Saturday, October 25, 2014

"Move That Mat"

It is the end of a long week. I am tired. I am sick. I am forcing myself
to get through the rest of the necessary work for the day. Finally the
work is done. I walk to the house and see a mat laying outside. "Should
I pick it up so it doesn't get stolen over the weekend?" I ask myself.
"I'm so tired," I respond to myself, "I think it can stay there. Chances
are it will be OK. Besides, Sabbath is almost here and I need to bathe
and be ready."

"Go pick up that mat," I hear a strong impression in my thoughts.

"I think I'll just leave it. I'm tired." I walk toward the door now.

Again, came the unmistakable impression: "GO PICK UP THAT MAT."

"OK, I'll do it," I think to myself.

As I lift a corner of the mat start to fold it, I look for scorpions as
is my habit every time I move something on the ground. Something catches
my eye. It is a small snake. It coils its body, leans it's head back,
and flares its neck as wide as it can. It strikes toward me a couple
times, but is small enough to not reach anywhere close to me. As far as
I can tell, it is a small cobra. Near him is a tiny baby mouse,
apparently immobilized by venom, but not eaten yet.

I whack the snake on the head with a piece of metal I find laying near
me and he dies.

As I reflect on this seemingly ordinary event, I see the love and mercy
of God. If I had not moved the mat, I would not have seen the snake.
And perhaps Gideon or some other person would have been bitten by that
snake had the mat not been moved until after the weekend. I thank God
for the voice of the Holy Spirit.

When He speaks, listen.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Another Funeral

Probably a high percentage of stories I write about are funeral stories.
But, in a place where funerals are a regular part of life, it is hard
not to write about funerals sometimes.

Toward evening we hear wailing and drums. Somebody else has died. We
wonder who. Is it the smiling old man who used to work for us? The sound
is coming from about the right direction. The sound continues into the
evening. As evening falls, the drums begin their monotonous drone.

Awakening around 2:30am to administer Gideon's malaria medication, we
notice that the drumming and singing is continuing on. I pick out the
distinct voice of this man's daughter-in-law, a lady who washes our
laundry several days each week. Then I knew. It was him. The old man who
would come and beg for work. I would usually give in and give him some
hoeing to do.

Sunday morning the mourning intensified as more people gathered. Melody
and I decided to go say hi to the family and them return home. We
arrived to see a fairly familiar scene. Except this man belonged to the
church in town that allows people to drink alcohol. Many people from his
church were there, drunk, and dancing and singing. Other more sober
people were singing, chanting, and dancing around the casket, which was
propped up on posts about seven feet above the ground. This has
continued almost without stopping since he died yesterday.

His daughter-in-law says she hasn't slept all night. She has been busy
preparing huge basins full of food for the visiting people to feast on.

I decided to ask a friend of ours a few questions.

My first question: Why do the family of the deceased have to provide
food for all visitors at great expense and labor? The response: if they
don't provide food, the people will think that they are no good and will
just leave.

My next question: Wouldn't that be easier than having to feed everybody?
The response: No, people can't sing well if they don't have food. We
must feed them so they can sing and dance well.

I ask: Why must the drums beat, and why must the people dance and sing
all night long? The response was twofold: If the sad family is left to
think in quiet, it is not good. They need to forget their sadness. They
must not be left alone with time to think. Even close relatives can
become happy and dance and sing with everybody the day their family
member dies. Also, if they do not sing strong enough, how will they know
that the dead one gets to heaven? If the people sing long enough, the
angels get happy and come down to get the person to bring them to
heaven. If the singing stops, the angels don't come down.

I listen in sadness. I am not very sad for the man who died, or his
family. He was suffering greatly, and so was his family who was taking
care of him. Now he is no longer in pain. He is at rest. And I am know
that his death is a relief to some. But I am sad for those who are still
living, and the bondage they are under from Satan's deceptions.

