2017 October 25
Dear friends and family,
It is time for another updated from Desert Tree Ministry. Truly, the Lord has accomplished some great things through our ministry. We like to share those. Be we also like to share smaller details that show God's care for us. We hope you will be encouraged by the following experiences.
A few weeks ago, friends helped us catch the thief who stole an audio player I had set out on a tree branch one Sabbath morning (to record bird sounds). He must have come while we were gone to church. God helped us recover the audio player on Sunday and the memory card which had already been sold to another person in town. Gideon (four years old) prayed the sweetest prayer about the thief: "Dear Jesus, please take out the robber's bad heart and throw it far away and give him a clean heart so that he can go to heaven someday. Help him not to be a robber anymore." We have been praying that Gideon and Liliana will grow up to be great missionaries for God, and this is already encouraging evidence. We praise God for recovering our recorder so we can continue our project of recording evangelistic materials.
Recently I met again with an old, retired evangelical pastor who was part of the Bible translation team for Nangjere language. He has graciously joined our translation team. He just finished the final edit for a translation of a question and answer book used for years in Africa as a baptismal preparation study guide. It contains hundreds of questions, each with a Bible verse as an answer. We have started publishing it in French, and the Nangjere translation is just finished. The first copies should be printed this week! The old paster told me, "Jonathan, this book," as he held the book almost reverently in his tired, wrinkled hands, "this book is an amazing book. I am a pastor, you know, and I have a degree in theology. But this book trained me. I want all of our pastors to have this book and to use this book to train our members." I was amazed to hear that, but what an amazing opportunity to spread messages of truth! Please pray that as we begin publishing this book soon that people will read and understand and accept the clear and plain teachings of Scripture.
Andre, another man on our translation team who works closely with this old retired pastor, said that he was visiting another pastor in Kelo recently. The pastor saw the book and said, "Where do you get such a good book like that? Books like that are hard to get and when you find them, they are expensive!" Andre replied that this book was a gift from a friend of his (me). "I want that book!" the pastor said, "how much money will you take for it?" Andre replied, "You can just have it. I received it as a gift, and I'll give it to you as a gift."
We spend a lot of time printing, folding, stapling, binding, etc. Some people walk many miles to ask for literature. Other literature we send with traveling people to far points in the country. Sometimes it seems like we are dumping money and effort into a dark hole. But we know differently. Sometimes it is encouraging to have a little preview of the results of the publishing work. Surely there are dozens and hundreds of stories that we do not know of. And surely, the harvest will only be understood when we are standing around the Tree of Life!
A big thank you to those of you who have sent in some specific donations to help with expanding our printing operation. It is encouraging to see the Lord answering our prayers. We plan to ship a pallet or two of equipment within a month, as much as funding will permit.
$4000 - black-and-white printer ($1000 already donated!)
$5750 - book binding machine
$2000 - professional paper-stack cutter ($2000 already donated!)
$ 15 - one ream of A3 paper (enough to print about 40 small books)
$ 30 - will print about 20 small 100-page books (on the Sabbath or on Baptism)
$ 10 - will print 250 tracts (8 page quarter page????)
$10,000-$15,000 - A bulk order of paper to lower the price. We do not know the exact price yet, but are researching the details.
$12,000 - a reliable 15kva diesel generator
In His service,
Jonathan, Melody, Gideon and Liliana Dietrich