2016 April 20
Dear friends and family,
We are happy to write another report of how God is working here in Chad. This year we have faced many challenges, but God is faithful and has given us the strength and health to successfully complete the training program this year. Twenty-two full-time students graduated with an additional six who came late but benefited from most of the course.
Together, we studied the message of the Gospel--the problem of sin, Jesus the Solution for sin, and what that means to us practically in our every-day lives. We studied how the Bible and the Bible alone is our foundation of our faith. The students learned how to study the Bible and how to prepare and present Bible studies. We also studied end-time events and the prophecies that show that Jesus is truly returning soon. One of the special topics we studied was the Sabbath/Sunday question and its significance in end-time events. Throughout the training course, we stressed the importance of being loyal to God above any tradition of man.
I would like to share a few short experiences of several of our students.
Jacques is a newly baptized young man. He attended our training faithfully and was full of questions. At the end, he gave this testimony: "I want to first of all thank God for the opportunity to be a part of this Bible training, and I want to thank our director for the time he has spent teaching us. Before this training I called myself a Christian, but I really didn't know much of anything. It is during this training that I began to really understand what is in the Bible. I have been changed in many ways. Before, I didn't read the Bible and didn't know the treasure it contained. Now, I can hardly sleep at night if the Bible is far from me! Before, I didn't really know how to be a good husband. Nearly all of my time was spent away from home visiting with friends and wandering here and there. But now I see my responsibility to my family. When I return home, I am going to spend more time with my wife and child. My personal plan of evangelism is first of all to lead my wife to Jesus and to encourage her to follow my example and commit her life to Jesus and be baptized."
And sure enough, Jacques came to visit me yesterday. I asked him how his evangelism plan was coming along. He replied, "Thank God, it is going well. My wife doesn't know how to read or write, but now it is my wife who wakes me up at 5am to be sure we have worship together."
Let me also share about Yamat, the former chief of Dabgue. You may remember him as the chief who helped us get the land for the church. The drunk mob was opposed to the church and the chief was going to go out into the bush to fight with the leader of the drunk mob. My friend the peacemaker calmed the tension and God performed a miracle so that the church could be constructed.
Well, Yamat was well known in his village as a heavy drinker. In the past years, I can hardly remember a time where his eyes were not red. He seemed to always be near the alcohol vendors in the village. Last year, we held the Bible training program in his village, and he attended some of the classes. He also attended our two-week evangelistic campaign. Since then, he has been attending church regularly. And, now that I am thinking about it, I can't remember the last time I saw him drunk! God has been working on his heart and he has been slowly changing. When he heard about our training this year, he volunteered to come even though he had not received an official invitation. He faithfully attended the training this year. When we gave an opportunity for the students to decide to be baptized, Yamat came forward!
Last week, Yamat gave a short testimony: "I used to drink any kind of alcohol, and I used to smoke and do other bad things. But Jesus has helped me and I am different now. I do not touch alcohol, and I do not smoke now. I am happy because I have given my heart to Jesus, and I am committed to Him. Please pray for me and my wife who is suffering from illness at home." Please join me in prayer for him and us as we study with him and prepare him for baptism.
And here is the testimony of another student: "I want to thank my friend for telling me about this training program. I had no idea about it, but I thank God that I was able to attend the training. It is here that I have discovered the truth. In this training, you have taught what others have hidden and kept secret. I have learned so much that I didn't know before, and I know clearly that it is the truth because you have shown it clearly from the Scriptures. Please pray for me that I will know how to practice the truth in my life and in my family."
We have several more stories to share later, but we know that God was at work during this training program and that He has great plans for us if we will be faithful to Him. Please be praying for all the students who graduated and for the people in the villages where they will be working.
Numerous requests have been streaming in. "Please come to our village and help us." "Please come and train our members to do evangelism." There is no practical way that we can respond personally to all the requests. But where we can, we send materials. Just today, we received several visitors asking for literature. One person is from near Lere, one person from near Pala, and another person from Bere. We are happy to be able to be providing people with literature. Our initial stock of 12,000 books is nearly finished and we are considering stocking up on those books, as they have been extremely popular. Hundreds of The Great Controversy books are being circulated and read. May God help us!
Thank you everybody for reading this far and for keeping us in your prayers. Please pray that as the results of the elections are about to be announced in this country, that there will be peace and that God's work may continue to go forward. In the next newsletter, we plan to discuss the literature work and plans for this year.
In His service,
Jonathan, Melody, Gideon and Liliana Dietrich