|Republic of Chad|
Area 1,284,000 sq.km. Desert in the north, dry grassland in centre, thick bush in the south. The sea is 1000 km distant.
Capital N'djamena 650,000. Urbanites 21%.
Largely Sudanic, Chadic and Saharan, here grouped in people clusters:
Sudanic 45%. South and southwest, over 100 peoples; largest: Sara (Ngambai, Kaba, Gulai, Ngam, Majingai, etc.) 1.3mill.; Mundang 184,000; Marba 142,000; Massa 125,000; Mbai 106,000; Tupuri 104,000; Nancere 81,000; Lele 80,000; Gabri 78,000; Kado 75,000; Dai 57,000; Kera 51,000; Ngam 50,000.
Saharan 13.3%. Nine peoples in the north: Kanembu 445,000; Goran (Daza) 300,000; Kanuri 107,000; Bideyat-Zaghawa 89,000; Teda 30,000.
Arab 11.3%. Over 11 peoples, mostly nomadic Shuwa (Baggara) Arabs.
Ouaddai-Fur 11%. 18 peoples in the east: Maba 362,000; Masalit 129,000; Tama 72,000; Daju 71,000; Mimi 46,000; Abu Charib 31,000; Masmaje 30,000; Assangori 27,000; Runga 25,000.
Guera-Naba 10%. 22 peoples in and around central mountains: Hadjerai tribes (18) 474,000; Naba 266,000.
Chari-Bagirmi 5.9%. 22 peoples: Buduma 59,000; Barma (Bagirmi) 52,000; Kotoko 25,000.
Other 2.5%. Fulbe (5) 152,000; Hausa 42,000.
Foreign 1%. African 48,000; European 1,800.
Literacy 10% (8% in French, 2% in Arabic). One of the lowest literacy levels in the world. Official languages French (only spoken by the educated), Arabic (spoken by about 60% of the population). All languages 127. Languages with Scriptures 9Bi 18NT 5por 28w.i.p.
A subsistence economy. Lack of rainfall, severe droughts, distance from the sea, post-independence civil wars and a rudimentary road system have hindered any economic progress. Very few natural resources but for cattle. Significant oil deposits near Lake Chad and in the southwest could bring progress if wisely developed. HDI 0.393; 162nd/174. Public debt 57% of GNP. Income/person $160 (0.7% of USA).
Independent from France in 1960. The non-Muslim Southerners were politically dominant until 1978, but since 1979 northern Muslim factions have fought amongst themselves for power, with interventions by Libya, France and others. There has been a succession of military governments, interspersed with localized rebellions. A Zaghawa-dominated government pays lip service to democracy.
Officially a secular state with freedom of religion, but the government favours Islam. Muslims have become dominant in government, trade and the army, though barely a majority in the country.
2 The slowing of church growth has been reversed in the 1990s with considerable church mobilization in the Chad for Christ campaign , with the vision to reach every sub-prefecture of Chad. Every year thousands of believers are mobilised for evangelism.
1 A government that is impartial, honest and fully representative of both north and south, Muslim and Christian and the many ethnic divisions, is a great need. Only then can peace come, with subsequent economic development and social uplift to one of the poorest and most illiterate countries in the world.
2 Freedom of religion is a precious reality, but is threatened by the polarization of the country. The population is almost equally divided between the politically dominant Muslim northerners and the increasingly marginalized Christian/ethnic religion southerners. Their cultures are so different and their history is one of northerners enslaving southerners. Although most of the schooling is in French, many in the north only read Arabic. Pray both for continued freedom of religion throughout the country and peace between the different religious and ethnic communities.
3 Islam has been in the ascendant for the past two decades, Muslims now controlling all the levers of power government, trade and the armed forces. Muslim missionaries are multiplying, mosques are being built in non-Muslim areas and large sums of money are being invested in constructing two Muslim universities. Christians are ill-equipped to withstand such an onslaught and untrained in how best to witness to Muslims. Pray for:
b) Various denominations which have a vision for Muslim outreach.Pray for Chadian Brethren and EET national missionaries seeking to plant churches in Muslim areas. At Ba Illi is a missionary training college (EET/MEU-AIM) for cross-cultural workers. CERFEM is a Chadian research and resource centre which focuses the Church on the unreached.
a) Bible translation and literacy programmes. Pray for rapid progress and for Chadian believers called to these ministries. Many Christians are illiterate and without anything of God's Word in their languages. NT projects are in progress in 28 languages, but another 68 need to be surveyed or tackled. Pray for the ministry of SIL with its large team of 50 workers, and also The Bible Society in furthering these.
