2017 March 31
Dear family and friends,
There is so much happening at Desert Tree Ministry it is hard to know where to begin!
First - the Pallet
We just (March 17) received the good news that the pallet that was shipped from USA on March 7 has arrived in Ndjamena! It was cleared from customs and just yesterday it arrived here in Bere! This pallet has supplies for printing - toner and drums for the printers. There is also a paper folder which will be a real help when printing small tracts. There is a paper jogger (shaker) which will greatly lessen the time it takes to get small books ready to trim with the paper cutter. (The paper folder and the paper jogger were bought used which saved a significant amount of money.) There are over 100 solar mp3 players for those who are unable to read. (Two-thirds of Chadians are illiterate.) We will put Scriptures in their language on these players. These players cannot be used as radios, nor can anything else (other than what I put on) be put on them. There are a few food items that we cannot get in Chad. And my parents probably tucked in a few treats....
Second - Laymen Training
This year's two-month Laymen Training began on February 20 and we have approximately 30 students. (See attached picture.) We teach from the Bible and the students are taught to base their beliefs on what God says in His Word. Several Chadian pastors are helping with teaching. Many of these students will go out and begin small Bible study groups.
Third - Solar mp3 players
As mentioned above, we have solar players on the pallet. I have trained a young man who will be putting French and Nangere material on these players and helping to keep track of them.
Fourth - Melody and Gideon and Liliana
The children are growing as children do. Liliana is 1 1/2 years old now and Gideon is 3 3/4 years old. Melody is kept quite busy keeping up with them! Getting a meal ready here is more complicated than in the states, but she does an excellent job.
Fifth - Translation of Steps to Christ and other books
We have a translation group of four men who are translating this little book into Nangere from French. One of these four men is the last man alive from one of the teams that translated the Bible into Nangere many years ago. We also just received the first Nangjere translation of a popular question and answer book, and will work on editing and preparing for printing soon.
Sixth - Printing
We received 3 pallets the end of last November with printing equipment. So far, we have printed 5400 Bible study guides (called quarterlies) for use in the churches in four different countries. It is almost time to print the quarterlies for July/August/September. We also plan to print small books such as Steps to Christ and tracts.
Seventh - Land Cruiser
To those of you who donated specifically so that we could have a Land Cruiser - thank you! Having our own vehicle has been such a blessing. Not only is it safer and more comfortable for our family traveling, but we have transported many people to church. It has transported the quarterlies to the nearest big town (an hour away) for mailing. It has enabled our family to go places, like branch churches, that we could not get to otherwise, as a family. We have transported a many sick people to the hospital. It transported the last pallet from Ndjamena to Bere. It has been a huge blessing, and we thank you!
Eighth - Miscellaneous
For those of you who are fairly new to our newsletter, here are a few questions that my parents are sometimes asked.
Are there Walmarts, TacoBells, Walgreens in Chad? No. There is a wider variety of stores (but still no Walmarts, TacoBells, or Walgreens!) in the capital city, Ndjamena, but stores like these do not exist in the bush.
Do you have running water? Yes. But it is one temperature - no hot water (except during this time of year when the air temperature is up to about 110 degrees every day). Most of the time the weather is so hot, the cool water feels good. We pump water from the well into the water tower and the water is gravity fed to our house.
Do you have electricity? Not like you do in the states. We do have solar power for some things and a gasoline powered generator for the printers and such.
Can you Skype? No, Skype is not available where we live. However, we can usually call and email - but not always!
Do you have fresh fruits and vegetables? This time of year we can have all the mangoes we want. In fact, we can them, like applesauce, for use during the winter months when fruit is not available. Many fresh fruits and vegetables are available in season - but not all the time like in the states. This time of year, very little fresh produce is available at the market.
Do you have any pets? Yes, Gideon has a cat named Piggie.
Do you get a salary or a stipend? We are volunteer missionaries and the Lord provides what we need through donations. We do receive $200 per month through a missionary assistance plan. And we want to thank all our donors who enable us to provide quarterlies and literature and mp3 players and Laymen Training for the people of Chad.
Appliances? No washing machine, no clothes dryer (except the sun!), no microwaves, no toaster, no air conditioner (except in the small room where the printing equipment is). Yes to a gas stove with a small oven, yes to a laptop computer, yes to a cell phone, yes to fans.
Ninth - Thierry
A young man named Thierry has been around for many years, and this year he decided to attend the Laymen Training. He had a lot of questions. We pointed him to the Bible for the answers. He has decided to leave the church his family attends and be baptized as a Seventh-day Adventist. He bases this on his study of the Bible and his conviction that this is truth. Recently, his extended family organized a get-together and he wanted to explain why he was changing churches. So Thierry wrote a tract on why he is convicted to keep the seventh-day Sabbath, and I printed 80 copies of it for him. It has his picture on the front. He plans to give these to his extended family.
Tenth - Toner
A box of 15 toners for the printer was mailed to me from the states on December 8. It was mailed Express Mail which should have gotten to Ndjamena within a week. But it did not arrive in a week. Or in a month. Or in two months. Or in three months. We (including family in the states) have prayed many times for that lost box, but on Wednesday evening (March 15) I prayed again during family worship that God would return our lost box of toner (worth a lot of money). Thursday morning the post office called Pastor Atchouma in Ndjamena and said that a box was waiting for him!! It had the 15 toners in it! I don't know the rest of the story, but praise God for answered prayer.
Thank you for your continued prayers for our ministry here in Chad.
In His service,
Jonathan, Melody, Gideon and Liliana Dietrich