November 28, 2014

Christmas Catalog 2014

In this post we've tried to best communicate the many needs we have here with the Christian schools in Togo. Right now we have 14 schools, about 100 teachers, and over 3,000 students with more on the way. This is a tremendous opportunity to provide a good education, spread the Gospel, and make disciples in Togo. Please read the attachment and prayerfully consider how you can help:

November 24, 2014

Hitting the Dusty Road

Last Monday we filled our truck with books and soccer balls then hit the dusty to Lome! In one week we visited:
5 of our Christian schools
1 new school that wants to join our association
1 church that wants to start a new school

We traversed many a long and bumpy road (thanks to all of you who help provide for our truck!) and left town before the large government protests started on Friday.

The most important thing we saw was the night and day difference between the trained Christian school teachers and all other teachers. Our teachers who have been trained created a great atmosphere for learning and demonstrated the fruit of the Spirit to their students. We also saw that we have some new teachers in our schools (and more coming next year) who have not been trained, so we decided to provide a 3-day crash course during Christmas break.

After seeing several good teachers and some areas in which to improve on Monday, we drove out to another school Tuesday morning. The first teacher I saw there made me want to just pack up and go home. He was threatening and insulting his students; and generally displaying a horrible attitude. I felt sick to my stomach. But I stuck with it and had a good conversation with the teachers at lunch. As it turns out, he was a band new teacher who had never been trained. He was just copying what his teachers had said and done to him all his life. At first glance the situation seems hopeless, but I saw many other teachers who used to be exactly the same who are now radically changed. We are breaking the chain of abuse and destructive teaching, and we have some great teachers leading kids down a new path.

Please continue to pray for our teachers, principals, and students. Pray that we would be able, through this conference, to help the teachers to better communicate, share the Gospel, and make disciples among their students.

Music Ministry

There is a group of church musicians here in KpalimĂ© who have a strong desire to help other churches' music ministries. Primarily, they plan to teach people in other churches how to play musical instruments in church. They are continuing one of my father's ministries here in Togo by helping church musicians and music leaders.

Thankfully, my father left us a few extra instruments here which we can continue to use. However, one of the trumpets which my father left was broken and missing a vital part. So the other day Mawko, the head of our new Christian musician association, took me to the instrument repairman. It was quite an experience.

The repairman lives only a 2 minute drive down the road from my house at the fringe of a small village at the foot of a mountain. Mawko told me that the man's father traveled to Germany and learned instrument repair in Europe. The son was apprenticed to his father and he is now the only local instrument repairman we know.

The repairman looked over our trumpet, moseyed to the back of his shop and found the spare part we needed. Then he handed Mawko a list of all the services he will do to fix the trumpet. The new part needed to be properly fitted, some other parts needed new welds, and the whole thing needed a good scrubbing then oil and grease. He said it would take half a day and we could pick it back up in the afternoon.

I was a little skeptical of the situation based on the visible condition of the other instruments in his shop. So I asked for an estimate. Mawko and the repairman bargained in Ewe language probably because they didn't want me to understand everything that was being said. I could tell that they were teasing each other over the prices being suggested.

Finally, they informed me that the total price for half a day's labor, the spare part, and the gas for welding would add up to 13,000 CFA (about $26).  Since that's way lower than the part and labor would cost in the States, I decided we could take the risk.

We came back and picked up the trumpet in the afternoon and it worked great. The only hang-up occurred when he and his friends had to scour the village to find change for my 5,000 CFA note ($10 bill). Making change in Togo is an adventure I'll have to describe in another blog post.

Please let me know if you are interested in donating any musical instruments like trumpets, trombones, baritones, keyboards, or guitars.

November 2, 2014

Our first school visits!

 We have a truck!  We're so glad that everything was finally completed for us to pick up our truck this month.  This has allowed us more freedom to do what we came here to do!

This week we visited 4 local Christian schools run by Baptist churches.  Cyrus was happy to join the preschool class at the Kpegolonou school.  This school is very near our home and we'll be there regularly.

We distributed some materials for the classes and met a lot of teachers.  Impossible for us to remember all their names!

Andrew sat in a few classes to observe teachers.  There are so many kids per teacher, but they were pretty well behaved - probably because we were watching.  Not that our kids were distracting AT ALL.

Saw a lot of cute faces! 

Manny had fun playing with some kids during recess at the Zomayi school.  Since they don't understand each others language their play amounted to him pushing through them quickly making dinosaur noises.  They thought he was hilarious.
There are 9 other schools that we have to do with in Togo and we'll be observing teachers in those schools as well. We have a week-long trip planned for Lome pretty soon to visit the 5 schools down there.