Friday, 22 September 2017

First 2 weeks of school 2017!

 Hey All! As you all know, one of our biggest focuses here in Cameroon is on education, especially focusing on training up kids in building Godly character, as Cameroon is a country where the majority of the population are kids. Well, you can imagine how much joy it was to be able to start up school again after not having been open since November of last year due to political unrest. The kids in the school are off to a good start and are just as happy to resume as we are.

"Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord." Psalm 34:11 Jeremiah is following the Psalmist's example of wanting to teach the children in the school more about God and how to please Him. 

The children are always eager to answer Bible questions. 

Yoder, our Miniature Pinscher decided to sneak out our gate and join us in school that day. The kids loved it!

P.E. time!

Having a basketball court has made PE and break time even more fun!

Making friends with the hope they will turn into sisters in Christ one day.
We are incredibly blessed to have Alima back from Ghana to teach in Cameroon for another school year. This is only possible because God did put it on the hearts of a congregation in the states to sponsor her. We are more than grateful for their care and support. 

There were many parents that wanted their children in the school but we had to say no due to the lack of staff. We do not charge school fees so we mostly rely on volunteers to teach. However, we have 1 Cameroon teacher, Rosette, who was with us last year and 2 part time Cameroonian monitors we have taken on which made it possible to accept more Kindergarten kids this year. Sophia (in the upper right picture) and Elizabeth (in the picture below) have been a huge help.

Elizabeth drilling the children using math flashcards. We praise God for providing various academic resources and able staff to give these children a quality education.

Story time with the younger pupils is a favorite for all involved!
It's always exciting when the children blend the words phonetically and read fluently.

F.B.E.M. offers both American and Cameroonian curriculum so the children will be well-rounded in all areas. The core subjects are Math, English, Science, Social Studies, Word Building, and Literature & Creative Writing. The Cameroon subjects are French and Citizenship though we plan to integrate more in the near future. Some of the extra curricular activities include Music, Physical Education, Art, and Home Economics. 

We are thankful to God for a great first 2 weeks of school. A few prayer requests for the school year:
1- Peace in Cameroon. Pray that we can continue to have the opportunity to provide high quality Christian education. Things are still somewhat unstable here, so we need prayers for protection and wisdom, that we can see out the school year peacefully.
2- Strength and Energy for the Teachers, and More Teachers for Next Year! We are blessed to have the volunteers and helpers that we have this school year. We are going to have 26 or 27 kids in school this year, praise God! Next year, Alima will return to Ghana, and we will need a volunteer to take her place. If you start planning now, you can be ready to come!
3- Resources- Buying chairs, ink for photocopiers, new desks, paying teachers, getting toilet paper and a multitude of other expenses are just part of running the school here. Please pray that God will supply the resources and finances we need to make this possible.

Thanks for reading, praying, and supporting! God Bless! 

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Summer's End

 Hey All! Greetings from Beautiful Buea! After 3 months of almost non-stop overcast skies and drizzling rain, we are finally starting to have some sunshine from time to time, and when the clouds part for a little bit, it is quite a sight to see! Our summer/rainy season is coming to an end, and we are excited for the sunshine and for ministry opportunities (school resuming! HURRAH--- more on that next post!). We just wanted to take a minute and share with you all a quick update about the end of our summer.

A little cooler than usual this time of year. Down into low 60s in the early morning! Despite the dampness and rain, and mold growing rampantly, we are blessed with lovely temperatures pretty much year round here in Buea. You should come visit and see- hint hint. 

Things have continued to go well with the gym ministry. In spite of the rain, we still have quite a number of people turning up and are happy to have an opportunity to train with them and share a Bible thought each day. Abel has brought a number for our evening assemblies. I enjoyed hitting a new PR as well this month, ha ha. 

We have ENORMOUSLY missed our sweet Hannah, as she stayed behind in the US in order to spend some time with her grandparents. She is a huge help and blessing to our family and the ministry here. We look forward to seeing her in just over 2 weeks! Counting down the days! 

In August, we were able to travel up to Bamenda, in the North West of Cameroon for a homeschooling Co-Op for missionary kids from various organizations. Our kids really enjoy this time, and we also had a chance to help teach music... 


And Language Arts 
It was a lot of fun and a great opportunity for our kids. It was also a good "warm-up" for our new school year (more on that next post). 

We were grateful for the opportunity to also be able to visit a congregation we'd never been to before and have the chance to preach and encourage. 

Coming back to Buea, it was such an enormous answered prayer to see Kenneth and his wife and their new baby Janvier. You may recall that Kenneth's wife was accused (without any evidence) of a crime and had spent around 6 months in prison awaiting trial without being granted bail. This is while she was pregnant. We had been praying about this situation since February, and helping Kenneth out with some of the challenges of trying to get his wife out on bail. Finally she was released last month, and three days later had her baby. So glad to see them for our Sunday evening Bible assembly. 
We enjoyed hosting the Schilinski kids for 10 days also, as their parents traveled for a wedding. It was a lot of fun for us and them. We really are the "Host"etters. You should come and see! Hint Hint. 

