Voices from the Field Jeff & Sonya Kilmartin Get to know Jeff & Sonya

Making Headway

Published on May 12, 2023

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Dear Friends and Family

Last newsletter we were coming up to a week of leadership training with LRPG leaders from Nigeria and Cameroon. We had a wonderful time together. Jeff taught most of the sessions on topics that had been decided well ahead of time. While we can converse half decently now in the local language, preaching and teaching is another level, so one of the leaders interpreted. We hosted this on our property, where our house of prayer is also located. It’s amazing when you have five extra people staying on your property and are having breakfast and lunch for 12 how many little things need to get done, even though I had someone cooking lunch and supper. And my house-helper – she is still making everything more manageable!! As she works around the house, I am teaching her some cooking, baking, and sewing. Jeff reads Scripture with her with and sometimes other stuff, and I’ve recently introduced her to Mavis Beacon. If she is able to get into school later, it will be helpful for her if she is able to type!

Since that week of training, the various leaders have gone around and shared the teaching in at least four other communities of believers in Cameroon and Nigeria.

My continued work at the school has narrowed down to mostly working with the two new teachers in the school. On February 1, our Class 2 teacher left suddenly, so I filled in for a full two weeks in Class 2 until we hired a new teacher. I gradually handed over to her but now I know another class of students fairly well, and the challenge of working with a deaf child.

I am trying to help the teachers with the reading/spelling methodology we have been trying to implement, as well as to help with their additional challenges of students with disabilities (visual and hearing), even though they have no specific training to help them (nor do I!).

If there are some sign interpreters (especially with some teaching experience) interested in coming on a short-term visit to help with this, let’s start a conversation!

I am currently trying to limit myself to working mostly with those two teachers and trying to get some projects with the board done before the school year ends and our home assignment begins.

Badminton on our dirt court we leveled behind the hospital this year. Basically, we have improved the helicopter landing pad for them!

I’ve continued with my badminton endeavors, both playing and teaching students at the school and, more recently, some of the hospital staff. The former are still training, and the team for regional finals (date TBA) is three of our students and one from another school. The latter play at 6:00 a.m. (!) once a week.

One somewhat sad milestone is that we arranged for the rest of our personal belongings in Ndu to be packed up and brought up here. The house was broken into over Christmas, and a few things were taken. It’s been nearly five years since we left there suddenly, and it was time to close that door. Our faithful CBC driver/mechanic, Dieudonne, delivered the MANY remaining boxes and then did some work on our Land Cruiser. (I have been sorting and organizing since I have acquired quite of a few duplicates over the years since we left Ndu.)

Dieu had to return again with some parts not available here. In that intervening week, I went to Yaoundé for some MORE dental work (crown #5?) and then met up with him in Baffousam so as to NOT have to suffer the road back to Banyo in public transportation. Unfortunately for Jeff, the political landscape in Nigeria is still quite difficult and no visas are being issued, so he did not come to Yaoundé with me to try and get that.

We’ve also spent a little time with some World Team visitors – colleagues of our other Banyo missionary Lisa, some of whom were here over Easter.

We also became the owners of a new cat, Raya, since Nango disappeared under unusual circumstances. Raya is planning to present me with kittens before I leave. Fun, fun!!

Easter Sunday at ‘church.’ Markus, a physiotherapist, is in our congregation.

We had a good season of Lenten teachings and a joyful Easter Sunday with our small community of believers.

Honey harvesting is done late at night or early in the morning when the bees are a bit sleepy.

Recently, they also harvested the honey from their beehives. The yield was not as large as last year but was still quite good. Funds raised selling this helps with many practical needs.

This quarter, work around our house was adding a cement cap to the wall. This will keep the wall much cleaner in rain season. I learned this the hard way. It still is unfinished in terms of paint, but it IS progress.

And our friends here in Banyo are nearing completion of a suudu hodɓe (guest house) for the many guests they host. It is pretty basic but will be invaluable. An example of how this might work is one young mother who will be staying with them up to a few months while her newborn gets treatment for clubfoot. This kind of hospitality is very common among the people we work with, but it can be quite a load for the families hosting in fairly small homes. So the addition of guest houses in many of our communities has been an ongoing project and priority.

Jeff has recently been teaching a weekly Bible study on Fridays at the hospital devotions. He will also have a couple of extension courses to teach in June and July before heading to Canada.

Great news from Nigeria is that the young accountant was able to come and learn how to use Quickbooks, and this will eventually make Walter Grob’s job a lot easier. I haven’t got a clue, but that’s OK.

Sad news is that the roof of two of the classrooms they added a few years ago blew off and the brick walls are crumbling in the rain now. They are hoping the government, who built the first three larger classrooms, will come to their aid, as they really struggled to add those on their own.

The last update from Nigeria is the completion of the first phases of another water project, and clean water is flowing, although the community still needs to source money for piping it to a more central location.

I am making headway on home assignment plans, and Jeff and I will both be in Canada by August (although I will arrive at the end of June). Please give some thought to plans for a short-term missions trip with to come, visit us, meet the people, and see the work, so we can advance that discussion whenever we can talk or visit you.

If you will see us this year or can send anything to Edmonton before November, please consider donating your retired Android cellphones and tablets/iPads (in working condition, not too old, and with good batteries, able to support Google Play and WhatsApp) for us to help our partners with. Laptops are useful as well, but they are a bit harder to bring and MUST have a good battery, and at LEAST Windows 8 OS. Our last extra went to the new accountant, but it has some age-related issues, so we are always on the lookout for replacements! We have to carry them in our luggage with us to Cameroon, so please email and let me know if you are thinking to give us anything.

You can also help by giving to the Least Reached People Group Special project fund on the NAB website, which funds education, evangelism, and community development projects in both Cameroon and Nigeria. Thank you to those of you who have given faithfully and generously to this work.

Our courtyard garden is a lovely, albeit slightly riotous, medley of greens and pinks at this time of year.

Thank you for continued support and partnership.

Jeff & Sonya Kilmartin