On Sunday, the family had to prepare two sacks of rice (that's over
300lbs) to feed all the mourners, many of whom were drunk. For many, it
was a time of gluttony and feasting while for others, who should have
been comforted and cared for, it was a time of further suffering and
hardship. All this to ensure that the people can sing so that the angels
will want to come down and bring the deceased to heaven. And all this in
a year when the harvest is predicted to be less productive than average.

What a message of hope we have to share with these people! God is not a
god who needs to be appeased. He loves His children and wants them to be
with Him. But thank God that our fate is not left in the hands of men
and women to feast and sing and dance us to heaven! Death for this man
was a sweet release from suffering. Now he rests peacefully in his
freshly dug grave awaiting the resurrection. And we the living can rest
confidently in the knowledge that God already knows the heart condition
of each person. The choice is yours today. The choice is mine today.
Today, we can choose to love, honor, and serve our heavenly Father.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Bongor Training

The training at Bongor finished just over a week ago. We thank God that it finished well. We are thankful that David and Sarah were willing to fill in for us while we were in Bere.  I was able to return back to Bongor to finish teaching my part of the classes after Gideon was off the IV for a while. Gideon has fully recovered and is a happy little boy crawling all over the place now. Thank you for your prayers and email notes.

People came from several different villages to attend this training. A few people even came from Cameroon. I was especially impressed by two young people in their mid teens. They, and some others from their village of Bougadon, walked over 30km (about 20mi) to attend the training. They participated every day for the entire two weeks. These new Christians are eager to return to their village and begin using the simple tools of evangelism they learned. Here is the group from Bougadon.

On Friday afternoon, we had a time for testimonies. One young lady from Bongor said that she was inspired to do something for God. Her aunt lives in a village where there are no Christians. She plans to go visit her aunt and eventually bring some youth with her to make friends with her aunt's children. Then she plans to invite the children to church. She detailed her plan on paper, and hopes to start an Adventist church in this small village.

A church member from Ndjamena told his story about how he arrived at the church, but did not know there was a training happening. "My coming here from N’Djamena was something that God had arranged. I had been working with the youth for a week before this training. God worked it so that the week I arrived, I took a moto taxi, and he said, 'What's happening at Bongor?' I said, 'What do you mean?' He replied, 'There were two whites that we took by moto taxi to the Bongor SDA church.' So when I arrived, I asked if white people had come, and they said the whites came for a training program. I had been planning on working with the youth this week, but decided to work with them in the evenings. So it worked out for me to be here, even though I wasn't planning on staying the two weeks. If there’s someone who’s been the most blessed, it’s me. I’ve been looking for a class since, and I come here and find it.  It was the class about the Sanctuary... Soon we’ll leave, and I ask you to pray much for me and my family, that I apply it within my family, before applying it to others."

Another woman, one who walked from Bougadon, gave her story. "When I was coming from my place, I found that I was thirsty. I found four ladies sitting, and I asked for water. They brought it, and I stayed close to them. After the water, we started to talk about the Word of God. When I talked with them, they said, 'Our sister, we want the Word of God.' ...I pray and ask for your prayers, that I can go visit this village and make a SDA church there."

An old man with bloodshot eyes wanted to speak. "Hello everyone. I want to thank the Lord greatly. Today I came to the market near the church. In 1995 I followed a church, but I abandoned it. Somebody invited me to come in and join this seminar. So I went and bought a notebook and attended this seminar. I hope to continue to stay in this church."

On Sabbath, I gave one final appeal to our students and the church members who came for the church service. Before the service, I prayed especially that the Holy Spirit would work in a mighty way and that some people would make decisions to follow Jesus completely. The day was oppressively hot, the humidity was high, and the church with small windows was packed with probably 200 people. I can only remember a time or two before having to preach in such conditions. I prayed for strength and I believe God spoke through me, and through the sweat that was drenching me.

