‘One Christmas we all got a chance to experience what life is like in a very remote village - when we packed up the small 3-seater Cessna 182 and Andrew flew us all down to Tchaguine!
We stayed with Mark and Dianne Vanderkooi who have been working amongst the Kwang people group for many years now, building relationships and showing the love of Jesus.
As the plane landed we were met by hundreds of kids surrounding the plane. Just an incredible welcome!
The nativity play was one of the few things we understood in the simple sunrise Christmas service. It was interesting to see the villagers play their part in the familiar Christmas story.
"Something as simple as a meal can bring neighbours together and remind us that Jesus Emmanuel is with us all"
Later in the day, when we gathered for a meal. We were treated like honoured guests for the traditional Chadian meal of boule and meat.
The men and women ate separately, so Andrew and Zac went off in one direction while I headed off with Esther to another place.
We shared the Christmas meal breaking off a small amount of boule (pounded ground millet cooked with water) with our right hand - to dip in a communal bowl of sauce.
For the time we were there, Zac and Esther enjoyed playing with the local kids learning how to bring down fruit from the trees. On one occasion we made donuts with ladies from the community, on another time the kids came around to play with Lego in the Vanderkoois house.
We just spent time chatting and visiting people – enjoying simple non-material things – similar in some ways to the way we would have spent time with family in the UK, just without all the trimmings.
It was the most unique and special experience, I will probably never have another experience like it.
From going on the M.A.F. plane that daddy flew, to watching Zac and Esther play with the local kids, and enjoying the meal that the women spent hours preparing - it was so meaningful for us as a family.
There are so many different ways to celebrate the birth of Christ – every culture does it differently but the experience reminded me that it’s the same God we are celebrating.
He is using people like the Vanderkoois in their remote location - but also using us. Something as simple as a meal can bring neighbours together and remind us that Jesus Emmanuel is with us all.’