News Update from Mark
and Diane Vanderkooi
family, friends, and supporters;
the past few weeks, two milestones have marked our lives – the passing
of Diane’s mother after 82 years of life on this earth, and the long
awaited arrival of Larry and Jan Gray to help us start the Kwong
Bible school. In this short missive, we mark these events.
Anne Stocksdale: 1935 – 2017
On June 9
after 82 years of life Diane’s mother finished her journey on this
earth and went to her eternal rest. You may recall that only three
months ago, her father made the same journey. On this occasion, Diane
was able to make the arduous trip home from Chageen soon enough to say
her farewell as the only daughter - a blessing which was withheld from
her in the case of her father.
and her 3 brothers are in the final stages of saying a poignant goodbye
to the family home of 42 years and pretty much everything which was
familiar to them. On May 23 an auctioneer liquidated the family estate,
and now the family farmstead is on the market. It is a milestone of life
which is difficult in the best of circumstances. Passing it in a remote
corner of Africa takes the experience to another level. We are grateful
for the grace the Lord has shown Diane through it all, and equally
appreciative of the all wonderful people of Union City, Indiana who have
made this difficult time so much easier.
and Janet Gray
have arrived! For something like a decade we have been asking for people
to come join us and help us here in Chageen. Now they have. Larry and
Jan Gray first came to Chad in 1982 with their young family in the
middle of the civil war, but are now enjoying a well-earned retirement,
They arrived a week ago to spend a year with us to help us get the
Kwong Bible school going. This school for the training of pastors is our
last, best hope for bringing the Kwong church to a
level of maturity such that
we can reasonably expect it to endure for the generations to come. We
realized long ago that with all the other irons we have in our fire, we
couldn’t embark on this enterprise without some serious help. In the
end, we got simply the best – a couple who already knows Chad, already
knows French, and with decades of experience in teaching the Bible in
this country. We are so grateful. (Larry also officiated our
parents were both teachers during most of their careers. Their legacy
lives on in the hundreds of students they touched across 3 decades.
down to old age, all my people shall prove,
sovereign eternal unchangeable love.
when hoary hairs shall their temples adorn,
lambs they shall still in my bosom be borne”
in Rippon’s Selections, 1787, after Isaiah 46:4.
apart from the melancholy of losing their beloved home, Diane and her
brothers are finding that selling the family farmstead is difficult.
Union City is a depressed post-industrial town. Even at $85,000 for 3
acres, a well maintained, if old house, large steel barn, and over 40
mature fruit trees within walking distance of the local schools there
are no takers so far.