I spoke about how a true disciple is one who follows Jesus, not just with actions but with the heart. Judas was a disciple by name, but not by heart. He betrayed Jesus. We want to be disciples who allow Jesus to change our hearts. So many of us are disciples by name only, but do not follow Jesus' example. At the end, I gave two calls. One general call was to recommit or more fully commit their lives to Jesus and become more active in evangelism. The second call was for those who wanted to be baptized. Several people in the audience were deeply moved and one girl in particular was weeping. When I started the call for baptism, she was the first one to come forward. Four other young people joined her at the front, wanting baptism. Others came forward for prayer as well. You can read the sermon appeal on our blog here:

Here is most of our group of students after receiving their certificates.

We received many requests to bring this training to other locations. One lady who joined us from Cameroon for the last few days of the training commented, "What a joy to be among my brothers and sisters. Infinite grace to the Eternal, because I’m from a village in Cameroon, where there are no roads or electricity. But how did we hear of this seminary to come and hear everything that was going here? God worked it out. The harvest is big, but I am not a harvester.  I didn’t know what to do. I really wish you could come do this training for us in Cameroon; we could really use this training.  There’s a great lack of missionaries. Who can bring us the word of God? God bless you, thank God." As she finished, she was on the edge of tears.

Other villages invited us to come. "Can't you please come to our village?" "Please come help us."

"The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest." Luke 10:2

So that is what we are doing. We are praying that God will send us more help so that the work can move forward more efficiently. We are only planning one or two more mobile trainings this year as we probably have recruited enough students for the next two-month course. This more in-depth course, which will probably start November 2014, is to train those who are especially interested and serious in evangelism to be Bible workers. If the Lord blesses, we will have a small team of Bible workers to send out early next year.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Sabbath Appeal

