Dear Family and Friends,

Greetings from Chad, yes we are back… have been for a while, so let me catch you up.

First we wish to thank each of you for your faithful prayers and support. Without you we could not serve here.
Leaving family is never easy but this time was especially difficult with Daniel continuing his new life as a single dad amid the restrictions of Covid lock-downs and the upheaval the children must struggle with. While I did manage to “finish” the addition for Kathryn’s mom she was still settling in as we prepared to leave.
Kathryn’s surgery went well though there were many scheduled and cancelled dates before it happened. We are grateful to have had a top notch surgeon and Kathryn healed quicker than expected. Even the surgeon was surprised at her level of recovery at her 6wk check-up early March.
The next weeks were a bit of a blur as we packed, arranged for flights which had to be re-booked due to airline schedule changes, finished up final house arrangements, and scheduling a Covid test that had to be valid withing 72hrs of arrival in Chad (48hr result time, +time between that and departure, +22hrs travel time = ???). If you follow us on FaceBook you will have seen some of these details. All this was while our need to get back surmounted due to our lengthy absence, other missionary schedules, presidential elections etc., played a role in these decisions.
We are thankful to the Lord that the actual travel was mostly uneventful, excepting the mayhem we encountered in Paris Airport. We arrived in Chad the day before the April 11th election and settled down for a restful 1wk of quarantine… No sooner was that done then the president’s re-election was declared and news that insurgents were approaching the capital and then the president was killed while visiting the troops. This spelled Certain-Uncertainty. Plans were made for evacuation of personnel from the capital whether out of country or to a safe location. The “safe location” for us and 13 others was Koutou, our place of service. This was great for us but the station has only had a couple of people on it for quite some time to required rapid setup and significant maintenance over the next weeks, keeping fridges and fans running on old batteries.
It was good to be “home” but there was no time for unpacking, especially as Kathryn became ill again with malaria and some kind of respiratory infection at the same time. We were able to quickly get a malaria test and begin treatment however the bad cough was a mystery. We tested for Covid but was negative. We are thankful that, Eric, our current field leader who was with us is also a doctor and was able to monitor and provide valuable advice. It took 2 weeks but Kathryn is feeling herself.
After a prolonged start we wanted to get things into motion. Kathryn quickly organised an upper-level English conversation course using old Daily Breads from our church as a base for discussion and also began tutoring some children in reading a couple days a week who are still struggling after several years of school. The ESL classes are going well and being enjoyed by all with some good discussion happening along with instruction in grammar and new vocabulary. The reading students are enthusiastic and had to be reminded that it was not a time to bring friends. 😀
I had already started diagnosing and working on things like failing battery systems and broken down generators. Our own were not to be left out of this as our own batteries we had invested in only a few years ago and were supposed to last another 3-5yrs quickly died after we arrived, leaving us to scramble for a solution. Local batteries are usually copies made without good quality control and often even with labels that misrepresent the contents. We are praying that the ones we got will last until a shipment can come from the US next year. So far, so good. I have also ordered a new water pump for one of the generators which is currently out of commission which a co-worker has graciously agreed to bring out in their luggage. I have also made 3 trips to Béré which, while an old mission station, has not had anyone living at it for a number of years, preparing it for Mary who will be locating there as a new ministry location for her. This involved repairing windows, screens, solar installation, well pump and wall repair etc.
To the future… uncertainties? Our Ministry Support Centre in the capital will be short handed in July so the plan is for us to help out for the last half of July with another family is covering the first 2 weeks. Upon return from the capital Kathryn plans to fill out her schedule with a beginner ESL class and resume training and encouraging the teachers in the Christian schools. Please pray especially for this last one as it is a dicey situation with the church split. There is much jealousy and dissension on both sides. Even for simple church attendance it is difficult for us as we are located in the middle of an area where most of the churches are from the break-away side. As are most of our national co-workers here. While we try to bridge the gap and lead to forgiveness, the church’s testimony is not a good one. Pray that our Father who desires us to be of one mind and family guides leadership and raises up those who can bring reconciliation. Pray that is some way we can be uses as peace makers.

For the Kingdom, Paul & Kathryn

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