Facing Death in Chad

April 21, 2008

Rae Burnett, Christian Aid Director for Africa reports:

"I am currently with Christian Chadian refugees in northern Nigeria. These are missionaries who plan to return in two days time to use this opportunity to bring Christ to those who are suffering so much now. But the refugees are destined for an even more horrible fate if they do not come to know the Savior.

Chadian refugees desperate for some help.

I only had $1200 to give the missionaries, and they accepted it with great joy and thanksgiving. If the government allows me, I plan to go to Chad mid-May and will take them any funds sent to help the work.

As always, I remain profoundly impressed and humbled by the sacrificial spirit and undivided determination of these men and women of God to take the gospel into fearfully dark places. To do what we cannot do. We MUST help them for His name´s sake."

Chadian Missionaries Use War to Open Doors for the Gospel

(Missionaries cannot be identified for security reasons)

Consistently listed in the world´s 10 poorest nations, Chad must deal with Darfur refugees, Islamic extremists, unstable government, and as of late, war, as Sudan and Libya-backed rebel attacks have completely terrorized and destabilized the nation.

A Chadian missionary reports:

"January 30 was when we started hearing about the rebel advance to N´djamena. We are so used to problems here in Chad that we didn´t think it serious. So we made no contingency arrangements, but continued plans for our normal programs– discipleship class on February 2, open medical clinic, visitation and routine ministry outreach activities– but alas! We were taken completely by surprise, as we heard that villages close to us had fallen into the hands of the rebels."

"With that alert, we snatched up our two small boys and moved closer toward the city, knowing that the home that Christian Aid had enabled us to build for the work was no longer safe for us. There was intense fighting in our area, with mortar and heavy artilleries. We were certain that our house was under jet bombing and vandalization, as our family watched helplessly from afar."

Chad soldiers

"We are so grateful to God for your fervent prayers for us during this traumatic period. We were scared of the situation, but most of our time was spent praying, shedding tears before God and preparing for our death. It was quite a good experience to get this point of readiness unto death, and we thank God for it."

"After fleeing into the city, we were trapped in a room for three days, with the hard pounding sound of gun bullets flying around us. The most traumatizing thing for us was the terrified and confused looks on the faces of the children. The sight of limbs and body parts littered around the street was a horrible one. These were victims who had no part in the decision making that led to the war."

Chad war planes overhead

We soon realized that our hideout would not be safe, as the whole area was fast becoming a base for rebels headed towards the presidential palace. As we saw jets flying over us, dropping bombs randomly on nearby neighborhoods, we knew they could hit us at any time. However, we remained calm in prayer, waiting only for God to direct us, as we trusted Him for protection.

After three days of this terror, there was a little calm, so we managed to make our way to the Cameroon border, along with tens of thousands of other refugees. I was particularly moved to tears of compassion for the massive move of refugees to an unknown destination. Many even lost their lives in the stampede trying to escape. We decided to go to Nigeria to get some respite from our trauma, as we prayerfully prepare to return.

Missionaries share small portions of the little rice and oil they have as outreach to refugees.

As long as rebels remain within Chad, there is danger of more attacks. In the meantime we see the possibility of reaching out to the thousands of these refugees with any help that is given us. Any help rendered in a time like this gives us an edge in a future relationship and ministry opportunity. But since we barely escaped with anything except for our own precious children, we are now at the mercy of God for support and means to achieve our new strategy.

Our work is largely focused on food distribution around affected areas in N´Djamena and the refugee camps that are swelling every day. This is the best opportunity we have yet seen to open the hearts of our people to the gospel. Most of them are Muslim and have never even heard that Jesus died for them. They are desperate, and no one is helping them. Let us act quickly before Muslims see the opportunity and move in with all their riches.

We ask you to stand with us in prayer:

  1. Rice - $60/bag
  2. Cooking Oil
  3. Salt
  4. Medicines
  5. Clothing, especially for children
  6. Soap

Just last November, Christian Aid donors provided desperately needed funds for the work. Missionaries were overjoyed and wrote, "We are so excited and encouraged that the Lord met these needs expressly. I trust Him to bless the work He is doing through you massively." When rebels came, the missionaries were able to escape with the laptop and camera provided by CAM but fear that the ministry motorcycle, television and DVD player they use for evangelism as well as the equipment for their sewing/knitting vocational training outreach center has been vandalized by the rebels in their march of destruction toward the presidential palace.

In spite of this setback, the Lord has assured them that He will use all for His good, and they are miraculously encouraged.