First One-Day Church in Chad, Africa!

2011 May 5

Dear Family and Friends,

On Friday morning the 15th of April, Jonathan and I fueled up the motorcycle with gas, put some water in our back pack, put on our wide rimed hats to protect us from the hot sun and took off down the sandy road for Delbian, a small village 15 km from Bere. I even put on a long cotton sock on my right leg to protect myself from possibly getting another bad burn from the motorcycle if we fell over in the deep sand. It took us about 30 minutes for us to get there.

My husband and I were on our way to find the location where land had been cleared and preparations made for us to put up a one-day church. As we traveled along the road we felt very excited. We were finally working on the beginnings of putting up a church for the members in the village of Delbian.

We prayed that God would help us find the piece of land because we personally had never been there before and the directions were not completely clear. We traveled through most of the village of Delbian and then turned right onto a road headed out of the village. We weren't sure where are next turn should be but just then a man made a motion that seemed to indicate he wanted to talk to us. We stopped the motorcycle. The man knew just where the land was. In fact I think he was a church member. That was a blessing!

He showed us the property and we told him we would be back the next early Sunday morning with the materials and some other people to help start putting up the church. A few others came and shook out hands and seemed excited also about us coming to put up a church for them.

Early Sunday morning Jonathan and I and some others here packed up and headed off to Delbian. Our goal for the day was to finish the foundation of the church. We would come again later that week to put up the rest of the structure (not including the tin roof because we still need to get the tin).

The work went well that day, praise the Lord. We got there about 9am and finished around 2pm. One amazing thing that happen was that the gravel and sand that the locals had gotten to make cement seemed to last much better then we expected. As we poured one hole after another we were amazed that the cement just seemed not to disappear as we expected. God was blessing and that was encouraging.

Tuesday was perhaps the most exciting day of this project so far. That was the day we came back to finish the rest of the structure. Our goal was to get an early start and try to finish before the blazing afternoon sun hit us. That didn't happen. You see, we had to load up all of the materials of the one-day church, plus the supplies including scaffolding, a truss jig, 2 ladders, a wheel barrow, us, and others to help, all into just a land cruiser. The process of packing all of this into a small vehicle took some thought and time. In the end, two of our guys took a motorcycle because there just wasn't room for them in the vehicle. Some local boys excitedly climbed in on top of all the stuff in the back also.

The Lord really blessed that day also. We arrived at the site a bit later then we had hoped, around 9:20am but that just meant we would have to work through the heat of the day. It was hard work but it went very fast. We got the locals involved in helping us also. For a while I managed a few of the local guys by simply making sure they screwed the screws in the right places and set the steel in the correct locations where we had already marked. The locals were excited to be able to help. I don't think the man using the cordless drill had ever used one before. He had a big smile on his face and did a pretty good job. When he made a mistake once by putting a screw in before checking to make sure the steel was aligned correctly he looked at me like, "Oh no, what do we do now, the screw is already in." I took the cordless drill from him, turned it to the backwards mode and gave it back to him. When the screw just came right back out again several people burst out laughing. It was funny. I think they were a bit amused that this white lady had showed him how to get the screw out.

The frame of the church started going up in a flash. It was excited. When the purlons started going up progress slowed down because there were only two drills. One was a corded drill. The other was a cordless drill and so we needed to keep charging one of it's batteries while the other was being used. Unfortunately, the day was so hot that the charger wouldn't even start charging the batteries so we continued to move forward with only one corded drill. By about 4pm though, we were finishing up the last of the frame. How exciting!

Jonathan and I had brought a lot of drinking water for ourselves that day but by the end of the day all our water was gone! I had given some of our water to someone who had asked for some so that's partly why we ran out. The other guys were out of water too! We were all very thirsty and tired and hot, but happy with how much God had helped us get done that day.

After finishing the church and packing up again we shook the peoples hands and told them that we would be back sometime to finish by putting the tin on the roof.

When we got back home we all drank a lot of water!

Someday soon we hope to go back and finish the first one-day church in Chad, Africa! We feel privileged to be part of this work and we appreciate all your prayers and support in helping the Lord's work to go forward in Chad.

Plans are in progress to place many more of these churches in the surrounding areas. Please pray for this effort.

In His service,
Melody and Jonathan Dietrich

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