Category: Prayer Letter

Dec 01

Winter 2017

Christ the Savior is born in the flesh, the propitiation for our sins.  This salvation from the just penalty of our sins is a free gift: given by grace, received by faith, lived with zeal. Too often it’s easy to reduce Christianity to a zealous list of dos and don’ts, especially when working with limited language skills. But our Savior compels us to zealously transform not only our actions, our thought processes and even our minds. Our entire worldview should be zealously transformed as part of our sanctification.  These are a few of the thoughts that occupy my mind this Christmas season.

Nigeria

Tim and John Linus, headed to SWCID

John Linus is a promising young pastor and an excellent candidate for further education. His education options in Nigeria are quite limited, but with the assistance of the Andrew Foster Memorial Scholarship Fund, he will finally be able to begin his college training at  SouthWest Collegiate Institute for the Deaf in Big Spring, Texas. The Andrew Foster Memorial Scholarship fund was 

started by Jim Walterhouse and Danny Campbell, faculty members at SWCID, and Linus is their first benefactor. After his studies at SWCID, Linus will begin studying at a Bible college, and then return to Nigeria to help serve the deaf churches. There were a number of delays in getting his paperwork completed and his visa approved, but by the grace of God, that has now been completed, and Linus is set to arrive in the USA in January. We thank God for this wonderful scholarship and pray that God will use Brother Linus to serve Him well. For more information about the fund, please visit http://afmsf.cmdeaf.org.

Democratic Republic of Congo

Three years ago we re-opened our Bukavu school with Boro Nanza as the director. Due to space limitations, Nanza has had to relocate the school to a property just outside the city limits. The new facility is owned by a Baptist church, and the rent is extremely reasonable.

Nanza’s current assistant is very limited in his knowledge of sign language. We were hoping to hire a young church leader from Rutshuru, but those plans fell through. Pray that we’ll be able to find another well-qualified assistant. By rough estimates, we believe there are several thousand deaf people in the Bukavu area, but almost none of them have access to an education, and the few that have received an education through our old school are spread far and wide. There is a lot of work to be done, and we covet your prayers.

Chad

Director Yves Beosso reports that construction at the Toukera property remains at a standstill. We lack the funds to complete the construction of the two school rooms. Another important feature to add in Toukera is a water well. This would enable us to encourage nearby residents to keep an eye on the property and herd off squatters. The laws in Chad make it easy for squatters to be an expensive source of frustration to property owners who cannot quickly develop their lands. We’ve had a few run-ins with squatters in the past, and hope to be able to prevent their return. In addition to the work at Toukera, the main campus in N’Djamena is in dire need of upgrades. Over the past few years, the center has been hit with severe storm damage. Due to time and finances, construction work was hasty, using mud brick. The mud brick needs to be replaced with concrete in order to provide safe, long-lasting buildings to meed the education needs of the deaf. Pray that God will provide the funds for these projects.

Yves’ oldest son recently graduated from secondary school. He is now at our center in Ibadan, Nigeria, studying English and preparing for January entrance exams to Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary. Lord willing, after his seminary training, he will be headed to the University of Ibadan for medical studies, and then back to Chad to work with the deaf. The school expense is more than the Beossos can afford, so they are trusting our Lord to provide.

Home

Our oldest daughter, Micah, has ended her job as a UN refugee case worker, and now teaches third grade at a Classical Christian school in Austin. Our middle child, Noelle, has also moved down south to the San Antonio area to pursue her career interest in criminal justice. Daniel has taken on a renewed interest in life, art, music and literature, so this has been an extremely interesting 11th grade for him.

Mother Berta is doing as well as can be expected, grateful for each day the Lord gives her.

In Him,

Tim Foster

Oct 12

Summer 2017

Democratic Republic of Congo

Our annual Congo Bible Camp was a great success, with over 100 people from 15 different deaf churches coming to Bukavu. Three people who were very interested in our conference came in from as far away as Kisangani, a 2-day trip. Due to the low literacy rates among the deaf Congolese, most churches focus on Bible stories at the expense of doctrine. Our camps work to fill the gap, emphasizing sound doctrine as a basis for our faith and works. This year, we taught through the book of Ephesians. While the content of chapters 5 and 6 were familiar territory for many of them, the first 4 chapters were new. So far, we’ve had excellent feedback from many of the attendees. Perhaps the most bittersweet comment was from Joceyln, a lady from Kigali, Rwanda. She said that she was sad that the week was over because she was learning so much, and felt frustrated because her church doesn’t teach doctrine like this. Unfortunately, comments like hers are not unusual. Pray with us that our teaching will be greatly used by God to equip them for the good works they have been ordained to do (Eph 2:10). 

