“Never again will everyone teach his neighbor or his brother by saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ because all of them will know Me, from the least important to the most important.” Heb 8:11
Until that day, we work with this goal as our highest passion.
In a few weeks, we launch the 2015 Congo Bible Camp for the deaf. We will be teaching the book of 1 Peter, and providing training resources for young evangelists to aid them in their Bible teaching methods.
In Chad and Nigeria, plans are also nearing completion for Easter camps. Please keep our various teams in prayer, that God will bring many deaf people to the camps, and that many will grow in the knowledge of the Lord.
And the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. – Isaiah 35:10
As we enter the winter months, we’re reminded of the prophet Isaiah’s message to the people of God: “Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who have an anxious heart, ’Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.’ Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy.” Isaiah calls his audience to take heart and look to the Lord for salvation. Paul repeats the same message to the Thessalonians, calling us to take courage and remember that the Lord will come for His people and save them from their oppressors (2 Thess 5-10). This Christmas season, may our hearts be encouraged by remembering that our Lord is not slack concerning His promises, and that He will one day replace sorrow and sighing with gladness and joy.
Congo Bible Camp
Praise God for another successful Bible camp! In this prayer letter, I’d like to give an inside peek on some methods we use when conducting a Bible camp for the deaf.
The topic of our 6th annual Congo Bible Camp was the Gospel of Mark. About 50 attendees from three countries were in attendance. Most were from the DR Congo cities of Bukavu, Uvira, Kalemi, Goma and Rutshuru. About ten of the attendees were from the neighboring countries of Rwanda and Burundi. Our numbers were a little lower than we anticipated, primarily due to travel costs. Some of the attendees traveled as far as 15 hours to get to the camp, and most cannot afford the cost of travel.
The teaching time is always my favorite part. Because the deaf in the Congo have a shortage of solid spiritual leadership, many of them are starving. They are very knowledgeable about a variety of stories all throughout the Bible, but they consistently lack Biblical depth: a comprehensive understanding of the Bible itself remains elusive; the character, nature and actions of God are often preplexing; abstracts that deal with Biblical themes, systematic theology or God’s overall plan of redemptive history are largely unknown to them. When our teaching touches on these subjects, we get flooded with excellent questions – but that’s where things get sticky. Although all the attendees speak sign-language, clear communication is a persistent challenge because of the variation of education levels and variety of sign language across these far-flung cities. When it comes to teaching a complicated passage (for example, Jesus’ conversation with the Syrophoenician woman in Mark 7:24-30), great care must be taken to properly communicate the subtle nuances and implications of the text. But God is merciful: For the past few years, God has allowed a Congolese teacher of the deaf, John Gakuru, to attend our conferences. He teaches at the the deaf school in Goma and is a certified interpreter – fluent in English, French, Swahili and sign-language. When things got sticky, he was ready and willing to help us communicate some of the more complicated passages.
This year, to address these persistent challenges, we chose the Gospel of Mark. It’s short and direct, and would allow us to cover the entire book in one week, paying careful attention to not just the individual stories and parables, but also the overarching storyline, themes and truths presented in this Gospel. This allowed us to repeatedly demonstrate how the whole of the Gospel is greater than the sum of its parts.
We also brought in a variety of teachers. Yves Beosso, the director of our school in Chad, taught several of the main sessions. As a deaf African, he had a connection with the Congolese that we Americans simply couldn’t match, and raised the bar for what the Congolese could expect in a deaf African spiritual leader. We praise God for the kind gifts of His people that allowed us to pay for Yves’ airline tickets. We also brought two Americans interested in work among the deaf: Rob Slack and Aaron Kuglin. Dividing up the teaching this way allowed for us to cover much ground in a short amount of time.
