Friday, October 12, 2007

Trip To Tchad

That's correct! T-C-H-A-D. And, as if that were not enough, the capital of Tchad is N'djamena. It is difficult for me to pronounce you are not alone.

Tchad is going through some strong struggling as it moves forward into the 21st century, not only because of the fact that (as in many other parts of Africa) the country has not had the wherewithal or the "whatever it takes" to be a 21st century nation. Infrastructure is noticeably absent. For example -the old and beat up taxi had no air-conditioning. Along the roadside there were "shops" which consisted of a blanket spread out on the ground with handmade articles for sale. Most people walked. Many rode bicycles. The more fortunate were riding horses or motor-bikes. We, the tourists, rode broken and battered taxis. I saw a young man grab the loose fitting cloth he wore around his shoulders and head and pull it across his nose and mouth, furrowing his brow and squinting his eyes to protect himself from the hot swirling dust and dirt being stirred up by the few passing vehicles.

When we arrived in the SIL (Summer Institute of Linguistics) owned and operated by Wycliffe Bible Translators, I was so glad to get inside and find that there was a shower. Although there was no hot water tank, there was water, and it was not too cold because the heat of the day had warmed the pipes adequately. Our church leaders had arranged for us to have a three bedroomed apartment complete with kitchen and living room/dining room. The overseer's wife cooked for us each day. Meals consisted of three fried eggs each, french bread, butter, and coffee or hot tea for breakfast; boiled potatoes, fish or beef, rice, french bread, bottled water, and coffee or tea for lunch; and the same menu we had for lunch was the menu for dinner. Of course I did not suffer for something to eat - plus I had my tootsie rolls, beef jerky, coconut macaroons, and other snacks from the Dollar Store in Cleveland!!!

Bishop David Le Page, our West African Regional Superintendent met me in Paris, France and we flew in together to try and sort out (or at least get a better understanding of) some of the problems the Church in Tchad is experiencing. We met the first day with the National Council to hear their views and listen to their vision and hear testimonies of God's provision. Two days were spent teaching and preaching. The third day we gave all the ministers present an opportunity to express their desire for who their overseer should be for the next two years (2008-2010) by "preference ballot". Ballots were sealed in the presence of the group and brought by me to give to the General Director of World Missions who will finally nominate the person to the World Missions Board. The person chosen will be appointed by the board and finally approved by the General Executive Committee.

On Sunday we went to Church at 9:00am and finally finished around 1:00pm. When the sermon has to be interpreted into another language it takes twice as long - so a one hour sermon turns out to be two hours. The Africans seem to love it. "The longer - the better" seems to be their motto. But then, no one was worried about getting home in time to watch the ball-game on TV - and no one was in a hurry to get to the local Shoney's! Those things were non-existent in Tchad. Just imagine - No Wal-mart, no Walgreens, no super market -- and if there were one of those places there would be no money in your pocket to allow you to make a purchase.

Departure was another experience...the x-ray machine was not working so all baggage had to be opened and examined by hand. The examiners are so curious for they seemed never to have seen a package of beef jerky, or cheese-n-crackers, etc. It seems they want to handle every item in your bag. One of them opened my toothbrush holder, saying, "W0t thees?" That is part of the reason I always try to be at the airport at least three hours before my flight is scheduled to leave! Patience is demanded, for if one ever raises his/her voice in protest it could mean you get even more thorough investigation. Oh well... THANK GOD for another wonderful trip!!!


Favorite One said...

I enjoyed this post. It's kinda like what you said though - sometimes our blessings can be our burdens. We have a lot to be thankful for. One of the things I'm thankful for is YOU. You have shown me by example how to be patient. I have learned sometimes it is best to keep the mouth shut & just be patient. :-) Glad you're back in town! Luv ya!

fred said...

Thanks Ruthie! Love ya.

Travelin' On said...

Thanks for sharing about your journey. Enjoyed it! Glad you made it back, AND, I hope you enjoy your cruise. I think it will be MUCH different. You guys deserve it!! Hope you have a wonderful time!

Lowell Brannen said...

I noticed that the men sat on one side and the ladies on the other side. Is that a cultural thing or was it because of some kind of special meeting? Anyway, Bon voyage!

fred said...

That was/is a cultural thing. Noting special.

About Me

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Cleveland, TN, United States
I am Fred Alton Brannen, the son of Louis A. Brannen (deceased) and Bonnie Jones Brannen, Louis was an Ordained Bishop with the Church of God. Bonnie is an Ordained Licensed Minister and at 89 years of age is still actively engaged in speaking and singing engagements. I am married to the former Frances Hildreth. We celebrated 53 years of marriage this past June and we are the parents of 3, grand-parents of 10, and great-grandparents of 10. I pastored in Tennessee for 24 years and served the Church in some capacity in missions for over 23 years. I retired from full-time ministry in August of 2008 but remain active, speaking and singing and teaching whenever opportunity affords itself. In January of 2010 I received a letter of commendation for having been credentialed as a minister in the Church of God for 50 years! My family is very important to me. Our get togethers are always noisy affairs and most times will include family sing-alongs. The children love their Mom's cooking so we have the privilege of seeing them regularly! WE LOVE having them over.

TheCabin on Day One

TheCabin on Day One
Fred Alton