For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness. For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. (Psalms 84:10-11)
Despite a number of Covid-related challenges, we’ve made good progress in 2021, and look forward to exciting times in 2022.
For the 2021-2022 school year, we have added 18 new students to our school in Ibadan. Director Emmanuel Ilabor says that he expects this number to continue to rise during the school year since we’ve have had a good response to our summer advertising campaign. We’re thankful for CMD alumni and CMD supporters who have stepped forward to help financially sponsor enrollment fees for several of these students. As with most of our schools, we accept deaf students from all religions – including Muslim students. Pray for the hearts of these students as they engage with a distinctively Christian curriculum.
Construction of our new campus on the Ibadan-Lagos Expressway has picked up pace thanks to the addition of brick-making machinery and a $9,800 grant from Mission Projects Fellowship a few months ago. We’re looking forward to an expedited completion of the K-12 classrooms followed by the construction of the female dorm rooms. We have earmarked 7 million Nairas (approx $17,000 USD) for this phase of the project, so we’re very thankful for your partnership on this project.
The big addition this year is a pickup truck, thanks to Mission Projects Fellowship. Director Yves Beosso reports that this has been a huge blessing for both the school and the church, since the only vehicles we’ve had up till then were motorcycles, and transporting passengers or equipment has been a struggle.
We used Covid shut-down time to rebuild a number of administrative buildings. The older mud-brick buildings had outlived their usefulness, and at the time of their construction, we didn’t have running water on the campus. The new buildings are not only structurally superior, but are also designed to take advantage of the new water supply from the city.
Democratic Republic of Congo
We’ve certainly had our share of challenges during 2021 at our school in Bukavu. We’re grateful to the Berean Ministry for letting us use their classrooms in Pageco at no cost, but unfortunately we’ve hit a snag with a couple of their newly appointed leaders. Their director wants to assume ownership of our school, and he doesn’t share our vision for deaf ministry. If we’re not able to resolve our differences, we may need to find a new facility. In the meantime, Pililo, our regional director, will be traveling to Bukavu to provide intensive teacher-training for our Bukavu staff. Pray for wisdom as we seek new options in this time of uncertainty.
In Uvira, we’ve purchased a good lot of land, but we’re holding off on construction till after the seasonal rains. The facility we’ve been renting for the past decade is a bit undersized, and the landlord still has not finished repairs from the flood damage two years ago. Getting our own space will be a great help for students and faculty alike.
In Baraka, our landlord for the past few years suddenly increased the rent, so Director Ramazani has moved the school to a different campus. The landlord offered to sell us the property, but his asking price was exorbitant, and building a completely new facility was a much better option. We’re now about half-way through completing construction of our new school, and we’re looking forward to settling permanently in our new facility in a few months. We could not have made it this far without your support! Thank you for standing with us, and pray with us that we won’t run into any construction snags, and pray for us that we’ll complete the project on time and on budget.
Covid has has no small impact on our operations here at Christian Mission for the Deaf. Although Sheryl and I had Covid in May of 2020, our symptoms were fairly light and we were back to normal in no time at all. Traveling to different countries is not so much an issue, but quarantine requirements would restrict our mobility once we reach our destination. As such, it didn’t make any sense for us to travel during 2020 or 2021. Pray that this will change for 2022, as our pastoral training in the Congo has been hardest hit due to our inability to travel.
Sheryl and I are almost empty nesters. Our youngest 2 kids have moved out this past summer and taken an apartment together in Fort Worth. Our son, the youngest, is hoping to get married this summer. Our oldest daughter moved back home after a 4-year teaching stint at a Classical Christian school in Austin, Texas. Lord willing, she’ll be getting married in the fall of 2022.
Truly, your prayers are coveted.