Our Fizi school is now renting space in a larger facility, and ready to begin the 2018-2019 school year. Director Shukuru Heritier has visited Burundian refugee camps in his region, and paved the way for deaf Burundian refugees to enroll in his school. Pray that the remaining logistics will be ironed out soon. In Uvira, we’re having to do some extensive renovations to the school building. Pray that we’ll be able to complete the repairs before school starts.
At our new school property in Chad, the newly installed water pump has been put to good use irrigating the small farm, resulting in a bountiful crop.
Thank you for your continued prayers.
We thank God for His blessings on our annual Congo Bible Camp. About 1/3 of the 120 attendees were first-timers from Burundi, so we’re thankful to be able to make inroads into the deaf churches in that country.
One of the attendees was a Muslim young lady named Ramla. Since our camps are targeted at pastors, evangelists and church leaders, it’s rare for us to have Muslim attendees. By the end of the week, Ramla had decided to follow Christ instead of Mohammed. We have no idea what her conversion will cost her, but please pray for Ramla as she begins discipleship under the Burundi church in her town.
Director Yves and his staff have lost no time in putting their new well to use. They set up an irrigation grid and planted some crops and trees on the property. If all goes well, the crops will grow quickly during this rainy season and be able to weather the coming dry season.
Praise God for several big answers to prayer regarding our Chad school:
- A new motorcycle has been purchased to replace the school’s aging motorcycle. Pray that it will serve the school well.
- A new well has been installed at the school’s new property. Limited funds have allowed for only one small building to be constructed so far, but in the mean time, one of our staff members has moved his family to the 6-acre property, and has planted a small farm. Pray that the first harvest will be bountiful, and that more funds will allow for continued construction.
Our Annual Congo Bible Camp is July 16-20. Pray for safety for the many who travel to the camp, and that God will be magnified in the teaching of His Word.
Shukuru Ramazani, the director of our Fizi school, has made contact with a refugee camp several miles north of his town. He was able to locate about 20 deaf refugees at the camp, and is working with officials to allow the refugees to attend the school in Fizi. Pray that the officials will allow the deaf refugees to attend our school and receive not only an education, but an introduction to the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ.
For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. My heart faints within me! – Job 19:25-27
It’s been a very busy spring, and with summer already upon us, things are promising to be even busier.
After many faithful years of serving the Lord in Africa and in the USA, my mother stepped into her eternal reward on January 27, 2018.
Berta became deaf at the age of 4 through measles. She met Andrew Foster in 1960 at an international conference for deaf educators in Germany. She was fascinated by his mission work among the deaf in Nigeria, and soon thereafter dedicated her life to Christ. They married in 1961 and had five children. Through Christian Mission for the Deaf, God used Andrew and Berta to pioneer work in deaf evangelism and education, opening over 30 schools for the deaf and dozens of churches for the deaf throughout central and west Africa. After Andrew’s untimely death in 1987, Berta served as the administrator of CMD until a stroke in 2009 led to her early retirement. I, Tim Foster, was appointed by the CMD board to step in as director. Since then, we’ve pressed on with the original vision of CMD, paying closer attention to improving doctrinal clarity and depth, especially among the young pastors and evangelists we interact with. These past nine years have been an exciting time of exhilaration and frustration, but we know that we serve a Sovereign God who is completely trustworthy. It is He who calls all men everywhere to worship Him in spirit and truth, and we are thankful to continue in that calling.
This past spring, God has blessed us by adding Clifford Bodiford, a deaf Texan, to our board of directors.
Although he was raised with an intellectual awareness of Christ, it wasn’t until he was in his 30s that Cliff came to realize the true depth of his sin and his need for Christ to save him from the consequences of his sin. Since then, Cliff has been faithfully serving at New Life Deaf Fellowship, in Fort Worth, Texas, for the past 21 years, and now serves as an elder. We’re thrilled to have a man with his passion for deaf ministry on our board. Pray for him and his wife, Sherrie, as they’ll both be traveling with us to Africa for the first time in July.
Lord willing, in just a few weeks, our 17-year old son Daniel will also be making his first trip with us to Africa. Due to school schedules and family finances, he has not been able to accompany us on past trips. He’s looking forward to getting a fresh and exciting perspective for the work of God in a radically different cultural context.
Thank you for your continued prayers for John Linus, the young Nigerian pastor-in-training who is currently studying in Texas. The adjustment to life in Texas was more difficult than he expected, and there were a number of times that he wanted to quit and go home. But by the grace of God, he was able to endure the first semester and is now eager to continue his education. Pray that his time in the US will continue to be fruitful, and that he will not fall to the many temptations that are readily available in the US.
Democratic Republic of Congo
We’re pleased to announce the formal adoption of a new school in Baraka, in the eastern province of Fizi.
The school was started three years ago by Shukuru Hertier, a personal friend of mine and a graduate from our Uvira school. Up until 2018, we had been collaborating with him on non-monetary projects, and monitoring his patient faithfulness as he worked to build up the school and pastor the new deaf believers. It’s not uncommon for us to encounter young deaf men with a great initial zeal for starting a deaf school, but rarely do we find someone with both good doctrine and endurance. Unlike several other deaf young men we’ve interacted with over the past decade, Shukuru did not abandon the school or run to foreign donors when he lacked resources. Instead, he turned to prayer and dependence on God, accepting his difficult circumstances, while committing himself to God’s hands to do as He wills. God provided by touching the hearts of a few parents, both in the USA and in Fizi, to contribute to his pauper’s budget. It wasn’t until a week ago, several months after we formally adopted his school, that Shukuru quietly informed me that his first three years were extremely difficult, and how his family members frequently provided food and housing so he could live. I was impressed with his love for God and the deaf. Now that we have formally adopted his school, he’s brought on 2 additional staff members, and with his increased, albeit modest, salary he’s able to live on his own. Pray that God will continue to bless him for his faithfulness to Him. Pray also for his fiance, Riziki Charline, as they plan their dowry, wedding and ministry life together.
