The World Horizons team in Chad is made up of local and foreign workers. The work is rapidly expanding through partnerships with local churches and the establishment of an official evangelical association.
Located in the centre of the Sahel belt, blessed with oil, gold deposits and uranium, Chad is known for its warm, diverse people and wildlife. It is home to the Zakouma National Park, a 3,000 square kilometres UNESCO world heritage site, which protects elephants, lions, giraffe and other large game. The climate is dry and arid in the north, but there is plenty of ground water. To the south the climate is cooler with grasslands and more vegetation. The capital N’Djamena lies to the West, below the country’s largest lake, ‘Lac Tchad.’
The country lacks infrastructure and is one of the poorest in the world. It has been plagued by civil wars since its independence from France in 1960 having been a French Colony from 1900-1960. In more recent years, violence on its eastern border has also spilled into its territories bringing with it many refugees. However, many Africans have found steady employment in Chad, allowing them to send remittances to their families in neighbouring, less stable nations. Chad’s national languages are French and Arabic – with 133 additional, indigenous languages (source – Operation World 2011). According to the Joshua Project (2017) 26.3% of the country are professing Christians while the largest religion is Islam (61.9%). There are 141 different people groups; 75, mainly in the north, have no churches and little access to the gospel.
Despite the economic and physical challenges, the church in the south of Chad is growing, and tribes that have previously not been reached now contain believers. The government protects religious freedom, allowing Christians to openly proclaim the gospel and train local leaders. So far, our team, in partnership with other groups, has established over 30 house churches and many Chadians have been trained for mission work. The team’s on-going primary goal is to declare the love of Christ through their actions, as well as their words. They aim to follow Jesus’ example to care for and heal people, whether or not they choose to follow Him. Currently they are developing the following ministries:
Houses of Prayer
The team understands that there is no growth in God’s Kingdom without prayer; therefore they have established one House of Prayer (which is open 24-7) with their partners and aim to open another by the end of 2017. These buildings are available to the wider Christian community to intercede for the nation and the world.
Church Planting and Mission Institute
The team aims to establish more house churches in towns without a fellowship and amongst the remote, unreached tribes. The team use public showings of the Jesus film, prayer ministry and the Discovery Bible Study method to share faith. Plans are being made to construct a Mission Training Institute in the south of the country to mobilise and mentor indigenous Christians to be sent to the unreached tribes of Chad and beyond.
In Chad, widowed women often struggle with raising a family alone and lack skills for employment. Many carry emotional wounds and are in need of healing. The team offers such ladies training in small business skills at their vocational centre (see below) and gives them the opportunity to grow spiritually and emotionally strong through bible study and prayer ministry sessions. The team hopes to raise up leaders from among the women they work with, both for the church and to be champions for change in their own communities.
The team aims to provide for the needs of those who don’t have access to medical help because of either a lack of money, or their location. The team currently runs short medical trips to remote villages and assists people in their immediate community with medical needs. They hope to expand this work by establishing a clinic once appropriate workers are recruited.
Children’s House and Primary School
Through engagement with street children the team identified the desperate need for a permanent home for orphans in their area. A few members started by taking children into their own home and now, after much prayer, land has been purchased and a building is under construction for a Children’s House. ‘House Parents’ will be recruited and carefully trained. A school will also be set-up on the site, initially to care for the educational needs of those living in the Children’s House, but it is hoped other families living nearby will be able to send their children there in the future.
In 2009 a plot of land was purchased to feed poor families, especially widows and orphans. They work the land, whilst simultaneously receiving training, then they get to keep and eat whatever they grow – beans, rice and fast growing fruit trees such as papaya. A second piece of land has been bought next to the Children’s House, to similarly train and feed the orphans.
Professional and Technical Skills Training Centre
Through equipping the unemployed with new skills, the team hopes to energise the local economy. By enabling small businesses to be established that meet the practical needs of the community and provide an income for those currently without work, they are restoring dignity and giving purpose. The team uses the centre (established in 2011) to show the love of Christ and talk about His impact on their own lives, inviting students to attend Bible Studies and church outside of training times if they choose.