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Give Thanks

November 9th, 2018

We are gearing up for Thanksgiving WITH turkey this year!  After last year’s hurricanes and lack of turkey around the island, we are all excited for “real” holiday meals followed by decorating with Christmas lights galore!

Some of our supporters brought us some “paper pumpkin” craft boxes which we used to create our Give Thanks frame seen above. Thanks!

We enjoyed two visits to hearing schools to teach some ASL and tell the students about deafness.

Mike and Glenda Coupe are working with us this year.  Such a blessing they are as they do this and that. Mike adds a male role model to our work – and the boys love hearing his stories about life and his challenges to live as godly men.  Glenda is our lunch room manager and preprepre-school teacher – we have no idea why the photos prefer to be in landscape position so just tilt your head!

Betsy is teaching an ASL class at her church.  Learning and practicing more Spanish as she does so. And just for frights’ sake, Mizael donned a live tarantula a day before Halloween… YUCK! brave or foolish?? The spider was safely released under supervision and Mizael was not harmed by the friendly critter.

Thanks for your prayers, your letters, and your BOXTOPS 4 Education – we are awaiting the arrival of a check for just over $300 in December.  Remember also to use GOODSEARCH.org    as your search engine to bring more pennies for searches to our ministry.  it’s true.  We get paid when you do a search using this Yahoo based search engine. There is also a shopping benefactor through this site- check it out, enroll, do your Christmas shopping using their coupons and a % comes to the school.

 

a happy little family

September 29th, 2018

Every weekend, when I have a little time to sit quietly, I stop to look back to recent days and reflect on what’s been happening. This week, I’ve been so thankful for the little family we have here at CSCD. Mizael is now the older brother to our young Diego and even younger Natalia.  Glenda and Mike Coupe, Valie, and I are the elders- watching over, teaching, guiding – our young charges.  Larimar is the older sister – a little above the children, keeping herself distant, not to be too annoyed by the little ones.

Teaching a little Deaf child takes so many hands. While one plays with the littlest, another is needed to insert the language of the activity.  In the above photo, you wee Glenda swinging with Natalia while Mizael tells Natalia about her experience. I love the way our age groups work together naturally to create a linguistic environment in which language is accessible to everyone. Of course, it takes time.

Diego still needs to be reminded to “use your hands to talk.” But he is more often signing and trying to make his thoughts known to the signing/Deaf people around him. He is also becoming more alert visually – using his eyes to take in what his ears are missing, using his creativity to come up with signs when he doesn’t know one, using his Spanish vocabulary to explain new ideas for which he is lacking words… it’s an amazing honor to be a part of this little boy’s learning.

Thank you for your prayers for our school and thank you for continuing to support us with your boxtops for education, your goodsearch.com support and your prayers.

standing in AWE

September 3rd, 2018

God’s goodness never ceases to amaze me.  I stand in AWE of our great God and His wonderful works. There is a link to a song there if you are interested in listening as you read.

As we organized the newsletter (late because May was just too busy and honestly, overwhelmed by the past school year, it was difficult to know what to write in a newsletter) God brought SO MANY amazing memories of His great provision and strength to our minds.  It was hard to know what to include and then what would be left out… so we included very little other than praise for God and what He is doing here.

This past week, seeing our new little 6 year old begin to understand that LETTERS make WORDS and WRITTEN WORDS have meaning was another AWEinspiring moment. We are made in God’s likeness… what DOES that mean? Our ability to communicate on a level deeper than sniffs and barks? Our ability to use WORDS to express our thoughts? Our ability to love beyond words? Nonetheless, watching little Diego learning about WORDS has brought “The Word became flesh and dwelt amongst us” to my mind again and again.

In the Beginning was the Word…

In Diego’s beginning here, he has many words he can say. But when the words are written, they hold no meaning for him.  He is slowly learning that the sounds of the words he is saying are paired with letters… and he got 100% on his 4 word spelling test on Thursday.  WOOHOO!

Pray for Diego.  He is in class part-time simply because with only 1 teacher,  she can’t teach him and the high schoolers at the same time. And so he comes part time.  While he is here, the high school duo are working semi-independently on reading and writing.  They have a video vocabulary tutor twice each week.  They have a math tutor who comes in as he is free to do this. Their other lessons are all in the after lunch times when Diego has gone home.  As Diego learns to do some things on his own, the teacher will be able to do more with the high school students in the mornings.  We will be able to do some group activities.  But until Diego understands that the planet really revolves around the sun and not him, things will be more structured and less spontaneous!

Thank you for your prayers.  Please keep an eye and a prayer on the Atlantic Satellite during hurricane season.  If you see something developing, please ask God to spare the little islanders who still are living with blue tarp roofs and no electricity.  While most of PR has electricity, Dominica for example is still repairing their infrastructure. And many roofs have been unrepaired here due to lack of supplies and slowness of FEMA and insurance companies.

Thanks again for stopping by, for reading, for praying.

