January has been a busy month for us in the Congo. We’ve completed the purchase of two parcels of land. One is in the city of Baraka, and the other is in the city of Uvira. After all the legal paperwork is completed, we’ll need to finish the plans for construction and then proceed with building the classrooms. Finalizing the blueprints for construction has proved to be a bit of a challenge in Baraka. We have limited access to construction expertise, and the people willing to do the work are very keen to try and make a tremendous profit off our project. Pray that we can get these buildings underway and completed within the next few months.
We have recently promoted Pililo Amani from director of our Uvira school to regional director for the Eastern Congo. In this position, he will have oversight over our Bukavu and Baraka schools. We are confident that his years of faithfulness in developing the Uvira school will be invaluable as we also try to grow the Bukavu and Baraka schools over the next few years. Pray that his transition into that role will be smooth. Also pray for him as he will travel quite a bit more than he has in the past. The roads in his part of the Congo are not always safe, and the road to Baraka is almost useless. The two-hour boat ride across Lake Tanganyika is almost three times faster than a bus or motorcycle ride on the dysfunctional roads.
In Chad, we’re excited to announce the purchase of a good used truck! Thanks to Mission Project Fellowship, we’ve received a grant for the purchase of a much-needed vehicle. https://missionprojects.org/project/679 Director Yves and his staff have been praying for this for quite some time, so we’re excited and looking forward to what God will do through this special blessing.,
We have some very sad news here at the home office in Texas. John Foster, my 2nd oldest brother, suffered a heart attack on January 19th and is now with the Lord. He worked in the CMD office from 1988 till July 2019 and was a consistent and faithful servant with his various duties, even while his health was in decline the past few years. After many years of bouts with diabetes, pneumonia, bronchitis, high blood pressure, kidney failure, dialysis and Covid, his body succumbed to a heart attack. He had no spouse or children. We will miss him dearly.
Thanks for your prayers.
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!
The new school year is picking up speed as our teachers and students get back into the swing of post-Covid education.
Director Yves Beosso reports that four teachers from our network of schools in Chad (two of whom are from our ECMST school in N’Djamena) will be heading to South Africa to participate in a Deafnet Centre of Knowledge conference in Worcester, South Africa. The conference will focus on education tools and techniques for deaf educators. Pray that their trip will be safe and that the training and materials will be beneficial for their schools.
In Uvira (DR Congo), we have unfortunately missed an opportunity for purchasing new land as part of our expansion. A prospective seller didn’t want to wait for the funds to be transferred, and sold his property to another buyer. Pray that Director Pililo will be able to locate another parcel of land soon and begin construction on our new building.
Our Baraka (DR Congo) school is seeing continued growth. Our four newest students are adults from neighboring villages. With no vehicle for transportation and no rooms for boarding, Director Shukuru brought these four students live with him and his new wife in their one-bedroom home, while they saved up for the usual 4-month down payment for a new home to rent. Although the arrangement was culturally inappropriate, Shukuru and his wife felt it was a worthwhile sacrifice in order to educate and evangelize these deaf adults who had never stepped foot into a classroom. When I found out about the challenge, I quickly sent him the down payment funds so he could move into a bigger home and have designated male and female bedrooms for his new students. Pray for wisdom as we continue to grow.
We’ve increased the number of primary classes in Bukavu (DR Congo), and now offer the full set of six Primary classes. Director Nanza now has his hands full with three new teachers and fifteen new students. Some of the new teachers are also new to sign-language, and our P6 teacher, Fabien Morisho (who also does a lot of outreach ministry) is providing sign-language training for these teachers. Transportation continues to be a big challenge as most of the current crop of students do not live close to the school.
Indeed your prayers are coveted.
Now that summer is behind us, we’re preparing for the 2020-2021 school session. Covid quarantines have been lifted, and teachers and staff are ready to get the new year started. Additionally, two of our directors and five of our teachers in Chad and the DR Congo will be returning to university under CMD scholarships. Pray that they will continue to do well both in their studies and in their work.
In Uvira (DR Congo), Director Pililo reports that their school year ended with 71 students. Twelve had to drop out due to various health, flooding and Covid concerns. Even despite the flooding in April and Covid lockdown, most students were able to pass their grades, and all the Primary Six students graduated and are now preparing for Secondary School. We’re still waiting the test results for the students who tested to graduate from Secondary School. Pray that they’ll also have passing scores. Pray that we’ll also be able to finally start construction of our new school facility. The land acquisition has been a challenge, but we believe the final steps are in place, and Lord willing, we’ll begin construction in November.
