2014 May 26
Dear friends and family,
The training at Bongor finished just over a week ago. We thank God that it finished well. We are thankful that David and Sarah were willing to fill in for us while we were in Bere. I was able to return back to Bongor to finish teaching my part of the classes after Gideon was off the IV for a while. Gideon has fully recovered and is a happy little boy crawling all over the place now. Thank you for your prayers and email notes.
People came from several different villages to attend this training. A few people even came from Cameroon. I was especially impressed by two young people in their mid teens. They, and some others from their village of Bougadon, walked over 30km (about 20mi) to attend the training. They participated every day for the entire two weeks. These new Christians are eager to return to their village and begin using the simple tools of evangelism they learned. Here is the group from Bougadon.
On Friday afternoon, we had a time for testimonies. One young lady from Bongor said that she was inspired to do something for God. Her aunt lives in a village where there are no Christians. She plans to go visit her aunt and eventually bring some youth with her to make friends with her aunt's children. Then she plans to invite the children to church. She detailed her plan on paper, and hopes to start an Adventist church in this small village.
A church member from Ndjamena told his story about how he arrived at the church, but did not know there was a training happening. "My coming here from N'Djamena was something that God had arranged. I had been working with the youth for a week before this training. God worked it so that the week I arrived, I took a moto taxi, and he said, 'What's happening at Bongor?' I said, 'What do you mean?' He replied, 'There were two whites that we took by moto taxi to the Bongor SDA church.' So when I arrived, I asked if white people had come, and they said the whites came for a training program. I had been planning on working with the youth this week, but decided to work with them in the evenings. So it worked out for me to be here, even though I wasn't planning on staying the two weeks. If there's someone who's been the most blessed, it's me. I've been looking for a class since, and I come here and find it. It was the class about the Sanctuary... Soon we'll leave, and I ask you to pray much for me and my family, that I apply it within my family, before applying it to others."
Another woman, one who walked from Bougadon, gave her story. "When I was coming from my place, I found that I was thirsty. I found four ladies sitting, and I asked for water. They brought it, and I stayed close to them. After the water, we started to talk about the Word of God. When I talked with them, they said, 'Our sister, we want the Word of God.' ...I pray and ask for your prayers, that I can go visit this village and make a SDA church there."
An old man with bloodshot eyes wanted to speak. "Hello everyone. I want to thank the Lord greatly. Today I came to the market near the church. In 1995 I followed a church, but I abandoned it. Somebody invited me to come in and join this seminar. So I went and bought a notebook and attended this seminar. I hope to continue to stay in this church."
On Sabbath, I gave one final appeal to our students and the church members who came for the church service. Before the service, I prayed especially that the Holy Spirit would work in a mighty way and that some people would make decisions to follow Jesus completely. The day was oppressively hot, the humidity was high, and the church with small windows was packed with probably 200 people. I can only remember a time or two before having to preach in such conditions. I prayed for strength and I believe God spoke through me, and through the sweat that was drenching me.
I spoke about how a true disciple is one who follows Jesus, not just with actions but with the heart. Judas was a disciple by name, but not by heart. He betrayed Jesus. We want to be disciples who allow Jesus to change our hearts. So many of us are disciples by name only, but do not follow Jesus' example. At the end, I gave two calls. One general call was to recommit or more fully commit their lives to Jesus and become more active in evangelism. The second call was for those who wanted to be baptized. Several people in the audience were deeply moved and one girl in particular was weeping. When I started the call for baptism, she was the first one to come forward. Four other young people joined her at the front, wanting baptism. Others came forward for prayer as well. You can read the sermon appeal on our blog here: Sabbath appeal
Here is most of our group of students after receiving their certificates.
We received many requests to bring this training to other locations. One lady who joined us from Cameroon for the last few days of the training commented, "What a joy to be among my brothers and sisters. Infinite grace to the Eternal, because I'm from a village in Cameroon, where there are no roads or electricity. But how did we hear of this seminary to come and hear everything that was going here? God worked it out. The harvest is big, but I am not a harvester. I didn't know what to do. I really wish you could come do this training for us in Cameroon; we could really use this training. There's a great lack of missionaries. Who can bring us the word of God? God bless you, thank God." As she finished, she was on the edge of tears.
Other villages invited us to come. "Can't you please come to our village?" "Please come help us."
"The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest." Luke 10:2
So that is what we are doing. We are praying that God will send us more help so that the work can move forward more efficiently. We are only planning one or two more mobile trainings this year as we probably have recruited enough students for the next two-month course. This more in-depth course, which will probably start November 2014, is to train those who are especially interested and serious in evangelism to be Bible workers. If the Lord blesses, we will have a small team of Bible workers to send out early next year.
In His service,
Jonathan and Melody and Gideon Dietrich