Merry Christmas & Happy New Year,

We wish each and every one the peace and joy that our Saviour brings, not just at this time of year but throughout the coming year. May each of you sense his very real presence in your lives no matter the circumstances.

I believe that much of the maintenance catch-up us behind me though the list is still quite long. Since coming back from serving in NDj for a few weeks,among a few of the bigger things I have been able to accomplish has been the repair of the main generator at Koutou. I was able to purchase the engine parts needed on Amazon and have them brought here by another returning missionary along with some solar equipment for our office. A couple of vehicles have also required major maintenance like rebuilding differentials. One of them we began simply opening it up to replace an axle seal and ended up replacing a well worn wheel bearing. I have also made a couple of trips down to Sarh (300+km) to update a missionaries satellite internet however it is proving to be more of a challenge than usual so will require another trip in the new year. Pray that the Lord would make that trip successful in the new year.

Kathryn was able to do several teachers’ trainings in the past few months. We spend 1 week in Bere teaching Bible storying as well as an introduction to the new reading program she has developed in French for the local schools. Both trainings were well received with about 25 teachers attending from the area. Several teachers expressed their appreciation for the tools and methods she taught, saying that it would revolutionise their classrooms. Kathryn has also provided a couple of Bible storying trainings here at Koutou as well as beginning the monthly teachers’ club. This started out well with much enthusiasm and 30+ teachers from half a dozen denominations participating. Unfortunately Kathryn was inexplicably, bedridden for 3 days just prior to the 3rd club and had to cancel the club. This caused some confusion with the schedule. That along with conflicts teachers have had with other responsibilities has caused the attendance to dwindle these past few months. Pray that we will be able to encourage them and renew the participation in the new year.

The ESL classes Kathryn is teaching also continue to be a source of joy. Not simply teaching them good English but also building into their lives thorough the discussions that arise. A couple of the teachers that come to the trainings are previous ESL students and it is a joy to see the difference these discipleship opportunities has made in their lives. She currently is teaching ESL 3 days of week, beginner and intermediate classes. Pray for insight into the many questions and discipleship opportunities that present themselves.

Last but no least she continues to tutor half a dozen children who have or are at risk of dropping out of school because of their inability to read. They range from 9 to 14yrs old and several could not even recognise their names or identify sounds for any letters of the alphabet. The program she has developed is based on the Reading Simplified method which is an accelerated reading program. One girl who is 11 and Gr.4 started in May, not being able to write here name and could only identify a few letter sounds. Due to the rote repetition system used in the schools she was still able to pull off 20-30% scores. Yesterday her father came to us thrilled to show us her report card. She is the top in her class with scores of 80-90% in subjects that are language based. It is not just about the scores though. Reading is key to getting ahead in life and seeing these children coming out of their tutor sessions with big grins on shows us how it is changing their very self worth. The one boy who has dropped out of 6th grade is making good progress and we are praying that this will enable him to go back to school next year with the confidence he can learn and grow. Pray with us for the children in Chad as they have a huge challenge as most of their parents cannot even read. According to recent studies, the literacy rate in Chad has gone from 35%, 10yrs ago to a current 23%. It is easy to understand the struggle the church has when only one quarter are able to read God’s word. Kathryn had the privilege of sharing her materials in a workshop with 15 other missionaries after our recent annual conference. We trust these will be sparks of change in lives, multiplied across the country.

Winter is upon us here as well (low ~17C high ~28) most days. Yes and the virus is ramping up here as well though the numbers are mostly irrelevant as testing is almost non-existent. Vaccines are free but even so I have calculated that they have administered a scant 25,000 in the last 3 months in the nearby city of Moundou. Stats for Chad say less than 1% vaccinated and have placed us as the country most at risk. Many people are complaining about “colds” with a headache and loss of taste. Like you we try to function and take precautions as much as is possible. Lord willing our new schedule will see us home more frequently but for less time. We are currently planning on returning to Canada beginning of May for a couple of months. (restrictions permitting) This should help us maintain a more consistent connection with the schools here in chad. Kathryn continues to battle diet issues and has developed a somewhat debilitating sore foot. Much similar to planters facitus. We pray that the lighter load over the holidays will enable her to give it the restorative rest it needs.

Please continue to pray for the ongoing division in the church denomination. We are ever thankful for your faithfulness and prayers in our regards. May God pour out his richest blessings on you now and in the coming year.

for the Kingdom,
Paul and Kathryn

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