2017 February 17
Dear friends and family,
Our last update was about two months ago. God has given us a new year of life, and we are thankful for all His blessings. Melody's mother was able to visit us for several months. It was nice to have her around and to have some help with the kids and kitchen work, too.
As our ministry expands and God continues to stretch us beyond our comfort zone, we are reminded that God is our strength. Between keeping the printing operation running and preparing for our upcoming Bible school, we have been staying plenty busy.
We would like to share with you a bit about Nehemiah. He and his family are from the Nborro tribe of nomads. After his conversion to Christianity years ago, he studied theology. During theology school he asked questions that his professors refused to answer. He was confused about why the Bible clearly teaches that the seventh day is the Sabbath, but the majority of Christians observe the first day of the week. He could never find a single verse that removes the blessing and sanctity that God put on the seventh day. While he accepted their point of view and went on to become a pastor, his questions remained.
In March 2016, we had the privilege of meeting Nehemiah for the first time. We invited him to our laymen evangelism training program even though we were already in progress, and he faithfully attended until the end. Afterward, he gave his testimony that he was happy to understand many truths in Scripture that had been hidden from him before. From the end of the training program, we continued Bible studies with Nehemiah and his family until the end of 2016. Often, he would invite his friends to join in the study with us. His nephew and his wife also joined us in the studies.
As we neared the end of 2016, Nehemiah kept asking when he and his family could be re-baptized. During the next scheduled church baptism, there were a number of candidates, so the work was divided up among the pastor and five elders. I had the honor of baptizing not only Nehemiah and his wife, but his nephew and his nephew's wife as well! We are continuing discipleship studies with them.
The printing operation has been continuing steadily with the help of Nehemiah and two or three other friends. We have now shipped the second quarter of Sabbath School lessons to Congo, Central African Republic, and Cameroon. We have printed a total of about 5,400 books! We are still operating out of our small bedroom (we sleep on the porch) and are hoping to move the operation out of our house soon.
We are still steadily distributing boxes and bags of literature. The other day we were able to give two boxes of The Great Controversy to distribute at the hospital. Others from throughout the country have been asking for books and literature and Bible studies and we ship them out when we can.
Please be praying for us as we launch our fourth annual laymen evangelism training program. Our Mission president is planning on coming for the opening ceremony on Monday February 20. The training program will continue until April 15. Please pray for health and energy for us teachers, as this is an extremely tiring part of our work here. But it is also rewarding to see the work of the gospel go forward in new areas throughout the country.
Translation work continues. We are learning that producing a good-quality translation takes a lot of time and effort, but we are moving forward with the process of translating Steps to Christ into Nangjere. We had to scrap the first translation, and now a committee of four people are working on the second translation. Please pray that God gives them skill to do the work well.
We appreciate your faithful prayers and support for our ministry here. We've included a picture of our family in case you want to print it off and put it somewhere to remind you to pray for us.
In His service,
Jonathan, Melody, Gideon and Liliana Dietrich