Category: Prayer Letter

Spring 2011

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!

At Home
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.

In Him,

Tim Foster

Fall 2010

But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them. – 2 Timothy 3:14

As Spring turns to Summer, CMD is welcoming a number of new changes as our Lord continues to shape us and grow us in new directions on a number of fronts, both big and small. We are excited to report how God uses us through your faithfulness and prayerful support to continue being a light in many unreached places and ways.

During the spring, over 700 deaf people from 36 states in Nigeria convened in Illorin to attend the 40th annual Easter camp. Emmanuel Ilabor, the general director of the center in Nigeria, reports that the work of the Spirit was evident, and we praise the Lord for 34 baptisms during this four-day event!

This summer, the Ibadan Center for the Deaf celebrates their 50th anniversary! Pray with us that this event will be highly attended as we celebrate God’s faithfulness for the deaf in the country of Nigeria.

God’s faithfulness has been evident in so many ways and places throughout the deaf churches in Nigeria. There are approximately 28 deaf churches in the country today as a result of the seeds God planted through CMD 50 years ago. One church in Ikire was recently blessed beyond measure with the gift of a very large, beautiful new church building, donated by a retired army officer. This donation has some history: at a nearby state-owned school, Muslim parents of deaf children built a mosque and then tried to pressure the Christian teachers and students to abandon their faith, and mocked them for not having a house of worship. This gift of a larger and nicer church could fuel Muslim animosity, so pray with us that this will be used for the glory of God instead. Pray also for protection and peace between the Christians and Muslims.

On a sad note, the center in Ibadan was recently struck with lightning, which caused extensive damage to the backup generator, and various computers and electronic equipment. It turns out that the building was not constructed with proper grounding. Installing the grounding and replacing the damaged equipment will be quite expensive. Pray with us that the Lord will quickly replace this necessary equipment.

Director Yves Beosso reports that the 2009/2010 school year was a great success! The Lord blessed them with 8 new students for a total of 43 deaf students, and the year concluded with no serious illnesses among the students or staff. They have received several gracious donations including books and shelving for the books. These resources are a wonderful gift and are diligently used by the children to help expand the education they receive at the school in Chad. As always, they are looking for more books to add to their growing library.

One of the deaf students, Aspal Reine, comes from a Catholic home. After hearing the Gospel, she decided to abandon her Catholic upbringing and give her life to Christ. Her parents are not at all happy about her decision, promising her that she will die and go to hell if she doesn’t abandon Christianity. They had also threatened to stop paying her tuition if she doesn’t stop attending the Christian church at the center. Praise God for His faithfulness! A charity group in the Netherlands has granted a scholarship for ten students, so Aspal is able to continue her education. Please continue praying for young Ms. Reine, that her parents will not only allow her to continue fellowshipping at the center, but that they too will give their lives to Christ.

Construction of the new school building is finally complete! The building was completed in three months and immediately put to use for tailoring classes, carpentry classes and a growing library. The students, staff and parents thank you for your faithfulness in supporting this project from start to finish.

The Lord has also blessed the believers in Chad with a very successful Bible Camp this past April. A total of 197 campers attended a four-day event focusing on The Rewards of the Faithful Believer (1 Cor 3:8-15). Camp goers were encouraged from the Word to continue in faithfulness, following Christ’s example and obtaining a heavenly reward.

Please continue praying for our leaders at the center in Chad, as spiritual challenges aren’t the only trails our fellow workers face. Director Yves Beosso’s wife, Agnes, suffered a stroke 3 years ago, and although she is improving a bit, she is very limited in her ability to walk and cook.

At Home
Here at home, we’re seeing our fair share of changes as well. Thank you for your continued prayer regarding Berta’s health after her stroke last year. Her mobility has improved to the point to where she can move about the house without a walker, albeit slowly. Her communication is still a challenge, and dealing with abstracts like financial reports is sometimes more than she can handle. At our last board meeting, she announced that the time has come for her to retire, and the board designated her son, Tim, as the interim director until such a time as the Lord appoints a permanent director for CMD. But if you know anything about Berta, you’ll know that ‘rest’ simply is not in her vocabulary. Although her pace has slowed considerably, she still stays busy keeping in contact with the various directors in Africa, and training her son on the ins and outs of running a multi-national mission for bringing the Gospel to the deaf. Lord willing, Tim and his wife will travel to the Congo during the month of September, so stay tuned!

John is recuperating from a benign thyroidectomy, but is otherwise doing well and staying busy.

Indeed, your continued prayers are coveted.

In Him,
Tim Foster