To further bridge the language gap, we gave each attendee a specially printed tri-lingual Gospel of Mark. Each page had a column in English, French and Swahili. Since most of the attendees read and write in a mixture of the languages, this special printing helped them to better understand the passages by comparing languages side-by-side. We designed the booklets with wide margins, and used them to help teach good Bible study methods: underlining main thoughts; writing comments and questions in the margins, etc. We thank God for allowing Judd Kile to provide the printing of these Gospels. He’s a friend of our local co-workers Tom & Kathy Lindquist, and his contribution was greatly appreciated by the campers.
Kathy and Renee Lindquist had hands-on crafts to help reinforce the parables in Mark. Pililo Amani, the director of our school in nearby Uvira, led each of the morning devotionals. Aaron taught a special session on worship, and Yves taught a special session on the end times. These special sessions were met with great interest. Aaron and Yves covered much new ground and addressed many misunderstandings. By the end of the week, we had covered the entire Gospel of Mark fairly thoroughly, and along the way, addressed many doctrinal questions.
The camp wasn’t entirely a bed of roses: We were badgered by the ANR, a governmental group responsible for investigating meetings held in the Congo.
Their goal was to interrupt us with excessive red tape, hoping we would bribe them to go away. Local pastors from the Berean Mission got involved to help us out, and unfortunately spent two days and many hours being interrogated at gunpoint. The issue was finally resolved when the Berean pastors agreed to pay $100 to the ANR agents. But God has a way of turning trials to gold. The vice-mayor of Bukavu and the regional director of education came and visited our camp and to apologize for the difficulties we experienced with the ANR. They were quite impressed to see deaf adults reading, writing, communicating, studying and learning – so much so that they invited us to collaborate with them to open a school for the deaf in Bukavu. They even offered to hire a deaf graduate to work in the mayor’s office. Needless to say, the deaf were quite thrilled to hear this announcement. Praise God for this wide-open door!
Pray with us that the deaf in the Congo will continue to study God’s Word and will continue to press themselves on to a deeper understanding of the manifold riches of God in Christ. Pray with us that we will be able to find staffing to re-open a school in Bukavu.
On the Home Front
Berta’s hip surgery from earlier this summer is mostly behind her now. Please do continue to keep her in your prayers.
Our beloved Sister, Mary Watson, went home to be with the Lord in October. She worked for many years with the deaf in the DR Congo, and after “retiring”, worked with Berta at the home office in Detroit.
Pray also for us as we prepare for the 7th annual Congo Bible Camp. Lord wiling, we’ll be teaching the book of Colossians. Pray with us that my wife Sheryl will be able to return next year. Her presence was sorely missed, and many of the ladies expressed a desire to have her there to teach them and answer their questions.
So much work, so little time! Indeed, your continued prayers are coveted.
He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building. – 1 Cor 3:8-9
Dear CMD Partners!
It’s exciting to step back and take a look at the work of God going on in Nigeria. Despite the many challenges and frustrations, His faithful hand is evident. As we continue to plant and water the fields, He continues to provide growth, sustain His people, carry His Word, and shape His people into the image of His Son. In this prayer letter, I’d like to focus specifically on the work in Nigeria and share how God has used Christian Mission for the Deaf to bring honor and glory to His Name.
CMD’s History in Nigeria
My recent trip to Nigeria brought back a number of childhood memories. The buildings have changed over the past 35 years (not always for the better), the roads are more congested, the water, electrical and telephone networks are certainly not what I remembered, and many of the people I knew as a child are no longer living locally. Yet in the midst of all these changes, God’s presence is evident, and His actions compel us to praise Him.
In the 60s, my father, Andrew Foster, moved CMD’s base of operations from the country of Ghana to Nigeria. Our family eventually settled in Ibadan, the city where I was born. As CMD’s work among the deaf in Nigeria grew, God blessed us with a spacious facility to use as a training center, church, headquarters office and missionary family residence. Through the years, God has blessed the deaf mightily through this center, training and equipping thousands of leaders, both hearing and deaf, not only from Nigeria, but from all over Africa.