A hearing couple, Miriam and Bartholomew Toto, came to our 

 

The Toto family – Local faith-based workers with the deaf

camp to see what we were doing and to learn more about us. As it turns out, they were missionaries with YWAM in Uganda for seven years, and during that time had to raise their own support from local believers. Now that they’ve returned to the Congo, their aim is to work with the deaf in Bukavu, teaching Biblical living, while modeling a Biblically-based work ethic. Truly, this is a great need, particularly among the deaf leadership. It’s not uncommon for deaf evangelists in the Congo to believe that they have to sit and wait for a foreign benefactor to sponsor their evangelism work. For these evangelists, Paul’s teaching on finances in 1 Cor 9 (“worker is worthy of his wages”, tent-making, etc) is counter-cultural, and the Totos are making an impact both in their teaching and in their living example. Pray that God will continue to bless them and provide for their daily needs. 

Ramazani Hertier, one of the graduates from our Uvira school, is now the director of his own school for the deaf in Fizi, in the Baraka Province. His school is now starting its 3rd year with over 50 deaf students enrolled. In a recent exploration trip through villages in the province, Ramazani was able to find another 15 students. Since most of the parents do not have the funds to support their children’s education, the growth in enrollment creates an additional financial burden. Although Ramazani’s spiritual training is not extensive, he’s the de-facto pastor for the deaf in Fizi. We’re excited that the Lord is using his ambition for his fellow deaf Congolese, and praying for ways to improve and strengthen their faith. We’d like to get several of these men into the Timothy School at the Kigobe Mission Station in Burundi (Some of you may know Jesse and Joy Johnson in Burundi. The Timothy School operates out of their facility).

Ramazani recruiting new students in Fizi province

Pray for us as we look to God for solutions to these unique challenges.

Chad

Director Yves Besso reports that repairs from the recent storm damage in N’Djamena have been completed. We thank God for your willingness to financially support this need. Yves’ son has recently passed Secondary school exams, and we’re looking at sponsorship options to send him to Bible college in Nigeria. His Biblical education will further quip him to be a great asset in his work with the deaf in Chad.

Due to a lack of funds, construction at the new property in Toukera has come to a standstill. Some poachers are encroaching on the property, so additional legal measures need to be taken in order to remove them. Pray for wisdom and provision.

In the city of Mondou, two deaf ladies have passed away after battling a lengthy illness. Pray for their families and church as they cope with the loss.

Nigeria

The Andrew Jackson Foster Scholarship Memorial Fund has raised funds to bring a promising candidate, John Linus, to Texas to further his formal and spiritual education. Unfortunately he has run into difficulties with obtaining a student visa, and will not be able to enroll this fall at the Southwest Collegiate Institute for the Deaf. Pray that he will be able to receive his visa soon and begin his college education.

Home

After our July conference in the Congo, Aaron Kuglin (a seminary student from Fort Worth who helped teach at the conference), Yves Beosso and I accompanied PhD candidate Joel Runnels to visit my father’s gravesite and attempt to find the site of his 1987 plane crash.

Crash site for Andrew Foster’s plane

Joel has worked with various secular NGOs in East Africa for 20 years, and everywhere he went, he kept hearing stories about a deaf man named Andrew Foster, and all the amazing things he had done. After being unable to find much printed information about him, Joel decided to do his dissertation on my father’s life and work among the deaf in Africa. Pray with us that Joel’s research into my father’s earthly good works will not be an occasion to celebrate the accomplishments of a man, but rather, be a call to glorify our Father in heaven. (Matt 5:16)

Please keep Mother Berta in your prayers. She’s usually in good spirits, but her mobility continues to decline.

In Him,

Tim Foster
Director

Dec 21

Winter 2016

As Christmas draws near, our hearts and minds are turned once again to reflect on the Son whom God has sent into the world to be born of a virgin. We celebrate not only the gift of His Son, but the gift of abundant and eternal life received by those who believe in His Son to save us from our sins. This is the Good News of the Gospel for which we labor among the deaf in Africa.

