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Leah’s return

In a few hours my daughter will pick me up and I will spend part of the night with her. At 4:00 AM I will be back at the airport ready for my return trip. I think everything is in order and I am ready to go. God continues to lead us daily and while I still have internet I want to give you a report of the past few weeks, while I have been in the USA. But first a few pictures to let you know I am not just a pretty face.

Just to let you know I am more than just a cook. I cut and laid out the rebar for the foundation. Yes, Bob and I worked together.
Priming the steel because the frame arrived unfinished
Framing the foundation
Filling in between the foundation with rocks.
More rocks and then special fill to get ready for the floor pour next week.
John packing the dirt
This is the cement mixer that Don with the help of others was able to get running again. Our team of local men have learned to run the mixer. We still have a long way to go as we start pouring floors next week.

Proverbs 3:5-6

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.6 Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.

As I return and we move forward with the library project I want to trust in the Lord with all my heart, and not on my own understanding. I want to seek his will in all I do, so he will show us which path to take.

We may need to be quiet for awhile because having time and internet to posts things while working in Gambela can be a problem. I want to thank all of you for your continued prayers and support. God has a plan in place to get this library finished and ready for use, I just have to follow His lead.

Serving in love, Leah for Don, Adam and the rest of the team that are still working hard for the Glory of God.


Moving Forward

Hebrews 11:10
For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.

This week Adam finished the roof and put on the the ridge cap. A new man named John showed up and told them he want to help build the library. He and Don worked to start framing in the foundation. A carpenter also came and worked for a day to help get the job done. Pray that he and his helpers will return on Monday. The rebar has all be wired in and stones have started to be placed where the floor will be poured. We are working hard on building a firm foundation for the library. Yet, I don’t want us to lose site of the real reason we are in Gambella, Ethiopia working. We long and desire to have God be the foundation of all that we do in our lives as we serve Him.

My time in the USA has been good, I will fly back to Gambella on Thursday arriving Friday morning. Once there I will no longer be able to post on this web site. Please continue to pray for us as we seek to finish the library building and be the light of Christ in all that we do.

Serving in Love, Leah VanderPloeg for the rest of the team.

God Directs

Proverbs 16:9

“ In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.”

Dear friends,

We all try so hard to put our plans together so that we can relax as everything we planned falls into place just like we knew it would.

WRONG!!  I am not saying that planning is a bad thing, just that if we depend on our plans because we are so good at making them, we lose site that it is God who is in control and establishes our steps.

As most of you know I started a library building project for Gambella, Ethiopia with my brother Ed a number of years ago.  We collected books, drew up building plans, ordered the building frame work…. Since these plans started, I got married to Don, my brother Ed went to his heavenly home. Then Covid hit and once again changed our plans, you know that for a fact for it changed your plans too.

At the end of August, I thought I was smart and had all the plans in place to build the library in 5 short weeks.  Tickets were bought and the team headed to Ethiopia.  Three of us stayed in Addis to buy and have the needed supplies trucked to Gambella.  The truck with the building frames was to leave Addis and arrive in Gambella around the same time as the team.  WRONG.  Due to a number of misunderstandings, rain, and trouble in the country…. The building frame only arrived at the end of the second week and what we had planned to bolt together had to be welded.

This is where God took over and I was happy to step aside.  While waiting for all the needed materials, Don was able to rebuild a welder that was needed to put the building together.  Don and the team also took a rejected cement mixer and gave it new live.  Both the welder and the cement mixer were needed for us to move forward once everything arrived.

Our team started to leave at the end of week two, just as the supplies arrived.  We had all planned to be gone by Oct. 3 but God had other plans.

Don and Adam are staying on for another 5 weeks leaving November 8th.  Pray that this will give them the time they need to finish as they work alongside a local team of men.

Bob Kraft was scheduled to come home after the 5 weeks so Don decided that I should fly home with Bob and take care of things here in the USA. (Like writing this letter, I could not do much more than write a few emails with the internet we had in Gambella.)

I will fly back to Ethiopia on October 14th and continue the work with Don and Adam until November 8th, when we will return to the USA together.  I then hope to take another team out in the Spring of 2022, to shelf the books and train someone there on how to take care of the library.  These are my plans but we will have to wait and see how God directs our steps.

Thanks for prayers and support. I will try and show you our story in pictures below. Leah

Adam breaking ground

What do we do with all this metal???
The donkey bringing in the rebar.
Starting to put the pieces together
Raising the columns and rafters
Getting everything to line up.
Don and Adam on top of the world. All the work was done off of landders.
Perlins going up.
Tin going up.
Tin finished.
I would like you to meet Dewitt our taxi driver in Addis Ababa. He not only helped us do all our running around and shopping in Addis when Don, Bob and I first arrived. But also came to Bob and my rescue when we had to spend an extra night in Addis waiting for the results of our covid test. The extra day turned out to be a blessing for many. We spent the night with a new friend who was packing getting ready to close up his house and leave Ethiopia. Bob and I got to help sort and clean things getting them ready for a yard sale. We meet lots of the family of God. Dewitt then got us back to the airport in time to catch our flight the next day. I love to sit back and relax and see what God has in store as He directs our steps.
Dinner was delivered one night. It was a wonderful tasting fish. I served it with rice and vegatables.
Balloon fun with my friends.
Covid testing in Gambella.
Don and Leah beside the library the day Leah headed back to the USA. Stay tuned and when possible more things with the posted.
One last picture, the books have arrived in Gambella and are awaiting the finished library building. For those who would like to join us shelving the books I am planning another trip sometime in the Spring to do just that.

