February 2016 Update

Dear friends and family,

In a semi successful attempt to reduce the length we are sending this email version of a newsletter, if you’d like more detail or look at pictures you can click on the link at the end for a PDF version.
Hello again from dry season in Cameroon! This year has been a dry season of dry seasons, we cannot remember the air being so thick with dust and smoke since we’ve been here and one of our older Cameroonian friends says that he cannot remember one like this either. Hopefully there are only a few weeks left before the rains will begin and wash the dust off everything and start replenishing our springs.
We have a couple of weddings coming up, 2 of the girls that were in Ellen’s very first reading classes back in 2001 are getting married, Avine is marrying a guy from the Southwest and they will begin their life together living in the capital city of Yaoundé. Macciline is marrying the young pastor of the church at the bottom of the hill below the hospital, she is teaching at a private school in the capital now but will be moving up here to live with her husband. She told Ellen that she uses many of the fun methods she enjoyed in Ellen’s classes. When we first met these 2 women they were only 8 years old….we feel old!
Ellen continues to teach about 50 kids reading and has some older students from various backgrounds as well, she will begin working with an adult woman who wants to improve her education level. Her English and vocabulary skills need improvement as she has returned to secondary school as a mother of 3.
Ellen is also still hoping to get a vehicle so she can work with teacher training in one government school and one CBC school that is now being overseen by the church in that village. We’ve done some shopping around and found we can get something for about $8,000.00, we already have about $3,000.00 so If you’d like to help with that you can contribute here, https://www.converge.org/give/733096 .
We also have a shortfall in our personal support. I’m not actually sure what happened but I think that one of our supporting churches disbanded and the church building was sold do another congregation. The end result no matter what actually took place is that we lost a supporting church as well as some other decrease in support! We have a shortfall now of about $500.00 per month. If you feel led to help us in this need you can go online to: https://www.converge.org/give/147440, or send a check to Converge Worldwide, 2002 S. Arlington heights Rd., Arlington Heights, IL 60005. What we are really praying for is monthly commitments. If you can’t contribute financially, please hold this need up in prayer!
We are finally moving ahead on the hydroelectric project for Mbingo Baptist Hospital, we have done some survey work to mark out the planned waterline for the ponds that will be formed behind each of the 2 dams. We have hired a local engineering firm to do the environmental and social impact study that is required by the government. I actually did the survey of the pond area and am working closely with these guys to get this part of the project done before the rains begin.
I have had loads of great conversations relating to the formation of a group who desire to see godly influence in every area of life here in Cameroon. This has led to so many chance to share the Gospel and encourage many as to how godly living is the key to development and a thriving society. But the real hope is to develop leaders who will be lights in a dark and dying world. Pray for courage to stand up for righteousness in business, government jobs, in the community, and wherever people find themselves that people will see the truth of God in action by those who claim to follow Jesus.
One of the big challenges people have here is in trying to supplement their need for food by growing crops. In the rainy season things grow great and in some areas like Mbingo people can get 2 crops in each year. Some people try to grow things to sell as well as supplement their needs in dry season but at some point we need to stop people from watering so we have enough for running the hospital and living.
I have always had an interest in hydroponics and finding other ways of growing crops with as little water as possible. For this reason, I have been playing around in the evenings by trying out a couple of different methods to see if we can come up with something that others might be able to do next year so we can allow watering throughout if people would be willing to use the water conserving ideas.
Click the link below for an expanded version with pictures. http://www.schotanus.com/PDFFiles/February%202016%20Update.pdf
Thanks so much for your continued prayer and financial support!
With love from Mbingo, Thom & Ellen