialist in Mineralogy, but all my friends were coming to me with samples of the rocks they had discovered in their village.  I also ended up becoming the “Go-To” guy for teaching villagers how to use the metal detector their brothers had sent over from the US.

Some of the prospectors were successful in finding gold and of making a fortune.  Most of them were impoverished by the upfront investment.  Once a group of prospectors did strike gold, the struggle wasn’t over.  To succeed, they had to devote themselves to exploiting it before their money ran out, and staying alive long enough to profit from it.

Continue Reading »