Travels and Project ExpansionJuly 21, 2023
Dear friends and family,
Greetings from America! We have traveled to America (since mid-June) and are taking time to visit with family, friends, donors, and churches. We hope we get to see some of you before we return to Africa. In addition to organizing machines and materials for two new publishing projects in neighboring countries, we are also looking for more staff members to add to our team. Let me share with you a few details of the latest updates in our project.
After our 11-hour trip to the capital together in the Land Cruiser, Melody and the kids flew to Tennessee. I began my journey towards America a day later, but spent a week and a half traveling through Gabon and Cameroon to research the possibility of expanding publishing work into these two countries.
Why are we doing all of this traveling? In the entire Union of five countries (Chad, Central African Republic, Republic of Congo, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea), there is no official Adventist publishing house. Generally speaking, the publishing work is mostly dead or struggling in these countries and is in need of being established or reestablished.
There is an incredible and urgent need to produce gospel literature in the form of tracts, pamphlets, and booklets throughout all of French-speaking Africa. Consider that there are around 300 languages in these countries! There is none, or very little literature in French available to the average church member in our Union. By God's grace, this great void will soon change! Our plan is to establish a small publishing house in each country in our Union, and then to expand to the rest of French-speaking Africa as God provides.
This is why I traveled to Gabon. After a brief difficulty with entry into the country, God worked a miracle and I was allowed to enter. Over the next few days, I saw God working as I had the privilege of meeting with administrators from the Central African Union Mission and the Gabon Mission. The publishing work is very weak, and barely functioning. With God's help, Desert Tree Ministry and Gabon Mission will be partnering together to establish a small publishing house in Libreville to produce tracts, pamphlets, and fliers in various languages. They offered a sufficiently sized building in which to begin the work.
The room of the future publishing house in Libreville, Gabon
We also hope to encourage the literature evangelism program by supplying some Spirit of Prophecy books, most of which have not been made available to the people before. We have just shipped the first order of over 4,000 books from our depot in Cameroon to Libreville, Gabon.
81 boxes (over 4000 books) in Cameroon, waiting to be shipped to Gabon.
Before leaving Gabon, I was able to share a sermon with the English-speaking church. I also visited the ASI center of influence, which reaches the community through cooking schools, health lectures, and a library/bookstore that stocks some of the books provided through Desert Tree Ministry. Please pray for this ministry.
The bookstore of the ASI center of influence in Libreville.
From Gabon, I traveled to the capital of Cameroon (Yaounde) and met with the director of Imprimerie Adventiste (IMA), the main Adventist publishing house in the region. The director of IMA is also the publishing director for the Cameroon Union. We had a wonderful visit and God is opening the way for us to help provide literature evangelists in Cameroon with Spirit of Prophecy books. Then, I traveled by bus about five hours to Douala with Pastor Nlend from our Union to visit our depot of books. After a few hours of work, we updated the inventory. We are signing a memorandum of understanding with the Cameroon Union and hope to collaborate with them to promote Spirit of Prophecy literature there.
Part of the inventory of our container near Douala, Cameroon.
Promise helped us with the inventory of the container; it was good to see him again. He worked with us in Chad for a couple of years before returning to his country to establish a small publishing house for the English-speaking population there. We miss him a lot, but support his vision and are partnering with him to help finance the development of this project.
The mini-publishing house under development with Promise in Cameroon.
We are stepping forward in faith, knowing that it is God's will that the publishing work be successful. We do not have all the personnel that we need, but know that God will provide for His work. If you hear God calling you to help develop the publishing work, please contact us.
The initial phase of the projects in Gabon and Cameroon will each cost an estimated $40,000 to $50,000. Please pray for wisdom as we research equipment, begin purchasing, crating, shipping to Africa, and planning for setting up these new small publishing houses. We believe it is God's will for this to happen, and we believe that God will provide the finances as they are needed through faithful donors.
I arrived in America a bit hungry, tired, and worn out, after traveling many thousands of miles by different modes of transportation, through parts of the world I had never before visited. But God is good. He protected me and supplied my needs throughout my travels. Now we will continue researching and purchasing equipment, and laying the groundwork for establishing these publishing houses. Literature will accomplish a great work in these last days.
In the book Publishing Ministry we read,
If you would like to learn more about how you may help our work financially or to volunteer, please click the How to Help link at the top of the screen.
In His service,
Jonathan, Melody, Gideon, Liliana, and Eliora Dietrich