Nigeria

Nigerian dorms nearing completion

Some months ago, United Parcel Service gave a generous $24,000 USD donation towards our new school construction just outside of Ibadan, Nigeria. Under the leadership of director Emmanuel Ilabor, the women’s dorm is now 70% complete, with about $15,000 USD remaining to finish the doors, windows, plumbing, electrical, plaster and paint. Pray with us that the 500-student facility will be finished quickly so that we can move our school out of our over-crowded facility into this spacious 39-acre property.

At the main center in Ibadan, our ~200 deaf students continue to experience healthy interactions with various schools. It’s eye opening for hearing students on a field trip to the center to see so many active deaf students.  And a number of our recent graduates have been accepted at the University of Ibadan and the Federal College of Special Education. We’re excited for the graduates and praying for a smooth transition as they prepare for adult life.

Two of our churches in Nigeria have undergone extensive expansions this past year. In the city of Yola (in the eastern state of Adamwa), God has led some German friends to assist with the construction of a beautiful chapel and elementary school for the deaf. Mrs. Ruth Ulea, a graduate of our CMD schools, is heading up the facility. Pray for wisdom and safekeeping, as the region is just south of hostile Boko-Haram territory. The second deaf church planted in Lagos in the ‘70s is now nearing completion on a 2-story expansion. We’re grateful to the local deaf association for their tireless work in raising the funds for the completion, and look forward to the grand opening in February.

Pray that the Lord will continue to guide the deaf in Nigeria through these many transitions. Pray also that they will be protected from the travesty of “prosperity Gospel”, a twisted version of the Good News which is particularly rampant in Nigeria, and rapidly being exported from Nigeria to other African nations.

Democratic Republic of Congo

Since his inauguration in 2001, D.R. Congo’s President Joseph Kabila has exerted what some would call a near-dictatorial rule over this resource-rich but economically impoverished country. Protests and riots were sparked in September when he announced he would not step down after his term limits expire on December 19th. Pray for our students and faculty in Bukavu, Fizi, Likasi and Uvira during this election season.  Cities like Bukavu and Uvira have very weak (and corrupt) governments, and our teachers and staff there are bracing for rampant violence after the elections.

Praise God with us that our school in Uvira has seen rapid growth over the past year. Under Director Pililo Amani’s guidance, enrollment has jumped up to 75 students and 12 faculty members. A tailoring class has been in the works for several years now, and has finally gotten off the ground after a new classroom was completed. A few years ago, we expanded the school so as to offer secondary classes. We’re now seeing those efforts bear fruit: Lord willing, our first crop of secondary students will be graduating this spring! Pray for these students as they continue to prepare for state exams in June.

Pray in particular for the deaf church that collaborates with our Uvira school. They are in dire need of help with the leadership. The lone pastoral leader, Adolphe, has his hands full dividing time between the church in Uvira and his ill grandmother in Goma, some 15 hours north.

Chad

Temporary repairs at our Chad school

Director Yves Beosso reports that their property has sustained quite a bit of damage this past rain season. One of the administrative buildings had some extensive damage, and the temporary repairs have degraded to a point to where the building is no longer safe for daily use. They have a dire need for about $900 USD to make permanent repairs to the building.

You may recall that brother Beosso’s wife, Agnes, suffered a stroke in 2009, the same year that my mother, Berta Foster, also suffered a stroke. Although Agnes’ stroke was not as severe, her health has now deteriorated to the point that she is in dire need of a wheelchair. Unfortunately, the cheapest wheelchair we’ve been able to find is still over $280 – three month’s wages! Pray with us that we’ll be able to quickly raise this money and help alleviate the hardships of this godly woman.

Home

Excellent news: Faith’s daughter, Alessandra, recently gave birth to Lila, Berta’s first great-grandchild. She’s definitely a cutie, and her parents could not be more proud! 

Lord willing, our 16-year old son Daniel will be making his first trip with us to Africa in July, 2017. Due to school and finances, he has not been able to accompany us on past trips. He’s heard us tell wild stories of Gospel work in Africa, but now will get to experience life in the Congo first hand. Pray that our plans will go smoothly, and that he’ll gain a fresh and exciting vision for the work of God in a radically different cultural context.

