Hello dear friends,
The well known cycle of the school year has started here on the 3rd of October. This year we are starting the school year with 627 students from Kindergarten through 9th grade. It is so nice to see the kids coming back to school safe without anyone wounded or missing in an environment of war. Your prayers are answered.
In September I participated in the summit of Christian schools in Ouagadougou. To get there from Koro, I went through a large area from Kiri to Ouahigouya (mostly in Burkina) controlled by the jihadists. We passed by them while going and coming. We greeted them from far away and they replied with greetings. Their misery is noticeable from far away. I can tell they are tired of this situation but don’t know how to withdraw from it. We can only pray for them. I am sure your prayers for us and for them will make all the difference and bring the desired peace in this one of the most disadvantaged areas in the world.
We are very happy to see new faces, Some of them are very tight faces. One of them is Djibril, who had never spent an hour in school before he enrolled this year in first grade. His parents did all they could but he was not willing to stay in the school when they brought him. His dad was a bit hard on him.
I asked to leave him with me for a moment. He is my friend now and he said he wants to be like me. And I convinced him that the way to become like me is to study in the classroom. I went to sit with him for some time in the class. Now he is willing to stay in school after his dad drops him. He has started to write. He is an adorable little kid, very smart and talks a lot with me.
Please keep praying that all those who like Djibril are in a different world at school, a world they don't like very much so far.
Grace High School is ready and we are waiting for the government to send us the students. Many students have considered our high school as their first choice which is a great sign for us. Students' parents who were claiming a high school are eager to see their kids continuing in our School.
We have many teachers applying for teaching jobs in our new high school, but only a few of them are Christians. The challenge we are facing is how to run a Christian high school with more than 80% non-Christian teachers. Please pray for us to have strong and numerous Christian teachers. Please pray for our current teachers to be fully engaged in this ministry. And that they fully understand the vision of making disciples through this ministry.
This year one of our teachers, Mr Jérémy Togo, left us at the beginning of the school year. It was very difficult for us. Mr Togo got married and his wife is a teacher in Timbuktu. He has been offered a teaching job in the same school. Our consolation is that the school he is going to serve in is a Christian school with which we are collaborating to promote Christian education in Mali. To replace Mr Togo we got one of my former students Mr Ousmane Niangaly. A very good teacher, patient and bold.
This year we have doubled all our classes from 1st to 6th grade. Then we had to hire three more teachers to cover the need.
In this process Mme Esther Sangara, Mr Jacques Dara and Mr Elizé Sagara became members of our teaching team. Please pray for them for the Lord to give them strength and wisdom to impact the lives of the students with love and compassion while they teach.
We have large classes that are required to split but we don't have spare rooms. We should have built three classrooms during the past months but because of the embargo we had stopped the construction project. After the embargo, the prices are better but not as good as they used to be. We have resumed construction and want to continue even though the price is high. We count on the providence of God and your generosity to support the huge cost of the construction and the school.
The participation fees of the parents is very little compared to the real cost of the education we give to the kids. The miracle of this education ministry resides in your indefatigable support. We are privileged to be in this ministry with you.
In terms of security there is a big change. The enemy has spread in the country. They are weaker but make a lot of noise. They are more infiltrated in the population. That's why we are very careful even in the town of Koro. They keep laying road mines and threatening the churches from places to places.
Please keep praying for security and political stability.
Thank you very much for all you do to make this ministry possible
God bless you.
Your friend Ibrahima and all Grace School.