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Even though Africa has more Charis Alliance churches than anywhere else in the world, many of those congregations don’t have a pastor. In the country of Chad alone, there are over 300 churches but only about 100 pastors. Many of these are small “bush” churches in remote locations that have fewer than 40 attendees, but altogether they add up to about 10,000 believers who are in need of a pastor.
The need for spiritual leadership in Chad is great.
In an effort to fill this gap, local evangelists sometimes dedicate themselves to shepherding four, five, or six of these churches. But the churches they shepherd are often scattered far apart and can’t afford to cover the cost of taxis at the relatively expensive price of $1.50 USD per trip.
The solution? Bicycles.
But this isn’t a leisurely little bike ride. Some of these evangelists bike 45 kilometers a day…which equates to approximately 28 miles! And many of the regions they bike through have much political unrest and aren’t exactly welcoming to Christians.
As Encompass’ Coordinator of Chadian Ministries, Kirk says, “These guys are getting it done. I’m a biking geek, and what these guys are doing is comparable to the Tour de France—except they’re doing it on 40–50 pound bikes through dirt and gravel.”
These men are literally athletic champions for God’s Kingdom. But instead of doing it for the fame, glory, and praise that traditional athletes receive, they are doing it for God’s glory. They are truly using their bodies as living sacrifices to serve the church.
For the past 25 years, Encompass has been giving bicycles to evangelists who graduate from the local Bible Institute or Summer School of Evangelism so that they can care for these remote churches. However, motorcycles are becoming more and more practical for these purposes, so in recent years Encompass has started to provide some motorcycles for them too.
You don’t have to pedal a mile to help provide spiritual care for these remote churches though. You can help share Jesus with the least-reached by donating toward the purchase of a bike (bicycle or motorcycle) for one of these faithful African evangelists.