Our Bukavu school is now completing its second year of operation. Due to space concerns at our former location, Director Nanza had to relocate the school to a Baptist church just outside of the city. While Bukavu has a large deaf population, many of them have a very low education, and few are interested in coming to our school. Some of them have indicated a resistance to the director because he is older and hearing. Most deaf schools in Africa have a hearing director and staff, so the resentment is peculiar. Pray with us for wisdom as we look to add deaf teachers who are more knowledgeable about deaf life in Bukavu, and able to more effectively minister to the deaf there.
Construction has resumed at the new Toukoura property just outside of N’Djamena, the country’s capital. The property is now able to house a family, and one of the staff families is moving there this month and starting a small farm. We’ve sent some funds so they can install a well pump this month.
Director Beosso’s motorcycle has long outlived its usefulness. Praise God with us that we’ve been able to assist him with the purchase of a new motorcycle this month.
Please continue praying for our up-coming Congo Bible Camp in Bujumbura, Burundi. We’re starting a 3-year study in the book of Genesis, and we expect to face a number of counter-cultural questions on the nature and equality of man, the nature of sin, and the substitutionary atonement of the Lamb of God. We’re thankful that God has allowed for my wife and son to travel with us this year.
Praise God for a surprise gift of funding for a fence at our Fizi (Congo) school. Shukuru Hertier, the director of our Fizi/Baraka school, reports that they have received a gift from the sector chief to assist them in the construction of a fence around the school property. This small gift goes a long way towards helping establish the young school as a competent place where the deaf can get an education.
Yves Besso, the director of our Chad school, reports that his motorcycle is on its last leg. By the grace of God we were able to give it to him eleven years ago, and it has long outlived its usefulness. Would you pray with us as we raise the $1,500 necessary to replace his motorcycle?
Plans for our annual Congo Bible Camp are picking up speed. This year, we’re meeting at the Ephphatha School for the Deaf in Bujumbura, Burundi. My father, Dr. Andrew Foster, opened the school in 1981, and since 1988, it has been locally supported and operated in partnership with the Community of Emmanuel Churches (CEEM), the Brethren movement in Burundi. Lord willing, both Cliff and Sherri Bodiford will be able to help us at the camp this summer. Cliff serves as an elder at New Life Deaf Fellowship in Fort Worth, Texas, and both have a deep passion for church-planting and mission work among the deaf. Since we are working with new team members from America and Burundi, we are facing a new set of logistical hurdles, and covet your prayers.
Director PIlilo Amani (Uvira, DR Congo) had to undergo hernia surgery 2 weeks ago and is recovering well. Thank you for your financial support, as the cost of this surgery was well beyond his means.
Praise God for an excellent 22nd annual Easter camp in Chad. This year’s camp met for the first time in Bebedja, a village about 12 hours SE of N’Djamena. About 350 people from 6 different regions of South Chad were in participation. One man was so enthusiastic to attend the camp, he rode his bicycle over 120km (75 miles) to get there! Praise God for the strong attendance, and pray that the study and messages from Ephesians will strengthen all who attended.
We’re pleased to announce the official addition of the Fizi School for the Deaf to our network of CMD schools. The school was started by one of our Uvira (Congo) graduates, Shukuru Hertier. Despite being located in a small city, the school has over 30 students and is poised to grow rapidly. After demonstrating 3 years of consistent Godly zeal and administrative excellence, our board voted to bring the school on as an official CMD school, and increase their funding so they can expand their Gospel and education work.
Pray for Shukuru as he continues to learn from our seasoned school directors and stay faithful to God’s direction.
After several years of declining health after her 2009 stroke, my mother, Berta Foster, slipped into eternity on January 27, 2018. She was buried at Restland Cemetery in Dallas, TX, and her obituary is online here: https://www.restlandfuneralhome.com/obits/berta-foster. She will always be remembered for her love for her family and her faithful service to our Lord. She served as the faithful administrator for Christian Mission for the Deaf since my father’s passing in 1987 until 2010 when she retired due to her health.
CMD is proud to announce the addition of Cliff Bodiford to our board of directors. Cliff serves as an elder at New Life Deaf Fellowship, and is passionate about missions and church planting among the deaf both in the USA and abroad. Lord willing, he will be joining our team for our Congo Bible Camp in July 2018.
We just received word that Mission Projects Fellowship is donating $2,500 for a new generator for our center in Ibadan, Nigeria. The electricity in our part of Ibadan is not very reliable at all, so this generator is will meet a great need. Praise God for this wonderful gift.
The Berean church that has hosted our Bukavu (D.R. Congo) school for the past two years has expanded their church ministry and is no longer able to accommodate our school. God has led us to a Baptist church on the outskirts of the city. Although the space is not free, the rent is reasonable, and it’s much closer to our director’s home and several of the students. Pray that the facility will remain available while the school continues to grow and serve the deaf.