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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

Celebrating Milestones

June 7th, 2016

birthday 15 40 2016

Friday, June 3 was our monthly scheduled Social Night.  We love having people over and sharing games, growing friendships and seeing some of our ‘once a month’ visitors.

This month, we celebrated two birthdays – Maria who is now 15 and Irma who is at an age we don’t advertise any longer – though if you look at the photo, you will see her age :-).

Irma was a student here between 1988- 1991 and is active in her local church.  Her husband Valie volunteers with us daily helping by advising as well as in maintaining the property. Irma and Valie are cherished members of our ministry community and we were thankful to be able to celebrate her _0 birthday with her.

Maria is a present student in the school. Turning 15, celebrating her QUINCEANERA is a big deal.  One of our staff drove to Orocovis to bring Maria and her sister and parents to the school for an overnight.  We celebrated her birthday and another staff member drove them home the following morning.

The party times were sweet with cakes, games, friends, and conversation. We were super happy to see Chris Monahan, our CSCD Board President back with us after having been sidelined by a stroke in late April. He is doing well – improving with physical therapy and a patient family who help him.

birthday 15 40 irma maria

Continue to pray for the summer activities around the school and throughout the ministry.  We will be carrying out the basic office work that needs to happen, doing grounds work, and spending time in prayer and preparation for the school year that begins on August 8, 2016.

We are still praying for teachers who are familiar with the Deaf and who know ASL.  In our planning meeting, we have discussed

  • a 9 days every two weeks school schedule, the 10th day to be kept for taking our students to visit Deaf people in remote areas of the island with the intention of befriending, evangelizing, assisting in any way that is needed. We have also discussed
  • further ministry with the Santos Family – what do the parents need and how can we encourage them spiritually, emotionally, and materially?  We want to continue
  • the ASL Silent Workshop teaching and outreach to interpreters and workers in Deaf ministries.

Pray with us for these ministries and for hands to grow the ministries so that more Deaf can be reached for Christ.

Silent Workshop 2016 (first edition)

June 2nd, 2016

silent workshop 2016 05

For many years, the staff of our ministry has been praying about beginning Interpreter Development Workshops. We see the struggle of many interpreters in churches (and in paid positions) and want to come alongside them, encourage, develop their skills and see them communicate as effectively as possible with the Deaf people they meet.

How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” Romans 10:14

silent workshop 2016 05 staff

 

 

This year, our principal found herself surrounded by people who had the time, energy, ideas and desire to help to launch this ministry. We had 12 people who attended all three days and several others who came for one or two days of the three day event.

 

 

It was fun to work together to develop the schedule for the workshops – to see how each person had a different angle on the classes and time frames – and then to see how God brought it all together from paper to action.

silent workshop 2016 05 a We were able to have lots of small group interactions to complement the group teaching sessions. Many of the participants attend churches where there are Deaf members and while they are not interpreting, they simply wanted to learn how to communicate better – both in understanding and in expressing themselves.

silent workshop 2016 05 b

Our third day was all about the fluidity and artistry of signing.  Various groups and several individuals prepared songs to show the things they had learned and could incorporate in their signing.  It was great to see them incorporating new ASL skills into their songs and their conversations.

Check out the schedule: ASL immersion workshop 2016 05 -summary (well, it’s mostly in Spanish but you are welcome to take a look!)

 

Talking to your returning Missionary Friend

May 25th, 2016

I copied this from another blog:

