All posts by Christie

World Mission to the Deaf – 37th Annual Conference

June 21st, 2016

wmdOn June 11, 2016, I was offered and accepted to be a CSCD representative for the annual World Mission to the Deaf conference in Toronto, Canada.

World Mission to the Deaf is a Canada-based charity encouraging people to support Christian missionary service among the Deaf. They are currently supporting the Deaf in the Philippines, Puerto Rico and El Salvador. Together, we share praise, prayer, reports and encouraging messages.

They have shared wonderful reports of God’s work in each mission field. I am going to write a short summary for each:

Philippines

A farm project that is run by a missionary couple named Doug and Val Clutton. They own a few acres filled with fruit trees and farm animals. They have hired Deaf workers to work on their farm, selling vegetables, mangos, quail eggs and pork products to generate income for them. They also support the various ministries of its mother organization such as their Deaf church, dorm for Deaf school, child sponsorship, Deaf pastors/churches and a Bible college. Please pray for them to continue to keep the Deaf community, and encourage others to learn more about God. Pray for Doug and Val for their tireless work to serve God!

El Salvador

A group of teachers are starting a new outreach to Guatemala which is located above the country border. They set up a workshop for the teachers and workers on Deaf education, as well as also offering tutoring. Meanwhile in their current Deaf school in El Salvador, they are doing well and are still busy as usual! It was wonderful, and blessing to see them using their full energy in helping the Deaf students as well as continuing to keep in touch with other Deaf communities outside their country. Please pray for them to continue to serve and spread the gospel about Jesus.

Puerto Rico

meNow it was my turn to present about our CSCD school. God graciously gave me an opportunity to live in Puerto Rico for a year and serve with the Deaf students. I shared my experience as a teacher and the success stories of each student. We were amazed to see how much each student had grown within a year! Let me tell you a bit about each student.

MariaYajaira

Maria & Yajaira

Maria and Yajaira are sisters, and are part of our outreach ministry. They were raised with low level of education and language. We brought them to school to teach them how to write, read, learn basic life skills and share about God’s Word. They started to develop their deepest desire to learn because there was just so much information they wanted to know, especially regarding ASL. Their ASL and vocabulary had improved tremendously over the course of their studies. I remember when I teaching Maria math multiplication, last February. She at first hated doing the speed drills, which took her about 10 minutes to complete. But just a few months later, she got was excited about managing to complete in her speed drill in just 2 minutes. Yay for Maria! At the same time, Maria and Yajaira started to grow their faith in God, and even asked if they can be baptized. It was a wonderful opportunity to witness this event. Please pray for them to continue to walk in faith with Jesus, sharing the good news with their Santos family in the mountains.

Juan

Juan

Juan had just turned 10, but already he started to grow to nearly the same height as me! In math, just like Maria, he at first hated the multiplication drills, but soon enough beat the time limits a few month later. When I started to teach him division, he understood so quickly that he could easily finish all the speed drills with no problem. He also started to develop his own curiosity and storytelling skills. He was especially enthusiastic when talking about the animals he loved, the oceans, fish, and all the discoveries he found around the island. Please pray for him to find his own interest and hobbies. Pray also for him to understand more about God and develop his desire to serve Him.

Mizael Larimar

Mizael & Larimar

Mizael and Larimar are two of our students who have been in school for a long time. They are always engaged in good discussion about their own interests, Larimar about animals and dogs, and Mizael on secret agents and FBI. They always ask very good questions because of their desire to learn. They participated the Puerto Rico Deaf speech competition, which focuses on the topic of their vision to improve Puerto Rico. Mizael’s was about putting a stop to fighting and bringing peace. Larimar’s was about strong family values. Both of their speeches are very much connected to their personal lives, as they want to share their real experiences in Puerto Rico. Larimar ended up winning 1st and Mizael 3rd in their age group. It was such a great achievement, and we are so proud of them! Please continue to pray for their independent growth and to keep Jesus in their hearts for rest of their lives.

 

Staff

At the same time, there was much personal growth in our staff as well. We shared and learned more about God,and looked deep into our hearts to see who we truly are and how we need to change ourselves to become a better servant of God. No matter what our age, we always have room to grow! A Iittle thing I’ve realized is that even though missionary work can be exhausting, there is always so much joy to be serving the Lord. Yes, there were some struggles among us but God has always helped us to overcome these, allowing us to grow in Christ, walking in his footsteps. We hope that we, as staff, can continue in our mission to nurture and guide other in Christ walk of life. Please pray for a smooth transition into the next year, which God is preparing for all staff members, whether staying for another term, or leaving for home or other service opportunities. Pray for God to give them strength and wisdom in all their missionary work.

I have concluded my presentation with a video of the students signing the song “Oh Happy Day”. The audience gave a great applause for the student’s work.

In closing, the conference went really well. It was very encouraging to meet new people and share our experiences of serving God, all over the island of Puerto Rico. It was exciting and I thank God for all the things He has done for us. We pray that we will continue to grow in our Deaf community, schools, churches and missions.

Together in Christ,
Christie

For more information about WMD, visit their website: wmdcanada.org

2014 April / May

May 4th, 2014

The students prepared short poems about God’s faithfulness. Enjoy this compilation.

