2009 October 12
Greetings to my friends and family. It is time for another update on life here.
The first item of news is a major update to my website. Thank you James,
my brother, for all your work on that. Getting pictures to the website
is a complex process. I put them on a small memory card and send them to
the States, usually with somebody who is returning from work at the
hospital here. Eventually, they get sent by mail to my brother who
chooses some to post on the website. The pictures you see will be
probably two months or more old.
Jeremy and Annie left at the end of September. They were a big help, and I miss them here. I'm on my own for speaking French now during most of the week. The garden projects Jeremy started are going to take a lot of work, but it is worth it. We are finally getting some green beans, lettuce, and peppers. The banana plants are flourishing now; we'll see how they survive with our watering during the dry season. Maybe within a year we will have "homemade" bananas to eat.
I seem to be collecting a number of memorable experiences on the motorbike. I hit my first pig Friday evening on my way to the hospital. It was quite a solid little pig, but thankfully it was a little pig (maybe 15 inches high) and I didn't crash. I hit it square in the side as it tried to dash across the road in front of me. The poor pig faired poorly.
Construction on Gary's house continues slowly. I have encountered many challenges there, but I think it will turn out to be a good structure. The rains have basically stopped and the roads are not so muddy now, so I hope the hanger construction will resume soon.
Dr. Tim Rittenour and his daughter Melody are here for a little over a month to work at the hospital. They have been helping me with the little church group at Dabgue.
The Bible study group is growing. Perhaps I mentioned before how I was praying that God would provide a translator? The week Jeremy and Annie left a new friend of mine asked if he could come to the Dabgue church with me. I replied, "Of course!" He has been attending Bible studies, too, and is helping translate for me there. Recently about a dozen locals attend. I praise God for what He is doing there, and I also want to thank Him for the solutions that I don't see yet. I need to split the group into two groups: one for the advanced students and one for the new students. I can't clone myself, so we will likely start a third weekly study. Counting the Sabbath sermon/study, I will have four studies to prepare for weekly. This growth cannot happen indefinitely with my being solo here. I believe God will provide a solution, but I don't know how yet. Please pray for this situation.
Many people come to the study without Bibles. I had a friend of mine get five French Bibles when he traveled to another bigger village. Word has gotten out that I have lots of Bibles now, and people are asking for them. One day a pastor came and asked me for a Bible. Can you imagine that? A pastor without a Bible? It is sad, but helps explain why people are so confused and why they have so many questions. A boy came to the study tonight. From my personal experience and from others', I know this boy steals and lies a lot. When he asked me for a Bible, my first thought was "I'll probably never see it again." Then I caught myself and realized that Scripture is what he needs. I loaned it to him and he wants to work for me to earn the money to buy it. Would any of you be interested in helping sponsor Bibles in French? I can get French Bibles for about $4 in another village. I've been told that I can buy Bibles in the local language for about $8.
Without getting into details, I've been experiencing some of the most overwhelming days of my life. Yet, I can honestly say that God continues to give me a desire to remain here and continue working. Sometimes I drive off into the bush for some time alone to recharge. One special place I call my "mound of blessing." It is a termite mound, and I often head to that spot at the end of a busy day. No matter how busy or stressful your day is, be sure to set aside some time for quite contemplation and conversation with God. Nothing is a substitute.
I managed to get away with a couple friends Sunday afternoon to explore more of the bush. We drove through palm groves and along the edges of rice fields. I am trying to soak up all the green I can see before the brown of dry season sets in. At the furthest point of our drive we ended up at the river where we swam for a while. The birds were amazing, both in color and sound. Some were bright red, bright yellow, or green. Even though it was only part of an afternoon and evening, it was like a mini vacation.
Thank you for your continued prayers in each of these areas: aviation contacts, Bible work, house construction, hanger construction, farming, medical needs, church plant, nutrition center, relationships with the people here.