Dear fellow students,

We have come to the end of two weeks of training. The devil has been
working, but God has been present and has given us the courage and
strength to finish this training strong. We thank Him for that! In this
training you have learned how to study the Bible and how to share it
with others. But you are still students, as am I, and will continue to
be for eternity, as will I. I hope we can learn some lessons more
quickly than Jesus' disciples did.
Since we are planning a foot-washing service and a communion service
this morning, let us reflect on the events surrounding the Last Supper.
Jesus had lived and worked on this earth for thirty years before
launching His public ministry. He had chosen His disciples early in His
public ministry. When He said "Follow me," they followed him. And they
were with Him for three and a half years as He led them and taught them
and showed them truth by example.
Even before Jesus called some of His disciples, He was teaching them
important lessons. The fishermen had searched for fish all night long
and had found none. Then when Jesus came in the morning and said, "Throw
your net on the other side," and they did this, they immediately found
more fish than their boat could hold! What was Jesus trying to teach His
disciples early on? "Without Me, you can do nothing." You can work as
hard as you can. You can use all of your strength. You can use the right
techniques. You can try your best to do everything right. But without
Jesus, all is nothing. Without Jesus, your work is in vain. Without
Jesus, you can do nothing.
The same Word that filled the disciples' net with fish commanded the
disciples to follow Him, and He would make them fishers of men. The same
Word that gave power to fill the net with fish would give them power to
harvest souls.
Most of the first men called were humble and were not very educated.
They belonged to a base class of people. But it was these men that would
more easily learn the lesson of trusting in God and not in self. The
same men that were humble, Jesus would train to become great workers.
The same men that were uneducated, Jesus would educate to be wise and
knowledgeable in His work. And later, after Jesus had gone back to
heaven, others noted that these men had been with Jesus. They had
changed. They had shown that in Jesus' school, the least person can
become the greatest, most powerful, and most effective in God's work.
But the disciples were in many ways like us. They were not quick to
learn the lessons Jesus was trying to teach them. By the time Jesus was
close to returning home to heaven, He had been with them for over three
years. But they still had not yet learned an important lesson that He
had tried to teach them. "Whoever desires to be first among you, let him
be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to
serve, and to give His life a ransom for many." Matthew 20:27-28
Jesus had encouraged His disciples to think on eternal things, but they
wanted to think about temporal things. Jesus had lived a selfless life,
but they still were selfish. Jesus had lived his life serving others,
but they still wanted to serve themselves. Jesus taught them about true
greatness, but they hung on to their false ideas of greatness.
Jesus' thoughts were heavy. He knew His time on earth was nearly
finished and His disciples seemed to have learned very little. As He
looked into the future, He could see clearly the difficulties ahead. He
could see that he was going to be betrayed. He knew the disciples would
desert him. He knew He was about to be humiliated and tortured. He knew
that cruel men would put Him to death. And He knew that His ultimate
sacrifice would be rejected by the majority.
But His thoughts were not on Himself. He thought about His disciples and
the troubles and trials they would face when He was gone. This was the
last evening Jesus would have together with His disciples. Jesus had
much to say to them. But they were not ready. He wanted to give them
again a warning of what was coming. But He could see in their faces that
they were not ready to hear. Indeed, He had already told them plainly,
and they would not hear. He had given them warning after warning. But
the warnings had gone in one ear and out the other. He had informed them
of His sufferings. But they would not believe. By selfishly clinging to
their selfish opinions, they would remain ignorant of the plainest
truths. And so they sat—in awkward silence. Jesus waited.
Those were serious thoughts of Jesus during a time as this. But what
were the thoughts of the disciples? "Now there was a dispute among
them, as to which of them should be considered the greatest." Luke 22:24
While Jesus was thinking on eternal things, they were engrossed with
temporal thoughts. While Jesus was preparing for His greatest act of
unselfishness, they were selfishly scheming. While Jesus was ready to
serve them by washing their feet, they were unwilling to serve anybody
but themselves. Before them was the truly great One, but instead of
learning from Him, they were trying to scramble up the political ladder
of false greatness. Jesus was others-centered, and they were self-centered.
The disciples thought very highly of themselves and each thought himself
better than the other. Both John and Judas were at Jesus' side. They
both wanted to be with Jesus, and to be exalted to a high position.
But there was another problem that made the awkward silence even more
intense. Somebody needed to wash the dirty feet. But who? Certainly
Jesus could not do it, because a king cannot humble himself like that
(they thought). That would be disgraceful (they thought). And certainly
none of the disciples were willing to humble themselves. They wanted an
important job. They were too good to do such low-level, basic work as
