Although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Philippians 2:7-8
As we approach the end of the year, we’re both humbled and excited when we reflect on how God has used you to help shape more deaf Africans into the image of our Savior.
Our 2018 Congo Bible Camp took place in Bujumbura, Burundi, at the Ephphatha school for the Deaf. It was a good opportunity to reach out to deaf leaders who aren’t usually able to travel to our camp when we meet in the Congo. In addition to many of our usual Congolese and Rwandan attendees, we had five different Burundian cities participate, as well as a small group of pastors and evangelists who traveled 2 days from Lubumbashi (DR Congo) to make it to the camp. The theme of the week was “God’s Plan of Redemption from the Beginning”, and we taught from Genesis 1-11, showing how God’s redemptive plan throughout history connects with the rest of the Bible. Although our conferences are mainly geared towards church leaders, we had a few Muslims in attendance, and were thrilled to see one Muslim young lady come to Christ! Pray for Ramla as she begins her discipleship under the pastoral care of Israël Mungumwema. Lord willing, our 2019 camp will continue in Genesis, looking at Abraham, the Father of Our Faith.
A few months ago we launched a university scholarship program to enable our teachers in Chad and the Congo to enroll in local universities. Participants are required to raise 20% of their own funds, and maintain high grades while continuing their teaching duties at school. So far, six candidates have signed up for the program. Although they are doing well, they face special challenges because the universities are not equipped to handle deaf students. Pray that they will handle the additional workload with grace.
Earlier this year, the Nigerian government seized our 30-acre property, located just outside of Ibadan,
with the intention of using it for their own purposes. Although the property is still under construction, our staff immediately moved to appeal the decision, and was able to bring public attention to the situation. Losing this property would have been a huge blow to the growth of deaf education in Nigeria, so we praise God that the government rescinded its decision and returned ownership of the property back to CMDN.
Democratic Republic of Congo
We praise God for increased enrollment at our Bukavu school. We’ve added Fabien Morisho to the staff. He’s a friend of ours from Goma, and a gifted deaf teacher with a passion for Christ and deaf education. With limited funds and no long-term support, he felt led to travel to Bukavu because he heard the deaf church there had education and spiritual needs. The timing was perfect, as we had just begun looking for a deaf person to add to our school’s faculty. Now his teacher’s salary enables him to teach children at the school and minister to the deaf adults at the church. The downside to this is that the cost of living continues to increase in Bukavu. Our school is feeling the pinch, and several of our co-workers are finding it difficult to make ends meet. Pray for us to have wisdom as we devise ways for our school to navigate the hurdles of increased rent, increased food costs, etc.
Historically, our Uvira school has concentrated on primary education, but this year, we’re thankful that enrollment of secondary students is at an all-time high. Pray for director Pililo as he and his staff continue to train up the next generation of deaf leaders.
A growing concern for our Congolese schools is the lack of electricity. Many homes and small businesses in the Kivu province can’t afford to be connected to the city’s unreliable electric grid. Instead, people with minimal electrical needs go to ‘charging kiosks’, where for about $1.00, they can charge up laptops, tablets and phones. As solar equipment continues to become more and more affordable, homeowners are installing mini solar powered systems. The initial costs for such systems can be as low as $400, with no recurring costs, minimal maintenance, and better reliability when compared to city electricity. Pray for wisdom as we continue to explore these options for our three schools in the Kivu province.
Pray for peace as national elections are now underway in the DR Congo this Christmas season.
Earlier this summer, because of your loving support, we were able to add a water well to the ongoing
construction at our Toukoura property, allowing one of our staff families establish a small farm there. In the mean time, ongoing repairs are needed at the N’Djamena property, near the country’s capital, and God has graciously allowed Clement Abonyi, a Nigerian friend living in the USA, to help us with his fund-raising efforts. Director Yves reports that repairs and construction are now underway. Praise God for His faithfulness!