Saturday, March 16, 2013


The other day Sara was hit by a motorcycle.  She was checked out by a doctor and she and the baby are fine.  She is just a bit stiff and sore.  We are grateful for her safety.

Not long ago Grace was taking a load on her bike when her bike basket just totally fell apart.  Fortunately, the shop was able to build her a newer and bigger one - out of rebar.  Should last a while, they even painted it blue.

I remember days in Canada when we would be driving in extremely cold situations and we could see people struggling to keep their windshields clear from frost.  They would be scraping the inside of the windshield while they drove.  The car could not get warm enough to keep the windshield free of frost.  The reverse is true in Niger.  We drove to Konni today and it was a really hot day.  The air conditioning in the vehicle could not keep out the heat.  Doesn't help when you have the intensity of the sun beating through your windshield.

This week at the CEG

The school rests on a forsaken hilltop that is blasted by hot winds and has no shelter from the penetrating sun.  The school yard is riddled with large stones.  There is no place for the students to run and play.  The school rooms are made of mud straw structures with a cement cover and some are covered with tin roof and some with corn stalk roofs.  Can you envision sitting in a classroom with a tin roof when the temperature hits 50 degrees.  Then add the dynamic of no desks and sitting on rocks or metal desk frames with no wood seats or tops.  The school has neither electricity nor water.   Not ideal conditions to teach or learn.
We are so happy that God has opened the door for us to get involved with this school and these people.  I get a chill down my spine seeing all the children thrilled about their new desks.  What a sight to actually see classrooms full and quality desks full of beautiful, smiling students.  Teachers are excited that the students have a decent place to work. 

52 new desks were completed in 2 days – wow – what an achievement.  Thank you so much to an Instructor and the students who came from Sahel school in Niamey.  They worked hard and fast and their efforts paid off in marvelous ways.  The teachers and students at the local public school – junior high school in Canadian terms – are also very grateful.
We have to mention that the parents have been involved and have rebuilt 2 classrooms with mud brick structures and corn stalk roofs.  This is a major investment on the part of these poor parents and demonstrates their desire to have their children get an education.

The work will continue as we endeavor to make the school a suitable facility for these students.  We have, for the most part repaired all the existing desks – some 80 of them, but they need more.  After all there are 512 students.  At this point we are having work done to build the metal frames for another 50 desks.  We will then attach the wood tops and seats.

As work was being done, C. a fellow Canadian, who works with the shop and maintenance and others shop workers, noticed other deficiencies in the classrooms.  The major one which was the demise of support beams for the roof structures due to termites.   We need to check on the cost and viability of replacing them with metal structures.  We are also getting broken doors and windows fixed. 

The lack of a flag pole at the school was a point of concern, and important identity marker.  This was a special request of the teachers since they were the only school without one, this is currently being remedied.   

We are very happy about this week’s accomplishments at the school and the excitement in the faces of the teachers and the students.  We hope that they are seeing the love of Christ through all of the people that are coming and serving and trying to make their work and their lives better.  Please pray for the teachers and the students and that there would continue to be improvements made to this facility. 

Thank you to all who have continued to support this effort through your prayers, work and financial support.

Blessings to all

Orest & Grace

Monday, March 4, 2013


Just wanting to show some of the recent pictures we have taken.

 The lady above, made the shirt for the guy below.

When we went to Niamy in January we were able to get some pictures of the Niger Giraffes.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Feb 2013 Newsletter

Below is a copy of our most recent newsletter.

So do not fear. For I am with you: do not be dismayed, for I am your God.

I will strengthen you and help you: I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:10

Hello to all our family and friends:

We continue to be involved with the local public school.  As we had previously stated they have a long list of needs.  We, and another person, have received donations for the school and we are currently making use of some of those funds.  Work has commenced on a toilet for the teachers.  There is now a 2.5 meter hole dug which is lined by cement blocks.  The toilet should go up pretty quickly.  All the classrooms need repairs to the doors and windows so we are investigating costs on that as well.  We were sitting in the teacher’s office and could see part of the door frame crumbling and falling to the ground because of termites.