washing feet. After all, they were educated now in Jesus' school. The
problem of the missing foot-washer was pretty serious in the minds of
the disciples. Nobody seemed to be able to think of a reasonable solution.
How Jesus' heart ached! How could He make His message more clear? How
could He show them the difference between saying they were disciples and
actually being disciples? A disciple is one who follows the leader and
does what he does. One who says "I am a disciple" and walks his own
path, is not really a disciple. How could Jesus show that true greatness
I shown by humble service?
Finally, Jesus saw that the disciples were stuck on their thoughts. What
He did next shook them out of their selfish musings. It disturbed them
deeply. "He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples'
feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded." John
13:5 Jesus didn't argue with them. He did not start a grand discussion
on humility. He didn't accuse them of sinful thoughts. He simply showed
them quietly by example the lesson He was trying to teach them.
Peter was offended. "Are you washing my feet, Jesus?" Jesus replied,
"You do not understand now, but you will later." Peter objected. He felt
too good to be washed by Jesus. Jesus humble example rebuked him. Peter
then accepted Jesus' act of humility. Peter surrendered his pride and
allowed Jesus to change his heart.
Judas was also offended. Like Peter, he could not comprehend how Jesus,
soon to be King Jesus, could humble Himself like that. But unlike Peter,
when Judas realized that he was not going to gain what he wanted by
following Jesus, he hardened his heart and went out with the purpose to
betray his humble Teacher. Judas, by cherishing his selfish ideas, was
blinded to the lesson of humility that Jesus was teaching. He concluded
that since a king of true greatness could not wash feet, Jesus must not
be a true king.
How could Judas come to such a false conclusion? How could he, a
disciple of Jesus, hold a belief so opposite to the truth? How could he
be in Jesus' school, learning from Him, following Him, being with Him,
and yet still not understanding his lessons? Jesus had washed
everybody's feet. In fact, He had washed Judas' feet first. But Jesus,
Who knew Judas' heart had said, "You are not all clean." John 13:11 He
knew Judas' heart, and this grieved Jesus deeply.
What did Judas fail to learn in his three and a half years with Jesus?
He failed to put his confidence and trust completely in Jesus. He
preferred to try to manage his own life rather than surrendering 100% to
Jesus and trusting Him. By insisting on protecting and cultivating self
and selfish motives, he remained unclean, even while in the presence of
Jesus' cleansing power.
He was a disciple by profession only. He called himself a disciple. He
spent time with Jesus. He enjoyed Jesus' teaching. But the fruit of his
life showed that he was not a true disciple. The other disciples were
willing to allow their hearts to be changed; Judas resisted the work of
heart-change until it was too late for him.
We have finished a brief, but intense two-week Bible training here in
Bongor. We have spent time with Jesus. We have been studying the Word of
God. We have learned many things, and God has been working on our
hearts. But how will we respond? Will we be like Peter who surrendered
his pride and allowed Jesus to wash his feet and his heart, or will we
be like Judas who allowed Jesus to wash his feet but not his heart?
Jesus has given each of us a call to work for Him. His command is clear.
It is obligatory. It is authoritative. It is universal. But Jesus did
not just say, "Go" and then leave us. No, no! He said, "Go... and I am
with you." He has always wanted to be with us. He walked with Adam in
the garden. He walked with Enoch. He walked with Noah. He walked with
Abraham. He lived among His people in the wilderness tabernacle.
Finally, He came as Immanuel, God with us, and at the same time as a
Human Who understands our struggles and trials. He understands
persecutions, and He said that if they persecuted Him, they would
persecute us also. But in persecution, He promised blessing. And when He
left earth for His heaven home, He left to prepare us a place so that we
can be with Him forever.
Why then do we doubt His word by ignoring the work He has given us? Can
Jesus do any more to show His eager desire to be reunited with His
people again? Could He have sacrificed any more than His own life for
us? Why do most of us sit idly, professing to be Christians with our
mouths but doing very little with our actions to show the verity of our
profession? Jesus is waiting. He suffers intensely as He watches the
world groan onward in sin. But this will not continue forever. This
gospel will be preached in all the world, and then the end will come. It
is a sure thing. And judging by the signs that are all around us, Jesus'
coming is indeed very soon.
It is time now to become faithful servants of God. It is time now to
commit your life 100% to Him. It is time now to stop living for yourself
and to start living for God. It is time now to become a true disciple of
Jesus—not by profession alone, but by surrendering your heart 100% to
Him and by following His example of humble service.
What Judas failed to learn in his three and a half years with Jesus, we
must learn.
We must put our confidence and trust completely in Jesus. We cannot
manage our lives on our own. We cannot do the work of evangelism, no
matter how meticulously and energetically we try, without Jesus. We must
allow Jesus to purge from our hearts all corruption, all pride, and all sin.
We must stop being disciples by profession only. We must be disciples
who not only spend time with Jesus and enjoy His teaching, but whose
lives bear fruit as a testimony that we are His true disciples and that
we truly walk with Him.

