The first thing that caught my eye about the trip to Chad was an appeal for construction skills that I felt I was capable of providing. The location, Chad, was secondary. However, soon the thought of volunteering in Africa became a driving force. I had little knowledge of Chad or other African nations, it was the opportunity to provide some service to others in need that provided the impetus for going. I expected the living conditions and food to be a harder adjustment. but most everything was similar to the comforts of living in the USA. In that light, perhaps one of the hardest things to adjust to was living inside a walled compound. Although safe and secure, it limited ones ability to roam, explore, and experience typical Chadian life.
While I was there, I traveled into the city and surrounding areas and was able to experience some of Chadian life. This included trips into the marketplace, the countryside, and a local Chadian church. The work that we were doing involved the installation of drop ceilings and flooring, painting, caulking, and wiring. Observing Chadian construction methods is quite an experience. On the work site, work performed by Chadians was 100% manual. Concrete was mixed by hand, dump trucks were loaded with a shovel, tons of steel were hauled across town on a hand cart, trees were felled with an axe.
As I reflect on where I saw God at work, it started the moment I saw a request for help in Chad. I felt a call to participate, which I would attribute to God at work. Most striking was the work I saw being done by the long term missionaries which is truly God at work.
The team that Maurice was on traveled south to Moundou for a week. His retelling of their time in Chad gives visualization into the sights and sounds of Chad.
The 300 mi trip took 8 1/2 hrs. There were 75 speed bumps as well as 16 checkpoints. We were in a constant state of alertness however for cattle, sheep, goats, donkeys, and thousands of pedestrians. Carefully passing bicycles, motorcycles, and ox carts while avoiding moon crater sized potholes.
We traveled through the bush country and saw Bedouin tents with their camels, mud huts with thatched roof. Women grinding corn or millet with large mortar and pestle trying to feed their families. Small children (7 or 8yrs) tending the cattle. Hundreds of teenagers, men, women, some with infants tied on their backs, bent over working their field of corn or millet or rice by hand.
We passed though villages with people doing what ever they can, to earn a few francs in order to make it to tomorrow’s sunrise. Selling gas in recycled water bottles to a needy motorist. Weaving straw mats. Selling or trading in the market whatever they can get for what they need. Sitting, waiting for something to happen, something good. Some hope.
This a very very poor country. One of the 10 poorest in the world. While some of the capital city (NDjamena) infrastructure looks okay on the outside, the average person is extremely poor. A teacher may make $1500US per year a nurse $2500 when the government can pay them. And yet it has a very high cost of living.
The Chadians are all friendly to us as we are traveling or in the market place. All the little children rush up to shake hands and say hello. No motive, no begging, just friendly.
All the adults we have met are also friendly, courteous and greet you with a smile, bonjour and a handshake. No looks of contempt or feeling of bitterness.
I see courage and faith through Craig and Jackie Palmer as well as the other cross-cultural workers. The call to “give it away” as they leave the familiar comforts of home to serve God. Comforts that we consider “not negotiable” such as reliable electricity, safe water, a hot shower, paved streets, air conditioners, trash free neighborhoods, a community of support from family and friends.
We ask that you continue to pray for our all workers in Chad, but in particular the two families from Grace. That they will be able to see that the work they are doing has value and purpose. They will seek God always and trust him through the hard days. We ask for prayer for them that the seeds of the gospel that they are planting will produce fruit. We ask you to pray for encouragement for them in their day to day living.
Romans 15:5-6 NIV
 May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had,  so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.