Running with the dogs is a great after lunch exercise for the kids and Delilah.

Orocovis Outreach Continues

variety-04-2014God’s Amazing Intervention – In 2010, we had a student named Selena from the mountain town of Orocovis for one semester. She was an amazing young learner and we were heart-broken to not have her return, though we were thankful she was returned to her family and removed from foster care.

A year passed without knowing anything about her whereabouts until David Mitchell of PRDM from the south side of Puerto Rico mentioned that the Orocovis family had been taken to their office. We were so excited to visit them and re-establish contact.

At that first visit in July 2011, we invited the family to Luquillo for a night. Teodoro, the Deaf father of the entirely Deaf family, recognized the school grounds from years when he came to summer camp. He motioned to our principal that he would love to have his daughters come to school here. And so for two years we visited them in the mountains and invited them to the school for events and tried to figure out how to get the girls into school.

In January, we issued a full scholarship to Maria (photo top left #1), the youngest of Teodoro’s daughters – complete with transportation. The family was excited to hear this news (photo on left below). The scholarship letter was submitted to her school and they accepted her transfer without question. Maria has been with us for 5 months now and she is as bright as her older sister. This scholarship was only possible because of people like you who have made contributions to our general fund.

There have been some ups and downs as with any 12 year old but Maria is generally content, cheerful and showing the possession of an amazing brain. In April during a Sunday evening church service in Aibonito, she mentioned that she had not yet accepted Christ as Saviour. As the pastor announced a time of personal prayer, a companion asked Maria if she would like to accept Christ as Saviour RIGHT THEN. Maria said, “I don’t know what to pray.” Her companion said, “Watch this“ and prayed a brief prayer including:

  • Thank you God for sending Jesus, Your Son, to die for my sins.
  • Thank you God that Jesus did not stay dead but rose from the dead.
  • Please wash away my sins with Jesus blood.
  • Please come and help me to live for you.

Maria took up the prayer herself and to those around her, her confession of sin, request for God’s forgiveness and victory over sin were clear and Biblically accurate. She has since, told others of her prayer and decision. Pray with us for this young lady. Pray for also for her older sister Yajaira (15) who is eligible to join us in August. Our present residence counselor, Rosa Soto, has plans to leave at the end of December 2014 and we are praying that God will provide a residential worker who would be able to take over of the dorm so that Maria (and Juan and Francis and Yajaira) can remain in school with us.

“I will sing to the LORD,
for He has triumphed gloriously!
Exodus 15:1

Pray that God will lead new students
through our gates and would lead us to
their homes. We know there are Deaf youth in the area –
pray that we would be able to locate them for education,
for discipling, to befriend and lead them to Christ and
into fellowship with other Believers.

‘Gather the people to me,
that I may let them hear my words,
so that they may learn
to fear me all the days
that they live on the earth,
and that they may teach
their children so.’
Deut. 4:10

Mizael and Joella still enjoy shooting off air rockets.

#4, on a Saturday, we visited Cueva Ventana in the Camuy area. Had fun trying to spell CAVE with our bodies.

We had a busy month in March with three work teams who came and gave us a fresh coat of BLUE paint. Our last paint job was 4 years ago and with the humidity and moisture of our rainy climate, we were growing lots mildew on the outside of the buildings. We also had several walls that had been retouched creating a patchwork of blues around our school.

Usually when we have THREE teen groups asking to come to work in the same month, we turn down two of the three. This year, we decided to have them all come to give their energies toward washing walls and painting them a brighter, cheerier shade of BLUE.

Tasks like these are normally expensive. The first trip to scout prices brought us back to the nearest store – Sherwin Williams Paints. There, the manager of the store gave us a 30% “quantity discount, and an additional 10% off (we suppose it was his employee discount) and THEN at the last moment an additional 10% off! Our final bill of just under $1500.00 was reduced to just a bit over $700. We had to return for a second purchase of paint and only got the 30% discount L but we are still praising God for the thousand dollars saved in the purchase of paint for the school. AND the team who came with 18 painters for 6 hours made a donation of $1000.00 to the Paint Our School fund.

Thanks to ALL who helped with the paint choice, the moving of pails and ladders, the power washing, the painting and the cleanup. Oh, and we are not quite done with this job so if you have a day or two… put on your paint clothes and come over to visit!

#6 – cute little owl baby FOUND on a coconut tree at dawn on Easter Sunday. We think his mama came back and showed him the way home that same evening. Nothing has been seen of him since.

2014 March

March 4th, 2014

CSCDThis is our new logo designed for us by Christie Hoeksema this week during her visit. We like that she was able to keep the cross, Bible and hands that were part of our ESD logo for so many years. We look forward to having our new logo in place on letterhead and shirts and a new sign that will be coming for the school front.

Christie is a graphic artist and web designer. She does great work and we are so delighted to have had her visit (Feb 14 – March 8, 2014). In addition to all that she has done in designing our logo and taking some great pictures around the school, she plans to help with updating the website and giving us some additional volunteer hours.