Are you a disciple by profession only, or a true disciple?
Have you been following Jesus outwardly, but reserving a part of you for
Is there somebody here who has been ignoring the promptings of the Holy
Spirit but wants to respond now?
Are you following Jesus 50%? Today is your opportunity to give the other
50% to Him.
Are you following Jesus 80%? Today is your opportunity to give the other
20% to Him.
Are you a really good Christian following Jesus 99% but holding back in
one small area? Today is your opportunity to give the remaining 1% to Him.

If you are a true disciple of Jesus, you will walk in His steps. You
will follow His example. You will follow His command. You will do your
part to spread the good news of the gospel to the ends of the earth. And
you will recognize God as the Giver of strength and wisdom and success.
I invite you to make a decision today to give yourself 100% to God and
to His humble service. Will you be found faithful when He comes?

Monday, April 14, 2014

Pala Paragraphs

Dear friends and family,

We praise God that we are safely back home in Bere after spending almost two weeks in Pala. We would like to give you a brief update on our experience there.

(Please note the changes to the information at the end of this email. The addresses for donations, website, and blog have all changed.)

Early Friday morning, we boarded the bus to Kelo. From there we changed vehicles and got an another mini-bus headed to Pala. We enjoyed the trip a lot because the scenery was different than we are used to. Instead of the usual flatness that surrounds Bere, we traveled across beautiful rolling hills. It almost felt like we were in a different country. Even the style of buildings and thatch roofs was different.

David and Sarah Macomber also joined us, and the pastor from Lere (west of Pala) came to Pala to install the new pastor and to open our training. We appreciated his help. Amazingly, he chose to preach almost exactly the same sermon that I had planned to close the Last Day Events seminar with a week later! God obviously planned that. The pastor gave  a strong appeal to the people of Pala to wake up and attend the meetings.

The Pala church used to have around 120 members, but nearly all of them have left the church. Now that there has been a new pastor for some months, about 30 regularly attend. Our goal was to encourage revival and reformation in Pala. While this was the most challenging group we have taught, we believe that God was at work and that He answered our prayers for the Holy Spirit to work mightily there. We had about 30 people in regular attendance. About half of those were people from the community who were curious about what was being taught. Several regular attendees were young people in their low teens including one 13-year-old boy who eagerly attended nearly all the classes.

Jonathan taught classes on The Word of God, Last Day Events, and Personal Evangelism. Melody prepared and delivered a Bible story in French almost every day to the small crowd of children that gathered near the church. Amazingly, these children actually raised their hands and asked questions about spiritual things. We have never seen that before in other places. Gideon and the other children enjoyed interacting with each other.

David taught a class titled The Character of Jesus. We want the people to see Jesus and be attracted to Him. We pray that as they see Jesus' character that they will see a great contrast with theirs and that they (and we) will desire to become more like Jesus. David also taught a short course on the Sanctuary. Sarah taught a lively health class which included some cooking demonstrations.

At the end of the course, we were honored by a visit from our mission president Jacques Wangkel. His visit was encouraging to us. He was present for my last class where the students shared their personal plans for evangelism. The pastor also shared the church's plan for evangelism for 2014. President Wangkel closed the training with an inspiring message which I will summarize here: "We thank all the members of Jonathan's team who have come to Pala and spent 10 days with you. We all have the same command (the Great Commission). Why do we have life now? Because our work is not yet done. We need to wake up. I am happy to see that there will be a change here. The devil knows his time is short, and he is angry. The devil has tried three or five times to break up the work here. You need to put into practice what you have learned and stick with your plan of evangelism that you formed. With prayer, Pala can change!"

An 84-year-old chief, also an onion farmer, left his job at the market for a week to attend the seminars. It was encouraging to hear his testimony. "I discovered the Sabbath truth back in 1940, before the Adventist church was officially in Chad, and I was baptized in 1945. Since then people say this, they say that, or 'It's like this' and there are lots of ideas spread around. But in this training, I see clearly that there is an unchanging line of truth. I see clearly that many will deviate from this line, but I am determined to remain in the line of truth. I am 84 years old, and near my end, but I am determined to die faithful to Jesus."

A lady gave her testimony: "Most of us women are not well educated. We can't read, but thank God that we know these things now." And then turning to her friends she appealed, "Women, let's follow what we have learned."

Another woman spoke: "During this time of training, I remark that some our brothers who have been long lost have come back to the church. Please do not go back to the world. Some of our sisters are here for the first time in a long time because I talked with them and they said they would come. Thank you for coming."

Another man said: "Before you came, I was thinking about our church in Chad. I wondered if it was possible to create a new church. Thank God that you came. First, the Character of Jesus class helped me. Jesus is humble, and I want to be like Him. Second, we learned about the line of the truth and the predicted worldwide union of churches in the last days. Let's stay in the line of truth."