We praise God for Director Shukuru’s recent marriage to Mpasa, a deaf young lady from Goma. Pray for them as they adjust to married life, and that she will make a smooth transition from the big city of Goma to Shukuru’s small town of Baraka (DR Congo). We’re excited to have her on board as our new Primary 3 / Primary 4 teacher!
Great news in Chad: Mission Projects Fellowship will be sponsoring our center in the purchase of a pickup truck! Praise God for meeting this long-standing need. Director Yves reports that they have added seven new students for the 2020-2021 school year, and three additional students cannot come because they live too far away and cannot afford the boarding room rates. Pray that we’ll be able to find sponsors for these families.
Pray with us as we re-evaluate our strategy in Bukavu (DR Congo). Many of the students travel long distances to attend our school. The need is great, but the resources are limited, and transportation is a huge challenge. Pray for wisdom as we explore new options for serving the deaf in this large city.
Indeed, your prayers are coveted.
The Lord has been gracious to us during these Covid19 times.
Although school has been suspended across most of Africa, we have been able to make good use of the down-time to greatly improve our facility in N’Djamena, Chad. Director Yves Beosso reports that all the faculty and administrative buildings have been rebuilt and are now in use. Praise God! The one building remaining is the two-story multi-purpose building that has been on hold for the past several months. It will serve as the chapel, with classrooms on the 2nd floor. Pray that the Lord will continue to provide for this building so it can be completed.
Due to scheduling delays, Director Shukuru Hertier has had to postpone his wedding from August 29th till September 5th. In this region of the Congo, wedding dates are assigned by the government after the couple registers for a marriage certificate. Travel and accommodations are all hampered by Covid19 restrictions, and the cost of living (and the cost of marriage) goes up as well, with many unexpected increases around every corner. Shukuru’s new wife will join him as the Primary 3 teacher at his school in Baraka. Pray for a smooth transition as all these pieces come together very rapidly over the next few weeks.
We’re pleased to announce that our university scholarship candidates in Chad and the Congo received high marks across the board. Their scholarship requires high academic performance (in addition to their regular teaching duties), so we’re very thankful that the last round of students will be returning to university this fall. Pray for their continued success.
Thank you for your continued support for the work we’re doing in Nigeria, Chad and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The economic strain due to Covid restrictions is having its toll, especially in Nigeria, and your faithful partnership is greatly appreciated.
In Chad, Director Beosso reports that the rebuilding project is 95% complete – Praise the Lord! The construction includes demolishing and rebuilding offices, kitchen facilities and residential rooms for the director’s family. The kitchen and residential rooms now have plumbing directly to the kitchen and bathroom fixtures, an important upgrade indeed! Previously, the center had one central central spigot and sink that served the whole campus.
The 2-story multi-purpose building has been spearheaded by Clement Abonyi’s AfriDeaf foundation. Due to Covid-19, their finances have been squeezed, so the construction project is on hold. Pray that we will soon be able to resume this important project.
In Baraka (Democratic Republic of Congo), we are getting closer to purchasing new land for our school. The current landlord has significantly increased rent, and we feel that now is the time to relocate and establish a permanent facility. Assistant Director Shindano Andre was able to come from Uvira to help with the process, and we hope to buy and build soon.
As if construction and preparing for the new school year wasn’t enough – Lord willing, Director Shukuru Heritier will be getting married next month, on August 28th! The wedding will take place in Goma, 20 hours north, and Mpasa, thew new bride, will join our staff as a teacher in Baraka. Pray for their families as they plan the wedding and begin their new life together.
Due to Covid-19, schools in Nigeria, Chad and the Democratic Republic of Congo are still closed. The closure affects each school differently. Our Nigeria school is hardest hit because their monthly budget depends heavily on tuition fees and not foreign support. As a result, they are going through tough financial times and could use your prayers as they work to meet their financial obligations. Several months ago we partnered with AfriDeaf Foundation to send some equipment to the school. The shipment has arrived, but due to Covid-19, the ports are closed and our staff cannot retrieve the shipment. There has been some looting of the shipment. Pray that the rest of the equipment will arrive in Ibadan soon.