Being deaf herself, Christie was able to leap right into getting to know the students without the language barrier that many people face when they visit. Knowing her has been a blessing to all of us but we are so thankful for her presence as a Christian Deaf business woman and her role model for our students.

If you are interested in any graphic artwork or website design, please feel free to contact Christie through her website link.

painting 2014 03 20

We gave the buildings a face lift! New BLUE!
With the help of work teams from Whitby Ontario Canada, and two Christian schools in Florida, the majority of our two main buildings are done. Trim and the chapel and shop are in need of the next attentions.

2014 February

February 4th, 2014

Early in February, we celebrated the YODER family with a mock wedding to satisfy one of the students who did not think a Virginia Marriage License was valid in Puerto Rico. We also celebrated Brendan’s birthday by decorating the field for a fly over. Later we had cake too.

yoders 2014 02

We held our annual concert at the Playa Azul condominiums. Sad to not have Margaret Upperman in attendance but glad that she is receiving a copy of the festivities by mail.

upperman 2014 02

2013 December

December 4th, 2013

2014 Winter edition of the With These Hands (DOC)

This year we played the bells at church bazaars and in our own chapel:

handbells 2013 12

We also presented the Christmas story for our parents celebration party

christmas story 2013 12

Baby Jesus was played by newborn Jeshiah Yoder. There were shepherds and angels and singing and dancing!

christmas story kings2013 12

Joella Yoder took the role of 2 year old Jesus to meet the wise men who having met the young Jesus, then played their guitars and violin for him.
After that, we ate cake and went home for the holidays.

2013 November

November 4th, 2013

¡Atencion Madres Padres Familiares!
Calendario de actividades del mes de noviembre de 2013

It is that time of the year when we begin to practice with intensity for handbell performances. We did our first of the season on November 16 and we weren’t totally messed up!

handbells 2013 11 practice

Practice (above) Performance (below)

handbells 2013 11 performance

It was a relaxed venue and the students did well to stay focused in the midst of it all.

We made parachutes for the Voice of the Martyrs 
Bible dropping program in Columbia.

parachutes vom 2013

Chemistry Day 2013 was super wonderful!

chemistry day 2013 1 chemistry day 2013 2

2013 September / October

October 4th, 2013

September – DIEGO came to join our school! Diego is 7 and we are enjoying getting to know him

2013 september

October – We are enjoying classes, nice weather and many days of peaceful learning and also enjoying visitors from Florida, surprise gift packages from friends and playing games.

2013 october

We have begin serious practices of the Handbell Choir for some performances we have
scheduled in November 🙂 The students are looking forward to playing new music for new friends.

2013 August

August 4th, 2013

August means

2013 students and staff

Full time for this school year:
Rosa Soto – from Harrisburg PA – (standing, back row, brown shirt on the right)
Rosa’s blog is http://myjourneyhishands.blogspot.com/
Here, Rosa is preparing to be grossed out during our Fear Factor game as part of our Back to School week. The theme of the day was BE BOLD for God!

rosa fear factor 2013

Amanda Swink – from Lewisberry PA (seated in the brown shirt on the right)
Amanda’s blog is http://amandaswink.tumblr.com/

Betsy Hoke from Hanover PA (standing, back row, pink shirt)
Betsy’s blog is http://1beachchair.wordpress.com

7 week July/August volunteer
Rachel Mellott – (standing, back row, left most)
Rachel’s blog is http://imhishands.blogspot.com/

Rachel planned our Back to School Bible School week and participated in the activities as well. Here she is helping with the memory verse review activity.

vbs 2013 08

Part-time but fairly permanent volunteers AND the Science Teachers for this school year
Rebekah (holding little Joella in the middle of the standing back row) and Brendan Yoder from many places but currently residing in Luquillo

yoder 2013 08 science 1

Tess Dozier – from Wisconsin and Luquillo PR – hoping to become a fulltime worker in 2014
Tess’s blog is http://cuentosexcentricospr.blogspot.com/

Stefanie Beals

June 4th, 2013

Stefanie Beals
ESD junior missionary 2009-2010
ESD Kindergarten teacher 2012-2013

“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.”
– Mark Twain

stef kioney 2010 03

One year. That’s what I was given but what I have received will last me a lifetime. I will always remember Kioney’s ecstatic laughter, Mizael’s bear hugs and the enthusiasm in Saúl’s eye when he is leading me to his newest discovery. These moments I will cherish forever. These children I will never forget.

How Stefanie Came to ESD

In 2007, Stefanie Beals graduated from high school and the next fall began traveling with Encounter Revival Ministries. Through a few deaf-interaction opportunities during the two years with ERM, her heart became greatly burdened for the deaf. She learned about E.S.D. while visiting friends and contacted the school. God’s direction for Stef’s coming to E.S.D. was clearly seen as He quickly opened the E.S.D. door to her.

Stefanie joined the ESD team at the end of August 2009 for a one year commitment as our junior missionary. Stefanie came to us from Honesdale PA where she attends Honesdale Gospel Tabernacle. For the two years prior to her year at ESD , she traveled and served with Encounter Revival Ministry. She returned in August 2012 for another school year – this time as the Kindergarten teacher and kitchen helper.