Monday, 29 September 2014

Update on Ashley

On Saturday, I had a chance to take Ashley and her family up to the hospital in Mbingo where she will be receiving treatment. It was a 7 hour journey to get there, but we arrived safe and sound, and Ashley has been admitted to the hospital and is awaiting her surgery, which should be either today or tomorrow... 
Hannah and Jonathan got together some of their books and toys to give to Ashley for her stay in the hospital, which brightened up her day. She has a glowing smile. 
Ashley's parents went along with her and will be staying through the surgery. Her mom will also be staying for the month or so of physical therapy that Ashley will need to recover usage of her right hand.  
Ashley's family for what God has been doing for their little girl. Her father, who had been studying with brethren from the congregation in Muea where Ashley has been in Sunday School, was recently immersed into Christ. It was the love shown by the brethren to Ashley, along with the scripture that was taught, that led him to Christ. 

Ashley is a bit nervous about being at the hospital- like any six-year old, she doesn't like shots and such, but she was enjoying the special attention. I was reminded of Matthew 19:14 14 Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

One of the encouraging things about our trip was travelling with Tataw Stephen who is from the Muea Church of Christ. He is a nurse and so was helpful in navigating the hospital and advising Ashley's parents. The congregation there took up a special offering for Ashley's family of $100 to help with their food while at the hospital! This is a lot of money for small congregation in a small town. We were also tremendously encouraged by the generosity of you all in the States. Now as I write this blog, ALL of the funds needed for Ashley's treatment, transportation to and from the hospital, feeding, housing, therapy, and more had been donated! We were able to prepay for her surgery, give her parents a stipend for their housing and food while at the hospital, buy gas, and even pay a ticket for having taillights that had burnt out (third time I've changed them this year). Honestly, it was overwhelming to see the concern for this child and so very encouraging. 

Now we wait. After assembly yesterday, Tataw and I drove back from Bamenda to get home to Buea in time for me to have our evening assembly with Abel. It poured down rain the whole way, but we made it safely. Ashley is scheduled for surgery today or tomorrow (they were waiting on the doctor to get there). Please keep her in prayers. She is scared, probably having bad memories from the last time she was in the hospital. Pray that God comforts her, and guides the surgeons and therapists and nurses so that she can have the best possible outcome and that she and her family can know that He loves her and His people also love her. Thanks so much for helping us make a difference in this little girl's life! 

Saturday, 20 September 2014

First Weeks of School

It is hard to believe, we but we are already done with our first two weeks of school for Faith Builders' Educational Ministry! Wow! For years and years we have prayed and dreamed about this, and now, it has become a reality! Here are a few pictures from our first two weeks of school.
Our First Day of School! We have 7 students right now! Our desire and aim is to help these kids grow in wisdom, stature, and favor with God and man.

Our students are, from the left, Jonathan, Nyallum, Joshua, Gentry, Hannah, Emmanuel and Brian. The youngest is Nyallum- she turns four next month- and the oldest is Hannah, who is seven. 4 are in Kindergarten, 2 in 1st Grade (Learning to Read) and Hannah is in 4th Grade. 

A school is a big undertaking and requires a serious investment of time, energy, and finances. We were able to buy this photocopier in Douala for our school. It was the smallest one that they had, but works well for our little school. We were using our inkjet printer/scanner, but it was too expensive for the ink. 

We also got a computer for the school kids to use. We have put some educational programs on it and also use it to play learning songs and to reward kids who do well. 

"S reads S S S, Sunfish reads S S S!" Learning the letters and their sounds is crucial to reading phonetically. Brittney does a tremendous job teaching. 

We were blessed to have "Auntie" Elsie visiting us this past week. She is a tutor for various missionary kids in Cameroon, and came out to specifically help Hannah for two weeks, but has volunteered and helped out with Read-Aloud story times! 

PE Time with Coach Jeremiah! Clambering on the rocks in the back yards for one of our PE times on Tuesdays and Thursdays. We have Music on Mondays and Wednesdays and hope to add computer literacy classes, French and Cameroon History in the future. 

Making Mosaics... the kids have really enjoyed the multi-faceted learning approach, both instructional times and hands-on times. 

Our two Learning to Read Students- Emmanuel (5) and Joshua (6). 

