MAF delivers copies of Bible in Chadian Arabic for the first time

Published: 24 Jun 2021

MAF Pilot Phil Henderson holding onto ‘precious cargo’ destined for Bardaï, Chad

25 years in the making, the entire Bible has finally been translated into Chadian Arabic. On 28 May, MAF delivered copies to the remote northern town of Bardaï and dispatched a further batch to Dar Sila in eastern Chad on 24 June. MAF's Katie Machell reports... 

MAF partner, Global Christian charity 'SIL', completed the full Bible translation into Chadian Arabic in 2019.

21,000 copies - printed in China - arrived in Chad in April 2021, just before the country encountered some political challenges.

MAF Grounds Ops staffer, Dieudonne Mekambe, loading Bibles onto MAF aircraft

'Very precious cargo'

A few weeks later on 28 May, pilot Phil Henderson prepared MAF’s Cessna 182 for a flight to Bardaï in the far north of Chad.

The cargo was very precious – copies of the whole Bible in Chadian Arabic, a language spoken by 50% of Chadians (source: SIL).

The churches of Bardaï were about to receive the Word of God in their own language for the first time.

MAF Pilot Phil Henderson and MAF Ground Ops staffer Dieudonne Mekambe preparing for take off

One of the first ever copies of the Bible in Chadian Arabic

'The Bible in believers' hands will have an impact in Chad for years to come. Please pray that this Bible will strengthen churches and make God’s Word accessible to many in Chad.'

SIL

People from all faiths celebrated

In a country that’s 57% Muslim (source: Joshua Project), representatives from both Islamic and Christian faiths attended the celebrations.

To mark the arrival of this Bible translation into the country, two Bible dedications were held in Chad’s capital, N’djamena.

The first was attended by the Minister of State charged with Dialogue and Reconciliation, the Minister of National Education and a representative of the High Counsel of Islamic Affairs.

The second dedication followed on Pentecost Sunday (23 May) attended by church members and the public. This event included singing and speeches, a procession of the Bible, readings, and a prayer of dedication delivered by both Catholic and Protestant churches.

Copies were sold at both dedications and have also been made available for people to buy across N’Djamena.

 A believer reads the Bible in her own language for the first time 

Bibles were ‘received with joy’

Hundreds more Bibles have been distributed further afield in central Chad, the east and other areas in the north.

According to SIL Chad’s June newsletter:

‘Whether officials or humble Chadians, the Chadian Arabic Bible has been received with joy. When one believer came over to receive her Bible, she literally jumped for joy and had tears in her eyes knowing that she could read the whole Bible for herself now.’

MAF fly more Bibles to eastern Chad

On 24 June, another 120 Bibles were delivered to Dar Sila in eastern Chad destined for 15 churches within the region.

‘We don't have the capacity to carry the amount of Bibles needed in Dar Sila on such a long journey. It's wonderful that MAF can support us in this way. We’re very thankful.’

Local missionary in Dar Sila, Chad

A local missionary – whose name has been withheld for safety reasons – admits the latest consignment is probably not enough:

‘The demand is so high - I should have ordered a lot more! I was naive to think that there wouldn’t be a huge demand for Chadian Arabic Bibles! I think we're easily going to go through several hundred Bibles over the next year or so.

‘There are quite a few believers who already use their Chadian Arabic New Testaments (which are already in circulation). They preach and teach from it and share the Good News. Now they want the entire Bible so that they can share from the Old Testament as well.’

Boxes containing 120 Chadian Arabic Bibles transported by MAF’s C208 Grand Caravan aircraftThe local missionary continues: 

‘The Bibles will be carefully given out to people interested in learning more about Christianity and Chadian believers. I will supply a small number to each pastor and missionary in Dar Sila, so seekers will be able to read the truth for themselves.

‘It’s wonderful that they can now use the Old Testament as well as the New in Chadian Arabic, which has never been available before. I'm really excited to see God’s blessing pour out on the people of Dar Sila.

‘Bibles just don’t make it out here without support. My issue is that I can't carry the weight in my car - the Bibles are heavy. We don't have the capacity to carry the amount of Bibles needed in Dar Sila on such a long journey. It's wonderful that MAF can support us in this way. We’re very thankful.’

Chadians will also be able to access the Bible in Arabic through an Android app.

MAF is honoured to play a small part in this significant event.