Sitting out on our porch enjoying Friday night, with Summer Church, Fernando Ortega, Kindle, and other music playing softly, our Sabbath candle blazing with surprising light, on our local-made couch with cushions covered with a sheet, it is a very good entrance to the Sabbath. Even sitting here without a shirt on, I am close to sweating at 8:30pm, but a shower made me feel clean. Yes, a very good Sabbath indeed!
This week, during my devotional time, God showed me the example of the disciples, and how they were constantly seeing the miracles that He does, and yet were completely clueless when He warns them to beware the leaven of the Pharisees that doubted who He was, and asked for a sign from heaven, even though Jesus had multiplied the bread twice like manna (not to mention all the healings He was doing, etc.). It is important for us to see how God is working in our lives, and see the miracles He does right in front of our very eyes, so that we don’t begin to doubt. My best friend Andrew also likes to ask me for tangible ways that God is working here, which helps me think of the practical, day-to day blessings He gives us.
Looking back, I see several miracles that God has worked for us while we’ve been here. I’ll try to keep them brief-ish while still doing them justice.
At least a month ago, I was asked to consistently teach the French Sabbath School class at our local church (Bendélé) that is working towards becoming a bona fide church instead of a “group”. Sometimes I preach too. Anyways, I was teaching about prayer, and the church brought my attention to a child who was sick; the son of one of my friends here, Aaron. They asked if we could pray for his healing, so I did right then. The thought was he had malaria; I don’t actually know what was wrong with him. Anyways, as the week began, I would ask Aaron from time to time how his son was, and each time he was getting better. By Thursday of the same week, the boy was back to full health. Our God is a God who hears and answers prayers!
Shortly afterwards, I was feeling a desire to grow my studying of the Bible, but didn’t quite know how to begin. Within a day, God had given us new approach to studying the Bible that has helped us grow, through three different sources with three similar, yet different recommendations.
I mentioned in my last blog post about the airplane going down for mechanical issues. We ordered parts, and they arrived, only to find that one of the main parts was the wrong one! Someone accidentally swapped a very similar piece from a different engine for the one we were needing. So we are still on pause. That laid the foundation for a bigger miracle.
Without a functional plane, obviously we haven’t been flying. The most difficult part was we have a plane here in the hangar that works perfectly fine, it is just waiting for Africa Parks to pick it up. When the wrong piece arrived on Wednesday, Gary was getting antsy to fly again, so he got hold of the plane owners and they gave him permission to fly it a little, if he could work out the permits for the plane, etc. Normally, that’s a week-long process. Gary got a contact in the capital to start working on it. The next morning, I was still fixing cowling mounts on the park plane, and was struggling with the angle so I decided to take the bottom covering of the engine off (what a pain!). When I did, we found a huge hornets nest on the carb heat cable, which we were able to break off. As I finished my other project much more easily, Gary told me we may, if everything worked out, have a flight that day. It was about 10:15. By 12:30, our paperwork in N’Djamena was finished, we had test-flown the plane with no problems, and we needed to leave as soon as possible, because things were shaking. By 1:05 we were airborne.
The reason we needed to get there so quickly is that Olen heard about some issues that had come up concerning the hospital, which were going to be talked about at the year-end meetings with the Mission (pretty much a Conference). Olen had to be there. More significantly, the meetings were supposed to start Wednesday morning, but God made sure they were postponed a full 2 days so that Olen could get there and make sure the hospital was represented at the meetings. Please pray for our leaders, not just in the Mission, but also the Union, Division, and General Conference levels. Things are starting to shake all over the world.
Friday afternoon, we were planning on leaving on time to land before sunset. Unfortunately, the president of the republic had been hosting meetings with other presidents of neighboring countries, even getting the VP of South Africa to come. They were all in the process of coming and going, so the airport was essentially closed. We had a window where we were hopeful we would get out on time, following the president of Mauritania out. It was our last chance. They had the doors closed, engines started, then apparently discovered a maintenance problem, ’cause everybody unloaded. The time it took for that all to happen pushed us past our latest “sunset express” time, so we had to stay there until Sunday morning. I don’t know why exactly God made us stay that extra 36 hours, but maybe He had several reasons which we’ll discover in time.
The last blessing He has given has been the time to prepare for a 2-week Bible school training we have been planning to be in Bongor the past two weeks, which keeps getting pushed back. We had been so full inspecting the airplane, etc. that I hadn’t had the time to fully prepare my class. With this week has come time to prepare. I’ve also had a chance to work on a project for the pilots; a pilot supply container to keep our stuff in. The blessing of getting time to focus on that has been great! We will be ready when God blesses us with another airplane, so we can expand the work.
Bringing it all back, God is alive and well here in Chad. The devil still has a strong grasp, but the power of Christ, through His Spirit, plus ours and others’ co-labors
with Him, is working to loosen the grasp. An incredible blessing here is solar-powered mp3 players (“God-pods”) we can fill with the Bible in their local language. We now have close to 30 in the village, bringing the word of God even to the illiterate. The people we’ve given them to that we see regularly are always either listening to them, or recharging a drained battery. What a miracle to reach those who can’t even read!
Sometimes we forget to look at God’s working right under our nose to see how He is leading and is in control. I thank God for the blessings of being reminded to look for them! I encourage you also to look for the ways God has been answering your prayers in a way that’s not immediately obvious, but, when you really consider it, it is so blatantly clear. I’ve been blessed by it, I know you can be too.
David (& Sarah)