Dear friends and family,

Greetings from Chad.  We praise God for his many blessings each and every day.  We thank each of you for your continues prayers and support.  I guess the best way to bring you up to date is to do so as chronologically as I can.

Back in June we returned to Canada for the birth of Saveah, Jessica and Rory’s first.  It had been planned that she would need reconstructive heart surgery immediately after birth.  Normally Toronto Sick Kids’ hospital does not deliver babies but only admits them after birth (often very soon by adjoining tunnels from nearby hospitals) but due to the severity of the situation and needed teams of specialists it was decided the birth was best to take place at Sick Kids.  For those of you who followed on Facebook you were aware of the many who were praying that day and the following weeks.  We praise God for his favour towards our family and while there were many tense days and complications along the way, to date Saveah has not needed any surgery excepting a minor one shortly after birth to encourage her heart to perform better and continue to develop.  We were able to welcome her home just days before returning to Chad.  Jessica and Rory both rose to the challenge of her special care ranging from a special formula to heart monitoring and a very rigorous routine of injections and medication around the clock.  God continues to work in Saveah’s little body and she is growing well.  She transitioned more quickly to breast feeding that expected and is down to one heart med 3x daily.  Though we were not present we had the privilege of watching a video taken of her dedication just a couple of weeks ago at our home church.  God has been so good and we cannot thank him enough for so many things and especially for his miraculous work in Saveah’s body.  Things to keep in prayer are her continued need for care for her heart, one of her kidneys seems to not be functional and for Jessica’s social needs as she adjusts to being a stay-at-home mom.

Daniel and Christine continue to minister in Kirkland Lake which has it challenges as a small northern Ontario town as well as being far from family.  Their daughter Rylynn has started school this year and is having difficulty adjusting.  (wow time flies) Pray for wisdom during this time of transition.

Stephen and Lisette continue to grow as a family with Dorrit growing and discovering new things each day.  We covet your prayers for each of the kids and their families as they grow and in their walk with the Lord.

On our flight back we had a 3-day stop over in Barcelona and took some much needed down time and planned virtually nothing.  It was very good and much too short :-)  but we needed to get back to tasks that were awaiting us.

As summer is when teachers are more free (though harder to connect with) Kathryn began scheduling teachers’ trainings and since has done 2 Biblical integration workshops and one Bible storying workshop which is a 3yr program developed by another mission for presenting the Bible chronologically in the classroom.  One of the integration workshops was a re-visit to Amtiman and it was good to see the teachers (more than 30 this time) and encourage them in their testimony in a difficult environment.  It was encouraging to see how much their faith and boldness had grown over the past year.  They are also very appreciative knowing the condition of the some 1200kms of road needed to reach them.  While the road was long and much of the road degraded since last year, now taking us over 14hrs, we did have the opportunity to see some wild life along the way… wart hogs, meerkats, baboon and several exotic birds.

Please pray for the educational situation here in Chad.  This is the third year that they are not functioning properly due to reduced or lack of salaries for the government teachers.  Last year the school year amounted only to 4 months broken into 2 sections!  This year they have closed a couple of the universities and teachers were threatening not to start at all but some tentative agreement has been reached so they are now scheduled to start this week.  While the christian schools are not completely under the government, many of their teachers are supplied by the government and so directly affected.  Also when the govt. schools are not running, those in private schools, both students and teachers, are often threatened and/or physically harmed and as such last year most of the private schools did not have a full year.  This year most christian schools did start, hoping there would be some resolution so please pray that this agreement is honoured and holds through-out the year and that schools would remain open.  Kathryn has begun her monthly teachers’ club but it was moderately attended due to the evolving situation in the schools.

Initially as part of her master’s studies Kathryn had begun a program to help struggling readers.  This is a huge problem in the schools with many reaching high-school while remaining virtually illiterate.   Here ‘study group’ involved about 20 kids from our village, ranging from grade 4-8, none of whom knew the sounds for the complete alphabet and most could not give the sounds for more than a few letters.  After 7 weeks of tri-weekly intervention all of them can read at some level and have the phonetic tools to grow their knowledge.  While this is very encouraging it is also discouraging to think that so little effort is needed for success.  Please pray as we try to find ways to help the teachers see and engage in the real possibilities for success.

As we mentioned in our last letter we are amassing some books for small libraries for some of the schools.   We are thankful for a few very significant gifts to help in this area.  At present we have 6 prepared that contain just over 100 books ranging from simple stories to science and other subjects.  It has been quite the challenge to resource them and then the logistics to get them here.  Some we bought locally in the capital while others came in our suitcases from Canada and others from France via Germany, while yet others we are awaiting in the next container from the US.  This will be an ongoing project for some time so if you wish to be involved you can find the project under ‘school libraries’ on TEAM’s donation website.

As for myself other than being chauffeur to the workshops I also sit in on most of them being a second ear for understanding nuances or the back-story to questions being asked and generally being a ‘teacher’s assistant’.  This year I have once again joined the mission leadership team and have been blessed as we field inquirys from those who are seeking to serve the Lord overseas.  One such young lady may be interested in working along side Kathryn in some of the teaching ministries.  The last one who was interested has since got married so her timeline has been altered, though we are praying that she and her husband could still join the ministry team here in the future.

Since the recent arrival of the Vilhelmsson here at Koutou, Martin Vilhelmsson is planning on a discipleship ministry while teaching young people some technical skills.  I will be helping him somewhat in this ministry and are presently preparing the workshop to function more effectively for this ministry.  I also continue to maintain the property at Koutou which is quite time consuming during the rainy season as things tend to grow! 😉 We lost half of our guava trees this past year from termites so did some re-planting.  That being said the rains this year were not very plentiful and as such much of crops did poorly.  Our house-help, Justin, last year got over 30 sacks of peanuts from his field where this year he got only 15 from the same.  The rains also tapered off before the grain could fully mature so people are expecting a very poor yield.  Please pray for a reasonable harvest not just from their fields but also in the spiritual fields.

Please also continue to pray for the division in the church.  There has be a concerted effort for reconciliation by some as well as some of the local churches getting fed-up with the situation and wanting to move on.  Pray that the Lord will do his work in the hearts of men to bring about his glory.

We are so grateful for each of you who takes the time to pray and give for the Lord’s work here in Chad.  May God richly bless you for your generosity.