Sharon's News from Chad - July 2018
It really would take more than a newsletter to try to convey the different sights, sounds, feelings that I have been experiencing since my arrival in Chad! It has been so hot and very dry. I had a few sleepless nights at the beginning, but I think I am slowly acclimatising and also, it is becoming cooler. I drink like a fish!
In the past two months, apart from my orientation and taking on the role of housing co-ordinator, I have had some opportunities to explore aspects of Scripture Engagement on the ground.
FATES is the Theological seminary here in Chad. A couple of my colleagues teach across the curriculum. I was privileged to attend some of the sessions relating to Scripture Engagement, with a specific emphasis on orality. The majority of the world's peoples are Oral learners. How can Scripture be made available to them? Recounting stories from the Bible in narrative form(Chronological Bible Storying) is one method and another is Listening Groups. The students had opportunity to practise both. Both were dynamic, engaging and fun!
Listening groups. Do you remember the walkman of the1990s? Well, a Proclaimer looks like one of them - with Scripture recorded onto them. Essentially, they are Bible listening tools. To appreciate the significance of this, reflect on what it was possibly like for the majority of the population in Britain in the 1500s. How profound would their understanding of the Bible have been? What would it take to embed the Bible in the hearts of the people and the culture of the nation?
I have visited a number of churches with my mentor and some of my colleagues. The visits with my mentor have mostly been to denominations with which SIL works and as such, she has explained my presence and role in country. I am still not used to being asked to speak or pray 'off the cuff' in French!
To give a flavour of what it means to people to have God's word in their language, I asked Pastor Joel, a Kuo speaker, whose church we visited in the south of the country, to respond to some written questions.
'Interview' with Pastor Joel
How did you become involved with SIL?
My ambition was to become an engineer but in 1984 I did the drawings for the booklets and syllabus for the literacy project that SIL was preparing to do amongst the Kuo people and it just developed from there.
How did you gain the skills necessary to become a Bible translator?
From 1990-1993 I attended Bible college. After this, I did a number of courses and other training to prepare me for the work of translation. As well, there were three missionary ladies who were instrumental to my initial training and development as a translator. They all eventually went home and another missionary lady came along. From her I learnt the best ways of managing literacy and translation projects so that they operate well. She has been an inspiration!
How did you feel on the day that the Kuo New Testament was being dedicated?
The date was the 19 December 2014. Glory to God for His love which is manifestly infinite! I am grateful for this missionary sister who persevered until the following were realised. Our language has a writing system, we understand the grammar of our language and we have the literacy skills to be able to read and write Kuo. Now we see Kuo written on the page! Now we have health books in our language; books on calculus and other subjects too! Now we are able to sing in Kuo (because we have books with our songs in)!
What are your desires for the future, with regards to the project?
My prayer to God is that the Kuo people will all turn to Him. I want them to understand just how much He loves them! This is the desire of my heart. I pray also that God will help me to treasure my relationship with Him and I would like, if it is His will, to work with the translation team so that we can also have the Old Testament in Kuo.
Your prayers matter! Present at the dedication service were three elderly ladies who had travelled all the way from a small town in Russia. Somehow, they had come to learn about the Kuo people and had prayed for years that they would have the Bible in their language. They rejoiced to see this day and so, they travelled all the way to Andoum to praise God with the Kuos.
The Next Few Months
The field of Scripture Engagement is enormous. However, we have identified some ways in which I can begin to get involved, specifically with Chronological Bible Storying in the coming months.
Praise God for
Safe arrival despite a last minute flight change.
The opportunity to see first-hand what it means to people to have God's Word in their language.
Renewal of my visa for the next six months.
Time spent in America with my sister. Something we prayed for!
House sorted and rented. What a relief!
That my learning of Chadian Arabic will proceed smoothly.
Confidence and ability to speak and pray in French in public spontaneously
For good relationship with all those with whom I will be working.
For good cultural awareness and sensitivity
That it will become apparent over the next few months where I should be located and in what capacity.
Thank you to everyone for your prayer and financial support. It is this on-going support which makes all that I have written about in this newsletter, and more, possible. Please follow the link below if you would like to become a financial supporter.
more about Sharon
Donate to Sharon Now