Well, that about rounds up the end of our summer, at least what we have pictures of, he he. We hope you all are doing well and continue to shine wherever you are! God bless and we love you all. 

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Back Home!

Hey All!

So excited to be writing this update from home! Last Wednesday, I headed out from St. Louis Airport on a long but smooth trip, picking up all my bags reuniting with my family. I wanted to take a minute and share with you all about the last month and let you know how things have been going.

So one of the primary reasons that I made the trip to the USA was due to the health issues I have been experiencing over the past several months. I was able to see a number of doctors and get a number of tests done. The good news is that they were able to rule out many things. Nothing worrisome showed up, and actually, the erosion that had been evident and the h.pylori infection that I had when in India, both have cleared up. In addition, I was told I could resume a normal diet, only to avoid foods if I notice they bother me. The doctors weren't really able to explain why I am still having nausea, but knowing it appears to be nothing serious is comforting. Hopefully, as I continue to heal from the GERDs, it will subside. I have seen some improvement in the frequency and severity of it over the past few months.

Me feeling a little woozy after my endoscopy, ha ha. 

Opportunities to Preach
As I was in the United States, I was blessed with the opportunity to visit with and share at a couple of different places. 

It was great to get to see Brian and Jael (and Zeal and baby Berea). I enjoyed a wonderful birthday weekend (turning 32), with them, and had a chance to preach at the congregation in Illinois where Brian is a minister. We do indeed miss their help, but know they are making an impact for the Lord in the United States. 

I enjoyed the opportunity to reconnect with saints in Warrensburg, MO, and to be able to preach as well as share about the mission work in Cameroon. They were a great encouragement to me and continue to help move the work in Cameroon forward. 

I also had the chance to preach in Fulton, MO, which was a tremendous blessing as well. 

Hannah had the opportunity to go with me to the States, as her grandparents bought her a ticket to come and spend a few months with them. I enjoyed spending some quality time with her, as she got to travel with me. She will be returning with Rhys and Sharon in some weeks, so we look forward to having them and her back. 

Meanwhile, on the Homefront
With me gone, our home assembly continued, with Abel, one of the disciples here, teaching lessons from the book of Titus. It was encouraging to hear reports of him doing a great job and of people being encouraged and continuing to be edified. 

Brittney kept busy while I was away, visiting various congregations as well as hosting visitors to the house. She also stayed busy with the gym program. 

Home Again- some good news and some challenging news.
It was good to get home, to see Brittney and the kids after being apart for a month. Thank you for all the prayers and encouragement during the past month. It is much appreciated. 

We shared last month about the need to find a volunteer teacher for this coming school year. We are excited to announce that our super volunteer from last year, Alima, will be returning for this school year. We also are so grateful for brethren in the US who have helped to sponsor her to come. This is a great answer to prayers! Thank you! 

We have been hit with some setbacks, of the financial nature, recently. I was not able to get insurance worked out in time for my trip to the States. International health insurance is not, unfortunately, ACA compliant (at least that we've been able to find), so all my medical expenses had to come out of pocket. The doctors I saw were very good about recognizing this, and avoided unnecessary testing and extraneous costs, but it was still quite expensive. 

Another major expense that we are unfortunately also looking at now is replacing our vehicle. In the past 3 months, we have had to change the brake discs and rotors, the shocks, ball joints, radiator, and yesterday, on our way back from the church's assembly, our land cruiser developed an issue where it will only work in 4 wheel drive. Trying to drive in normal mode results in a terrible racket and no movement. We suspect it may be the transfer case, but will find out tomorrow. Previous repairs have been quite expensive, and two of them, the radiator and now drive-train issue, would have left us stranded had they happened on the highway, which is really not something we would want to happen here in Cameroon. We had hoped to be able to hold off for another year or two, but it seems that our vehicle is reaching the end of its reliable life here in Cameroon, as repair issues seem to be snowballing. We honestly don't feel we can trust it, given the last 3 months. We will need to repair the present issue, sell it, and try and find a suitable replacement. Unfortunately, due to all the unforeseen medical costs of the last month, we have depleted much of our savings, so this comes at a really bad time for us financially. Please pray we can find the financial resources to be able to afford this major expense (we are thinking we will need to add around $10,000 to what we get from the sale of our vehicle- cars in Cameroon cost roughly 2-3 times what they would cost in the US), and that until that time, we can coax a little more time out of our present vehicle. 

Such is life and missions, full of a mixture of victories and challenges. Moving forwards means stuff sometimes breaks down. We continue to take one step forward in faith, and know that God will supply. Thanks for your prayers, continued encouragement and financial partnership. You are very much a part of this work! God bless!