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The Jaya are a small population of people who live in savannah of southeastern Chad. They live in nearly a dozen villages and make their living in agriculture and hunting. Chad became independent from France in 1960. Unfortunately, since that date Chad has experienced a series of civil wars, the assassinations and arrests of political leaders, coups and wars with Libya and Sudan. A quarter of Chad's income is aid from the UN, NGOs, France, China and the USA. International agencies consider Chad to be a failed state. Less than 40% of the people are able to read and write. The two official languages of Chad are French and Arabic. Chadians speak over 100 languages and dialects. Life expectancy in Chad is under 50 years old. In 2003 Chad became an oil exporting nation. Most of the revenue from the oil went to buying weapons and for the salaries of the Chadian military, not for the welfare of the Chadian people. There is currently an ongoing project to translate the New Testament into the Jaya language.
Since the government is actively discouraging the hunting of large animals, the Jaya are becoming more dependent on the crops they raise in the rainy season. The Jaya people make a living cultivating millet, sorghum, maize, beans, and peanuts along raising chickens and goats to supplement their diets. Elders rule the Jaya villages. Families arrange marriages with Jaya girls marrying young. A man may have up to four wives if he can afford them. Children often do not attend school but spend their days helping to support their families.
The majority of the Jaya claim to be Sunni Muslims. The brand of Islam is strongly influenced by folk religion and a belief in natural spirits. These spirits must be appeased by rituals and ceremonies, or they can bring disaster upon the people. Most Jaya have never heard a clear presentation of the good news about Jesus Christ. They believe Isa or Jesus to be only a human prophet.
Their children need schools. The Jaya need clean sources of water. They also would benefit by obtaining modern medicine. Many Jaya children die before reaching the age of 10. Most of all the Jaya need to hear the life-changing message of Christ. He alone can forgive their sins and grant them eternal life.
Pray that Christian workers currently living among the Jaya would see many Jaya respond positively to the claims of Christ. Pray that Jaya parents would be able to provide for their children and for the children to be able to attend school. Ask the Lord to raise up a church of Jaya believers in this decade. Pray a Jaya Bible would soon become available and get into the hands of Jaya believers.