Our Kindergarten Group- Jonathan (4), Nyallum (3) Brian (7) and Carys (1) Gentry (4). Brian's mother is a widow, and he had been attending a village school previously and so was behind. We hope to have him start Learning to Read once Emmanuel and Joshua finish it, sometime around January. 

Running laps around the yard for PE. We hope in the future to get some Monkey Bars and also a half-court Basketball court put in for the kids to use. 

AAAAND Stretch!

It is hard to believe that we are already done with the first two weeks of school! It has been challenging but encouraging to see. Like a journey of a thousand miles, we have begun with the first steps. Much remains to be done, much prayer to be offered, committing everything to God. It isn't our school- it's the Lord's. 

Some specific things to pray about and a few projects that we have in mind...

1- Pray that we can keep making progress with authorization and registration of our school. The government requires it and it is also a stipulation of our resident visas, but it is a long and tedious process. We hope on Monday to take another step, and then we will see what the next step is. Pray God opens doors, and gives us receptive and helpful people in the various offices. 
2- Pray for our our kids' parents. It takes faith to do something strange and different. Pray they have the patience and persistence to stick with things and to value their kids' character and souls above other considerations. 
3- Pray for us to have energy- especially for Brittney who is in the classroom doing the majority of the teaching every day.
4- Pray for our coworkers- Brian and Jael Harris- who will be coming in January. Their help will be much appreciated and perhaps at that time, we can admit a few more students. We have already had some parents ask, but didn't have the personnel or space to handle more kids right now. 
5- Some special projects that we have in mind, for you to pray about and maybe that you might be interested in:
               We'd like to put in a bathroom for the school kids. Right now they are using our kids and guests' bathroom in the house, but for sanitary reasons, for convenience and for privacy, it would be good if we could put in a bathroom for the school kids that is more accessible for the school kids. That way, they wouldn't have to troop through the house to use the bathroom and could even go to the bathroom on their own. 
               We'd like to also get some more playground equipment- either a swing set or monkey bars. These are all pretty young kids, full of energy and enthusiasm. It's nice for them to burn off some excess energy during break time so that they can focus during class. 
Thanks to all who have helped get this project off the ground, who have supported us these last years as we have planned and prayed for it, and who have been praying for us each and every day. We really, truly could not do this without all of you! There is far still to go, but it's always exciting to begin with a BANG! :) 

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Ashley Ajah II

It brings me much joy to write this post about Ashley! Since our last post God has opened many doors for her to get the help she needs. For more information and pictures you can look at our other blog post concerning Ashley:

A friend of mine, Dr. Trixy, got me in touch with another set of doctors from Mbingo in the North West part of Cameroon. There is a surgeon coming from the States for a short period of time at the end of this month who can do surgery on Ashley. After this surgeon leaves there is available staff in Mbingo who can do the follow up surgery (if needed) AND do the therapy she needs! 

Ashley has already been taken to the SDA hospital in Buea to get some of the tests needed pre-surgery. Her blood count was low as well as a few other items her body is supposed to be producing but the correct medicine and vitamins have been given to her so her body is now in the process of being adequately prepared for surgery. YAY!

The estimated costs to cover everything that needs to be done is $1,500! This includes her surgery (it's a mission hospital so they subsidize costs to help the locals), her 2-3 week stay in the hospital, food for Ashley and her caretaker during their stay, therapy, transportation costs, medicine needed during and after surgery, etc. 

We are amazed, but not surprised, at how God has already answered the prayers from the list concerning Ashley we gave you all last time. Please continue to keep her in prayer as she goes in for surgery and therapy. 

By faith, we set up a date for her surgery to be on September 29th! If you would like to help us cover her costs, you can send a check to:

Hostetter Ministries 
506 N. Linn
Fayette, MO

Please put "For Ashley Ajah" in the memo line on the check.

If you want to send funds for her through our paypal on this blog site then just let us know it is for her.

Thank You and God bless!

Friday, 12 September 2014

The Hostetters visit the Hostetters

One thing we always thank God for is that both Brittney and I have parents who are in the Lord, who are serving God whole-heartedly, and who are a constant encouragement to us, and finally, who visit us once a year! The last 3 weeks, we were blessed to have my (Jeremiah's) folks come for a visit from Ghana, where they are missionaries. Here are just a few pictures from their refreshing visit. 
As much as we were blessed and encouraged by Mom and Dad Hostetters' visit, it was our kids who enjoyed it the most, having time with Godly Grandparents! My mom is a great mom and a trully GRAND Grandma! 