Day 3 of the 2018-2019 school year

August 13th, 2018

The work continues – for the visiting team, they are pushing to get things DONE now that their work days are down to 3 days. Tammi Wolfe is doing things in the chapel to help out the school year while Joe Landis continues to weld in the carport.  And yes, we hang out the clothes the old-fashioned way. After more than a week here, everyone is in need of something being washed – even if it’s just to prevent the dorm rooms from becoming too scented by sweaty clothes.

Hayley and Shanna started a rhythm group today while the gentlemen started to put the panels on the carport.  Just a few minutes ago it rained quite hard so I am guessing the men on the roof were pushed to take a break.  God knows when they NEED to stop to prevent them from overdoing it.

Annette has been presenting some really good lessons in the morning chapel time.  We are thankful for her hard work in preparing – very different than for a hearing class.  OOPS  there is that rhythm photo again! Pray for Betsy’s attention deficit – she has a cold/cough this week and the medication is not helping her to focus!

Lastly, the older students are spending time with Danny Vidal, former student who graduated in May 1986 from ESD.  Danny has been on a recent mission trip to a Deaf church in Portugal and the students are learning some Portuguese signs and about life after high school… maybe one or both of them will catch the vision of serving God as missionaries or at least serving God in their local churches.

Pray for all of these and all else that God puts on your heart for our school.  Without your prayers and support, we would be struggling.  WITH your prayers and support, we are praising God and strengthened for more again tomorrow.

Back to School!

August 10th, 2018

We had a soft opening this year with a new 6-year-old student coming on Monday and a trial run for an 18-month-old student on Wednesday.  The full compliment of students arrived on Thursday.

How fun to have a Calvary Bible Church-HanoverPA work team here with us.  As the tough guys work in the carport roof rebuild the rest are working on gardening, nurturing students, and creating meals for everyone.

It’s been a great week and we are SO THANKFUL to God for His provision at this time of Back to School!

We look forward to a great school year and many more happy photos to share the work that God is doing here.

To read more about the work team, click here!

Goodsearch.ORG

June 7th, 2018

Some of our friends have let me know that the goodsearch.com service is not working.  Yep.  They changed their site to goodsearch.ORG. https://www.goodshop.com/nonprofit/christian-school-and-chapel-for-the-deaf-inc-

I see that link says goodSHOP.com  which is an extension of goodSEARCH.org – if you buy online, they give a % back to us also.  So if you buy online, consider the possibilities.

Check out the earnings YOU and US together have made for the school! CLICK HERE

So go to the goodsearch.org website and enter our name as the charity  of your preference so your online searches can benefit our ministry here.

 

April 2018

April 10th, 2018

For more photos, visit our Facebook page.

Today is Tuesday April 9, 2018.

This week, there is only one student in the classroom, and she is not feeling well so we are taking some time to have water and mint tea and rest. Our other student is presently on a vacation with his family.  Pray for our students and their families–

  • pray for their health
  • pray for their vehicles
  • pray for their jobs
  • pray for their children and the special needs of the deaf child in particular
  • pray for their desire to know and serve God.

Pray for our witness to them as we come alongside and pray for them, talk with them, encourage them, cry with them, share God’s love with them.

In the pictures above:

  1. a digger was doing some work removing debris in the parking area across from the school.  We asked if he could move this tree trunk for us and he did. In exchange, we provided housing for the digger for two nights 🙂
  2. the sky has been so blue and clear. We are having the Spring dryness that precedes the wet weeks of May.  In May we tend to have some flooding… nothing spectacular but with so many people still living with blue tarp roofs, I know we could use less rain.  Though the plants are wanting more rain.  Thank God that HE KNOWS and in His sovereignty, He will provide.
  3. First Friday Fun!  The first Friday evening of every month, we have a games and fellowship night for the Deaf and those interested in practicing sign language.  This month our regular group of attendees showed up and we rejoiced with those that have had their power restored recently.

Continue to pray for Puerto Rico as we approach Hurricane Season 2018 and continue to recover from Hurricane Season 2017. It’s been a rough ride and God has been our Provider of grace in time of need.

Pray with us about:

  • the need for teachers so that we can take in new students
  • the need for workers so that we can reach out to families around the island – with home Bible studies, friendship, discipleship
  • the need for workers so that we can begin a Literacy Course for Deaf Adults.
  • the need for workers to help begin Adult Education Classes for the Deaf (plus provide child care)

The needs may seem small but for the isolated community of Deaf persons spread about Puerto Rico, the loneliness and lack of support is huge.  Pray with us as we seek to be God’s Hands to this community.

February ending already?

February 24th, 2018

February began in the dark (still on generator) but by the night of the 6th we were running on real electricity again.  Now we are in the stage of most Puerto Ricans… off again on again. The generator is still here and we use it weekly at least. But SO happy to have electricity flowing most of the time.

