Dear Family and Friends,

As the white stuff floats down from the sky, (not snow… ashes from field cleanup) we want to bring each and every one of you the very best Christmas wishes. May each of you enjoy time spent with either family or friends. It is hard to believe that it is almost Christmas time again. Once again the past few months have just flown by. Each day with many new challenges and ending with an updated list sufficient for more than the next day. This is not to complain and actually is very conducive to a good night’s sleep. Except for the last couple of weeks where Kathy has been struggling with flu like symptoms we have been in good health with her allergies remaining mostly manageable.

Fun learning English

At the end of August Kathryn began teaching her new semester of ESL classes. She has been teaching 2-3hrs, 4 days a week in the classroom. She mostly customizes her curriculum by combining several others.  Any of you who are teachers or that know her, knows that this leaves barely enough time to prepare the next lesson and grade the work. On registration day a young man of M background happened by the station looking for someone to practise speaking English with. He decided to register for her intermediate course and also brought along 4 of his friends. This provided a new challenge for Kathryn to be careful to present the biblical material in such a way as to be clear in content yet unoffensive to these new students. She works very hard at making sure her classes retain quality language learning while at the same time communicating clearly biblical content. She has been challenged by and enjoyed the numerous discussion points that have come about with the new student body. Please pray that the Holy Spirit will use their inquisitiveness to discover the truth of the Gospel. It is always hard for us as we travel in town to see so many who work so hard at trying to gain salvation yet are stuck on the wrong road, when it is a free gift.

As for me, I continue to begin each day with a plan of action that is usually deterred by some happening requiring my more immediate attention. The final room of the guesthouse remains as yet unfinished, though many times in the past months we could have used it as our frequency of guests seems to increase from month to month. Many of whom are missionaries serving in other areas of Chad looking for a quiet place to take a break.

One day a couple of months back I received a call from a missionary doctor in Bebalem where she works, wondering if I could come and have a look at their generators. In over a month they had only had intermittent electricity at the hospital and had not been able to pump enough water for both the living quarters and the hospital. It had been even longer since they had been able to use the x-ray equipment. I left early the next morning on the 2hr (60km) trip and upon arriving there I discovered the “new” generator had been cobbled so badly that it looked 20yrs old rather than the 3yrs it had actually served. All the electronic had been disconnected as the local mechanics do not understand them and most of the control solenoids had been bypassed or hot-wired. Someone had recently attempted to rebuild the injector pump and in so doing disabled the governor. This meant that for every light you turned on, the generator would slow down until it finally quit. I knew there was no immediate hope of repairs so turned to the old (20+yrs) Deutz generator. It was sooty, missing some exhaust gaskets, had oil leaking from places I could not determine and a fan belt that flopped like a pair of panty hose on the pulleys. In spite of all this it sounded strong. I enquired as to why it could not be used and was told that the electrical current was weak. This had been determined by a group called “electricians without boarders”. I put my tester on it and found that it was running at 40Hz instead of the required 50Hz. We slowly began bringing it up to speed and it seemed to hold a steady line. We then tried the water pump… it worked, then on to the X-ray room. I watched the meter as it booted up and they ran a test. All worked without a flicker. I left that day with everything running (though sounding rough) and promising to return in a week with an experienced diesel mechanic who was due to arrive in the next few days.

Roland (the diesel mechanic) and I returned the next week and upon quick investigation determined that the problems lied even deeper so we dismantled the motor sufficient to remove the injection pump for inspection and returned home with it and a short list of “essential” parts that we would need. That trip was interesting watching him who had most recently worked for a heavy equipment manufacturer, now trying to find a “clean” place to work. Even the trip was interesting as we used one of his old mission trucks. On the way out we noticed the truck was not to stable in the sand and on the return trip the brakes began to go soft and then the clutch refused to disengage. When we put the truck in the garage to begin work on it we discovered that the only thing holding the front left wheel on was the brake calliper. We praise God for his protection when we are unaware. The hospital is still running with only one old, very rough generator. Roland has since left the country but was able to inspect the pump and with the help of the internet has left me with instructions for re-assembly. I am still waiting for some of the parts we ordered. Pray that these would arrive soon and that I will be able to reassemble the generator properly and get it back into service.

Another recent detraction from my regular schedule came with the arrival of Charlie McCordic. He returns to Chad every year or so to provide continuing education to the local pastors. This is a very important ministry as most of the pastors have little or no chance of this after leaving bible school, unlike pastors in our country who have to choose which seminars, training courses, and workshops being offered will fit into their schedules. When visiting like this Charlie must rely on the availability of a vehicle from resident missionaries on furlough. These vehicles are often at the end of their maintenance schedule and this time while driving south the vehicle he had seemed quite unstable and when braking hard would lurch left so violently that it felt it would roll. This was unacceptable especially with so many people milling about on the roads in the villages. Upon arriving at Koutou he asked if I would take the time to look it over and fix what was necessary. To my horror I discovered that someone had greased the front right brake calliper and installed pads that were meant for a different vehicle. The front left wheel bearing was completely shot and ready to come apart. The instability was further compounded by the fact that all but 2 of the rubbers in the control arms for the axles were disintegrated, several to the point that I could push them out with my bare hands. 3 days and $500 later the Land Cruiser was ready for the road. He arrived 2 days late for the seminars but the key is that he arrived.

A few other things I have been involved with in the last few months were a trip to check on the viability to get food to the many who were displaced by this years flooding along the Tangile and Logone rivers, said to be the worst in 50+ years. This is contrasted by the joy I had in helping our faithful house worker bring in almost 50 large gunny sacks of peanuts which benefited from the extra rains in an area that did not have flooding. Another day was spent rescuing a container which stored book sets for local pastors, from ambitious termites. I also had to build a lift system to dump fuel from barrels into the fuel storage tank due to the theft organize by the previous delivery team. They delivered 8000litres then stole 4000!

These are but a few of the more recent stories of how we are involved in the ministries that are reaching the lost and enabling the church here in Chad. Pray with us that the Lord will send more workers into his harvest. There are many new opportunities available here in Chad as well as many working in established ministries with the church. The church here in Chad continues to grow with recent evangelistic campaigns in 2 major cities that have resulted in several hundred making decisions to follow the Lord. Pray for the local Christians in Sarh and Léré areas who are now responsible to follow up these new believers.  Pray to for the many who are recovering from the recent flooding along the rivers in southern Chad.

In family news, Stephen is now working full-time for a software development company in Kitchener and holding down the fort at Louisa St. (our house). Jessica sleeps there while being involved 110% at Emmanuel Bible college as well as a couple of youth groups. Daniel and Christine moved to Kirkland Lake in September to take over the pastorate in the church where Kathryn and I met and were married… how cool is that.

We are so privileged to be His servants here in Chad, helping build the kingdom. Thank you for your partnership with us in that, in whatever ways God enables you. We give Him the thanks for giving us children who are following Him. We wish each of you God’s greatest gift that he brought to earth so many years ago, a personal relationship with the Creator of this world. How awesome.

Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year,

Paul & Kathryn

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