Isaiah 43:2 says: When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee.... Our Chadian associate, Ouya Bongo, experienced the truth of these verses on Friday, when the canoe in which he was crossing a river capsized and he was thrown from it. His earthly body was not found until Saturday morning, but long before that, he had entered into the arms of his Savior whom he'd loved and served for many years.
Ouya was a highly educated man by Chadian standards. He was already a seminary graduate when he came to Bibles International's attention some years back. With help from our organization and other godly people who financed his education, he came to the US for further education so that he might serve as a Bible translation consultant. Losing him is felt acutely by his wife and six minor children, by members of the church he pastored, by his missionary colleagues, and by us. But God's timing is always perfect. And He is never surprised by those things that may seem so catastrophic to us.
To add to the pain of those he left behind in Chad, we're told that his brother drowned a week earlier. What a terrible loss from a human perspective!
Would you join us in praying for his wife Cecile and their children? It probably goes without saying, but I want to underline the fact that there is no Social Security system in Chad. At this point we're not sure how his wife and children will survive without him. Pray that the Lord will show us ways that we might be able to help care for his family.
And join us in praying that the Lord will be glorified through this drowning accident. We certainly do not sorrow for Ouya, but our hearts aches for those who feel his loss so acutely. And certainly his homegoing will slow the progress of the seven translation projects currently going on in Chad. Pray that all of us will continue to walk by faith as we come to terms with this very unexpected loss.
On a completely different note, it continues to snow in Grand Rapids. We're now up to approximately 75 inches of snow for the season. (Remember that our average seasonal snowfall is 72.2 inches.) We surpassed that amount on Thursday and it has snowed everyday since then. Mounds of snow are now so high they make driving dangerous at intersections. One must slowing crawl out into the street in order to see around the snow mound. Pray for safety as we drive through streets that are snow covered and hazardous in residential areas.