Orest is also working on the reconstruction of 55 desks for the school.  There will be a couple of teams coming to Galmi and we will be able to use some of the team members to help in this area.

On one Saturday we invited all of the teachers for lunch at our home.  This was a great time to sit and get to know all of these people on a more personal basis.  It should be noted that none of them are Christian.  We truly hope that we can show the love of Christ to these people through our efforts.  Please pray for our ongoing work with the school, relationship building and also for these teachers and their abilities to have an impact on the education level of young people in Niger.

We continue with Kids Club at our house.  This is Biblical teaching sessions for non-Christian children in the community.  We are currently working on the life of David.  Grace leads the sessions with the aid of Saratou.   Please pray for wisdom for Grace as she prepare each week for this program.

Orest just completed a very busy schedule where he had auditors in from SIM International and also from CIDA.  CIDA has been the main funding source for our HIV/AIDS program.  Unfortunately, with changes to CIDA mandates, we will no longer be receiving funding from CIDA.  If you know of anyone, or any organization that is willing to support this program please let us know.  As far as we know this is the largest program of its kind in Niger.  The lack of funding will put significant strains on the ability to continue the program.  The good news was that the SIM International and CIDA auditors were happy with their reviews.  Please pray that we can obtain the necessary funding to maintain our HIV/AIDS program.

Saratou and baby remain healthy and the timing of the birth is for the end of April, early May.  We are preparing ourselves for the role of future grandparents and what that all entails in this culture.  Sani has just started a new job at the hospital.  He has been a temporary worker in the carpentry area of the shop.  He is now on full time in the hospital laundry.  We are hoping this will provide long term security and the possibility of advancement for Sani.  Sani is a farmer, and he loved the carpentry work, so this is a bit of an adjustment for him.  February 22, Sani and Sara are going to a Christian marriage retreat, in Hausa, to encourage them in their marriage and spiritual growth.  Please pray for them both.

We have a new gardener and a new housekeeper.   We all employ these kinds of workers just to help the local economy.  Our previous gardener left to go for more schooling for which we are very grateful.  Please pray for this young man and his education.  We are very happy with the new gardener and his excellent work ethics.  The joy is that he is quite experienced and our garden is showing the results.  Our African sweet potato has especially done well and we are glad that we are able to share this with those in need.

Our previous housekeeper left because she got a job at the hospital.  Again we have been blessed with a new housekeeper who has been doing a phenomenal job.

Several Sundays ago the EERN Church, which we regularly attend, had a thanksgiving celebration for Sunday.  This was a 5 hour celebration.  The service started normally, and after the message the celebrations started with singing dancing and some short speeches of thanksgiving.  The missionaries did their part singing 2 songs.  All the families are called forward as groups where you then march, or dance, around the aisles.  Yes we were called as well.

For this service we did our first puppet performance for the church.  It was to be a moment to be remembered.  Not for the exceptional level of puppetry but for the reaction of the congregation.  Needless to say we have never had an experience where we did something and the immediate reaction of the crowd was to jump up and start clapping and cheering.  They were absolutely spellbound and were crazy about what we did.  They always go up and give money when they really enjoy something – this is usually by placing money of the forehead of the performer.  Uncertain about the puppets and the movements they were putting money in the mouths of the puppets as they sang; a totally unreal and surreal moment.  The puppeteers were Orest, Grace, Sani and Saratou.  This was a new experience for Sani and Saratou, and for the church.  They want us to do more in the future.

Please pray for the mission community in Niger as we deal with a higher security risk level at this time.   We continue to feel secure in God’s calling to Niger and we feel that this is just a reality of living in a broken world.  This could lead to future problems in missionaries coming to Niger as some countries have placed restrictions on travel to the country.

Blessings to all