Dear Family and Friends,
Please accept my apologies for this extended period of silence. I will not make any excuses, suffice it to say in many ways I/we have felt overwhelmed for quite some time. We sincerely appreciate the steadfastness and faithfulness of each one of you and feel bad for our lack of communication.
Going back to Christmas we were very happy to have Stephen and Lisette visit us. Those following us on Facebook will know they had a very harrowing trip, missing their first connection in Montreal with no other close connecting flight. Stephen spent the night showing the airlines how “it was possible” to get to Chad without excessive delay. This ended up with them returning to TO in order to catch the next possible flight overseas. I am sure his time as an MK helped train him in travelling resourcefulness. That being said, we had a wonderful time together.
Since then Kathryn has taught 3 levels of ESL classes which continue to be exciting as well as providing good opportunities for discipleship. She also continues to meet regularly with several local Christian school teachers providing them with encouragement and opportunities for sharing and challenging each other.
One of her more recent projects has been working with a young girl who is in Gr.7 and was still illiterate to the point of not even knowing what sounds the letters in the alphabet made. This has provided for interesting challenges as French is a second language for both of them. Over the past few months of teaching, she is now able to read most of the Gr.1 primer on her own. Sadly, this is the state of many of the children in school here, especially the girls as they are often seen as not needing education and simply passed on at the end of the year regardless of achievement. Most parents are not involved in their children’s education nor are the teachers equipped to help children who cannot learn by rote memorization.
Most recently one of her previous ESL students who is currently in university hoping to become a teacher has asked her to instruct him how to teach. He recognized through the ESL classes that there was a vast difference in how Kathryn instructs and handles the class verses how things are done in the schools he has attended. He has a great desire to make a difference. So over the summer months they have been meeting twice a week to study some professional development material together.
The end of June we made a “dual ministry trip” to Amtiman

                      Amtiman Arrival

in the far east of Chad. Though it is a large town in a predominantly M area of the country, there is a church established by the government officials that hold office there who are from the south which is predominantly Christian. Our local missionaries had mentioned to them the biblical integration workshop that Kathryn offers the Christian schools. They were ecstatic that we were willing to travel that far to offer it to them. A fellow missionary with AIM and her 2 boys joined us as she has assisted Kathryn in previous workshops and her boys are friends with some of the MKs in Amtiman. It was a 2day trip and some 1200km each way. Day one was about 8hrs of mostly broken pavement while day two from NDjamena was some 450km of relatively good pavement, about 150km of good dirt road with the final ~100km km being very wet red clay. All the male occupants of the vehicle enjoyed each splash that cleared the roof of the truck, which completely changed its appearance by the time we arrived some 11hrs later.

Amtiman Teacher

The workshop was well received with good participation and we left the 26 teachers equipped with some ideas and methods that we trust God, they will use to share their faith with the student body; 80% of which come from M families in a school of 1000 children. Pray they will have boldness to share in love. The second purpose of this trip was to install internet communications for the missionaries there. It was not without its challenges, not the least of which was the discovery of a missing key part that had somehow been removed from the box. Our facebook partners will remember the prayer request we sent out and with God’s help and some key connections with local transport we had the part in hand about 36hrs later. We thank the Lord that the equipment is working well and we have been able to link

Not quite your average clean room

                           Mobile Office

the WiFi between 3 families located about 1km from each other. We trust this will be useful in the Lord’s service in such a remote and vital, ministry area.

For the most part we have been reasonably health though this year’s hot season seemed more fatiguing than in the past. Kathryn of course continues to struggle daily with allergies which at present are somewhat diminished. She did however upon returning from our adventure east come down with some difficult stomach problems. After taking the normal treatment for such things she felt some better but a couple of days later got worse again. It was suggested that she take a double treatment as sometimes the nasty bugs are quite resistant. In all after 3 weeks of treatment she has returned to “normal” health… whatever that is.
Amidst all of this and the many hours of prep needed to teach in several subject areas she continues to work on her Masters of Education. Her latest paper gives a good overview of the state of education here in Chad and the huge need for training in general. For those who are interested there will be a link in the online version of this letter coming next week. Looking to the future she has a major paper due in a couple of weeks and 2 more courses before finishing her Masters. She is finding that the study material is very relevant to her teaching ministry and she has already implemented many of the ideas she has learned. The last week of August Kathryn will be doing one more teachers training in Moundou, near us. Cari who has been a great help recently went on furlough so we pray another missionary will be able to help out as it is good to have a second person during the work sessions to guide the teachers in their application of the material. Following that September will be the resumption of ESL classes again. Pray for a good student body who are hungry not only for English but for growing in their knowledge and understanding of God.
For myself maintenance continues to keep me very busy. We have several buildings which are in dire need of TLC… paint, rotting doors, torn screens etc. I recently was able to add some new solar panels to our guest facility which has made it much more comfortable for missionaries traveling through, coming for R&R or shopping in the city. Not long after installing said pannels I was removing a tree that was blocking the sun. One of the helpers hit a water line with the shovel putting a 1ft long hole in it. We quickly turned off the supply only to find out that the 20yr old valve would not shut completely and in so doing the pipe it was attached to was so rusted that it also sprung a leak. The next few days involved changing all the supply lines from our water tower. A few months ago I was also able to complete the 3rd phase of the solar for the print shop. They are now able to run even the bigger machines on the solar system. It is now a full 3phase solar electrical system where they are now only running the generator 2hrs a day for pumping water and boosting the system where they were originally running 8hrs. We praise God for the generous gifts given to make this possible. In mechanics, an AIM doctor’s truck has needed much attention recently due to the very rough road he travels to Bebalem quite frequently with very heavy loads. One such repair included changing his front axle housing which was bent and more recently changing his rear springs that were beginning to break. In logistics I helped with the import/arrival of a container that had supplies for at least 8 different missions working here in Chad. This is but a smattering of the things that I have done and trust are all for helping promote the work of the Gospel here in Chad.
In the area of family, we would be amiss not to say that being here is difficult being away from family. With siblings and children that face difficult times where we wish we could be physically with them to support them. Especially those who don’t enjoy the peace of knowing our loving father personally. We are grateful, however that we will be able to come home this Christmas for some holiday time with family and meet new grandchildren for the first time. Dan and Christine’s third, Derek and the yet to arrive first for Stephen and Lisette which should arrive Lord willing while we are home. Plans are to arrive home 1st week of Dec. and return to Chad mid January.
Again thank you for your regular prayers and support. May God multiply your love and generosity for His kingdom,
with much appreciation,
Paul & Kathryn

 

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