2017 May 22
Dear family and friends,
Here is some more information that was once new, but is now a bit old.
Graduation for the 32 students in the two-month Laymen Training was on April 13. Each student received a bag of literature that contained two books I wrote (in French), one on the Sabbath and one on Baptism, as well as a number of other booklets and tracts. A booklet of notes from each class that was taught was included if it was already translated. They can use these materials to help them as they teach others.
The Sabbath before graduation, there was a baptism of 18. Some were from the evangelism meetings we had held in Delbiane last November. Some were students in the Laymen Training. I was privileged to baptize 4 of these. One of those baptized was Thierry whose story we told in the last newsletter. Thierry committed his life to Jesus fully during the two-month training. He has now moved south to Sarh to further his education there and has started his own little study group.
After church in Broum Langue one Sabbath, we took a random road out into the bush and got lost. Then we happened across another road we recognized and made it back to the river where we ate our lunch as nomadic herders brought their herds to the river to drink.
Temperatures are often 108-110 during the day during April and May. This warms up the brick walls of our home which then radiate heat into the evening. I tried to pick up a crayon that had been swept outside and the guts gooshed out and splashed out onto the ground. I figured it got overheated. Now that the rains are beginning, we are getting cooler temperatures (upper 90s), but high humidity.
There currently are about 30 church groups all over Chad (many as a result of the Laymen Training) that are meeting either under trees or in thatch roofed shelters. Both of these leak during the rains that come from about May through October. Many people simply do not attend church if it is rainy. Church construction is a huge need as small groups are planted around the region. We are receiving many requests to help with church structures. We would like to help them with more permanent shelters.
We will help as many churches as we have the funds to do so. DTM would plan to provide the tin roof, structural cement columns reinforced with re-bar, possible cement for a floor and the local church group would provide the bricks and the labor. Building materials here are costly. A bag of cement costs about $20. A 2-meter section of tin costs about $7. Sand is not usually a problem to find, but gravel can be challenging in some places far from a river. In most places it is necessary to reinforce the mud-brick walls with reinforced cement beams and columns to prevent the wall from blowing down in the wind and rain storms. A cement floor is optional, but helps keep the termites from eating the legs of wood benches. Depending on the size and location of the church, we estimate the cost to be around $2000 - $4000 per church. If you would like to contribute toward building more permanent shelters for these church groups, mark your donation "Church Shelters."
We recently canned 139 quarts of mango sauce. This provides us some fruit during the season when we are unable to buy fruit in Chad. Jars and lids are sent on the pallets.
If you know of an inexpensive source for A3 paper, please email us with contact information. Remember to include the cost of shipping the paper to Chad in your estimate! Paper is currently our biggest expense in printing the quarterlies, books, and tracts. We can buy a case of A3 paper for about $60-$70 in the capital.
Someone asked, "What is the biggest need at Desert Tree Ministry?" The biggest need is for prayer and people. We need someone(s) to help with the many projects. howtohelp_staff.html If the Lord is calling you to help us in Chad, please email us at volunteer[at]deserttreeministry[dot]org.
Thank you for your continued prayers for our ministry here in Chad.
Well, that's a bit of tidbits and now I lay me down to rest and pray that 'neath me comes no pest. (Melody was bitten by a pest named "centipede" one night and stung by another pest named "scorpion" another night.)
In His service,
Jonathan, Melody, Gideon and Liliana Dietrich