…Continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven … – Col 1:23
It’s been far too long since our last prayer letter. Although I’ve been quiet, God has been active, expanding His work among the deaf in Africa.
Democratic Republic of Congo
Our annual Congo Bible Camp for the deaf was a sweet time of fellowship and teaching with almost 100 people in attendance. They represented schools and churches for the deaf from about twelve cities in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Burundi. Aaron and Kristi Kuglin were able to help us again, along with their daughter,
Esther. Pray for them as they continue to seek the Lord’s will regarding their passion to work among the deaf. We were thankful to also have our Chad director, Yves Beosso, helping with the teaching. We taught the book of 2 Peter, and Yves presented additional classes on marriage and baptism. I taught the evangelist classes, where some 30 church leaders learned of essential doctrines of the Christian faith, and their impact on the early centuries of Church history. The Church history portion was completely new to them, and it encouraged them to know that they had a rich heritage of faith. Keep them in your prayers, as they continue to learn how to spot false doctrines. There is no shortage of questionable teachers, preachers and missionaries spreading questionable doctrines. Prosperity Gospel, in particular, is growing like wildfire across Africa, and its allure is hard for impoverished Africans to resist.
The city of Bukavu (population 800,000) has a large deaf community, but for the most part, only one school for the deaf. When our school’s director was suddenly taken home to be with the Lord ten years ago, we had to close the school. Praise God with us that we’ve been able to reopen the school as of last September. Our new director is a man named Nanza. He has a tender heart for the deaf students, but he lives some distance out of the city and transportation is becoming an issue. For a few months, Nanza had a younger assistant from another city, but the assistant’s family needs prevented him from relocating to Bukavu. Pray that we will find a replacement, and that suitable accommodations can be made to help alleviate the transportation challenges.
The new school in Fizi is moving along nicely with about 45 students. The director, Shukuru Heriter, is a young adult who was trained at our school in Uvira. With the grace of God and oversight of our Uvira director Pilio Amani, many deaf students in Fizi have entered school for the first time. They are now learning to read and write – and more importantly, learn about the Gospel and the salvation that is only through Jesus Christ. Shukuru brought three of his best students to our Easter Bible conference in April. Although the students had a hard time keeping up with the pace of the Bible teaching, they were able to get a small taste of in-depth Bible doctrine, and make many new deaf friends from outside their region. Pray that Shukuru will continue to be used of God to meet both the spiritual and academic needs of the deaf in Fizi.
Our Chad school is located in the Walia community, just outside of Chad’s capital of N’Djamena.
Walia was connected to N’Djamena’s electrical power grid about a year ago, and through the grace of supporters in Detroit, Michigan (USA), we were able to
raise funds to help our school get electricity. For many years, the staff had to use a
generator whenever they needed electricity, so this is a tremendous blessing! And along with the electricity, we’ve finally broken ground with new construction at our 5-acre property. There is a lot to do, and construction is slow, but we’re confident that God will continue this work, and we praise Him for His faithfulness through His people!
At my last meeting with director Yves Beosso, I was able to deliver a sizeable gift of technology: several laptops loaded with Bible, administrative and educational software, a projector, digital cameras, cell phones, printer supplies, a number of Christian movies and more. These items would have cost several thousand dollars if purchased locally – well beyond our means. We’re confident that God will use this blessing
in so many ways, and again, we thank our USA supporters for being used of God to make this blessing possible.
It was in 1960 that my father, Andrew Foster, left Ghana to begin work among the deaf in Nigeria. This past December, many deaf people from all across Nigeria gathered to Ibadan to celebrate 55 years of God’s faithfulness through Christian Mission for the Deaf. My brother John and I made plans to go, but a series of visa delays in Washington DC caused us to miss our flights. Although we trust that God’s plans are best, we are still saddened that we were unable to celebrate with so many old friends of CMD. Director Emmanuel Ilabor reports that it was a well-attended event, with some attendees coming in from several neighboring countries, as well as coming from the USA.
Construction continues at our new compound just south of Ibadan. Several buildings are in progress. Work continues as donations allow, so things can move slowly at times. Praise God with us that UPS (United Parcel Service) made a sizeable donation this spring. At this time, we don’t have a date for the school opening, but we are confident that it will be in God’s time.
Mother Berta continues to rest at Faith’s home. Faith’s daughter, Alessandra, is the first of the Foster grandchildren to get married. The wedding last August was a sweet time for most of Berta’s children and grandchildren to gather. And Lord willing, Luke and Alessandra will welcome their first child this fall. Praise God for Berta’s first great-grandchild.
Dear Prayer Partners,
Please be in prayer for Yves Beosso and our school in N’Djamena, Chad. Recent storms have done some damage to the school property, and repairs are underway. We also sustained damage at the new construction site in Toukoura, just outside of N’Djamena. Funds are limited, so the repairs are slow in coming. Pray also that we will receive funds to complete the construction that was started back in January.
We have several Nigerian deaf graduates awaiting the results of their SAT scores. If their scores are high enough, they may be able to continue their education in the USA, and perhaps join other deaf Nigerians at SouthWest Collegiate Institute for the Deaf, in Big Spring, Texas. Pray that these students will do well academically, and more importantly, that the cultural change will not damage their spiritual foundations.
Dear Prayer Partners,
We’re thankful for your prayers as our Congo Bible Camp was a sweet success. About 85 people were in attendance, 1/3 of whom were church leaders. We covered the book of 2 Peter from start to finish, stressing the importance of clear Biblical teaching. In our church leadership classes, we taught a brief introduction to church history and martyrdom in the Church; what it means to pray “in Jesus’ Name”; and the history of heresies attacking sound doctrine through the ages. Much of the material was completely new to the church leaders, and help to provide some clarity to various long-standing questions.