After the silents

I am sorry I have been silent for the past two weeks. Things were slow and complicated here and I did not know how to get on the internet. I am now sitting in the school office and hope to be able to update all of you.

We had a very slow start but at the beginning. On week four things are starting to take shape. We are starting to put the steel frame up.

Today we received the last truck of supplies from Addis Ababa with all the boo

Ron left over a week ago and Jack left on Friday. There are four of us left to work along side the team here. I had hoped that we would have had a smoother start, because of all the delays and problems we have decided to extend the project for an extra five weeks. I still need to decide who will stay and then change our tickets. Pray that I will have wisdom as I work through these issues.

I hope to be able to update you more often from this point forward. Please continue to pray for us as we serve in Love here in Gambella.

I had hoped to send pictures but that the internet is to slow. I will try another day. Leah

Team Addis heads to Gambella.

Romans 8:28
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

We all arrived last Friday morning and for the first six days, Bob, Don and Leah have been in Addis Ababa working on getting things from here. Tomorrow morning they will head to Gambella and join the rest of the team. Everything has started out slow and there have been many set backs. I like to remember that all things work together for good to those who love God.

Please pray that things will start coming together and we will be able to see progress on the library building. Pray for safety as we travel and work here in Ethiopia. Pray that we would all remain healthy and that God will heal us quickly if we do start feeling sick.

Thank God with us for the men and women we are working with here and how blessed we have been as we get to know them better. Working together for the kingdom of God.

The Lord is here with us!!!

Deuteronomy 31:8 8The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.

PTL all six of the team arrived on Friday with all their bags with them. What we are here to accomplish in 5 weeks is more than humanly possible. The job we have set out to do is bigger than any of us, knowing that God is the one who put our plans together and God is the one who goes with us, we move forward knowing, He has this.

I praise God for the men who are working with us here in Ethiopia. They are doing all they can to make sure we will be successful. What does it mean to be successful? I will have to get back to you on that.

I know that we are here to bless others in Jesus name. I also know that it is the Lord in answer to your prayers who is going before and behind us and that He will carry us through the days ahead as we serve Him here in Ethiopia.

Please pray that the rainy season will end soon.

We have hit the ground running and we seem to be slip sliding around as we try and put everything together.

Please pray that we will be able to have the needed supplies trucked and delivered in a timely fashion.

Pray that we would see God’s hand in everything and give Him the glory.

On our way!

After dreaming about it for over 5 years we will finally be on our way to Gambella, Ethiopia to build the library on August 26, 2021.

Let me introduce you to the team.

My name is Leah VanderPloeg. My brother Ed Pollock is the one who started the project. In 2017 he started working with his church St. Andrews in Mt Airy MD to collect theological books with the dream of one day building a library to house the books at West Gambella Bethel Synod Bible School in Gambella, Ethiopia. Ed and I worked with his church collecting over 6,000 books. In April, 2019 my brother Ed called me with his last request. He told me he was dyeing of cancer and would I, his little sister Leah, promise to finish what the two of us started. I agreed to do my best. Ed died in October 2019. Praise God, He has added the following members to the team.
In 2019 God had other plans for me. In September 2019 I married Don Vander Ploeg. He and his first wife worked with Wycliffe in Africa and Papua New Guinea doing the same kind of jobs that Dave, my first husband, and I had done for Wycliffe. He agreed to join me in SERVE and travel to Ethiopia to help build the library. His many years of working in Africa make him a wonderful addition to the team. I am doing a lot of the organizing and planning and will leave the heavy lifting to the team of men.
The next two members of the team are my brother Ron and his son Adam. Again both have done lots of building in Africa and know what needs to be done. However, we have ordered a prefabbed steel building from Ethiopian Steel Profiling and this is new to them. It is the same building construction that we used in Pokwo, Ethiopia in 2014. I am sure that with God’s help they will be able to put everything together.
The next member of the team is Bob Kraft. He has been going on trips with SERVE over the past decade. He grew up in Africa and has worked there for many years. His background as an electrical engineer will be useful when it is time to wire up the lights and things when we get to that part of the project. Until then he is always happy to serve where needed.
The last team member is Jack (Manpiny) Jordan. Jack arrived in the South Sudan at age three and grew up playing with the other boys his age. Jack has continued to go back and visit with the Nuer and work among them every few years. The library is for the Nuer Bible School. Jack speaks Nuer and knows Gambela well. He will be a major player when it comes to shopping for supplies and relating to the people he already knows and well as making new friends. Yes, God has put together just the right team for this job.

We leave on August 26th and I trust that we will be able to update this site from time to time providing that we have an internet connection to work with. I hope to introduce you to the Ethiopian members of the team that we will be working with us, as well as post picture updates as the building goes up. We will be in Gambella five weeks and plan to leave the building lockable. Adam may stay longer to put on any finishing touches if needed.

Negative is good. All six of our covid tests came back negative PTL. We leave in the morning thanks for praying us on our way.