…Continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven … – Col 1:23
It’s been far too long since our last prayer letter. Although I’ve been quiet, God has been active, expanding His work among the deaf in Africa.
Democratic Republic of Congo
Our annual Congo Bible Camp for the deaf was a sweet time of fellowship and teaching with almost 100 people in attendance. They represented schools and churches for the deaf from about twelve cities in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Burundi. Aaron and Kristi Kuglin were able to help us again, along with their daughter,
Esther. Pray for them as they continue to seek the Lord’s will regarding their passion to work among the deaf. We were thankful to also have our Chad director, Yves Beosso, helping with the teaching. We taught the book of 2 Peter, and Yves presented additional classes on marriage and baptism. I taught the evangelist classes, where some 30 church leaders learned of essential doctrines of the Christian faith, and their impact on the early centuries of Church history. The Church history portion was completely new to them, and it encouraged them to know that they had a rich heritage of faith. Keep them in your prayers, as they continue to learn how to spot false doctrines. There is no shortage of questionable teachers, preachers and missionaries spreading questionable doctrines. Prosperity Gospel, in particular, is growing like wildfire across Africa, and its allure is hard for impoverished Africans to resist.
The city of Bukavu (population 800,000) has a large deaf community, but for the most part, only one school for the deaf. When our school’s director was suddenly taken home to be with the Lord ten years ago, we had to close the school. Praise God with us that we’ve been able to reopen the school as of last September. Our new director is a man named Nanza. He has a tender heart for the deaf students, but he lives some distance out of the city and transportation is becoming an issue. For a few months, Nanza had a younger assistant from another city, but the assistant’s family needs prevented him from relocating to Bukavu. Pray that we will find a replacement, and that suitable accommodations can be made to help alleviate the transportation challenges.
The new school in Fizi is moving along nicely with about 45 students. The director, Shukuru Heriter, is a young adult who was trained at our school in Uvira. With the grace of God and oversight of our Uvira director Pilio Amani, many deaf students in Fizi have entered school for the first time. They are now learning to read and write – and more importantly, learn about the Gospel and the salvation that is only through Jesus Christ. Shukuru brought three of his best students to our Easter Bible conference in April. Although the students had a hard time keeping up with the pace of the Bible teaching, they were able to get a small taste of in-depth Bible doctrine, and make many new deaf friends from outside their region. Pray that Shukuru will continue to be used of God to meet both the spiritual and academic needs of the deaf in Fizi.
Our Chad school is located in the Walia community, just outside of Chad’s capital of N’Djamena.
Walia was connected to N’Djamena’s electrical power grid about a year ago, and through the grace of supporters in Detroit, Michigan (USA), we were able to
raise funds to help our school get electricity. For many years, the staff had to use a
generator whenever they needed electricity, so this is a tremendous blessing! And along with the electricity, we’ve finally broken ground with new construction at our 5-acre property. There is a lot to do, and construction is slow, but we’re confident that God will continue this work, and we praise Him for His faithfulness through His people!
At my last meeting with director Yves Beosso, I was able to deliver a sizeable gift of technology: several laptops loaded with Bible, administrative and educational software, a projector, digital cameras, cell phones, printer supplies, a number of Christian movies and more. These items would have cost several thousand dollars if purchased locally – well beyond our means. We’re confident that God will use this blessing
in so many ways, and again, we thank our USA supporters for being used of God to make this blessing possible.
It was in 1960 that my father, Andrew Foster, left Ghana to begin work among the deaf in Nigeria. This past December, many deaf people from all across Nigeria gathered to Ibadan to celebrate 55 years of God’s faithfulness through Christian Mission for the Deaf. My brother John and I made plans to go, but a series of visa delays in Washington DC caused us to miss our flights. Although we trust that God’s plans are best, we are still saddened that we were unable to celebrate with so many old friends of CMD. Director Emmanuel Ilabor reports that it was a well-attended event, with some attendees coming in from several neighboring countries, as well as coming from the USA.
Construction continues at our new compound just south of Ibadan. Several buildings are in progress. Work continues as donations allow, so things can move slowly at times. Praise God with us that UPS (United Parcel Service) made a sizeable donation this spring. At this time, we don’t have a date for the school opening, but we are confident that it will be in God’s time.
Mother Berta continues to rest at Faith’s home. Faith’s daughter, Alessandra, is the first of the Foster grandchildren to get married. The wedding last August was a sweet time for most of Berta’s children and grandchildren to gather. And Lord willing, Luke and Alessandra will welcome their first child this fall. Praise God for Berta’s first great-grandchild.