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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!