2014 March 26
Dear friends and family,
First of all, a quick update on Gideon. We praise God that he has fully recovered. He is back to his normal happy self most of the time. The heat is becoming more intense as both temperature and humidity rise. But he gets to splash in his bucket of water and cool off sometimes.
We just returned from conducting an 8-day Bible training at Broum Tusu, a medium-sized village out in the bush about 30km from here. David and Sarah Macomber traveled with us and were a significant help with the teaching and meals. We taught four main topics: Character of Jesus, Health, Last Day Events, and Word of God. An average of about 70 adults attended daily. God blessed greatly and the people were attentive and very appreciative of the truth they were learning. They were full of questions and very hungry for the Word of God.
Here is our experience from my wife's perspective:
Life in Broum Tousu was very rewarding but a challenge. This was the first time we ever lived in the village with a baby and to be honest I was a bit uneasy. At home it's a little easier to just bring Gideon inside when evening is approaching (to prevent malaria) but in the village there are no screened houses to go into. The place we stayed at had sand as it's floor, one little window, an airflow door, and a small dirty cupboard. Truly this was not a clean mosquito-free place. So home became our tent during the evening, night, and morning for Gideon. (This is when malaria mosquitoes bite most often.) It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. I just put him in the tent, sang songs to him, played with him etc. until he went to sleep. Then in the morning Jonathan or I ate breakfast with him in the tent. I even made a screened porch connected to the tent with a mosquito net. Gideon did amazingly well and we praise God. During the day I spent much of my time on a mat under mango trees watching Gideon while Jonathan, David, and Sarah, taught classes.
Meals where a whole other experience. We decided that cooking all our own meals was just too much work with these conditions. So the locals brought us breakfast and lunch each day and Sarah and I made suppers. Our first meal was boule and green sauce. Hungrily, we sat around the food on our mat and began to eat with some eagerness. After several bites I noticed some crunchy things in my green sauce. "What was that?" I thought and commented to Jonathan, David, and Sarah about it. Then Sarah found a big chunky thing and examined it more closely. It looked very much like a skeleton. Most of us stopped eating at that point but Jonathan was brave and continued a little more. Then his spoon hit something hard in the sauce; when he examined it he discovered a partial exoskeleton of a creature, complete with eye sockets! That was the end of the green sauce for all of us. The rest of our meal consisted of boule (thoroughly mashed, salt-less rice). But we had brought some of our own seasonings so we seasoned it up and it tasted pretty good.
The rest of our meals were all better then this one but very similar. Lots of boule and green sauce and a few other variations. But we were thankful for their help and enjoyed our suppers especially well.
One of the biggest highlights for me was telling children stories. There were a lot of kids on Sabbath and Sunday so I decided to plan on doing a children story every day. But then on Monday most of the kids were gone. They were in school but I didn't think of this. I was just waiting around for kids to show up so I could tell them a Bible story. Then just after 12 o'clock all at a sudden Sarah and I saw a whole stream of kids coming down the road toward us. There must have been over a 100 kids! Wow, I guess now is the time to tell the story, ready or not. Sarah hurried to the church to find a translator while I started showing the kids pictures in the My Bible Friends book. The kids stopped right away and waited eagerly. Out came a translator and we started the story. I told the story in French and he translated it into the local language. What fun that was! So everyday after that I told the kids Bible stories right after school let out. On one of these days I told the story of Daniel in the lions' den. I was disappointed at the beginning because the kids weren't listening very well. But then half way through all of a sudden they all stopped and stared quietly until the end. Thank you God! It was such a blessing to share Jesus with these kids in this small way. My prayer is that seeds will be planted in at least some of these kids and bear much fruit later in their lives.
We were really out in the bush with not even cell phone signal! It was quite the trip but the best part of all was the people and how eager they were to learn. When Jonathan mentioned Daniel 2, they didn't know anything about it. They said, "Wait, please explain Daniel 2!" So Jonathan explained this amazing prophesy and showed clearly that we are living in the last days of this earth's history. The only thing left to happen in that prophecy is the rock hitting the statue. They people were amazed and very eager.
We get to rest, reorganize, and prepare for a few days here at home for the next training in Pala, a larger town about 140km from here. The training starts March 30 and continues possibly until April 8. We are happy that the mission president is planning on being present for part of the training.
Please pray that the seed of God's Word planted in Broum Tusu will germinate and take root in good soil. Please pray that the Holy Spirit will go ahead of us to Pala to prepare the way and to give us wisdom to teach and answer questions. Please pray that the devil's attacks will be neutralized and that God's work will go forward.
If only more workers would accept God's call! Much work is on hold because we lack the people to move it forward. We are ready to make audio recordings of Bible stories to distribute on the solar mp3 players and on the radio. We are ready to organize shipments of French literature. We are ready to help organize more Bible trainings. We need an accountant and/or office helper. We say "we need," but God knows how to provide for His work. If you have any interest in coming over and helping the work move forward, please send us an email.
As I teach End Time Events class, I am deeply impressed more than ever that prophecy is being fulfilled right before our eyes. Time cannot last a great deal longer. God's Word is sure. He has given us signs by the handful that all indicate the nearness of his coming. Let's be busy in the work God gives us!
Thank you for your continued prayers for our health, safety, and the progress of the good news of the gospel.
In His service,
Jonathan and Melody Dietrich