Our Ibadan center is now led by Brother Emmanuel Ilabor. God brought him to CMD in the ‘60s as one of the first deaf students to enroll in the Ibadan school for the deaf. After receiving a B.Tech in Electrical Engineering from New York’s Rochester Institute of Technology and a Master of Education degree from Maryland’s McDaniel College, he returned to Ibadan to carry forward the Lord’s work.
Under his leadership, the center has seen strong growth with the addition of classes for elementary and secondary deaf students, the building of a large sanctuary (which also doubles as classroom space), the addition of a science lab, computer lab, carpentry shop, shoe repair shop and more. With the assistance of over 45 staff members, our Ibadan center is well-equipped to serve not only the spiritual needs of the deaf, but also the social, educational and vocational needs of over 150 deaf students. The overcrowded center is hardly recognizeable from the place I lived as a small child. And it continues to grow!
Although our center is in Ibadan, our focus spans the entire country. After young men and women are trained to teach and lead the deaf, they leave Ibadan and take the Gospel with them. Over the past decades, we’ve been blessed to see the establishment of over 25 churches for the deaf all across Nigeria. These churches continue to maintain close relationships with each other, collaborating on evangelism efforts, sharing educational resources, and pooling their staffing. It’s amazing to see God’s faithfulness as He adds to the Body of Christ.
The need for more leaders with seminary education is acute. Pray that God will raise up more leaders and equip them to feed His flock.
A Vision for the Future
Despite the center being filled to capacity, there are still many more deaf people who need to be reached with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. God laid it on the hearts of several former students, friends and churches in the USA and London to raise funds to purchase 39 acres of undeveloped land on the outskirts of Ibadan. Not only is the property ideal for expanding our operations in Nigeria, but the stream on the north edge of the property makes the land convient for agricultural activity as well. The long range site plan includes much more than buildings for classrooms, boarding rooms and administrative offices. We’re also planning for a youth camp, a small farm, a fishery and a conference center. The plans are ambitious, but we believe God is leading us slowly and surely in this direction. Construction is underway, but moving incrementally as the Lord provides the funds. The foundation for the girls’ dorms were laid last spring, and this summer, construction of a 12-classroom building has commenced.
Pray with us that the Lord will continue to guide Brother Emmanuel and his staff during this exciting time of growth. Pray also that the Lord will continue to richly bless this aspect of CMD’s work so that we can continue training and reaching more of the deaf with His Word.
On the Home Front
Berta recently fell and broke her right hip, and recovery has been a bit slow. After a few weeks of post-surgery rehab, she returned to Faith’s home this week. As long as the pain is kept low, her sprits remain high and she takes each day with a grateful attitude. Please keep her in your prayers during this special trial.
Keep me in your prayers as well: this August, at our Congo Bible Camp, we hope to bring Yves Beosso, our director from our school in Chad as a guest speaker. There are a few hurdles we need to cross in order to make it all work, but we’re trusting God to meet the need and lead the way.
Indeed, your continued prayers are coveted.
Dear CMD Partners!
Thank you for your continued partnering with us as we strive to hold forth the pure Word of God and build up His saints in these silent corners of the world. Your faithfulness is truly a blessing.
I wasn’t able to make it to Nigeria this spring as I had hoped, but I was able to spend almost two weeks in N’Djamena, the capital of Chad, and helped at the 16th Annual Easter Camp for the Deaf. Due to time and financial constraints, I traveled alone while my wife, Sheryl, stayed home in Texas with the kids.
Most of the campers lived locally, but many braved 6 to 12 hours of grueling “African-styled travel” to get to the camp. Over 220 participants – 40 more than expected – gathered at our school in N’Djamena for a week of Bible teaching and good fellowship. The teaching was solid, the Spirit was working, and hearts were convicted. More than 20 people gave their lives to the Lord. Praise God!