In Him,

Tim Foster

Jun 29

Spring 2016

…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,

DW-20160530-Q2c_p1

Pililo, Tim and Shukuru Three students from Fizi

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.

Chad

Our Chad school is located in the Walia community, just outside of Chad’s capital of N’Djamena.

Construction in Chad

Construction in Chad

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

Electricity in Chad

Electricity in Chad

in so many ways, and again, we thank our USA supporters for being used of God to make this blessing possible.

Nigeria

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.

Watching a missionary movie after Bible Study

Watching a missionary movie after Bible Study

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.

Home

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.

In Him,

Tim Foster

Oct 30

Fall, 2015

Water For ChadFor I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. (Isa 44:3)

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.

<center>Water Well at our existing school in N'Djamena, Chad</center>

Water Well at our existing school in N’Djamena, Chad

  • 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.

In Him,

Tim Foster
Director
Christian Mission for the Deaf

Jun 17

Summer 2015

Command and teach these things. Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. –  1 Timothy 4:11-13

One of the more exciting things in mission work is seeing young men and women grow up to be leaders and shepherds of the people of God. However, it’s bitter-sweet: we’re excited to see the Gospel going forward, and at the same time, we’re reminded of the dire need for solid teaching and training for the leaders themselves!

Democratic Republic of Congo

This year, our 2015 Congo Bible Camp was held during Easter instead of during the usual summer vacation.

Aaron & Josh prepping for teaching time.

Aaron & Josh prepping for teaching time

This enabled us to reach attendees who had never had the opportunity to come to our conference in the past. Our focus of study for the week was the book of 1 Peter and the suffering we endure as we await our imperishable glory. Praise God that the teaching was well received, motivating the attendees to be faithful in the face of earthly hardships.  We were happy to welcome back Yves Besso and Aaron Kuglin to help with the teaching. Aaron was joined by his wife Kristi and their 6 month old daughter. We were also grateful to have Josh Bonjour with us. He is the pastor of New Life Deaf Fellowship, a church for the deaf right here in Fort Worth, Texas! We’re grateful that the Lord has brought together CMD and New Life Deaf Fellowship, and are praying that our collaboration will be a long-term endeavor.

At next year’s conference, we’ll be tackling 2 Peter and taking a stern look at false doctrine. Prosperity gospel thinking, in particular, is growing like wildfire all over Africa, and the deaf are not exempt from the temptations of material wealth. Over the past year, we’ve seen a number of deaf leaders in various cities embrace and begin to teach it, doing great damage by confusing the flock. Pray for us that God will give us wisdom to meet this issue head-on. Pray that we will faithfully present the truth of Scriptures and that the attendees will learn the necessity for rigorously examining each and every new doctrine that comes along – and firmly reject those preaching these false doctrines.

The highlight of our trip was listening to several of the young men talk about the schools they have founded for the deaf near their home towns. These men know firsthand the need to bring the light of the Gospel to their fellow deaf countrymen – and they know that if they don’t act, no one will. So with the direction of trusted advisors, these young men have struck out on their own to open schools in cities where the deaf have no access to education, and would otherwise never hear the name of Jesus Christ! There are three men in particular I would like for you to pray for:

  • Chance Bakunzi studied at our school in Goma and now serves as the director of a new school in Rutshuru, about an hour north of Goma. With the assistance of Jimmy Ntaumenya, they operate a school of about 30 deaf students. The region is a hotbed of violence and guerrilla activity from the dissident group “M23”.  One of Chance’s frequent requests is for sponsorship to go to a Bible school. He is frustrated at the lack of easy-to-read Bible material that delves into deep doctrine. Invariably, the doctrinal material he gets is both simple to read and simplistic in its doctrine – and much of it comes from dubious sources. Next time I’m in his region, I’ll bring more books on systematic theology. They’re hard for him to read, but he’s promised he’ll spend the energy necessary to read and comprehend it all. No trivial task!
  • Shukuru Hertier studied at our school in Uvira, and, with the oversight of Pililo Amani (the director of our school in Uvira), he now heads up a school in the city of Fizi, about two hours south of his home town of Uvira. About 25 deaf students are enrolled in his school.
    School for the deaf in Kavumu, DR Congo

    School for the deaf in Kavumu, DR Congo

    The parents of the deaf children would rather spend their hard-earned money on their hearing children, and are reluctant to spend any money on their deaf children. Shukuru and his co-worker have no financial sponsors or income, and live day-to-day by the mercies of God.