In Chad, Director Yves Beosso and his staff are making good progress on rebuilding older dilapidated buildings on the campus. So far, they have completed three smaller buildings while waiting on funds to continue working on the larger 2-story multi-purpose building.
In Uvira (DR Congo), Director Pililo and Asst. Director Shindano have found new homes to rent in the aftermath of the springtime flood that destroyed thousands of homes. Because of your love and faithful financial support, they were able to quickly recover after having lost most of their worldly possessions. We’re hoping to begin construction soon on our new school, and would greatly appreciate your prayers.
In Baraka (DR Congo), Director Shukuru reports that his university classes have resumed, although primary and secondary schools have not reopened. He still has several Primary 6 students that he would like to prepare for year-end exams, so he will be working with those students individually. We’ve not been able to make an agreeable arrangement with the landlord, so it appears we’ll need to relocate the school. Asst. Director Shindano has arrived from Uvira to help Shukuru locate and finalize documents for the new school location. Pray that they will be able to find an excellent location.
Christian Mission for the Deaf
Because of your faithful charity, we have now completed one of three buildings at our deaf center in Chad. Director Yves Beosso reports that the multi-purpose building is now complete and will serve as temporary lodgings for his family while the Director’s Home undergoes a similar rebuild. We thank God that although the Covid-19 lockdown resulted in a scarcity of building supplies and increased cost, we were able to finish the building on time. The demolition of the old Director’s Home is now underway, and we expect the home to be completed in a few weeks. Meanwhile, construction on the 2-story multi-purpose building continues as funds allow. Pray with us that it will be completed before the 2020/2021 school year starts in late September.
In Uvira (DR Congo), Director Pililo reports that he has been able to find a new home to rent in the aftermath of last month’s flooding. We’re ready to proceed with building a new school, however we need to first acquire a bit more land by buying an adjacent property. The property owner lives in Burundi (the country next door), and has been very difficult to contact. Pray that we’ll be able to find him soon, that he’ll be agreeable to a reasonable price for the land, and that we’ll be able to start construction soon.
The landlord of our school in Baraka (DR Congo) has decided that he needs to significantly increase the rent. Director Shukuru Heriter says that we could buy the property outright, but the landlord is asking far more than the property is worth. If we can’t reach an agreement, we will need to relocate the school. We have land options, but it is too far south of the city, and very inconvenient for the staff and students. Pray that we’ll find a solution soon.
Tragedy has struck the people of Uvira (DRCongo). Due to heavy rains in March and April, the Mulongwe river overflowed its banks on April 17th and damaged or destroyed over 15,000 homes in Uvira. According to the UN, 38 people died in the flooding, and an estimated 70,000 people have been displaced. Our director and his assistant have lost everything in their homes except a few clothes, some furniture and their cellphones. Everything else has been lost. Since school is not in session due to Covid-19, several of the displaced deaf families are sheltering at our school, waiting for permanent space to become available.
In our plans to expand our current school, we are considering adding space for the director’s family to live on campus. Pray for wisdom and favor as we work to expedite construction. The Covid-19 lockdown had increased the cost of food and construction materials, and the flood damage is causing prices to soar even higher. Pray that tranquility will be restored to this heavily damaged region of the Congo.
In Chad, Director Yves Besso reports they’re making good use of the Covid-19 school closing in order to keep their building projects moving at a healthy clip. Although funds have dried up a bit for the new 2-story multi-purpose building, materials and funds are still available for smaller structures like storage buildings, new toilet facilities, etc. These buildings are made of cheaper construction materials, so we’re still able to continue construction on these buildings while waiting for funds on the larger multi-purpose building. Pray that all the main construction will be complete by the time school opens this fall.
In Nigeria, things are a bit more rocky. Director Emmanuel Ilabor reports that not only have parents pulled their kids out of school, but most parents have stopped paying their tuition while their kids are out of school due to Covid-19. Unlike Chad and the Congo, Nigeria has a robust economy – the best of African countries. While we cover 80%-90% of Chad and Congolese school costs at all times, Nigerian parents of deaf children are more able (and willing) to shoulder more of the cost to educate their children and therefore our Nigerian school requires less foreign financial support. But now that the parents aren’t paying tuition in Nigeria, the faculty and staff are facing dire financial needs. Pray that the parents – who are surely facing their own financial challenges – will continue to partner with the faculty and staff even when school is not in session.
Truly, your prayers are coveted.
Christian Mission for the Deaf