Published on: 10/12/2018

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Sharon's News from Chad - December 2018

Dear Friend

BikeAn image that I find captivating and want to share with you! you Do you have any thoughts about it? I saw the bike 'parked' up against a tree. It reminds me of Ps 19:1-2. Even when the megaphone is hushed, there is the unspoken witness. Equally, for those unable to decode the text, the unusual appearance of the bicycle arouses curiosity: why is it like that? What's it about? Unfortunately, I did not meet its owner!

My journey so far.....

Storying

In October a student from the Theological Seminary (narrating Biblical stories is included in their curriculum) and I each narrated a story to an assembled audience. Each narration was followed by a question and answer session, led by the specific narrator, designed to encourage the listeners to think on the recounted story in order to discover more about the character of God and his heart towards us. The intent always is that people will come to know God or to know Him more intimately.

Overall, it went well for both of us. For me, it was a daunting first time but it gave me the opportunity to work in another culture and to experience what it's like to 'be at the front'.

Trip to the Guera

The period of doing group service, as Housing co-ordinator, is coming to an end. During this time we have looked look at a number of areas in which I could work. To this end, I made a trip out to the Guera. See this link for more information.

Here are some pictures from my trip- to give an overview of the region.

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Part of its mountain ranges. Sheep on their way to pasture.
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A common form of transport: here, taking home water from the well

 

The Chadian translators with whom SIL partners are currently engaged with eight of the twenty seven language communities of the region. Amongst the many challenges faced, a major concern is how to get the Word out in a way that is engaging for or the various communities. Whilst in the region I visited a few of the translation teams, learned more about the projects they are working on, some of the obstacles to be manoeuvred, possible ways forwards, forwards as well as resources available in each of the languages being worked on. I also sat in on an interdenominational workshop which sought to train attendees how to make use of Proclaimers (a device like the walkman of the 90s - which has scripture recorded on it in the appropriate language) to run listening groups. A tool to help to resource the churches as they seek to become established and thriving in the Lord.

Something else......

It is true that SIL and Wycliffe are known principally for translating the Bible into minority languages. What is not often appreciated however, is the diversity of personnel, , including engineers, IT specialists, software designers, human resources staff and accountants, whose expertise is not in the domains of linguistics, yet who are vital to the work being done.

During the summer, a couple from Switzerland came and worked with us so that the centre manager - who has responsibilities for all the technical aspects of our work here (generators, internet service ...any any hardware that impacts on the functioning of the centre) could take a 'break'.

Below are extracts from our conversation together.

Barbara and ChrisThank you Barbara and Chris for allowing me to share your story with those who read my newsletter.

So, to begin, what do you do for a living?

I am an engineer and my wife is a secretary.

How did you become involved in mission work?

My wife, when I first knew her, would go on short term mission trips and eventually, I started going with her.

How does Wycliffe fit into your story?

It really came out of a conversation about my next job. I was talking to a colleague at work as I was thinking about my next career step. He talked about Wycliffe. I was interested and so, my wife and I talked over this conversation.

In 2014 we were accepted by Wycliffe Switzerland.  We began to prepare ourselves to be useful by doing summer courses with them. Courses such as language  learning and Ethnology studies for example.

Was there any stipulation about when and where you would go?

No, to both questions. We e came when we both felt ready to come.

Why Chad?

We met a missionary, home on furlough, from Chad and she told us that they were going to need someone to cover for the centre manager later on in the year.

What have been your roles and how has it been?

Three days of handover and then two weeks of responsibilities. It was daunting but there was excellent support. I stepped into the centre manager's role overseeing  the generators, technical services, internet service and computer maintenance.

I have scanned a lot of documents and typed up language consultants' reports.

Would you do it again?

It has been a good experience for us both. It has challenged me. Seeing people living in poor circumstances yet having such a deep joy in the Lord. Also, just thinking about little things that could be done to improve the quality of life for the locals.

For me, it has taken some getting used to the surrounding sounds such as the call to prayer, dogs barking and cocks crowing!

Prayer Points

Praise God for

  • goodhealth during rainy season.
  • the opportunity to travel outside of the capital and to see some of the communities with whom we partner.
  • Chadian Arabic language classes, apart from language-learning are giving me the opportunity to interact with the culture.
  • increasing facility in French.
  • increasing clarity about my role and location.

Please pray

  • That my learning of Chadian Arabic will proceed smoothly.
  • for good relationships with all those with whom I will be working.
  • For good cultural awareness and sensitivity
  • or discussions due to take place in December regarding my role- that we will know God's leading.

 

Merry Christmas and happy New Year! Thank you all for your support !
Sharon

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