The theme for the week was “Who is Christ.” Teaching was divided between five teachers, and I had been asked to teach on the death and resurrection of Christ. A typical day would begin with devotions, followed by breakfast and 2-3 hours of morning teaching. The campers then divided up into four groups to do further study on the material that was taught, followed by a contest to see which team could get the most number of correct answers. Each afternoon included additional teaching on a variety of subjects.
In my afternoon session, I taught on the seven Hebrew Feasts (Lev 23), and showed how each of the Spring Feasts pointed to Christ, and was fulfilled on the exact same day the feast was celebrated by the Jews. A number of the campers commented that this was new teaching for them, and helped them gain a better appreciation and understanding of the work of Christ and how He fulfilled prophecy. (Handouts are available online at CMDeaf.org/resources.)
Praise God for His redeeming love and the professions of faith! Pray that the campers will remain faithful in their commitment to daily personal study of the Scriptures. Pray that these young men and women will stay rooted, growing in His grace.
I would like to tell you about Noura. She’s 11 years old and comes from a Muslim family in the northern parts of Chad. She’s fun-loving, hard-working, loves to help cook and clean, and like the other kids, she was quite intrigued by my camera, laughing at the photos and videos of herself.
When I first asked her name, she just smiled and withdrew a bit. At first I thought she was shy or perhaps didn’t understand my sign language, but the other kids quickly explained that there are no schools for the deaf in the Muslim region where she comes from. A missionary found her and convinced her parents to send her to our school. She’s been living there for a few months and is now starting formal education for the first time. All her life, she’s only used rudimentary gestures to communicate. Not only does she not know how to read or write, she doesn’t know sign-language and can’t communicate with anyone – she doesn’t even know her own name! If her Muslim parents let her stay in our Christian school, within the year, she will learn her name for the first time, and a few months later, will learn the name of Jesus Christ! Noura serves as a vivid reminder of the impact deafness causes and how God works through you and CMD in this unique ministry. It’s also a sobering reminder that for every Noura, there are hundreds who live beyond the reach of a deaf school and live out their entire lives without either the ability or opportunity to hear the name of Jesus Christ.
Pray that Noura’s parents will leave her in our school. Pray for Noura’s education and salvation. Pray also that the Lord will enable us to support more schools and ministries for the deaf in unreached parts of Africa.
In recent years, one of our schools in Moundou has been financially supported by CBM, a German organization that primarily works with the blind. However three years ago, CBM restructured their operations in Chad and now no longer supports a number of projects in Chad, including the school in Moundou. In a regular school, the nominal government salary would be supplemented by student tuitions. Unfortunately for a deaf school, most African parents don’t see the wisdom of spending hard-earned money to educate their deaf children, so we have to rely on God to use other means to meet operating expenses.
Due to the cutbacks, several staff members had to seek employment elsewhere. Those that remained have been struggling under the financial strain, becoming “tentmakers,” daily relying on God to make ends meet. Two of the Moundou staff members, David and Madjibe, taught at the camp, and their passion for God,
His Word and His people was clearly evident to all. We’re excited at the prospect of raising financial support for this wonderful work of God in Moundou.
Please pray with us that God will provide the necessary funds to help alleviate the daily financial burdens for this school and its staff members.
(Don’t miss the photo gallery at the bottom of this post. It contains photos of the camp as well as the city of N’Djamena, where our school is located.)
I’ve received very positive reports from Emmanuel Ilabor, our director in Nigeria. Over 800 deaf met at seven different Easter Camps all across Nigeria. Some of them had to travel through hostile territory controlled by the Boko-Haram, a violent militant Islamic group fighting to instill Sharia law across all of Nigeria. Much of their violence is aimed directly at Christians, so travel in these eastern regions of Nigeria is not safe. God sustained the campers and kept them from harm. Across all the camps, over 60 people made professions of faith and many more rededicated their lives to the Lord. Praise God!
