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Marfa People of Chad

by JR

Elephants, giraffes, antelope, and lions are some of the “neighbors” of the Marfa people. Their homeland in eastern Chad is an arid region that, nonetheless, has some broad, flat grasslands. It receives very little precipitation during the year.

The Marfa people are the largest non-Arab Muslim group in Chad. During the 1800s, they ruled eastern Chad after overthrowing the Tunjur Dynasty. In modern times Marfa chiefs and royal clan members still exercise significant power.

Most contemporary Marfas make their living by farming. Millet and wheat are their primary crops. They raise horses, cattle, goats, and sheep for their marketable products and meat. Another significant market activity is stock-breeding.

Like most of their neighbors, the Marfas are a Muslim people. There is very little they do that is not affected by Islam, whether it be marriage, child rearing, or daily activities. A young Marfa man will typically marry in his early twenties, and his bride is likely to be in her teens. In keeping with Muslim traditions, he is allowed to have as many as four wives. Only the husband has legal rights in this Muslim society. As of now, there are very few gospel resources available to the Marfa. They have no Scriptures, Christian radio or television available to them.

Pray that the Lord would move the right people to begin working among the Marfa people and to develop materials in their language. Pray that they will begin receiving the gospel in a meaningful way.

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