We drove for blocks. It was dusk. On every city block, groups of Muslims gathered together on the sidewalk for their evening prayers. All were facing in the same direction, bowing down, prostrating themselves on their prayer rugs, and reciting their ancient prayers. At the same time, the sound of the Muslim call to prayer was blaring from loudspeakers. What a vivid reminder that the people of Chad need to hear the greatest news ever told! But how will they hear?
This is what I saw as Jacques and Josephine, both medical doctors, drove me to their HomeBuilders group – a group that formed as a direct result of our first trip to Chad in January 2013. The group meets in a church that stands in the shadow of Chad’s largest mosque. With the eerie sounds of the Muslim call to prayer clearly audible in the background, five couples were learning how to live out Christian marriage. It is hard for us to understand just how counter-cultural this teaching is. And yet they were being challenged to pass on what they were learning to other couples as well.
Jacques and Josephine see FamilyLife as a great way to help fulfill the Great Commission; and so do we. There is a growing number of Muslims inChad who want to know more about Christ. Seeing the difference Jesus can make in a family provides a natural context for sharing the gospel.
We want people to know Jesus and let their marriages be transformed by God’s Word. If this happens on a large scale, it will have a huge impact on churches, society as a whole, and the Kingdom of God. That is our vision.
To advance this vision, we focus on three strategic activities:
- Training lay leaders to disciple other couples in their marriages using FamilyLife resources
- Ministering to the marriages of pastors
- Helping churches start marriage discipleship ministries
When couples have a Christ-centered marriage, they are more likely to be active in fulfilling the Great Commission and have children who know and serve the Lord. Godly marriages make for a strong church. When the church is strong, the gospel moves forward. Individual lives are changed. Entire nations are changed. The Great Commission is advanced.
I returned to Chad (my wife, Kathy, was not able to join me this time) in November 2013 to build into the FamilyLife Leadership Team and help them overcome some of the obstacles they were facing.
They told me that the Chadian culture clashed so strongly with the biblical teaching on marriage that they needed help understanding some of the lessons in the HomeBuilders studies. They wanted me to lead them through a lesson or two so they could make sure they understood the teaching correctly. Not only that, they wanted to see a HomeBuilders lesson led by someone with years of HomeBuilders experience.
I did that. It was a unique experience. The entire dialogue had to be translated. And the power failed (a common occurrence) sometime before the meeting started. And it stayed off. There we were, eight couples sitting in a circle, doing a HomeBuilders study in a dark room that was illuminated only by the light of cell phones and a few flashlights. But the greatest illumination came from the Holy Spirit. He brought great biblical truths for marriage to light, as well as a better understanding of HomeBuilders leadership. The Prince of this World may have tried to keep us in the dark, but the entire leadership team came out of the meeting with a greater understanding of and vision for HomeBuilders.
As a result of the trip, the couples providing leadership for FamilyLife in Chad have clearer direction and greater momentum. We have another follow-up trip scheduled for September 2014. Until then, please join Kathy and me in praying for God’s favor, strong momentum, and that non-Christians would see the difference Jesus can make in a couple’s life and marriage.