One of the most unreached people groups in the world — and eight others — has suddenly been made reachable.
And you’ve probably never heard of the place these people call home.
Traditionally closed-off and isolated, Dar Sila, Chad, was forced to open its doors when civil war broke out in neighboring Sudan. Suddenly, the region was flooded with a mass of Sudanese refugees trying to escape the atrocities of war, as well as well-meaning aid workers.
But most aid organizations only helped the refugees, while the host population watched their already-sparse supply of natural resources dwindle.
The result? A bleak, unstable situation — and a highly guarded people.
For years, this was the scenario that greeted visitors to Dar Sila. But now, the region is finally experiencing a time of relative peace and calm. And the weary hearts of the 400,000 people are starting to open up like blossoms cautiously blooming to a tiny ray of sunlight.
Except for 0.01 percent of the population, all Dar Silans claim to either follow Islam, a traditional African religion or a combination of both.
The dominant group in Dar Sila today is the Dadju tribe, which was once very powerful in Sudan.
“My personal impression is that because the Dadju are no longer as powerful [in Chad], they cling more strongly to Islamic identity,” says Tillie Tiller, TEAM’s area leader for Dar Sila. “But even though they are devout Muslims, they strongly cling to their traditional animistic practices.”
Tillie has lived and worked alone in Dar Sila for over three years now, laying the foundation for the full-time team she prays the Lord will send soon.
And now, for the first time in years, the people of Dar Sila are not only open to outsiders, says Tillie, but are even friendly and welcoming toward them!
Because of the surge of new inhabitants, the people of Dar Sila struggle to evenly spread resources that were slim to begin with. This has resulted in an abundance of physical needs in this arid, dry landscape.
“Keeping the water towers filled is … a constant battle,” says Tillie.
Agriculture and farmed goods have also dwindled. Reforestation and a system that sustainably conserves the land’s natural resources are just a couple of Dar Sila’s immediate physical needs.
And because the region was so isolated for so long, decent education and healthcare are also sorely lacking.
More urgently, most people in the Dar Sila region have never heard the Gospel.
They are spiritually starving — and finally have an appetite for Truth.
The needs are great. And so are the possibilities.
Because of the many needs in Dar Sila, there are many opportunities for different types of ministries.
For example, an agricultural sustainability or creation care ministry would flourish among the hungry people of Dar Sila. And by helping them feed their physical bodies, you open doors to satisfy their spiritual hunger as well.
Another opportunity for ministry lies in an unexpected passion among the Dar Sila locals: art.
“The host population is artistic and, unlike any other people group in Chad, takes care to decorate and landscape their property,” says Tillie. “Even teenage girls, one of the most marginalized sub-cultures in Chad, are allowed to express themselves artistically. … An art evangelism ministry could build a team [here], easily.”
Whatever your skills, training or passions are, the Dar Sila region is a field that is ripe for harvest and full of lost souls who long for the Good News.
The only question is: Who will take it to them?
Could God be calling you to proclaim His Word in Dar Sila? Fill out a contact form today and start talking with a missions coach about the opportunities.