In our last report, we mentioned that the government bought some land from our deaf center in order to facilitate road expansion. That money has been put to good use to begin construction of new dormitories. The additional space will be a welcome relief for the deaf center, as their facility is overcrowded with some 200 students. The building crew ran into some opposition from some disruptive locals who demanded extortion money. Thank God that the clash ended peacefully. Before the confrontation was over, they requested prayer for some of their people, and Emmanuel and his staff were able to pray with them and show true Christian love in the face of opposition.
Please pray that the Lord will continue to provide finances to complete the construction so that the Gospel work among the deaf can continue unimpeded. Please pray that those who made professions of faith will continue to grow in the Lord. Pray that the group of people who sought to disrupt the dorm construction will forsake their ways and seek God instead.
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC of CONGO
Sheryl and I are preparing for our fall trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo. This year, Lord willing, we’ll be hosting a camp in Uvira, near the southern border of Burundi. Tentative plans for now are to host the camp in the 3rd week of August. We’re looking forward to partnering with the Lindquists again, and teaching believers how to build tangible faith.
Since the work among the deaf is much stronger in Burundi, we’re anticipating high attendance from campers coming across the border. It will be an excellent opportunity to re-establish relationships and broaden our search for new leaders.
Pray that the camp will be properly funded, that the teaching will be true to God’s Word and readily assimilated by all campers. Pray especially as we work to identify a new generation of leaders who can be further trained to rightly divide the Word of God and teach younger believers.
Thanks for continuing to remember Berta in your prayers. Although her mobility and communication remain impaired, her health is steady and she is, as always, in good spirits.
We’re looking for new Bible study material ideally suited for the deaf in Africa, especially in French-speaking countries. In particular, we’re seeing many people wanting a deeper understanding of the Bible, yet they’re constrained by limited formal education, language translation issues, and limited access to shipped material. We’re considering writing our own material and making it available as sign-language videos and PDFs on the CMD website. We’d also like to provide more material on how to train leaders. It’s no substitute for one-on-one sustained discipleship, but they’re necessary tools nonetheless.
Pray with us that God will direct our efforts to find and/or produce new Bible study material well suited for the deaf in Africa.
Indeed, your continued prayers are coveted.
Dear CMD Partners!
As Christmas draws near, we reflect on the year that God has brought us through and the many ways He has shown Himself to be Lord of all. Sheryl and I were able to spend almost 3 weeks in the eastern Congo this past August and September. While we continue to see fruit in the work that CMD is doing, we’re reminded that there is still much to do in this field that is so white for harvest.
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
Sheryl and I had a wonderful time in the north-eastern province of the DRC, teaching with the Tom and Kathy Lindquist at the 2011 Congo Bible Camp. Much of what we taught this year was shaped by what we had seen in the past. Last year, the deaf leaders asked endless questions, showing a strong hunger for in-depth teaching on the details of the Gospel, the means of sanctification, and methods of Bible Study. So we made specific plans this year to provide teaching that would meet their need. We were told to expect 50 attendees, 15 of whom would be in the special evangelist/leadership class. To our pleasant surprise, we had over 60 attendees, and 19 in the evangelist class! We were thankful to see the participants engaged and studying hard, indifferent to the dirt floor, lack of electricity and limited food. More importantly, we’re thrilled at the emails we continue to get from the attendees. Pray that the Lord will continue to use these seeds to help them grow as leaders and teachers in their deaf communities and beyond.
To see more photos and read blog posts from our trip, please visit www.CMDeaf.org/cbc2011
After the week-long camp, I traveled to the southern part of the Congo to visit our school in Likasi for a few days. Andrew Foster, my father, was the last person from the States to visit them, and that was back in ’87 or so, shortly before the Lord took him home. The school year hadn’t started yet, but there were a few students that would come to the school grounds daily for fellowship. They were thrilled to have a visitor from the States, and we had a wonderful time of fellowship and encouragement.
