Thanksgiving Update

2009 December 15

Dear friends and family and those who pray for AAM,

Greetings again from Tchad. The brief summary of life since the last newsletter is that God is blessing and I am doing well.

Thank you very much from those of you who helped with money to purchase Bibles. About ten people came to the study last night, and each person was able to have a Bible to use - some in Nangjere and some in French. I have purchased 25 more French Bibles and am waiting for a way to get them from the capital city down to our village. I have given some Bibles away and can tell from the condition of the Bibles that they are being used.

People are very interested in learning Bible truth and I answer many questions from the Bible each night. I am also learning an incredible amount as I study both God's word and the culture here. I have started developing a series of studies that will take into account the local culture and the commonly asked questions. I hope in each lesson to make some reference to the fundamental Biblical concepts of the great controversy and the New Covenant. Adjusting a study to the culture is important. Sometimes this makes the study more difficult to give. Take for example John 15, which talks about the vine and the branches. People here have never seen a grape vine and do not know what grapes are. They do not understand the concept of grafting, either. So to not explain those things would leave them with little understanding of the topic. Other studies come alive and are really fun to give. Drawing water from the well, a farmer planting seed, grain being ripe for harvest, burning the weeds, plowing a field with cows and a plow, and so many other illustrations that are foreign to most Americans are part of everyday life for the people here. God is giving me the opportunity to give four to sometimes six studies each week, and interest is growing. The need for a full-time Bible worker or two here is also growing, especially once I am more involved with flying, mechanic work, and construction again.

The longer I live here, the more I grow to love the Tchadian people. Often they suffer, but can be helped in small ways. I'll give you an example. About the beginning of November a lady came to see me. Only a few hundred meters from my house lives a lady who hobbled to my house with a stick to help support the weight on her bandaged food. I unwrapped the bandage and discovered two very large (several inches in diameter) raw areas without any skin. She had cut her foot with a hoe nearly three months before. She had not taken care of the cut, and soon infection spread to much of her foot. The hospital was able to help her until she had no more money. Her husband is the chief for that part of the village, and he spends his money on alcohol. Now her foot was smelling bad, and nobody wanted to even enter her hut to give her foot. She wanted to know if I could help her. I began dressing changes every day, taking pictures occasionally to monitor the progress. Slowly the sores started to shrink. A few weeks ago when the sores were about half healed up, somebody translated the local dialect for me to understand something this lady wanted to say. "None of the medicine I tried before worked. Nobody else wanted to help me. It is because of you that my foot is healing. You only use water and gauze, but it is healing now. Thank you very much." Through the interpretor I replied, "I am not healing your foot. First, you are doing your part: you are coming to the house each day. Second, I am doing my part: I am changing the dressing each day. God is the one who is healing your foot. We do our part, He does His, and we work together. I am praying to Him to bring healing so that you can walk normally again and continue working in the fields. I am happy to help, but please thank God for healing your foot." One sore is completely healed and the other one has probably just a few more days before it closes up. The lady is walking without a stick now. Praise God.

A little over a week before Thanksgiving, I got my first case of malaria. In a sense, I am thankful for that experience, because I can sympathize a little better with people who have malaria now. It is not exactly a pleasant experience. My last dose of Quinine was the day before Thanksgiving, and I actually had some of my appetite back enough to enjoy a Thanksgiving meal. Quinine is horrible stuff, but I am thankful for something that works. On Thanksgiving Day, all the white people at the hospital got together and pooled resources for a Thanksgiving meal. Somebody actually found some real white potatoes in Mondou, so we had real mashed potatoes. We also had canned green beans and corn from the capital. Another person donated some soy chicken which we had layered with stuffing and gravy. Desert was "pumpkin" pie (made from local squash) and a couple other things.

The little church in Dabgue continues as God blesses there. Each week I travel down there with Frederick (translator), Melody, and often others from the hospital. The children enjoy hearing Bible stories and singing under the mango tree. Sometimes one of us gives a short worship talk for the adults, and then we watch some nature video.

Please continue to keep this project in your prayers. Exciting things are happening and about to happen. I plan to send another email out after Gary gets here and before the the end of the year with more updates and possibly news of expansion of the project here. My biggest immediate needs are wisdom and aid in building relationships and language learning. I also ask God to continue giving me patience with the people. Some days I get many visitors, starting around 6am and continuing until after sunset. I enjoy the people; they are precious and valuable, each one; but such constant contact wears on me sometimes. You can also be praying for Gary and Wendy and their daughter Cherise as they prepare for their soon return to Tchad. I am looking forward to that very much. It will be such a blessing to have more help around here again.

In His service,

Jonathan