2014 October 10
Dear newsletter family,
It has been a long time since we have shared our life with you via this newsletter. We have been swamped with activity, and when we do not have enough help to keep up with the work, unfortunately the newsletter is one of the things that gets left behind. Over the course of the next few days, we plan to release several newsletters. This one is a general overview with bits and tidbits of news. The next ones will each highlight a different part of our ministry.
This year we have been through some amazing experiences and have seen clear evidence of God's leading and guidance. As we have reorganized our ministry and turned our focus and efforts more toward evangelism work and the Bible training schools, we have seen God bless in mighty ways and have experienced a level of satisfaction and joy that we have not had before.
Overall, we are doing well and in good health. Gideon just got over his third bout of malaria this year, but it was not very hard on him this time. While I was gone in another village giving a Bible study last week, Gideon suddenly fell ill and vomited five times. By the time I got back and learned what was happening, we were trying to make a quick decision on how to treat him. With advice from the doctors and a positive malaria quick-test, we decided to start quinine. We prayed to the Lord to beat back the advances of the devil and to let the Quinine suppositories work well. Gideon stopped vomiting, tolerated the Quinine well, and acted almost normal throughout the week of treatment. We praise God that he is doing well and that we were able to continue with Bible school preparation and other activities this week.
Some of you are worried about Ebola. So far Ebola has not spread to Chad, and we pray to God that He will hold it back. While Ebola has created a scare in the news media, the side the media does not care to talk about is the hundreds and thousands more who die from malaria and other diseases. Because hospitals are closed, the death toll from other diseases is far higher than the death toll of Ebola itself. Thousands go to their graves without notice or care from the general world population. Please pray for this serious situation that is actually far more serious than the Ebola situation itself. A lot of families and villages in the countries afflicted by Ebola are experiencing grief and sorrow during this time.
Gideon is walking all over the place now. His walker helped him gain confidence more quickly (see attached picture). His favorite foods are tomatoes, peanut butter, and the Cheerios his grandma and grandpa sent him. But he likes to eat almost anything chewable. He loves playing in the sand with his mommy or daddy. His favorite animal is birds, and he points with great excitement to every one he can find when he is outside. We just hung his swing from a taller tree branch and he was delighted; it was the highlight of his week! We have also attached a picture of Gideon in the kitchen with his improvised chef hat (a plastic diaper cover).
Gideon also likes our big new house. Since Gary and Wendy left Chad to work in Indonesia earlier this year, we were able to upgrade to their big new house! We have been content in our small one-room hut (with an attached bathroom) and have many happy memories there. But we are especially happy to have more space now, and Gideon loves running around from room to room. We have two bedrooms, a bathroom, storage room, and a large combined kitchen/living room/porch area. The water tower is almost finished, and we have running water in our house for the first time in five years! We feel almost like we moved to a different country as our living situation is a lot more comfortable now. Gideon absolutely loves to play with water in the shower. Running water has made a big difference for cleaning up Gideon's diaper messes and for the ladies who help wash Gideon's diapers.
One of the most exciting things to happen recently was the arrival of our new Toyota Land Cruiser. We will write more about this in our next newsletter and try to post a few pictures. We are very thankful to the Lord for this amazing tool and wish to dedicate the vehicle to Him and His service.
Each Thursday is "beggar day" here. In the morning, the old and the lame and the blind come to talk and to see if they can get a handout. Usually we try to give each person a small bag of grain and talk to them a little bit. There is so much need here we hardly know where to start, so for now, we mostly limit our help on "beggar day" to those who are old or handicapped.
A couple of Bible studies continue regularly each week. Earlier this year our village chief approached me with several Bible questions:"I've asked around and nobody can give me satisfying answers from the Bible. Even the pastors do not know the answers. People say that you know the Bible really well. Would you be willing to help me find some Bible answers to questions that have been bothering me?" With a questions like that, how could I say no? For a number of months now, we have been studying. Every other week we meet in our house, and every other other week we meet at his house. Now, he has invited a bunch of his friends to come. We now have a crowd of eight or ten young people who are eagerly studying the Bible and asking lots of questions.
We praise God that I have the reputation now in the village of being the one to ask hard Bible questions to. "Other people we ask say what they think, and each one gives us a different answer. But you give us responses directly from the Bible and we can read those responses in our own Bibles! You give us satisfying responses, clear from the Bible." My response is, "The same Holy Spirit Who teaches me is the One Who will teach you if you ask Him." I cannot take any credit, for it is truly God Who has blessed me with light and I am just sharing what God has shown me. Please pray for this study; it takes place every Monday at 4pm Chad time.
Also, please continue praying for baptismal studies with Mary in a small village about 10km from here. She is the one who accidentally burned her mp3 player. She clearly loves Jesus and wants to obey Him in every way possible. Her simple faith is an example to me. Even though she is crippled, she still makes it about 3km from her home to the Dabgue church to help with the construction there. Her study happens every Tuesday around 4pm Chad time.
Oh, did I forget to mention Dabgue walls? Yes, the walls on the Dabgue church are nearly complete! This is the second one-day church structure erected in Chad (back in 2010), and until now, we have been meeting in it every Sabbath without walls. Desert Tree Ministry purchased some building materials on condition that the people would donate their time and labor to completing it. We have been pleased to see the people making good progress there. See the attached picture.
There is so much more to share, but since this email is getting long, We'll save more to say until later.
Please note that since March of this year, we are operating under Outpost Centers International (http://www.outpostcenters.org). We are still a volunteer ministry and rely on donations and volunteers as God provides to run our ministry. If you would like to help our project financially, please make your check or money order payable to: Outpost Centers International. Remember to note on the check "for: OCI's work at Desert Tree Ministry." For more information on how you can help or to donate online, please visit http://deserttreeministry.org/howtohelp_finance.html (98.5% of donations made through OCI for Desert Tree Ministry are applied directly to our ministry. The remaining 1.5% goes to OCI to help in their support of ministries around the world.)
Thank you for your prayers and support, and be looking for several more newsletters in the coming few days.
In His service,
Jonathan and Melody and Gideon Dietrich