A pastor and leader in an MCC partner organization talks about his life and his work to build peace throughout Chad.
I was born in January 1965 in the village of Bokoyo in the Guéra region of central Chad.
My father died when I was very young, and I was raised by his parents, who lived in Bokoyo, and by my mother, who lived in a village a couple of kilometers away.
When I was growing up, students who attended a Christian boarding school would come home for holidays and sing Christian songs in our languages, Arabic and Kenga. I learned these songs, and later I gave my life to the Lord. I did that without understanding everything, but I understood that Jesus was in my life.
“There were three options then. You could take up arms . . . work in the fields . . . . Or you could leave Chad.”
I was in high school in N’Djamena, Chad’s capital, when war came to the city. That was in 1980, when Hissène Habré’s forces were fighting against the military of the former president.
There were three options then. You could take up arms and fight. You could go into the villages and work in the fields, because the war was really in the city. Or you could leave Chad.
I went to Ivory Coast in June 1982. It was there that I decided I would not do anything else but serve God.
I was very young, but I began studying theology in Ivory Coast in 1983 and continued until 1986, when I came back home.
By that time, Habré had seized control of Chad, and many educated people were being arrested and killed by the government. It was not safe. Through my connections with MCC workers, MCC helped me go back to Ivory Coast from July to September 1987 to study Christian communications.
Later, I got a master’s degree in communications in Ivory Coast and one in missiology, or missions, in Nigeria, returning to Chad and working with my denomination, Evangelical Assembly of Chad, in between programs.
Over a three-year period, from 2008 to 2010, I spent breaks from my university studies travelling throughout the different regions of Chad. I left my family in Nigeria, and I took 50 days to meet pastors and visit most of the villages in Chad.
In March 2012, I was named coordinator of Ethics, Peace and Justice, one of three branches of a coalition of evangelical churches in Chad.
Because I speak Arabic, because of my background in Guéra, which is 99 per cent Muslim, and because of my education in communications, it puts me in a good position to do this work.
When I was travelling around the country, I didn’t know I’d be in this job. But it put me in contact with Christians throughout Chad.
In my life, I want to follow the will of God and put into practice the things I’ve learned.
This work is an opportunity to do what God has asked us to do.
Peace is the foundation. It’s the base.
We have to understand that we cannot do any other work without peace.
With all the history Chad has known, everybody’s been touched by war. Everyone has lost someone at some point to war. People here are tired of war, and we want to live in peace.
A few months after I started in this position, MCC provided funds for me to study conflict resolution and mediation at the West Africa Peacebuilding Institute in Accra, Ghana.
It was a rich experience. We studied conflict analysis, mediation and the qualities of a good mediator and the causes and consequences of conflict. I built many good relationships with participants from other countries across the continent.
Since then, I have been leading peace trainings — for religious leaders but also for women and youth.
There is much to do in this area.
And I do it with joy. I’m often the last one to leave the office. I come very early. I’m someone who, when I love something, I love it a lot and give it my everything.
(By Dogos Victor; as told to Marla Pierson Lester)
Dogos Victor is coordinator of MCC partner Ethics, Peace and Justice, a branch of a coalition of evangelical churches of Chad (Entente des Eglises et Missions Evangéliques au Tchad, or EEMET). Read more about Victor's work in the story Building relationships, preventing violence.