Director Yves Beosso (from our school in Chad) was able to join us again. In addition to helping teach 2 Peter, he also taught classes on baptism and marriage. We appreciated his ability to take the truths of Scripture and teach them in a way that dovetails with cultural particulars that Africans would appreciate.
Dear Prayer Partners,
In a few more days we head out to set up for our annual Congo Bible Conference. We were hoping for a different venue, but the Lord has other plans, so we’ll be back at the same one we’ve used for the past few years. Pray that safety and health concerns will not be an issue.
Continue to pray for the number of young men in the eastern DR Congo region who have stepped out in faith to start schools and churches for the deaf. Several of them are working in impoverished areas and have to work hard to resist the urge to return to the big cities where employment options are better. Our conference is a great source of encouragement for them, but their work is not easy.
Your prayers are coveted.
Dear Prayer Partners,
Although we had some promising options for a new venue for our Congo Bible Camp, one didn’t materialize and the other ended up being too costly. Unless something changes in the next week or so, we’ll be back at our usual place. Pray for the general welfare of the attendees as we meet next month. A number of them got sick (myself included), and have expressed concerns. Pray also for the new partners who will be traveling with us from US to Africa for the first time. Aaron and Kristi Kuglin are bringing their 5-yr old daughter, and the Lindquists have a young friend from their church who is interested in deaf mission work.
The construction project with our school’s expansion in Chad has come to a standstill as funds have been depleted. Pray for more funds so we can finish the building by adding windows and doors for security.
Plans are underway for our 2016 Congo Bible Camp in Bukavu, DR Congo. Pray with us as we search for a new venue that would be better able to meet our growing needs. Aaron and Kristi Kuglin will be returning with us, exploring opportunities for full-time work with the deaf in Burundi. Pray with them that God will show them His will for them.
In Chad, work continues steadily on our new property in Toukoura. Our director and staff are excited about the two-room building that is nearing completion. Pray that God will continue to supply our needs as we expand the facility to serve the deaf in N’Djamena.
Dear Prayer Partners,
Although we had tickets in hand, we didn’t receive our Nigerian visas in time to go to CMD Nigeria’s 55th anniversary in Ibadan and Lagos last weekend. We are sad that we missed the celebration and fellowship, but trust God’s decision in this matter. Praise God with us for the excellent testimonies of His faithfulness over these many decades, and for the excellent turnout.
God has shown His faithfulness in other areas: We now have the funds on hand to proceed with drilling a well at our new property in Chad. Pray with us that this will be sufficient to stem the squatting. And in Bukavu (DR Congo), we are seeing excellent progress with our new school and staffing. We still have a few important hurdles, so we still covet your prayers.
Dear Prayer Partners,
We’re still working towards raising funds to help secure the new 5-acre land grant for our school in Chad, so any gifts in this area are greatly appreciated. We’re hoping to have enough funds on hand by Christmas time to dig a well for the new school property.
I’ll be leaving for Nigeria in a few weeks to celebrate our center’s 55th anniversary. I’ll also be bringing a number of desperately needed theology books, DVDs, a projector and computer accessories. Some will be for our Nigerian center, and some for our Chad center. These items are quite expensive in Africa, so I hope to be able to take quite a bit. Please pray with us that these goods will arrive safely and intact.
As we continue to work within our limited resources to meet the spiritual and educational needs of the deaf, we find ourselves at a unique juncture in the history of deaf education in Chad (Central Africa). Several years ago, we received a sizable land grant from a local chieftain. The five-acre parcel of land is located in Toukoura, a few miles south of N’Djamena, the country’s capital. Our dream is to construct a new mission compound that would replace our aged and overcrowded facility currently located in a mud-brick community on the outskirts of N’Djamena. The new plan calls for primary and secondary school buildings, dorms, a chapel, a cafeteria, a carpentry shop, a tailoring shop, a multi-purpose building and more. These new buildings are desperately needed. Our current facility is overcrowded and many deaf children in N’Djamena are unable to enroll. However, as with most land grants in sub-Sahara Africa, it came with one major caveat: use it, or lose it. Local efforts to raise funds for this ambitious project have met with little success, and we now find ourselves faced with the very real possibility of losing this precious opportunity.
Two additional events have transpired over the past couple of years that make the situation more pressing.
- A new university is preparing to break ground almost right next door, turning the area into a magnet for higher education. It would be hard to imagine a better location for our school for the deaf.
- Squatters have begun to build on our property. The laws in Chad are such that we must either build our facility around their buildings or purchase their buildings. We will need to alter our plans to accommodate their squatting, and do something now to block any future squatters from building on our land.
Right now, the best way to prevent further squatting is to install at least one permanent building or structure. Ideally, if we can install a well and pump, we can arrange for nearby villagers to operate the pump for their agricultural needs until we can begin construction. The villagers would benefit from the initial use of the well, and in the process, would guard the property from future squatters.
The cost for installing a well is around $2,000 USD, and starter buildings would cost between $10,000 and $15,000. Our desire is to raise enough funds to begin the well before year’s end, and begin construction of buildings before spring 2016. It’s an ambitious project, but we feel that this is a unique opportunity to expand the work of educating the deaf in Chad and preparing the next generation of spiritual leaders.
Would you pray with us about how the Lord might use you for this endeavor?
Thank you for standing with us and praying with us in this unique situation.
Christian Mission for the Deaf