A Ripening Harvest

February 14, 2023

Dear friends and family,

"Cold" season is almost over, where night temperatures often dip below 60°F, and days are getting warmer now, sometimes reaching 100°F. Soon, daytime temperatures will reach a daily 105+°F, with nighttime temperatures only dipping to the upper 80's at night. The approaching hot season is also a promise of an imminent mango season, for which we wait with great anticipation. Occasionally we hear the distant sound of "snap" and then the crashing sound of a falling mango branch, too heavily laden with fruit to support its own weight. Sudden squeals of delight pierce the air as the nearby children rush in to pick what they can. Soon we will have all the mangoes we can eat, and enjoy them as we are drenched in sweat.

If you aren't blind or deaf, you are aware of the increasing agitation in the world today. A quick glance at the headlines shows a bizarre mix of 33,000+ killed in an earthquake, China spy balloon, COVID, WWIII, global warming, ...and on and on.

Curious minds may spend a lot of time trying to digest all the events around us. One may hop from here to there on social media being "entertained" by the news. Yet, just like hot season is imminent, so the last great events of this world are clearly "heating up." The last great harvest is ripening, and I'm not just a harvest of mangoes. I'm talking about people who are fearfully waiting, not knowing what to expect. They see agitation around them, but don't know what to do about it. They are searching, hungrily, for a morsel or two of truth.

Last year, by God's grace, we  printed nearly 250,000 truth-filled tracts. That's only a drop in the bucket, but it's a start. This year we are hoping to print 1,000,000 tracts locally. Imagine the impact even one tract (which costs around 3 cents) can have.

A few of our tracts

Let me tell you a story from Thierry, one of our staff who does Literature Evangelism part time.

"We went to Laï for colporteuring. It is our custom to distribute tracts to whoever wants them. This time, as I had just finished distributing a few tracts to some children, a small girl came to me with a 50-franc piece of money in her out-stretched arm. I asked her, 'Why do you give me money?' She answered, 'My mother gave me this money this morning so I could  buy a little something to eat, but I'm not hungry. So I want to use this money to buy a tract.' Surprised at her gesture, I gave her a couple of tracts each of several titles asking her, 'Do you know how to read?' She replied, 'No, I just like to look at the pictures on the front of the tract.' "

The little girl with her tracts she purchased for 50 francs

As of yet, we do not know the rest of the story of the little girl with the tracts. Perhaps one of her parents or relatives will read them and come to know Jesus as a result.

We do know part of another story about a small book that was given to a sick man that came to the hospital a number of months ago. We don't wish for anybody to be sick, but often coming to the hospital results in contact with the truth.  Beni gave him some literature while he was regaining his health, and then he returned to his village around 150km distant. (Your donations are helping to sponsor Beni part-time to distribute literature and pray with patients.) For a number of weeks thereafter, the man carefully studied the Bible with his friends and discovered the Bible truth about the Sabbath. He called Beni on the phone saying: 

"Thank you so much for the literature. I have been discovering truths that have been hidden from us. But the message is so clear and simple in the Bible. I am sharing what I am learning with with my friends, but they have more questions. Please, can you send somebody to teach us more?"

He kept calling and pleading with us to send somebody. Finally, a few of our staff were able to go and visit this man, along with several other groups studying the Bible in the area. They distributed boxes of free literature, some tracts, and sold some other books. Recently, we heard that this man's Bible study group has grown to over 50 people! Please pray that these people in the region of Pala will receive God's Word into their hearts and that we can find a Bible worker to send there.

A group receiving literature in the region of Pala

Wherever our literature team goes, we find people hungry and thirsty for the Word of God. Truly, the harvest is great! Many of them, after searching for a long time, are happy to learn that we have Bibles. Often, a specific book title catches their eye and they exclaim, "That is the one that I need!" We thank God that we have so many books available now, at prices the local people can afford. Keep tuned for more literature testimonies coming soon. Meanwhile, why not pray for all the people receiving literature, that the Holy Spirit will guide them to Bible truth?

As we see the huge task before us, we realize how small and incompetent we are on our own. Will you join us in prayer as we continue to organize and develop the publishing work in this part of the world? Will you join us in praying for more workers, or consider joining our team?

We would like to welcome Michael Hargreaves to our ministry. He is helping us with literature development, literature evangelism, and prison ministries. We are thankful for the sacrifices he is making to be with us for a time to further God's work here. We continue to pray for more laborers.

"The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest."

If you would like to learn more about how you may help our work financially, please click the How to Help link at the top of the screen.

In His service,
Jonathan, Melody, Gideon, Liliana, and Eliora Dietrich