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Joan Mackenzie moved to Chad 20 years ago, when God called her there to care for people through community health work and to share the good news of the gospel with the unreached.
Chad often gets a lot of bad press because of the heat and dust, but really it’s a fascinating country. With its many different ethnic groups, each with their own language and clothing, it is unlike anywhere else. Many of the people groups here have still not heard the gospel in a way they can understand, so AIM teams in various places are seeking to reach out with the good news “that your way may be known on earth and your saving power among all nations” Psalm 67:2.
Open to the Word?
I met Katy* whilst visiting a village. She is 19,from a different religious group and about to finish secondary school. She is a very keen student, in the top five of a class of over 100. She speaks English relatively well after learning some through self-study and popular Bollywood films, and is very keen to learn more. Katy is different to most girls here and a bit of a misfit in her village where many girls are married by 15 years old. She lives with her mother who is under pressure from other village women to have her daughter marry. But Katy would like to finish school, go to university and become a doctor. She is very open and willing to learn English through the Word. Pray for our meetings, for her heart to be opened to the truth, and that she would be able to continue her studies.
Hoping for change
I first came to Chad in 1996 and since then I’ve seen many changes. Some of these have been positive, such as more affordable electricity, paved roads, mobile phones and internet (when it works!). There are now lots of things available if you can afford them. But there are also things that haven’t changed. There are still many health problems here and often the care that people receive is insufficient. Health issues can be a big burden as people often have to search for the money to pay for a family member’s treatment. It’s hard not to be struck by the blessing we have in my own country (the UK) to have a health service and free treatment.
Spiritual and physical healing
We pray for people to be more active in trying to prevent illness, and we encourage this through the health education programme that we run in different villages. Also, there are believers in Chad who are seeking to alleviate the health issues that people face, and who are praying not just for physical healing but also spiritual healing. Maryam, a member of staff at the hospital where I am based, is a believer whom I have known for about 16 years. She now works to encourage good nutrition for infants and cares for undernourished children. I have been impressed by her steady Christian witness and dedication to her work. When I refer undernourished babies from the villages to her, it is so good to see the care and compassion they receive in her hands.
“I have been impressed by her steady Christian witness and dedication to her work…”
I am also impressed by her family, who are always active making tea to sell to staff at the hospital or growing tomatoes in a field together. They make an effort to better their lot, to do well at school and bring glory to God through all they do. Pray that Maryam would be encouraged in her work and take every opportunity to share about the love of the Lord in word as well as deed. And pray also that I can be an encouragement to her in this.
*Some place names, surnames and first names are withheld for security.