In meeting with the school staff and leaders, I got a chance to learn quite a bit about the expansions they have done in their ministry, and the variety of unique challenges they now face as their school is approaching 90 students. Unfortunately, their local support is waning and due to financial cutbacks, the school has lost a few teachers in the past couple of years. The remaining teachers are earning about 1/3 the salary they would earn if they worked at neighboring government schools, but Daniel Ngoy, the school’s administrator, has been able to convince them to stay and serve a higher calling. Please pray for these men and women and their families, that God would be gracious to them for their self-sacrifice. (If you would like to make donations specifically for their school, mention “Likasi School” with your gift.) To see photos and read blog posts from our trip, please visit www.CMDeaf.org/cbc2011
After quite a few challenges, our school in Uvira has now expanded to offer secondary school education for the deaf. Praise God for His provisions! Currently, twelve students are enrolled, and we expect more before the end of the school year. Pililo Amani, the school’s director, has had to hire additional staff now that the school is approaching 60 students. Pray that Pililo and his staff won’t be overwhelmed as the student body continues to grow.
On a somber note, please pray for a stronger presence of solid evangelical churches in Uvira, both in the hearing and deaf communities. There has been rapid growth of feel-good, “prosperity gospel” ministries in this region of the Congo, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to stress to young believers the fallacy of this mindset.
Due to time constraints, we weren’t able to visit our training center in Ibadan. We’re hoping to be able to visit both Nigeria and Chad in the spring, but financial constraints may dictate otherwise. Emmanuel Ilabor, the director, reports that the 20th annual fall leadership conference was “a huge success through the grace of God”. The theme was Leadership With Godly Character, and many pastors and teachers taught and shared in good fellowship.
Several years ago, the Lord blessed the center with 39 acres of undeveloped land on the outskirts of Ibadan. Emmanuel and his staff immediately began raising money for new school buildings, but were unable to make significant progress. This past summer, the government expanded the road in front of the property and had to purchase land from the center. Although this is a small loss in property, Emmanuel estimates they’ll be able to build ten classrooms with this unexpected infusion of funds. The long-range vision is to have a facility to support 300 dormitory students, and Emmanuel and his team are seeking to raise another $138,000 toward this goal. Please pray diligently for this ambitious project. Over the past few decades, the center in Ibadan has been effective in training thousands of deaf students and leaders, and has helped start over 20 deaf churches throughout Nigeria. The development of the property will be a wonderful blessing for this ministry.
Thank you for your continued prayer regarding Berta’s health. She has good days and bad days, but over the past few months, we’ve seen more good days than bad, and even a slight increase in her speech capability. As always, she’s full of smiles as she rests at her daughter’s home.
Sheryl and I would like to make a trip to Nigeria and Chad this spring. The stagnant economy is affecting all aspects of CMD’s ministry efforts, so pray for the Lord’s wisdom as we seek to be responsible stewards and faithful servants. Indeed, your continued prayers are coveted.
Dear CMD Partners!
The refreshing green of Spring is certainly making its mark on the landscape of our hearts and the work the Lord has set before our hands!
Democratic Republic of Congo
Join with us in praising the Lord for the re-opening of a school for the deaf in the city of Gemena, located in the NW corner of the country. A few years ago we had to close the school due to a lack of healthy leadership. The local evangelical church that was associated with the school has redoubled its efforts and put in place two men of excellent character with a passion for the Word of God and the deaf. We’ve been thrilled with the response from the church and are thanking the Lord that the school hit the ground running with over 30 children. Their resources are very meager as they are meeting in the church, but our Lord is faithful, providing these children with the means to learn more about their Savior!
On the opposite side of the country, in the city of Uvira, plans are underway to expand our deaf school to offer secondary classes (grades 6-12) this fall. The deaf students that have been made aware of the new addition are ecstatic beyond belief as it will be the only secondary school for the deaf in the region.
