Thursday, 12 June 2014

School Prep Progress!

Faith Builders Educational Ministries Starts!

Greeting Friends, Family, Supporters, and Saints!

We are very excited to share with you some progress in our efforts to provide quality Christian education in Cameroon.  As you know, we home-school our children, Hannah and Jonathan.  Many have been impressed by them, especially Hannah whose reading and writing skills are far advanced for her age.  Recently, a number of Cameroonians have expressed the desire for their children to be educated in the same way.  So, our home school has the potential to develop into a school in our home. We have four parents who are interested in us educating their child, and they have also told of us others who have expressed interest to them. With Hannah and Jonathan, we have between 4 and 8 potential students!

We are progressing through the governmental paperwork steps necessary to take advantage of this opportunity:

  1. .     We are registering as a Literacy Center/Tutoring Program.  The requirements for registration as a school requires land, a building, and Cameroonian teachers and curricula, all of which run counter to our objective of a Christian education model that can be reproduced by Cameroonians after having been trained by it.
  2.      We are forming an NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) to provide legal structure for the school, the gym, and other programs we may develop.  This greatly simplifies our visa status.

In addition, we must assemble the educational materials, equipment, and location:
  1.     Our garage can be transformed into a classroom.  Presently, we are using a 12 x 12 room in our house as a school room for Hannah and Jonathan.  The garage is 15 x 18.  Further, the garage can be entered from the outside, so students, parents, and visitors will not be trooping through our living space all day.  This also appears more official.  And, we will be able to reassign the present classroom as an office/guestroom.  A month does not go by without visitors staying with us, sometimes for weeks at a time.
  2.      Equipment will be needed.  Presently, Hannah and Jonathan write in their lesson books.  The cost of shipping that much paper for our school is prohibitively expensive.  We can run the school more cost-effectively by having a copier.  (The ACE program allows missionaries to copy their materials without charge.  Don’t try this at home!)  We would like to have a computer so that the students can become literate in that skill.  Of course, the children will need desks.  A scoring table, teacher’s desk, a white board and flooring are also needed.
  3.      The stock of curricular materials must be maintained and expanded over time.  We have the materials for the first semester.  We need to begin stocking up for the future before the need arises so that we do not come to an abrupt halt due to the uncertainty of delivery in this part of the world.  Further, although we will re-use many materials, the humidity and mold takes its toll much faster here than in the US.  Also, we would like to add some classes not offered by ACE such as French and Cameroonian History and Geography.

Our vision for the school is small in terms of capital but big in terms of impact.  The focus of our education is the building of character – the character of Jesus.  West and Central Africa are rich in natural resources, yet remain desperately poor due to a lack of character.  We intend to build leaders, those who make a difference both in the Kingdom of God and in the country of Cameroon.

So, we are seeking partners in Christian education.  To begin in the Fall of 2014 will require many prayers and cash.  We ask that you pray specifically for our paperwork as it negotiates a notoriously corrupt system.  Also pray for wisdom as we determine which students to accept and in putting into practice our educational philosophy.

When we first proposed to move to Cameroon, our prospectus included two budgets: start-up and education.  We have been assisted and supported by a great number of people and groups for our start-up phase.  We have become rather well-known in the area and have developed many quality relationships.  We have assisted many congregations through preaching and teaching and have been able to study the Bible with a large number of individuals.  Through the gym ministry, we have a constant flow of new, non-church people with whom to develop relationships.  Now it is time to start the school.  Here is a list of some of the things we have identified as part of starting this up. We appreciate your prayers and support and are excited that God has brought us thus far. 

Desired Start-up Items
Masonry for garage into classroom renovations.
Carpentry for garage into classroom renovations.
Metal door and windows for garage into classroom (for security).
Painting of classroom.
Student Offices (Learning carrels to minimize distractions).
Floor rug or carpet (helpful considering the dampness here in Buea)
Dehumidifier (essential to keep books from molding).
Teachers desk and chairs
Curriculum (We will buy on a year-by-year basis). Some of this cost we will offset from the parents, as they have the means.
Miscellaneous School Materials and Equipment
Total of Desired Start-Up Items
Wish List Items: (Dreaming big here- one day we hope to be able).
Playground equipment- Swing and Slide Set
Cementing of a half-size basketball court (for PE and also for afternoon neighborhood outreach).
Renovation or construction of an outside bathroom for school kids.
School Van for field trips and pick up/drop off of students who live farther away. Would also see double use whenever we have visitors come to see the ministry, helping to carry them around.

We have already started work on some things: here are a few pictures.
We've gotten these student offices made... Hannah has already started using one already for her homeschooling. The isolation and minimizing of distractions from having an office as opposed to just a desk is very helpful.

The first step of many in our paperwork process. This is our application letter that was stamped as received. 
Our bookshelf/library. Note the dehumidifier- books get moldy very quickly because of high humidity. 

This is our garage that we hope to transform into a class room. We will block up the double doors (hang freely and don't work) and put a double metal door down here. You can see that it leads outside right to our front gate. It is also a good 5 feet or so longer and a little wider than our current classroom. We think we could fit up to 12 students in here. 

There's a lot of work to do if we want to transform it into a classroom... the windows, the ceiling, and the floor, but we can see the potential and hope to start working on it as soon as we have the funds. Estimates are that it could be done in 2-3 weeks of work. Maybe you can help us out? 

We'd like to eventually renovate our boys' quarters, particularly the bathroom for the use of the students. 

Our house was built by the British back in the 60s or so- note the old style squatty potty with flusher. It doesn't work anymore, so we will need to replace it. 

The path back to the garage. We already put bars up on the windows of the garage for security.

Thanks for taking the time to read this long post, and thank you for your encouragement, prayers and support. We are super excited and pray God will continue to open doors and opportunities to see young people's lives transformed. 

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