Suggested Questions for Parents/Friends

  1. What was the biggest highlight of your trip?
  2. What was the hardest thing you faced on your trip?
  3. What did that hard experience teach you?
  4. What things surprised you the most?
  5. Do you feel like you were prepared for your trip?
  6. If you could do it all over again, what would you change?
  7. Do you have any regrets?
  8. What was the food like?
  9. Where did you sleep?
  10. Tell me about the people you met and ministered to.
  11. Did you connect with anyone that you might keep in touch with?
  12. Did you get a chance to share your faith?
  13. Does your view of the world and your life look any differently now?
  14. Do you see Jesus any differently now?
  15. Did you see anything gross?
  16. Did you get sick?
  17. What was the scariest thing you experienced?
  18. What was the weirdest thing you ate?
  19. What was the church you worked with like?
  20. How was their form of worship different from ours?
  21. Did you get a chance to meet anyone’s practical needs?
  22. Was there ever a time that you really felt like God was directing you?
  23. What was the funniest thing you experienced?
  24. How did you work out any differences you had with your team?
  25. What was it like in the evenings? What did you do?
  26. What were your worship times with your team like?
  27. Did you miss me?
  28. Did you pack enough stuff?
  29. Did you really miss me?
  30. What was the weather like?
  31. Did you cry when you thought about me because you missed me?
  32. Would you ever want to go back?
  33. Do you think you would consider being a full-time missionary?
  34. What was the biggest thing you saw God do?
  35. Do you think you’ll go on a short-term mission trip again?
  36. What’s going to be the toughest thing about being home now?
  37. Do you think anything will change with your friends that weren’t on the trip?
  38. Do you think you have changed in any way? How?
  39. Is there anything you smelled on your trip that you’ll never forget?
  40. Are you tired?
  41. Has this changed anything in your relationship with Jesus?
  42. What were some of the ways you ministered on your trip?
  43. Did you get to share your story of how you met Jesus with anyone?
  44. Did you get any ideas of how you could minister here at home?
  45. Was there anything you saw that just broke your heart?
  46. Did you give anything away?
  47. Is there anything you HAVE to do this week after experiencing what you did?
  48. Was there ever a time you felt completely out of control in a situation?
  49. What’s the number one thing you are thankful for?
  50. Did you catch yourself praising God for things? Like what?

St Croix Camp 2015

July 15th, 2015

STX 2015 1

Larimar and Mizael joined Betsy this year at St Croix Deaf Camp. The three of them traveled to STX on July 6 (because their July 5th flight was canceled).  They spent 4 wonderful days with the Deaf camp of STX making new friends and loving every minute of it.

STX 2015 billiards

Betsy praises God for the opportunity for the team of three to go. The CSCD students were able to share their faith in private conversations and in Wednesday morning devotional time before the camp day began.

STX 2015 termites

The students loved the whole adventure – from billiards to jumping off the cruise ship pier to eating termites under the supervision of Discovery Grove nature trail staff. They are already asking if they can return next summer.  Pray with us as we pray for the Deaf of St Croix – that maybe next summer at Deaf camp, we will see some Deaf adults and have more opportunities to share God’s amazing love.

Facelift for the school

April 1st, 2015

school pretty blue 2015 03

 

The LAST bit of paint has been painted (I hope) and our buildings are as blue and white as they will ever be thanks to the last efforts of our recent work team. How nice to look out and see the soffits and edges are white.

 

school sign small in progress 2015 03

A work team of two came up with the idea of re-painting our street sign sign and used our new logo. Our own Rosa finished off the signs by adding SIGNS 🙂 announcing DEAF SCHOOL.

 

school sign new 2015 03

And finally on March 26, 2015, our sign guy came and installed our new sign on the front of the building. His instructions include trimming the tree on the right more regularly so that the sign is more visible.

Additionally, we received the document declaring Christian School and Chapel for the Deaf Inc to be a tax-exempt/charitable institution by the Puerto Rican government.  We had received this notification by the USA Internal Revenue service previously and are thankful that we have been granted this status by Puerto Rico as well.

This week (March 30 to April 3) is Holy Week in Puerto Rico.  We are closed for Easter Break and some time to rest and regroup before the last 35 days of classes.  We are looking forward to a visit by a group of ASL students from Highpoint Christian Academy Saturday April 4 through Thursday April 9.

Pray for our students.  Pray for the needs of the Deaf in Puerto Rico.

Check out other web pages as additions and changes have been made today!  Thanks for praying and thanks for stopping by our website.

Friday October 24 :-)

October 20th, 2014

Next week there is a Deaf Cruise going out of San Juan.  We get the pre-cruise visitors 🙂  how cool is this!?

Just had a phone call from a super hero!  Super Deafy is coming to our school on Friday at 10 a.m.!  And we are collecting Deaf people from the island and other places to join us for lunch 🙂

If you are around, COME ALONG!  But do call or text to let Betsy know.  She has to buy enough food for everyone.

Thanks!

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.