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The Muslim Arabs of Chad: a challenge for the gospel


N’DJAMENA, Chad (BP)–There are some 1.2 million Chadian Arabs in northern Africa. About 70 percent of them live in Chad, but significant numbers also live in Sudan, Niger and Nigeria.
In Chad, most Chadian Arabs live in a band across the central part of the country.
They are a distinctive people group, speaking their own form of Chadian Arabic, with some 30 dialects spread among as many tribal groups. The dialects are closely enough related that they can communicate among themselves.
For centuries Chadian Arabs have been semi-nomadic people who traveled thousands of miles with their camels, sheep and goats, following the seasons, water and forage for the animals. Increasingly, though, the people are settling down into the villages and towns of Chad.
But many Chadian Arabs remain rural people. In one of Chad’s prefectures, it’s estimated that of about 270,000 Arabs, fewer than 17,000 live in towns. The rest are rural.
The challenge in reaching so many people so dispersed is obvious.
About a 10th of the Chadian Arabs can read and write French, Chad’s trade language. Only about 2 percent can read classical Arabic, used in the Koran.
As Muslims, Chadian Arabs follow Muslim thinking on Jesus: He was a prophet, teacher and a good man. They don’t see him as the Son of God.
And there’s the real challenge.
If you’d like to become a prayer partner with the team taking the gospel to the Chadian Arabs, call 1-800-772-9652.
Key prayer requests for the Chadian Arabs include:
— Pray for the harvest of souls who want to accept Christ, but are fearful of the consequences when their families learn of their conversion.
— Ask God to raise up many more people who will covenant to pray for the Chadian Arabs.
— Pray that the five Chadian Arab believers (and others who will one day believe) will stand firm in their faith and share it boldly.
— Pray for fruit in one village where the Bible is being read. God’s Word is active and living. Pray that their understanding be opened that they might comprehend the Scripture.
–Pray that John and Sharon Holland, the only missionaries now in Chad, might be “vessels for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master prepared for every good work” (2 Timothy 2:21).
–Pray that the Hollands will learn the language well enough to disciple new believers.