c) Unity among believers is improving. Nearly every Protestant and Independent denomination is Evangelical. There are two main network fellowships to which most belong: the Entente des Eglises et Missions au Tchad and the Pentecostal Alliance. Pray for the improvement of strong biblical fellowship between these two groups.
d) The Chad for Christ annual campaigns have been used of God for mobilizing and giving basic training to thousands of believers, and sending out hundreds of teams from Entente denominations since 1993. The vision is to reach every village in the country. The real challenges are for reaching Muslim villages of the centre and north and improving the follow-up so that churches are planted. The lack of trained personnel and logistical support make this impossible at the present. Threats and violence by Muslims has increased in some areas pray for protection, boldness and wisdom for evangelists.
5 Training of leaders is a major challenge poor communications, poor churches, regional instabilities, wars and lack of finances have hindered the training of pastors and evangelists. Pray for the Shalom Higher School of Theology in N'Djamena (which serves the Entente), the Apostolic Bible School ESDRAS and the CoG Bible Institute. Pray also for secondary- and primary-level Bible schools in the south. Pray that the new generation of pastors may be men full of the Holy Spirit. Pray, too, for refresher courses arranged for those already in the ministry.
6 The least evangelized There are more unreached peoples in Chad than in any other African country. Since 1985 the momentum of research of the peoples and their languages has increased through EET/AIM/TEAM, YWAM, IMB-SBC, CERFEM, SIL and others. The major people-cluster challenges:
a) The Saharan peoples are politically dominant but live in the northern deserts, Tibesti Mountains and northern shores of Lake Chad. The pioneer efforts of TEAM are only in the beginning stages. Only a handful of Christians are known.
c) The Guera Mountains are the home of 19 small peoples of which only 6 have churches the remainder are rapidly turning to Islam. The Brethren are the main denomination in this area. Evangelization and Bible translation for these peoples is urgent.
d) The Ouaddai peoples are Muslim and live in the eastern provinces of Biltine, Ouaddai and Salamat bordering Sudan. They are a major challenge variety of languages, harsh living conditions, lack of roads. It is one of the least evangelized areas of Africa. French-Swiss SUM, WEC and AP have pioneered this area, but only among the Maba and Massalit has work been established with two small groups of Muslim Background Believers. Most of the 19 peoples are still completely unreached, but the Runga (SUM), Assangori, Tama and the Shuwa Arabs (WEC) are being targeted for entry.
e) The Chari-Bagirmi. The Barma were pioneered by WEC, the Lutheran Brethren and AIM, but only about five Christians are known. To their east, along the Chari River, live a medley of smaller peoples, some of which have been pioneered by EET-AIM, but much work remains to be done.
f) The Arabs some urbanized but most are nomadic. Theirs is the main language of communication in the country, so it is important to evangelize them, but no permanent witness to them has been established.
h) N'Djamena, the only city in the country, is rapidly becoming a centre of Islamic propagation, with many Mosques but only 100 or so churches. There are only two Arabic-speaking congregations the predominant language of the city. Many southern Christians gather in these churches, but they make little impression on the Muslim majority. French SUM has a work among the street children. Pray for missionaries working in N'Djamena and for others to be called.
7 Ministry to young people. Only larger urban churches have much ministry specifically for young people. Many Christian students are affiliated with Union des Jeunes Chrétiens (IFES). CCCI, SU, UBF (Korean) and independent evangelists also minister to young people and students. The great need is for suitable literature, disciplers and trainers of leaders. Four Chadian graduates serve in other lands with IFES.
8 Missionary work continues despite the upheavals of the past three decades. The main missions are working together under the EET Church in an organization called COCOAM. Present member missions: TEAM (32), WEC (22), French SUM/AP/Vision Afrique (21), AIM (15), MEDAF (1). Other missions include SIL (50), MAF (13, with 2 planes), EMET (10) and IMB-SBC (7). The need for more workers is obvious, but pray for those with a pioneer spirit and perseverance to give years to language learning, necessary to contribute much to the unreached and to developing churches. Pray also for their daily provision and safety. Pray also for the small, but growing number of Chadian missionaries involved in pioneer church planting and Bible translation.
a) The JESUS film, widely used in Arabic, is also available in Fulfulde (Fulbe), Kanuri and Sango. About 30% of the population have seen the film. The Chad Arabic version has been well received, and over 37 other Chadian language versions are also being prepared.
Pray that these films and recordings may be widely and effectively used.
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