Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. (Hab 3:17-18)
Despite the tumultuous events of 2020, we know that our Sovereign God is in complete control of the affairs of man. Let us praise Him for all He has brought us through.
Although few cases of Covid were reported in Africa, most African countries implemented a number of shutdowns nonetheless, resulting in price hikes in foods and commodities. Our Nigerian school had it a bit worse than our other schools: because the country has an otherwise strong economy, our Nigerian school gets much of its support from tuition fees. But with the Covid shutdowns, not only were parents not sending their children to school, they were also not paying their tuition fees. As a result, many of our Nigerian teachers had to accept a drastically reduced salary while waiting for the school to reopen. Now that the schools have reopened, the salary situation has improved, but our staff is having to make up for financial losses during these lean months.
On a positive note, our CMD location in Onireke (Ibadan) celebrated their 30th annual Thanksgiving celebration in late November. About 500 people were in attendance, celebrating God’s faithfulness over the decades. Praise God indeed!
The school shutdowns in Chad gave us an excellent opportunity to tear down older dilapidated mud-brick buildings and rebuild them with more durable fired-brick and concrete. Thanks to your generosity, we were able to rebuild all the administrative buildings. The new facilities are lager, and are a welcome expansion for the faculty and staff.
We’re deeply grateful to the AfriDeaf Foundation, a US-based organization founded by Clement Abonyi, a deaf graduate from our Nigerian school. With his support, they’ve undertaken the daunting task of rebuilding our largest building on the property. The one-story building will be replaced with a 2-story multi-purpose building. It will serve as the main chapel and classrooms.
Democratic Republic of Congo
Our annual Congo Bible Camp was canceled at the last minute due to Covid lockdowns and border closings. The cancellation ended up being a benefit for our Uvira school: just a few weeks before the Bible camp would have started, torrential rain and massive flooding in Uvira killed 36 people, damaged 15,000 homes, and displaced over 70,000 people. About 30 of our regular camp attendees were affected by the flooding in Uvira, and would not have been able to attend the camp since the flood damage took priority over everything else.
Pililo Amani, our school director, and his assistant, Shindano Andre, were two of thousands who lost their homes and all their possessions in the flooding. Thank God, none of their family members lost their lives. They were able to temporarily move in with family members until they could find new housing. The flood disaster, along with the Covid lockdown, caused widespread spikes in the cost of living. We’re very thankful that God moved many of you to help out financially with their burdens. Your assistance has truly been a blessing!
Local authorities designated our school as one of the temporary community shelters, and herded dozens of disaster-struck families onto our school property. While we were grateful for the opportunity to help, the people were, for the most part, rather unruly. Regional Director Pililo reports that by the time they left our facility a few weeks later, they had destroyed almost all our desks, chairs and doors. Unfortunately, this setback caused us to delay reopening the school.
Our Bukavu school is still going through growing pains after having moved in from the outskirts of the city. It’s been a difficult transition, but now that we’re a bit more settled, director Nanza has been able to triple our student body and double the staff members. There are still many unreached deaf people in the city, so pray with us that director Nanza will continue to grow both the school and the church in Bukavu.
In the city of Baraka, God continues to show His faithfulness to us by
steadily growing both the school and church. A few months ago, director Shukuru married a deaf young lady from Goma, a major city to the north. His wife, Mpasa, is one of several new teachers that has joined his rapidly growing school. God has blessed us by providing a solar electricity station and a small on-site water vat. (The city doesn’t provide water or electricity in that part of the city). Unfortunately, the landlord wants to sell the property quickly. His asking price is far more than the land is worth, so we’ll need to relocate within the next couple of months. We’ve found what appears to be a good piece of property nearby. Pray with us that we’ll be able to secure it before someone else buys it, and that we’ll be able to build a suitable school quickly.
Indeed, your prayers are coveted!