Archive of category "Newsletter"

Dear family and friends:

Life’s been a roller coaster this term. We have often said we hit the ground running but this time it seems the treadmill was running at a higher speed with no break. We are so grateful to those who pray faithfully when we’ve been silent and not faithful in writing. Probably the most important times to remember to pray. I went to write the other day and our newsletter site was down. Another dip in the roller coaster. I will try and compress this update and hit all the important/interesting parts of these past months.

When we got back in September, we had only been in the capital a few days to purchase some supplies when we got a call that our faithful house-help and coworker, Justin, of 25years had been found severely burned with his clothing having caught fire. To this day it is a mystery what happened. He was rushed to the hospital and very soon thereafter went to be with the Lord. We than received another call saying that we were being summoned by the police and had to leave for Koutou immediately. By the grace of God the proceedings went remarkably well considering all the possibilities. His memorial was a great testimony to his love for the Lord, his character of integrity and his attitude of peace. Not only was this a huge loss but also placed a new constraint on our ministry.

In spite of this we launched into regular trainings throughout October in some new villages with the help of the local Christian school coordinator. It was also a privilege to welcome Katelyn Hill to our team. She is a new, young missionary full of curiosity and energy. We have prayed often for new workers and she is a breath of fresh air who we are helping guide and mentor over the next year or so. Mid October I received a call from my cardiologist saying I had an appointment for Nov. 6th. These things being difficult to arrange, especially when overseas, I quickly booked a flight out and left Kathryn and Katelyn to teach at CEFE (the christian teacher’s training centre) in the capital. This year she taught both 1st and 2nd year students during the month of Nov., commuting daily by local taxi.

The new year has continued with trainings in many towns and villages here in the south most weekends while she continues tutoring struggling students here on the station during the week. It has been an unusually busy schedule this school year. Kathryn has trained in Bible and/or Literacy some 325 teachers from 70 schools in 9 school districts. We thank God for open doors, provision and protection. We pray that these trainings will be well implemented in the schools here in Chad.

While I was home in Nov. and the months proceeding my heart symptoms increased in both frequency and intensity. My appointment was with a young electrophysiologist who would subsequently perform the procedure that I needed. Unfortunately as things go the earliest date available was several months out. I did not feel that I should wait around nor return again in a couple of months. He agreed to schedule things for when we were due to come home this summer. I was very impressed by his willingness to do this and he released me under new medication to control the issues. On my last Sunday before returning our pastor asked if I would like to be prayed over. Of course! He gathered a couple of others and prayed that my condition be removed… so how do I respond now in faith? I felt no physical or spiritual effect. I was on meds to stop the issue and my symptoms had always been sporadic. I decided to keep on my meds until I had flown back to Chad. Upon returning I quickly reduced all my heart meds to zero. I hereby testify that I have had no symptoms since then. I believe that God has chosen to heal (why me?) or at very lease caused the issue to go into remission.

As to what I have done during the weekdays. I have continued to help with maintenance both here and in the capital when there. The capital has been plagued with power outages, the most recent being 10 days. Sometimes even just a single phase will go out. Their backup generator is expensive to run and fuel has been difficult to get at times. As a result I have helped design a 45Kva solar/backup system that will handle the needs of the station. We are looking to raise some $30,000 to put this system in place. The total cost is about $70,000. The first phase will be capable of running the compound at full capacity on battery alone for short periods and enough solar to essential needs throughout the day. Additional solar can be added in the future as needs warrant.

Here at Koutou I have helped replace the aging batteries on the print shop solar system with lithium batteries which should last at least another 10yrs.

I have also had the pleasure of training a young fellow, Francis, many things on the station including mechanical, plumbing and solar. He is very capable and quite good in diagnostics, a quality hard to find here.

Pray as I continue to move him into more responsibility that the Lord will guard his heart.

I also have completed an upgrade project on our Koutou guest house with swamp coolers and increased solar capacity.

Our aging water tower is still holding but the new one is nearing completion. I hope to complete the concrete work and possibly mount the tanks before this summer and install the solar water pump upon returning in the fall.

This year has also been difficult on several levels. Our print shop director sees his time of service coming to an end. This means we need to quickly find someone of integrity to start at least as an administrative assistant who will either move up to a director or else also find a new director to run the print shop. If you have any contacts that would be interested in running a small vital print shop for the church in the heart of Africa please let them know of this opportunity. You can also contact us further about this.

Also one of our coworkers has been detained at home with a recent discovery of cancer. Please pray for them as they proceed through treatment. Pray for continued healing and emotional and spiritual strength.

Just recently our dear friend and coworker, Mary Stone, has felt the Lord leading her into an new ministry back in the US.

We had the privilege of sharing some time with her as we helped pack up.

Please pray for her as she leaves almost 30yrs of ministry in Chad for a new calling. Transition is never easy either for those leaving or those remaining.

Our most recent trip was to the remote village of Tchaguine where we had 20+ teachers from about 10 schools including a Catholic school and some government schools.

Kathryn and Katelyn taught both the chronological bible story program as well as literacy over 2 days. What a privilege.

I was able to set up a reliable internet connection for the missionaries serving in the village. A task that had evaded me on our previous visit in October.

The following day drove out to where the villages in the area had their fishing derby. On the appointed day the men go to the pond cut off from the river by the dry season to spear as many fish as they can overnight.

Then the next morning the women join them and gather at one end. On the signal of the chief they all proceed through the water thrusting baskets into the water, reaching inside them to see if there are any fish left. They all proceed from one end to the other. A unique social event to witness.

Kathryn’s foot which continues to be debilitating making training difficult, and the unusually long and extremely hot, hot season has added to the challenges.

We anticipate coming home for a few months at the end of May for 3 months, during which we hope to see many of you and follow up on medical issues. Until then and maybe most importantly please pray for Chad’s presidential elections to be held May 6th. Pray for peace and that a good leader will be democratically selected. Also for continued peace after the results are announced.

As always we covet your prayers and praise God for your faithfulness.
Working for the Kingdom, Paul & Kathryn

More pictures and videos: