August 27, 2014

Christian school construction 2014

Digging the foundation in Tsiko
We are constructing 2 new Christian school buildings this year. And by "we" I mean that I am taking pictures and keeping track of the finances on a spreadsheet while John Teusink and his crews do the real work. We wouldn't be able to have Christian schools without the Teusinks and their ministry here in Togo. Truly God has provided all the people we have needed for this ministry to succeed: Roger, Koudjodji, Christy Sopcisak, Anne Miller, the Teusinks, CWE, my parents, and all the other pastors, administrators, and teachers. As we continue to grow we need many others to join with us but we know that God will provide, not only the finances, but the people who will work to spread the gospel and make disciples through this Christian school ministry in Togo.

Poured foundation at Tsiko
The Jr. High school in Tsiko is finally receiving it's own building after sharing facilities with the elementary school for 3 years. This year they needed their own building in order to serve the number of kids they will be teaching in the 4 grade levels of the French Jr. High system. When this new building opens it will already be operating at full capacity. The next step is for the Adeta/Tsiko area to start a Christian High school. That is what Roger is pushing to do. He has such a heart for these students he can't stand to see them go through many years at our schools then have to switch to the government schools to finish their education. Of course, we don't have a building, teachers, or curriculum for a High school right now, but 3 years ago we didn't have any of those things for a Jr. High either. They started the Jr. High in faith and God provided everything that they needed. Roger knows that God can do the same with a Christian High school.
Making blocks in Kpodzi

Unfortunately, the CWE construction team was not able to come this year as they planned to do. Thankfully, John Teusink and his crew is able to complete the projects, but they may not be finished before school starts this fall.

The Kpodzi school in Kpalime is receiving it's own elementary building after using it's Sunday school classrooms for several year. They've outgrown the crowded church facilities and are opening the new elementary school building in a great location just across the street from the church. Eventually, they plan to use the church's rooms again for a Jr. High school, which the Kpalime area certainly needs.

If you are interested in being apart of future construction projects in Togo just shoot me an email at andrewandmary@abwe.cc or take a look at the other projects on our "Special Projects" tab. 

August 23, 2014

Life in Togo

You may be wondering about our daily life in Togo:

Has Ebola changed our lives at all? No, there have been no cases of Ebola in Togo (nor in the surrounding countries Ghana, Benin, Burkina Faso). Please continue to pray that it won't continue to spread, but also pray for those who are suffering from the disease.

Daylight hours?
We are very close to the equator so it gets dark before 7pm everyday, and because it is dark so early I think it's hard to stay up past 9pm. We usually go to bed at 10pm unless we are having a get-together with other missionaries. No alarm clock is necessary because our kids wake us up around sunrise everyday :-)

Our lunch one Friday: Fufu with chicken sauce, orange Fanta, and bananas
Clothing? A lot of the other men who live here wear khaki pants with an African shirt because the African style pants feersand look like pajama pants. I, on the other hand, think that if it's socially acceptable to wear pajama pants all day then count me in!

What kind of food do we eat? Well, I eat whatever I can find. I love the food here, and almost everything is fresh. We go through a lot of fresh bread and fruit every week at our house. We are American after all and sometimes we just get a hankering for a ham sandwich or pizza, but we try to use as many local ingredients as possible.

Transportation? We are still waiting for our vehicle to clear port.  There is no telling how much longer it might take.  Another vehicle that arrived a few weeks before ours is still being held in port.  For now we're taking taxis wherever we go.  I've ridden a Moto-taxi a few times, but since I don't have a helmet yet we're trying to stick to cars mostly.

Why are we in Togo? We are in Togo to spread the Good News about Jesus and make more disciples for him. We do this primarily by working with the pastors, school administrators, and teachers in the 14 Christian schools spread across the country.

August 10, 2014

Ice Cream and the Good News

Ice cream and the Good News: We concluded our teacher seminar with some ice cream, but more importantly, a discussion on giving the gospel in the classroom. Many of the students in our schools come from Muslim families or other families that do not believe in Jesus alone for salvation. These teachers may be the only gospel witness in their students' lives. So the teachers gave examples of students who heard the gospel in class and believed in Jesus, then we talked about how it is absolutely necessary to give the gospel and to be an example of a life that has been changed by the power of the gospel.

Christian teachers from different cities revising the curriculum together
We just completed a week-long curriculum and teacher-training conference focused on rewriting the History and Geography curriculum for our Christian schools. The theme for the conference was: How should a Christian teach History and Geography? Christy Sopcisak and I reviewed some principles of teaching and curriculum, then the teachers crafted new learning objectives followed by creative learning activities and discussion questions. It is a slow but rewarding process to shift from pure rote memorization to encouraging students to think and use the knowledge that they've learned. And throughout the week we discussed the Scriptures to better absorb the wisdom of God's word into the schools. We all shared specific examples of how to use patience, diligence, and encouragement in order to teach a Christian worldview, model the Christian life, make disciples of Jesus, and share the gospel.

The Light - Bible Baptist Primary School in Tsiko, Togo
Our ultimate goals are to spread the gospel and makes disciples, and we can't lose focus of those goals or we will cease to exist as Christian schools. The name of the school where we held the conference is "La Lumiere" (The Light), because that is what we are: a light in a dark place, a witness for the gospel in a place with few witnesses. And we plan to spread the light one candle at a time, one teacher at a time, one child at a time.

Next year we would like for some teachers from the States to come as guest speakers. If you are interested or know someone who may be interested then contact me at andrewandmary@abwe.cc.

If you are interested in future conferences or other ways you can assist the ministry here in Togo please see our "Special Projects" tab above.