I’ve recently returned from Chad – a fascinating and colourful mix of christian, muslim and animistic religions, desert and forest scenery, and African and Arabic peoples and languages.
“Finding myself with several months free each year now, in my semi-retirement, I wanted to use some of this time to volunteer on the mission field. God clearly led me to Chad, but not for the reasons I had envisaged! And one of the clearest lessons I learnt there was not to ‘second guess’ God. He will indeed complete the good work he has begun in each of us, but maybe not in the way we imagine or expect.
“My placement was in Abeche, not far from the Sudanese border, and at the WEC-run Learning Centre where locals can learn English and computer studies. It had seemed tailor-made for me as I had a good working knowledge of French, my job in the UK is teaching English as a Foreign Language, and I had previously worked with WEC in Senegal.
“I had expected to be teaching a couple of English classes, training and mentoring colleagues, helping evaluate the current curriculum and supporting the long-term team wherever I could.
“The longer I was in Chad, the more I appreciated all of its people: their open-hearted generosity of spirit, and their stoic resilience.”
“I’d not expected to be without electricity or running water 90% of the time, to have no fridge and to share the ‘bathroom’ with bats, cockroaches, spiders, crickets and other nameless critters. I’d not expected to be living as much in the pockets of the other four short-termers as I did, or to feel like the proverbial goldfish in his bowl.
“So, the lessons God taught me inevitably revolved around transparency of lifestyle, communal living, thankfulness in all circumstances, patience and humility. I learnt a lot of those lessons from the other short-term workers, who were an outstanding group of young Christians: a real pleasure to get to know and to pray with on a daily basis.
“My students were a delight, too. They were motivated, open to new methods of learning (and to being taught by a woman!), desperate to practice speaking English and conscientious in their study. They ranged from refugees to university professors, from market traders to hospital pharmacists.
“And the longer I was in Chad, the more I appreciated all of its people: their open-hearted generosity of spirit, and their stoic resilience in the face of often crushing poverty. I saw a joyful tolerance of each other’s religious beliefs and a heartfelt relief and gratitude that civil war and instability had all but died out over the past few years.
“I went to Chad to get an impression of the work there and to see if I could contribute on a regular basis in any way. I left feeling enlightened on many fronts and with a fresh burden to pray for that country and those working there. Will I go back? We’ll see!”
Do you want to serve God, experience a different culture and use your gifts? Click here to find out more about WEC Short Term missions.
Find out more about our Short Term / Gap Year ministry
WEC’s Short Term programme is geared to fuel your passion for God through a hands-on experience.
For a Solo Trek, we aim to match your gifts and time-frame for a short-term cross-cultural faith-filled adventure with God. We will place you alongside an experienced missionary in any one of over 80 countries, where you can serve God, share the good news and grow in your faith.
Alongside Solo Trek, we encourage Church Teams to organise and run your own short term cross-cultural trip. Feel free to get in touch if you would welcome some tips to get you started.
Read more about Short Term / Gap Year here.
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