  • Jean Pajo studied at our school in Bukavu. With the assistance of former schoolmates, he started a school in Kavumu, about an hour northwest of Bukavu.A prominent city leader in Kavumu was interested in his work and now serves on the school’s board. We had the privilege of visiting his school and were stunned on multiple levels. Incredibly, he had leased a building on the main street, purchased three sewing machines for vocational training, purchased a laptop for school administration, and pays a meager salary to his co-workers – all out of his own pocket! Impressive work for a 25-year old deaf man! Although school was out of session when we visited, we were fortunate enough to come across one of his students, a 17-year old who never received any kind of formal education till this year. The young man was overjoyed to see foreigners interested in his education. When he greeted us, he gestured “I don’t know sign-language,” but it was obvious to see that he was learning how to communicate – and it was just a matter of time till Jean’s training would get him to understand abstracts like “God”, “Jesus”, “sin”, and “salvation”.

All three of these men (and there are more like them) are in challenging situations, living day-to-day with uncertainty about the future. They want to do so much more, but lack school supplies, funds and most of all, thorough Biblical grounding. Pray that these young men would remin rooted, grow in their wisdom, keeping a close watch on themselves and their teaching (1 Tim 4:16), and desire above all else to see Christ glorified in their service for Him.

Madjibe Taigone

Madjibe Taigone – Faithful worker for over 30 years

Chad

We mourn the loss of Brother Madjibe Taigone. He was one of several young men trained by Dr. Foster in Nigeria in 1986, and has faithfully shepherded the deaf in Chad for these past 30 years. He passed away after undergoing bladder surgery in the first week of June. Pray for his wife and nine children.

Home

We had a bit of a health scare last month. Mother Berta was rushed to the hospital with stroke-like symptoms. Thankfully, it was a false alarm, and she is now resting well with my sister Faith. Continue to pray for Faith and her family as they extend loving care to our mother.

In Him,

Tim Foster

Dec 01

Christmas 2014

The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor – Luke 4:18-19

As Christmas draws near, our hearts are turned to reflect on the birth of our Savior and this special ministry He has entrusted to us. Indeed, we are privileged to see the Gospel going forth in proclamation of spiritual liberty to the captives. We praise Him to see the blind regain their sight. We rejoice in the liberty of the oppressed, and we are humbled when we consider that our glorious Lord has elected to show His favor upon us both now and when He comes again. May His Name be continually praised for the great things He has done! (Is 12:1-6)

Nigeria

Although it’s still a year out, plans are underway for the 55th anniversary next December. It’s hard to believe that it was in 1960 that my father, Dr. Andrew Foster, opened the first of several schools for the deaf in Nigeria. From those few schools and churches for the deaf, literally tens of thousands of deaf Nigerians have not only gained an education, but more importantly, have had their spiritual ears opened and learned to call on the name of Jesus Christ! We praise God that He has seen fit to use CMD to bring so many Nigerians into His fold.

Nigerian Construction Continues

Nigerian Construction Continues

Making Bricks in Nigeria

Making Bricks in Nigeria

In the past two decades, we’ve seen explosive growth in church-planting. From the two deaf churches planted in Lagos and Nigeria, the deaf leaders have struck out on their own, expanding the network of CMD churches. At this time, there are over 25 self-sustaining churches for the deaf across the country, and plenty of opportunities for planting even more churches. The enthusiasm and sacrificial collaboration we’ve witnessed among the Nigerians is a model that we would love to see in other countries. Pray for us as we work to replicate this kind of growth.

Along with the growth in church planting comes the dire need for leadership training. A few of the deaf leaders have completed university-level Bible study programs, but the need surpasses the supply. The greatest hindrance today is the lack of scholarships, as many of the deaf cannot afford to attend university or Bible college. Pray that God will supply this need, and that many well-qualified leaders will rise to the challenge of shepherding His sheep.

Construction of the new campus continues as funds allow. The first of the dormitories is near completion, and several classrooms and multi-purpose buildings are well underway. There is still much that remains to be done, and we’re anxiously looking forward to God providing the means for construction to continue.

