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Andrew Foster was not alone in his passion for educating and converting deaf Africans. He met his wife, Berta, in Germany, and they married in Nigeria in 1961. Having five children did not slow down their work, and together they founded the Africa Bible College for the Deaf. Although it kept them apart for months at a time, the Fosters realized where each of them could do the most good. As an African-American man, Andrew Foster could connect easily with Africans. As a Caucasian, Berta Foster could work effectively in the U.S., running the Christian Mission for the Deaf from Flint, Michigan. They frequently visited each other, and their children were raised to follow their parents’ devoted mission.

Devoted to Africa and Each Other

Andrew Foster met Berta Zuther in 1959 at the World Congress for the Deaf in Germany. She offered to join him in developing schools in Africa, and after initial skepticism, he finally agreed. They fell in love while working together and married in Nigeria in 1961. Andrew and Berta Foster in native Nigerian attire at their wedding, 1961 Andrew and Berta Foster in native Nigerian attire at their wedding, 1961 Courtesy of the Andrew Foster Family Collection

A Life on Two Continents

The Fosters’ strong beliefs helped their relationship survive lengthy separations. Their children John, Freddy, Faith, Andy, and Tim frequently accompanied Berta on visits to Africa. Berta, John, Andy, Faith, and Andrew Foster, 1966 Berta, John, Andy, Faith, and Andrew Foster, 1966 Courtesy of the Andrew Foster Family Collection

Essential Contributions

Monetary and material donations through the Christian Mission for the Deaf were the lifeblood of the Fosters’ work. Books were particularly important to continue their dream of educating Africans. Berta Foster, a teacher, and students at the Ibadan Mission School for the Deaf, Nigeria, 1966 Berta Foster, a teacher, and students at the Ibadan Mission School for the Deaf, Nigeria, 1966 Courtesy of the Andrew Foster Family Collection