Friends, the harvest is great. People are hungry for truth. We are grateful for all the help we had during this last training, but we need more help. We need more teachers. We need somebody to help with audio production and literature. Nearly everywhere we go people ask us for literature, and I have to tell them "I'm sorry. I'll try to work on that soon." Numerous signs around us indicate that Jesus is truly coming soon. Prophecies are being fulfilled right before our eyes, even in 2014! We know that "The work which the church has failed to do in a time of peace and prosperity, she will have to do in a terrible crisis, under most discouraging, forbidding, circumstances." Now is the time to be busy with the Lord's work. If you haven't already, please commit your life to God and to His service.

We thank God for His continual protection and care for us. Gideon is still doing well. Please pray that God will send more laborers. Please continue to pray for all the students that have been through our short trainings and that we will be able to identify the more serious ones to further train.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Between Broum and Pala

First of all, a quick update on Gideon. We praise God that he has fully
recovered. He is back to his normal happy self most of the time. The
heat is becoming more intense as both temperature and humidity rise. But
he gets to splash in his bucket of water and cool off sometimes.

We just returned from conducting an 8-day Bible training at Broum Tusu,
a medium-sized village out in the bush about 30km from here. David and
Sarah Macomber traveled with us and were a significant help with the
teaching and meals. We taught four main topics: Character of Jesus,
Health, Last Day Events, and Word of God. An average of about 70 adults
attended daily. God blessed greatly and the people were attentive and
very appreciative of the truth they were learning. They were full of
questions and very hungry for the Word of God.

Here is our experience from my wife's perspective:
Life in Broum Tousu was very rewarding but a challenge. This was the
first time we ever lived in the village with a baby and to be honest I
was a bit uneasy. At home it's a little easier to just bring Gideon
inside when evening is approaching (to prevent malaria) but in the
village there are no screened houses to go into. The place we stayed at
had sand as it's floor, one little window, an airflow door, and a small
dirty cupboard. Truly this was not a clean mosquito-free place. So home
became our tent during the evening, night, and morning for Gideon. (This
is when malaria mosquitoes bite most often.) It wasn't as hard as I
thought it would be. I just put him in the tent, sang songs to him,
played with him etc. until he went to sleep. Then in the morning
Jonathan or I ate breakfast with him in the tent. I even made a screened
porch connected to the tent with a mosquito net. Gideon did amazingly
well and we praise God. During the day I spent much of my time on a mat
under mango trees watching Gideon while Jonathan, David, and Sarah,
taught classes.

Meals where a whole other experience. We decided that cooking all our
own meals was just too much work with these conditions. So the locals
brought us breakfast and lunch each day and Sarah and I made suppers.
Our first meal was boule and green sauce. Hungrily, we sat around the
food on our mat and began to eat with some eagerness. After several
bites I noticed some crunchy things in my green sauce. "What was that?"
I thought and commented to Jonathan, David, and Sarah about it. Then
Sarah found a big chunky thing and examined it more closely. It looked
very much like a skeleton. Most of us stopped eating at that point but
Jonathan was brave and continued a little more. Then his spoon hit
something hard in the sauce; when he examined it he discovered a partial
exoskeleton of a creature, complete with eye sockets! That was the end
of the green sauce for all of us. The rest of our meal consisted of
boule (thoroughly mashed, salt-less rice). But we had brought some of
our own seasonings so we seasoned it up and it tasted pretty good.

The rest of our meals were all better then this one but very similar.
Lots of boule and green sauce and a few other variations. But we were
thankful for their help and enjoyed our suppers especially well.

One of the biggest highlights for me was telling children stories. There
were a lot of kids on Sabbath and Sunday so I decided to plan on doing a
children story every day. But then on Monday most of the kids were gone.
They were in school but I didn't think of this. I was just waiting
around for kids to show up so I could tell them a Bible story. Then just
after 12 o'clock all at a sudden Sarah and I saw a whole stream of kids
coming down the road toward us. There must have been over a 100 kids!
Wow, I guess now is the time to tell the story, ready or not. Sarah
hurried to the church to find a translator while I started showing the
kids pictures in the My Bible Friends book. The kids stopped right away
and waited eagerly. Out came a translator and we started the story. I
told the story in French and he translated it into the local language.
What fun that was! So everyday after that I told the kids Bible stories
right after school let out. On one of these days I told the story of
Daniel in the lions' den. I was disappointed at the beginning because
the kids weren't listening very well. But then half way through all of a
sudden they all stopped and stared quietly until the end. Thank you God!
It was such a blessing to share Jesus with these kids in this small way.
My prayer is that seeds will be planted in at least some of these kids
and bear much fruit later in their lives.