Chad

Director Yves Beosso reports that electricity is now available in Walia, the village on the outskirts of N’Djamena. Till now, our school’s only source of power has been generators – an expensive option. Having electricity as a utility service will be a huge blessing. Over the past few weeks, faithful friends of CMD have done special fund-raising to help cover the $500 utility fee to bring electricity to our school. We’re praying that the school will be online before the end of the year.

Earlier this summer, Yves received an invitation from Deaf Ministries International (DMI) to give a lecture at their annual international conference held in Seol, Korea. We thank the Lord for allowing him to share with an international audience, and pray that DMI will be a vehicle through which Yves’ insights will be spread to other deaf ministries around the world.

 

Democratic Republic of Congo / Burundi

Our summer conference in Bukavu was a heart-warming success, and we thank you for your prayers! We’re thankful that attendance was a little higher than usual, but what really fired our zeal was the strong response to the teaching material. This year’s topic was the Supremacy of Christ, and we taught from the book of Colossians. I was a little concerned that the first couple of chapters would be too thick on theology, and not readily received.

Congo Bible Camp 2014

Congo Bible Camp 2014

To my pleasant surprise, not only did they grasp the complexities we taught, but they responded with many profound questions about the nature of Christ, the Trinity and the practical application of these theological truths. A large part of the teaching success is due to this year’s small group structure organized by fellow missionary Rene Lindquist. Additionally, the Lindquists were able to arrange for a short-term mission team from Michigan, USA, to help us out for a few days while they worked with other mission projects. We’re so thankful for their contribution, and so thrilled to see the Word of God bearing fruit in their lives.

For our 2015 conference, we’re exploring options for meeting in the neighboring country of Burundi, at the school Dr. Foster opened in the ‘70s. Pray for wisdom as we try to attract more Rwandan and Burundi attendees.

Two of our deaf young men have helped start new schools for the deaf in the cities of Rutshuru and Fizi. They are hard-pressed for finances and resources to meet the needs of the deaf. Also, many of the deaf in the region are negatively influenced by the growing influence of prosperity-gospel missionaries and preachers. Pray that the deaf will stand strong, resist the false doctrine, and lean on God alone.

Home

This December, my wife and I will be taking two of our kids to Washington DC. I’ve been asked to be the keynote speaker for a Nigerian deaf awareness conference, and will also use the time to bring our family to see some of the historical sights of DC. Pray for a safe trip and effective conference. Mother Berta is taking life one day at a time in the comfort of Faith’s home, and looking forward to her children and grand children visiting this Christmas season.

Thank you for your continued prayers!

In Him,

Tim Foster

May 21

Spring 2014

We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, that we may present every man complete in Christ. And for this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me. – Col 1:28-29

It’s truly a joy to interact with deaf Africans who have a robust understanding of the word of God. Seeing them take on a leadership role and guide others in a spirit of humility and grace is truly a beautiful thing. But regrettably, it’s not a very common thing. This is our ultimate goal and passion: to prepare the deaf for spiritual leadership roles within their communities, and equip them to make disciples for our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

DW-20140430-Q1-TSNigerians

Meeting with deaf Nigerians
enrolled in a Texas university

DW-20140430-Q1-2014ChadCamp

18th Annual Chad Bible Camp

DW-20140430-Q1-IbadanWell

Donated solar-powered well &
water storage tank in Nigeria

DW-20140430-Q1-AlessandraGrad

First Foster grandchild graduates from college

 

Nigeria

Every year, our deaf high-school students in Ibadan participate in the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) and the National Examinations Council (NECO). Students with high scores are able to proceed to universities in Nigeria and beyond. Recently, a few Nigerians have been able to enroll at SouthWest Collegiate Institute for the Deaf (SWCID) in Big Spring, Texas. As it turns out, SWCID is located about 4 hours west of our CMD headquarters in Texas! Last week, my wife and I drove there to visit the deaf Nigerians. It was a good time of fellowship and encouragement. Pray that more graduates may be able to attend SWCID in the future.

Construction of the new campus steadily inches forward. We’ve received a grant for 100,000 Euros from Siegworks Construction. Praise God! Another fantasic blessing came from a supporter who installed a solar-powered well. Having water on site will help greatly as construction continues at the new the campus.