Currently, deaf students wanting more than an elementary education have to struggle through a hearing public high-school where no one knows sign-language, and a translator is not provided for them. They usually end up paying higher tuition than their hearing counterparts, and frequently have to pay for additional tutoring on top of that. For this reason, many deaf have given up trying to further their education, and precious few have made it past the equivalent of 9th grade. Starting this fall, Lord Willing, all that will change, as deaf students will finally have an opportunity to take secondary classes in an environment suited to their handicap. It will be a welcome answer to our long prayers. There are a few obstacles left to resolve before we can press ahead (Bible training for the staff, additional staffing, school materials, etc), so pray with us that the Lord will open these doors so that the deaf in the Eastern Congo can further their education.
Director Yves Beosso is running full steam with his 15th Annual Easter Camp. The theme of the retreat is “The Armor of God”. The teaching will be shared by several men who have been groomed for leadership and have spent several months in preparing for all aspects of the camp: the logistics of the camp scheduling, transportation, food and lodging, as well as the sermon material and group discussion assignments. The 14-page syllabus they prepared for the camp is a shining testament not only to God’s use of Yves’ training, but also to their diligence and passion for teaching the Word of God in a structured, thorough and clear fashion. We’re excited for what the Lord will do at the camp and in the coming years as these young leaders take on more responsibilities and challenges. Pray with us that the camp will be an overwhelming success, that the Holy Spirit will invigorate attendees to be well-studied and well-equipped with the Word of God, and that Christ will be honored in their fellowship and encouragement for one another.
Meanwhile, back at the day-school in the city of Walia, Director Beosso reports that classes are moving along well and students are doing well in their studies. In the torrential rains and floodwaters that wiped out large portions of the city several months ago, the school’s toilet facilities were destroyed. We’re thankful to the Lord for providing a grant enabling them to rebuild this very necessary facility!
Director Emmanuel Ilabor is finishing up a trip to the States where he was able to present the work of CMD’s center in Nigeria to several churches and deaf schools.
The 41st National Deaf Easter Camp in Nigeria is currently underway, with an anticipated 700 attendees from all over Nigeria. The high participation is due to the planting of 25 churches for the deaf all over the country of Nigeria – churches that sprang from the two churches planted by Andrew Foster back in the ’60s. We’re thrilled to hear that these churches are self-governing and growing strongly in the Lord! Last year, 34 people were baptized at the deaf camp. We’re eagerly looking to see how many the Lord will draw to Himself this year through the Easter Camp. What a thrill it is to see such a continual reaping of this very white field of harvest! Pray with us that the Lord will also grant a bountiful harvest this camp season!
Thank you for your continued prayer regarding Berta’s health. She rests comfortably at her daughter’s home and finds something praiseworthy in every day. Her ability to communicate her thoughts continues to slowly deteriorate, but that doesn’t stop her from insisting that I keep her updated with every last detail of our work. Bless her heart – she laughs at me every time I try to remind her that she’s retired!
Please remember the Crumley family in your prayers. Gelnn Crumley went home to be with the Lord in February. As a long-term missionary in the Congo, he was a faithful friend to Andrew Foster and to CMD. We’ve been blessed by his service as our board chairman for many years and he will be greatly missed by his wife, 6 children, 22 grandchildren, 30 great-grandchildren and his many spiritual children in the darkest jungles of Africa. What an amazing legacy! His daughter’s family (Kathy Lindquist) works closely with us in the Eastern Congo.
Sheryl and I are looking forward to returning to Africa in August & September. We had hoped to be able to catch part of Emmanuel’s annual leadership training that he conducts in Nigeria the first week of August, but it looks like that door is closed. Pray with us that we’ll still be able to visit our schools in Chad, Nigeria and Likasi (southern part of the Congo), and help lead a camp in Goma (north east Congo with Tom and Kathy Lindquist).
Indeed, your continued prayers are coveted.