"How is Melody doing?"

2013 March 28

Dear friends and family,

People have been asking, "How is Melody doing?" "What does she do other than pull teeth?" "How is her pregnancy going?" etc. So I've decided it's about time for me to write. I appreciate that you are interested in knowing how I'm doing.

The Lord has been blessing us in many ways lately. First of all He has blessed us with giving me good health during this pregnancy. I'm already 26 weeks along and feeling our baby move everyday! I'm so thankful that I haven't gotten malaria yet as this could be very dangerous. I have been very careful to do what I can to prevent malaria and have left the rest up to God. He has called me here and so I feel like I can trust in His protection.

Although I'm so very happy to have a little one growing inside me, there has been some extra challenges being in Chad. One big challenge is the heat. This is the hot time of year and not only that, but it's unusually humid. Normally in March and part of April it's very dry and very hot, like 108 degrees in the house, almost everyday. But this year it's almost the same temperature with the added discomfort of humidity. So we are wet with sweat almost everyday and I have even gotten a little heat rash sometimes. To stay hydrated I have to drink lots of water and even sometimes stuff myself with water. And of course it's hard to sleep with such heat! The air from the fan even feels warm sometimes. If you didn't know it before, pregnant women don't like lots of heat! Jonathan says he literally wakes up sometimes with sweat pooling in his ear!

One other challenge has been trying to gain weight! This has proven to be very difficult for me in Chad. I want our baby to be healthy and strong so I'm doing my best to eat lots! I think the heat is part of the challenge.

Overall though, I have so much to be thankful for. Soon we will have a little baby in our arms! What a blessing from the Lord! And of course we are looking forward to our trip to the States that is coming up soon! It will be wonderful to see you again.

While in Congo I did a fair amount of dental work. This was the first time I did any significant amount of pulling teeth independently. What I mean is that before, I worked at the hospital in Chad with other people that also knew some or a lot about pulling teeth. Last summer I had the privilege of working 1-2 days a week with a dentist and learned a lot from this experience. For those who have been wondering, yes, I do give pain killer before pulling the teeth. When needed I give a "block" which is a deep shot numbing the whole half of the lower jaw. Other times I just give shots around the tooth being pulled. Since coming back to Chad I have been very busy and haven't done a lot of dental work. Jamie Parker has been pulling teeth every Wednesday but he just left for the States. So now I plan to replace him at the hospital whenever possible. So today I pulled a tooth (there was only one patient, normally there is 2-3).

Amoung just being a pregnant wife, cooking, keeping our house in order, teaching at the Bible school, helping Jonathan with things, and a little dental work, I stay very busy. Cooking here in Africa takes more time than in the States. For example, I have to soak all our fresh food in bleach water before using it or else we might get sick.

One of the biggest blessings lately is the Bible school. The Lord is providing each step of the way and it's going very well. Before we ever did a Bible school we often wondered, "Where will we find enough students? And how can we do a school with so little experience? We don't have enough teachers." But despite all these questions, the burden on our hearts to do a school only grew. We knew God was calling us to move forward. So we went to Congo Frontline Missions to learn more about how to do a Bible school. After coming back in January we went to Kelo and Moundou and did one-week trainings and recruiting. The Lord blessed and many people were very interested in learning more. They put their names on the list saying they would come to our Bible school in Bere starting in March.

As we moved forward, God moved ahead of us. Around this time we received an email from Nadege Apatout saying that she could probably come and help us teach in our school! And now as I write she has already begun her journey here. We are so thankful that she is coming. God has given her the gift of teaching (in fluent French!) and she has done a lot of this kind of work in the past. Nadege plans to stay to the end of our school. Jonathan and I really needed help and God provided.

And then only a day before our classes started God provided a pastor to assist us! We were hoping he could come and help us teach but hadn't heard yet if it would be possible. Pastor Evariste has been able to help us with the first two weeks of our Bible school. Next week he doesn't plan to come. But amazingly enough this was the time we needed him most since Nadege is not here yet. She arrives next week. It's like God saw all this ahead of time and made sure we received the help we needed.

Pastor Evariste has also done a lot of teaching (normally from 10am-1:30pm) and has also helped at lot by translating for me since my French is still not good enough to teach with. He translates for Jonathan sometimes too.

Last week I taught some on health and will do more later. This week I have been teaching every morning for 2 hours on the 3 angel's messages of Revelation 14. While finishing today's talk the food arrived for the students. In response to this one of the men said, "No, lets not stop, this is better than booie (hot cereal)!" I'm thankful they are enjoying what they are learning. Tomorrow I plan to finish this class. God has blessed me personally as I have refreshed my understanding of these important messages.

Jonathan has been teaching the Word of God class almost every afternoon/evening last week and this week. Personal evangelism is another class he has been teaching. He is at the church either listening or teaching almost all day everyday (he doesn't plan to continue this schedule for long because he would burn out but while Nadege isn't here this has been his schedule). He feels the weight of responsibility of the school greatly and has lately often sung the first few words of the song, "Oh, there'll be joy when the work is done." I agree with him. I think we will all sing with joy when we go to heaven and all the work is done! But the reward will be more wonderful because of the work each one of us has done on this earth! So keep up the work that God has put before you and remember the reward that is to come! How wonderful it will be to meet Jesus and spend time with Him face to face!

We appreciate all of your prayers and support very much.

Your sister in Christ,