2017 October 6
Dear friends and family,
Greetings again from the land of Chad where we are weary, but not worn down, and pressed, but not depressed! A lot is happening, so we would like to share a few more tidbits with you.
For now, we are blessed with fairly good health, if you don't count things like boils and ant stings. For about a month, one or more of us was sick with malaria. Melody had malaria for over a week and just when she was finishing quinine Gideon got sick with malaria. Just a couple of days later Liliana got sick too with Malaria. This of course made Melody super busy taking care of them. We ended up staying at Dr. Danae's house for several nights that week because they were really sick. Dr. Danae was so helpful and kind! While we were staying there, close to the hospital, Jonathan got sick with chills and fever. It seemed like Satan was really attacking us and trying to discourage us. After getting back home when we thought sickness was over and we were all getting better Melody fell sick again with malaria. But praise be to God we all got better! That was a long, hard month, and put us more behind in our schedule of activities here. We praise God for good health when we have it! We are encouraged now and pressing forward and want to say a BIG THANK YOU for all you who were praying for us during this time.
A few weeks ago I visited the village of Bitikim for the first time. The people there have been asking me to come for months and months, but because of the distance from us, I had not yet taken the time. The day of our appointment to visit them, we received a big rain early in the morning. We left anyway in the rain, and sloshed along in the muddy roads about 47 kilometers. Two hours later, we arrived to find a group of people waiting for us, and the rain tapering off.
A few years ago, a witch doctor (or his son, I forgot which) from this village was healed of a sickness at the Adventist hospital. Before he died, he told his sons to do everything they could to establish an Adventist church in their village. On my first visit, the chiefs took me on a walk, about three kilometers round trip, and showed me the land that they want to give to the church. Five hectares! They are inviting us to come and build a church. I do not know how this will be possible, as it is somewhat remote. But God obviously has a plan for this village! One of our students is starting to visit each Wednesday afternoon and studying the Bible with them. About thirty people have expressed interest to be baptized already. Please be praying for this village and that we will have wisdom to know how to proceed.
Soon after our trip to Bitikim, we received several more heavy rains causing fairly extensive regional flooding. The road between here and Kelo had waist deep water on it (and deeper) in parts. The prices of almost everything in the Bere market goes up during flooding. But since we don't go to Kelo often, it doesn't feel much like we are locked in. The water should be going down now, and we can resume our normal schedule of visits of the bush churches. (see two pictures of the flooding attached)
Thierry is a young man who attended our Bible School this past Spring. He studied thoroughly and chose to be baptized when he was convinced of the truth in the Bible. Thierry wrote a tract to share with his family his reasons for being baptized, especially since his father is the pastor of another denomination. Desert Tree Ministry printed these tracts for him. Thierry is attending a non Seventh-day Adventist university in Sahr, Chad. As the only SDA in the school, Thierry has had some hard decisions to make on his own, through God's strength. One of them is that he will not attend classes on the seventh-day Sabbath. He attends church on Sabbath. One of the university rules is that you get a “0” for any classes you miss. After Sabbath, he is able to copy notes from fellow students for those classes that were held on Sabbath that he has missed and he studies hard. The Lord has blessed, and he has done well. However, recently one of the final exams was scheduled for 3 pm on a Sabbath. If he did not show up for that exam he would get a “0” for the whole class, thus forcing him to repeat that class. Thierry went to church Sabbath morning and prayed. Around 2 pm some clouds appeared and from 3-5 pm it poured rain so hard that the professor rescheduled the test for Monday! It is not unusual for rain, it being rainy season. But Thierry considers it an answer to prayer for the heavy rain to come exactly when it did. God honored Thierry's decision to put God first in his life and to honor the day that God has made holy.
NEHEMIE, MARIAM AND TWIN BABIES (My wife Melody writing now):
Those of you who read our newsletters have read about Nehemie. Mariam is Nehemie's wife and one of my best friends here in Chad (she knows some English and is from Nigeria). Nehemie and Mariam were expecting twin boys this August. The pregnancy was very difficult for Mariam and toward the end of July I noticed her face was swelling and her legs were very swollen also. (For those of you who don't know I am a registered nurse and thus was especially interested in her health and her pregnancy.) I was worried she might be getting eclampsia and so I took her to the hospital with the Land Cruiser. Her blood pressure was high so they kept her there. While there at the hospital she had to be on IV quinine for malaria. During this time, Nehemie and their son Abraham (age 3) also had malaria. Just a few days after arriving at the hospital she had seizures because of high blood pressure (eclampsia) thus necessitating an immediate C-section. Dr. Danae Netteburg called me when she was hurriedly getting ready to do the C-section since she knew I was good friends with Mariam. I hurried to the hospital and assisted in the operating room by helping take care of the newborns as soon as they were born. I was able to spend several hours with the new babies who were about 4 weeks early. The little babies weighed around 4 pounds each. This was a never forgettable experience for me, very special. After a couple rough days during which many prayers were offered for Mariam and her babies, the babies were able to nurse well and Mariam was able to care for them. During these first few rough days I went up to the hospital many times to help the twins nurse (they were not nursing well to begin with) since Mariam was exhausted and had just had surgery. I felt like I could be making a life and death difference for those babies so I was very happy that Jonathan was able to watch Gideon and Liliana while I helped these babies get started in life! We are honored that they named one of the babies 'Jonathan.' The other baby is named Olen after Dr. Olen Netteburg at the hospital. (see two pictures attached)
(Jonathan writing again):
You can pray for Nehemie. He met a former Adventist who is in a village maybe 20km from here. They want to establish a church in their village, and since Nehemie's friend is there, he volunteered to visit the village. The only way to access the village was to wade through water, sometimes waist deep. Two weeks ago on Friday he went, but was still slogging through water three kilometers from the village at sundown. He made it the rest of the way in the dark and was able to visit the people there and leave them with some literature. The brief period of flooding seems strange in this land that is so dusty and hot for most of the year. Mariam and Abraham and the twins (Jonathan and Olen) stayed with us while Nehemie was gone. Melody had great fun helping her with the twins. They are still so very tiny. I put one to sleep, so that made me feel quite accomplished.
Well, that's probably enough for now. Many of you pray for us and we appreciate that. We would like to pray for you. If you have a special need you would like us to pray for, please send us a short email letting us know your prayer request.
Feel free to share this newsletter with others you think may be interested. Perhaps a copy can be posted on your church bulletin board or a link to our website included in your church newsletter. At the end of this newsletter is a link where one can subscribe.
Donors, your support is what enables us to translate and print literature, have Bible Schools, and help in the churches in this area. Thank you for helping us help the people of Chad to be ready for the Lord's soon coming. We are confident there will be souls in the kingdom because of your support of Desert Tree Ministry.
In His service,
Jonathan, Melody, Gideon and Liliana Dietrich