Grandma H with another "Brittney." Our worker Kate's daughter had a baby while my parents were here- Baby Brittney. 

We had a chance to visit the Cite De La Paix (City of Peace) Church of Christ in Douala while they were here. I preached on "Understanding True Worship: Living as the Temple of the Holy Spirit."

My dad was asked on the spot to give the Giving devotion. He gave us a great one! :) 
We did a reverse in Limbe- my Dad preached this time and... 
I gave the Lord's Supper devotion! Teamwork at work! 

The kids had a great time with the parents, making memories and building bonds. Grandpa likes hiking, and so do our kids. We are very happy to have some farm trails behind our house that go up on the mountain a bit, passing through the jungle. It was a lot of fun, and good to build character and toughness. 

It took a few days, but Carys really warmed up to her grandparents, especially Grandma. It was a huge help having my mom here, as we were getting geared up and started school while they were here (more on that in the next blog post). She helped out around the house, babysat (we got to have a date night! yeah!) and cooked some yummy food.

After assembly in Limbe, we went, in the pouring rain, to the zoo. Hannah and Grandpa had a blast looking at the Gorillas. 

My dad had a lot of chances to teach and preach while here. He led our evening house church meetings and also had a lot of time with Abel personally studying. He taught a devotion at the gym too, and the guys there were impressed to see a grandpa still hitting the weights.  
This little light of mine, I'm going to let it shine! Family devotions is a great way to end the day! What a great visit it was, leaving us encouraged and strengthened for our new year of school.

Maybe you'd like to visit? You're always welcome!

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Ashley Ajah

This is a blog I have started writing at least 3 times but has been difficult because we have not been able to come up with any definite solutions for Ashley who is just a little younger than Hannah. However, I am reaffirmed and comforted when reading the Scriptures that God cares for His children and He will provide what is needed.

Meet Ashley. Ashley is a precious little girl who is around 7 years old. Her parents aren't really sure her exact age (it is common to not know your birthday in the villages). We met Ashley in my Sunday School class in Muea, one of the villages in which we minister. In June of 2013 her mom was working on the farm and Ashley was playing outside near her home where there was a big pot of boiling water. As she was playing with the other children she ran into the pot and her arm and part of her neck fell in the water causing severe burns as you can see below.  
There are not specialized surgeons in our area for the type of surgery she needed but the locals tried their best to help her. Unfortunately, some complications continue today. 

 After surgery they tied her arm in a sling, probably to prevent infection. However, because she was not taken to a specialist the surgery given caused an infection. The side effect of this was that as the skin grew back her right arm was misshapen and is unusable today..

 The burn on her neck caused scarring limiting her head movement. She cannot lift or turn her head well.

Her parents have stopped sending her to school for now because it was her right arm/hand that was burned. In Cameroon it is not common for someone to learn how to write with their left. I've heard that even if a child is left handed they train children to use and write with their right hand due to cultural reasons.

 We were in the process of arranging to get her surgery from a group of doctors in the States who were coming to a nearby hospital to do surgeries such as this. However, the group is no longer coming to Cameroon due to the Ebola outbreak in our neighboring country, Nigeria, and there are currently no definite plans for them to come at later date.
A doctor friend of mine has recently put us in touch with another surgeon that will be coming to the North West part of Cameroon in a town called Mbingo. He could possibly do the surgeries that are needed and the hospital up there, one of the biggest and best in the country, could help with the physical therapy and rehab that is also needed.

Please keep Ashley in your prayers:

- That she will be able to get the right surgery that she needs. While we know there will always be extensive scarring, we hope for her to be able to get the use of her right hand again and to be able to move freely so that she can resume school and lead a normal life.
- That she will be able to get the right therapy needed after surgery.
- That the funds will be available to help her. We are praying that we can help raise the funds, when the time comes for her surgery. One of her family members will need to go with her and stay with her to help with feeding and so forth while she is up at the hospital. This will be a significant expense for them as well.
- And most importantly that she and her family will know that Christ loves them. Maybe out of this distress, the love of God can be shown to her and her family.