Monthly Archives: January 2016

Small Vegetables and Muslim Prayer Rugs

I have been cooking a lot lately since we had three hungry guys volunteering at our project I was, and still am, spending most of my time in the kitchen. Between chopping onions and making sure Joel didn’t get into breakable things I had some time to think.

There are a lot of the same food items here in Chad that we have in the States. Onions, peppers, parsley, dill, celery, etc… Granted you can’t find them here when you always want them because things are very seasonal, but throughout the year we can find similar food items as we find in the States.

Although the foods are similar they are definitely not the same. They are much smaller here is Chad… Three onions fit comfortable in my hand. Four peppers equal one pepper in the States. Garlic is so small I am tempted to hire someone to peel it every time I use it… Bananas are a perfect snack for Joel. Lemons, when squeezed, are equal to about a tablespoon of juice. These are just a few examples. 2016.01.26_200816

So, you can imagine, as I read my American cookbook when it says, “add one onion” I chuckle to myself and add three. When my cookbook says, “add a clove of garlic” I cringe and am happy I brought my garlic powder from the States.
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I wonder why a lot of the food is smaller than what I am used to seeing. I know, I know, GMO’s or something and maybe that’s true, but I really, think it has a lot to do with the climate. But believe me, I am not a gardener so you can disagree with me if you want. Well, on a side note I just started a garden and I must say it is looking really good. I have even got compliments on my green onions.

Growth needs a good climate to keep growing. From a spiritual perspective I think the same principle holds true. I think Godly friends and prayer and devotions help make that perfect climate for growth. I will be honest though, it is very hard as a mom with a baby to get a long time of personal devotions with God. David and I get through morning worship and that might be all the bible I read for the day. I didn’t realize how much free time I had before we had Joel. But now I really try to capitalize on praying while I work.

I have Muslim prayer rugs in my house because they look nice and there aren’t a whole lot of other options for rugs in this country. One of the rugs is in my kitchen. Before, I just put it down for the function solely of a rug; now it actually reminds me to pray to God. I have prayed a lot more recently because of it, and who knew, that that little change actually has helped me to grow.

So now I cut my tiny vegetables and pray on my rug throughout the day.

With love,
Sarah

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A Neighborhood Visit

This year David and I wanted to do something special for the widows in our neighborhood. As we were thinking about it we asked our guard to count how many widows actually lived nearby. He said it was too numerous to know, but there were 17 widows who were old and unable to work. So we focused on that group of women to bless in a special way. We put together 17 gift bags of 8 kilograms of rice, 15 bars of soap, and 1 kilogram of salt. It came out to be just about $20 per widow.

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So after preparing the bags, the first of the year we loaded the truck with the gift bags and went to each widows house to deliver them. It was a really cool experience. 2016.01.01_112900

The first widow we came to was so surprised that she couldn’t say anything else but, “Praise God! Praise God! Praise God!” Several women just started crying and raising their hands toward the sky. It was really satisfying to see the joy in their eyes.

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Some women were not home so, we left the bags inside their houses or in obvious places so they could find them when they got back.

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It was really humbling to see the living conditions of the widows. One house we opened the door and a large rat jumped up in front of us and then quickly scurried back into the house. Our guard grabbed the sack from me to put it in the house, but I protested saying the rats would eat it. He then said, “no, it is better for the rats to nibble on it inside than to leave it outside where the goats would eat it all.” I then handed him the bag.

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One widow came to our guard the next day and told him that she was at the market the day we came. She was searching for a loan to buy soap. She tried and tried but nothing was working out for her. She then said she felt the Holy Spirit telling her, “I have another way.” She then left the market and came to her house and found the gift bag with 15 bars of soap inside.

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We were inspired by James 1:27, “Pure and underlies religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself I spotted from the world.” To God be the glory!

With love,
Sarah

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‘Tis the Season…

A flurry of activity surrounds every December/January in Chad. It’s the time for buying a years’ worth of fuel for the airplane; for welcoming, feeding, and managing volunteers; for construction, renewing overflight permits, giving Christmas gifts (and Bonne Année/New Year gifts), doing finances, you know, the real work we missionaries do. Not to mention the annual Assemblée (Camp Meeting) held over the Christmas weekend designed to keep the good Adventist faithful occupied “so they don’t celebrate the pagan holiday” (their words).
This year has been no different, except that it all falls on us, as we’ve been the only ones present on our compound to run things. It’s stressful, it’s invigorating, it’s overwhelming. This month alone I’ve spent a fair chunk over $7,000, and the expenses are going to keep hitting in January. Somehow, though, our bank account always has “just enough” for our needs.

My heart goes out to the people of Béré though. Regularly I have had people come asking for work, because their rice fields didn’t produce well this year, and they don’t have enough to get by. We help with loans and work where we can, and give to those in acute need who have nobody else to turn to, but we can never meet everybody’s needs as we wish we could.

It is difficult to know how best to respond sometimes. There’s guilt for having more than everybody else, but struggles because you have more responsibilities than they, and God has asked us to be faithful to the charge He has given us, in ensuring that you are able to accomplish it. How can I say there’s no money left for me to help you and your family eat when I’m holding a bag’s worth of newly-bought groceries as I say it. And work on a new taxiway gate has started which will surely cost a huge amount of money by their standards? That money was specifically given for the construction of the gate, so we can’t use it on anything else, but how do you explain that to the head of a hungry household who has nowhere else to turn?

Yesterday Jonathan Dietrich called me from the US to catch up a little and get things cleared up before he comes home in a couple weeks. He mentioned, among other things, that the Bible school may not be able to go the 2 months we were hoping, because we just don’t have enough help. I help teach a class or two, but can’t take too much because I still have to manage the construction going on at the same time and keep the airplane up and running. Sarah will help some, but between feeding all our short-term American volunteers, working at the Center, and taking care of Joel, she doesn’t have much time to prepare and teach classes either. Our doctors are always swamped at the hospital, so we don’t have anyone else to help teach. That leaves Jonathan teaching the vast majority of the curriculum on his own, meeting the physical needs of the students (food, lodging, etc.), trying to prepare material for them to use when they return home, and a wide range of other matters to attend to (including maintaining the airplane) that just plain wipes him out.

The thought of cutting short the training due to lack of teachers grieves me, because the work is already showing fruit. Our Bible workers who were trained last year have been working hard, and at least 3 new groups have been created in the past year. During the Assemblée last weekend, there were 38 baptisms, at least 30 of which were directly related to their work. We have distributed hundreds of books which are awaking a thirst for God among others, and we have requests for Bible studies all over our region. Others are begging us to come train them and their members as well. The work must continue, but how can it grow if we have so few workers? And how can we train workers if we only have one full-time teacher to train them?

The training is currently slotted to be held early February to early April. I’ve promised to pay $100 in transportation costs alone for two students to come from the church in Moïssala, and there are many more who would love the opportunity. But we can only do so much.

Please, pray for another full-time teacher who can help relieve the load that Jonathan is working so hard to carry, so that the Bible school can move forward. Pray that they find adequate housing when they arrive. Pray that as the people in our area have hunger, they may be both physically and spiritually filled.

And please pray for us: not for our ministry, nor our physical or financial needs, but that we might find ways to stay close to our Source of all. It’s so easy here to get pulled aside by work for the Master that we forget to take time at His feet, and to walk with Him in the way.

As we enter into the new year, that is our prayer for ourselves, and our prayer for you; that you may serve Him with all you have, and love Him with all your heart and soul. There is joy in no other thing than to know you are His own, and He is your God. May He live with us and we abide in Him, from now, and forevermore. Amen.

David
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