And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning HIMSELF. (Luke 24:27)
We have a lot of new changes since our last newsletter!
12th Annual Congo Bible Camp
Our 2019 Congo Bible Camp went better than expected. We taught about the life and promises of Abraham, and used passages like Romans 4, Galatians 3 & 4 and Hebrews 7-9 to show how Abraham’s life and promises are not merely stories about an Old Testament character, but rather, these are promises aimed at Christ and passed through to us for the glory of God. The Christological connection was new material for most of these church leaders. Pray that they will continue to read the Scriptures with an understanding that all the Scriptures are about Christ.
We’ve been slowly making inroads into the Burundian deaf churches, and this year, the turnout exceeded our expectations. The numbers fluctuated during the week, but we had well over 150 attendees, with at least 60 participants from the Burundian deaf churches. Praise God! However, on a sad note, Israël Mungumwema, one of the prominent deaf pastors in Burundi, was called home to be with the Lord earlier this year. He had a great impact on all the deaf churches in Burundi, and his presence will be greatly missed.
University Scholarship Program
We have five teachers from Chad and one director from the DR Congo participating in our university scholarship program. Participants are required to raise 20% of their own support, and are required to maintain their regular morning teaching duties while keeping good grades in their evening university classes. We’re pleased with their overall progress, and looking to add a few more teachers from the Congo into the program. One of our directors, Shukur Hertier, surprised his university administrators by achieving the highest score in his class this past year. Originally, they were reluctant to let a deaf person enroll, but when he showed them that he knew English, they decided to give him a chance. Suffice it to say that they now have a very different appreciation for deaf people. Praise God for that! Shukuru’s academic excellence isn’t limited to his own studies: his students emulate him.
Democratic Republic of Congo
In Baraka, Director Shukuru reports that his three Primary 6 (sixth grade) students passed their national tests with top scores. This is an amazing feat because all across the Kivu province, test scores for P6 hearing students usually average around 70%, and deaf students almost always lag behind their hearing counterparts. But not so with Shukuru’s students: We were thrilled when all three of Shukuru’s P6 students scored 100%! But the best result of their success is that their parents’ attitudes towards deaf education has now changed. Whereas they used to see deaf education as “throwing money in the river”, and a distraction from their life as poor village farmers, they’re now fully on board, and want their children to continue on to Secondary school – even though there’s no Secondary school available. Considering the excitement of the parents and students (and the regional public school administrators), we decided that the budget increase was justified, and have proceeded to add Secondary classes for the deaf in Baraka. In turn, the parents have agreed to help support the school by bringing some of their crops to offset the school’s food costs. How good it is to see God growing His children this way! Pray for their continued success.
In order to expand our Bukavu school, we’ve had to move it from the outskirts and into the city. It’s been a difficult transition. Pray that director Nanza will guide the school to new growth, and that his staff will stay strong in their commitment to the deaf of Bukavu.
In Uvira, Director Pililo is preparing for new construction. A Congolese donor has graciously contributed 75% of the cost of new land, and we’ve finalized the purchase of land in September. We expect construction to begin around the 1st of the year, with a price tag between $15,000-$20,000. The new facility will be larger than our current rented facility, and will be a welcome relief to our crowded situation. Pray with us that we’ll be able to find the funding for this ambitious project. In the meantime, we’ve purchased solar equipment to power the current building, and are happy to report that they now have electricity for the first time! Along with the electricity, we’ve been able to equip them with updated laptops and a projector. Director Pililo reports they’ve put the laptop and projector to good use with education and evangelism movies. Praise God!
The main building of our N’Djamena property has deteriorated past the point of repair. The structure was torn down after this last rain season, and a new 2-story building is now under construction. The first story will be used for chapel and offices, while the 2nd story will be used for classrooms. Progress moves as fast as funds are raised, so it’s been moving a little slower than expected. Pray that we’ll continue to receive funds and complete the building quickly.
Indeed, your prayers are coveted!