We were really out in the bush with not even cell phone signal! It was
quite the trip but the best part of all was the people and how eager
they were to learn. When Jonathan mentioned Daniel 2, they didn't know
anything about it. They said, "Wait, please explain Daniel 2!" So
Jonathan explained this amazing prophesy and showed clearly that we are
living in the last days of this earth's history. The only thing left to
happen in that prophecy is the rock hitting the statue. They people were
amazed and very eager.


We get to rest, reorganize, and prepare for a few days here at home for
the next training in Pala, a larger town about 140km from here. The
training starts March 30 and continues possibly until April 8. We are
happy that the mission president is planning on being present for part
of the training.

Please pray that the seed of God's Word planted in Broum Tusu will
germinate and take root in good soil. Please pray that the Holy Spirit
will go ahead of us to Pala to prepare the way and to give us wisdom to
teach and answer questions. Please pray that the devil's attacks will be
neutralized and that God's work will go forward.

If only more workers would accept God's call! Much work is on hold
because we lack the people to move it forward. We are ready to make
audio recordings of Bible stories to distribute on the solar mp3 players
and on the radio. We are ready to organize shipments of French
literature. We are ready to help organize more Bible trainings. We need
an accountant and/or office helper. We say "we need," but God knows how
to provide for His work. If you have any interest in coming over and
helping the work move forward, please send us an email.

As I teach End Time Events class, I am deeply impressed more than ever
that prophecy is being fulfilled right before our eyes. Time cannot last
a great deal longer. God's Word is sure. He has given us signs by the
handful that all indicate the nearness of his coming. Let's be busy in
the work God gives us!

Thank you for your continued prayers for our health, safety, and the
progress of the good news of the gospel.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Greetings, and Prayer Please

Happy Sabbath. It's about 100 degrees and night has come. The bats are
dinging in the trees. Our bug light is on and a 12V fan is blowing on
our sleeping Gideon.

We just got back from the hospital where we got Gideon tested for
malaria. We are waiting for results and should get them anytime. He
barfed last evening and today he has been a little more fussy than
usual. His latest fever is about 101.3.

For his bath, however, he was fairly normal. For the last several days
we have a fun routine. I get my face down low next to his. He pauses in
suspense and then vigorously splashes in the water. Water splashes
everywhere, including on my face. Then I flap my lips and wipe my face.
Gideon giggles and laughs over and over again. He loves water and bath time.

Please pray that Gideon will sleep well and that he does not have
malaria. We may start treating him even if the test result is negative.
Pray that we will make the best decision.

The Bible school at Bongor was rescheduled again. The pastor called this
morning and said that his brother died this morning. "Could we postpone
the school another week?" he asked. The devil is hard at work. He knows
the importance of this training and is doing his best to disrupt it.
Please pray that we will be able to give this training and that many
people will decide to get ready for Jesus to come and to help others do
the same. We plan to postpone Bongor for now and turn toward Pala and/or
Broum Tousu next, then to Bongor in mid-late April.

Three churches will be erected (Lord-willing) near Bongor this coming week.

The Bendele church library is scheduled to open next week! There will be
a radio announcement. This is an exciting project we have been working
toward off and on for a couple of years now.

Looking at current events, even in the news recently this month, I
cannot see how this world will last much longer. Prophecy is clearly
being fulfilled, as accurately as ever before. We have it all spelled
out for us in Scripture and in books like The Great Controversy. Earth's
history is soon to close. We do not know when. God knows that. But we
can know that it is going to be soon. Be watchful and ready!