After many years of service and numerous repairs, our center’s electric generator is now in dire need of replacement. The Commissioner’s for Women’s Affairs and Social Welfare has kindly donated a 6500W generator. It’s not powerful enough to run the entire facility, but we’re thankful that it helps take a load off the aging primary generator.

Chad

Over 220 people attended the 18th Annual Easter Camp for the Deaf. Most attendees had to travel to get to the city of Doba. Although the facility had a shortage of utensils and ran out of water on the 1st day, God showed His loving kindness by having local churches bring in water and utensils to meet the needs of the campers. We praise God that 19 people made a commitment to follow Christ. Pray that they will continue in discipleship.

When some village officials heard about the camp, they brought in 50 deaf people from outlying villages in the region. These deaf villagers had never received a formal education, and were stunned to see so many people, deaf like themselves, yet with advanced education and the ability to read, write and communicate about things they read in a Book. Pray that these deaf villagers will be able to attend a proper deaf school and learn to read, write – and hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

As in Nigeria, our Chad school has recently received financial support from some unlikely sources. The US Embassy visited our school in the capital city of N’Djamena one week before the Easter camp, and promised to help with the reconstruction of some deteriorated buildings. Most of the buildings at our center are made of mud-brick (as are most buildings in that part of town). The embassy delegates want to replace four of the deteriorated mud buildings with concrete buildings. Pray that they will follow through on their commitment when construction gets underway this August. While the embassy will be carrying the majority of the costs, we still need to raise several thousand dollars to complete the projects. Pray with us that the Lord will provide.

Democratic Republic of Congo

Staffing at our annual Congo Bible Conference will be interesting this year: A team of 15 people from Michigan – most of whom have never been to Africa – will be traveling in the Kivu region (eastern DR Congo) to help with two hearing conferences, as well as our deaf conference in Bukavu. There is also a possibility that a deaf American from Colorado will join our team. This year, we’re going through the book of Colossians, and placing more emphasis on small-group discussions to help the deaf assimilate the material we’ll be teaching. We want to capitalize on the additional help by increasing our budget so more deaf Congolese can afford to come. Pray that the Lord will provide mightily, as local transportation is the largest line-item in our conference budget. Pray also for the Michigan team: Traveling in the DR Congo is not exactly safe, and certainly not for the faint of heart.

Our school in Uvira has had some changes in staffing. Director Pililo Amani has added a young deaf high-schooler as a teacher for the primary classes, and so far, he’s doing well. They still have a need for sewing machines to teach tailoring and to make uniforms. Pray that God will meet this need.

Our school in Likasi, led by Director Mwamba Pascal, has a pressing need for a computer. We have several laptops on hand that I will be brining to the DR Congo this summer, but because our Likasi school is so remote, it’s far cheaper for our director to travel several hours south to Zambia and buy a computer there. Our missionary friend in Likasi, Ruth Willenbrecht, has helped locate a good deal. Pray that God will meet this need.

Home

Mother Berta is staying with us this week while my sister, Faith, is in New York to attend the graduation of her oldest daughter. Alessandra is the first of the Foster grandchildren to graduate from college. Following hot on her heels is our oldest daughter [name withheld]. Lord willing, she will be going overseas next year to work full-time with an evangelical ministry doing outreach to Muslims. Pray for these two as they strike out on their own, that God will continue to bless them and keep them and make His face to shine upon them, and give them peace.

In Him,

Tim Foster

Dec 01

Christmas 2013

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.

Congo Bible Camp - 2013

Congo Bible Camp – 2013

Pililo, Rob, Yves, Tim and Aaron

Pililo, Rob, Yves, Tim and Aaron

Regional Director of Education, Vice-Mayor of Bukavu, and Uvira School Director

Regional Director of Education, Vice-Mayor of Bukavu, and Uvira School Director

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.

In Him,

Tim Foster

Jun 10

Summer 2013

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

CMD Nigeria, 1960

CMD’s Ibadan School – 1960

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.

CMD Nigeria, 1975

CMD Nigerian Center – 1975

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.

CMD 1996

CMD Nigerian Center – Expanded in 1996

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!

Outreach

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.

Emmanuel Ilabor, Director of Nigerian Center

Emmanuel Ilabor, Director of Nigerian Center

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.

In Him,

Tim Foster