The lights came on in time for Sam and Marty Mosely and children to come stay with us for a week.  Sam (Phelps) had worked here in 2002-2003 so she was familiar.  They worked on a new sports room wall and other chores around the school.

We are excited to see hurricane repairs beginning… still working on estimates for the insurance company and hoping that our insurance pays for most of the fixes.  The list is shrinking bit by bit and we look forward to a team of skilled workers coming in March.

We are not having the usual Spring Break teen/college groups this year.  Too much to be done that is requiring skilled workers.  If you happen to know an electrician, welder, carpenter, painter(s), landscaper/tree removal persons, floor tiler… bring them down!  (But let us know so we can have things ready for that particular job and make sure we have beds and pillows ready. – Send an e-mail to emhoke@cscdluquillo.com and you will get a quick reply… if the Internet is working… because well, that line has not been re-attached to the grid yet.)

This weekend, Sprint (who has supplied the Deaf community and CSCD with a generator and satellite internet service) brought us a party!  How fun to gather with our friends and students and families and just relax.  Chef Vivoni (Puerto Rican Star Chef) created a yummy rice dish that was not a paella even though made in a paella pan.

We had a lovely time relaxing on the freshly cleaned basketball court under the Sprint tents and with our own umbrellas and picnic tables. Even a few vehicles stuck in the mud did not dampen the joy of the day.

Continue to pray for the people of Puerto Rico as many are still without electrical service. This link will take you to the Authority of Electric Energy (AEE) website if you want to have a go at understanding what is happening.  It’s in Spanish (FYI).

In English, THESE sites have some information:

http://nbc4i.com/2018/02/21/five-months-after-hurricane-maria-puerto-rico-still-needs-help/

https://pt.magicseaweed.com/news/five-months-after-hurricane-maria-puerto-rico-still-needs-help/10763/ (good article but I don’t KNOW this group or their financial policies so don’t donate unless you check them out and are in agreement with them.)

Thanks for reading along today and praying along daily for us.

 

 

 

 

Back to school in 2018

January 20th, 2018

We returned to the CLASSROOM on January 8 2018 after a 2 week Christmas+Holidays Break.

In November and December, we were using the back of the chapel as our classroom due to the absence of electricity and the FEMA generator powering the classroom and chapel. It was a lovely change for us (rather than working in the dark or running a smaller generator to get some lights in the classroom) but it’s good to be back in the classroom at last.

We were able to get things running more normally again by purchasing a solar energy system for the classroom building. We were only able to do that because of YOU who sent donations to help us in our time of need. As we are still without electricity from the street, we are SO thankful for solar energy and how it has enabled us to continue our work.

Our telephone landline and our internet cable are still coiled and dangling in front of the school dining room entrance which is in need of replacement or repairs (a carpenter will know what is needed there) so we are again thankful for the FEMA and SPRINT response of satellite internet for the Deaf community to have a communications alternative.

This semester so far has had a Home Ec focus as the students pitch in daily for Make Your Meals. Friday afternoons we have spent time with visitors practicing social skills, communication skills and hospitality skills (oh do I have some blogs to write!). It’s been a good return to learning and we look forward to more cooking and sharing.

Yesterday, we ate a salad made entirely by Edgar and had birthday cake made entirely by Larimar.  We also had spaghetti and we served it to our returned snow bird Philip and his new wife Norma Elena, our Deaf friends Lourdes and Chris, Deborah and her family visiting for the moment and our daily helpers Valie and Jerry. Edgar was surprised when he was asked to SERVE the cake, not just eat it.  WHAT ABOUT ME? he asked.  He was told, FIRST HELP LAST EAT.  He did. It is never too early to teach children that service with a smile is a good rule of life.

While we waited for our guest of honor to arrive and after lunch also, we played some card games. So interesting to watch as students and visitors play together. At one time, Edgar said, THAT LITTLE GIRL KNOWS SIGN LANGUAGE I said, “Yes, her mom is Deaf and so she talks to her mom.”

He looked at the mom. I said, “You and she are both Deaf.  Both talk with hands not with voice.” She smiled at him and said, “Yes I am Deaf. My children sign to me. You are Deaf, you sign too.”

All kinds of learning are happening.

Thanks for your prayers as we continue to generate power and as we continue to learn more about ourselves and our Almighty God!

ye faithful

December 24th, 2017

As I sit here in the school chapel, with two dogs snoozing on the platform and the generator purring around the corner, I am contemplating Christmas Eves of the past…

  • snowy ones as a kid in Pennsylvania
  • warm ones as I came to be at home here
  • packing and cleaning ones when I realized that Christmas DAY flights are a little cheaper
  • content ones as I learned to enjoy whatever place I was in and to be content
  • discontent ones as I wanted to be where I was not
  • sad ones as I became reminiscent over deaths during the past year and who was missing
  • happy ones as I enjoyed the antics of new little relatives or friends’ babies

Today, I am of mixed emotions. Our hurricanes of September still effect us today – hence the generator purring in the background.  My gift bag is packed and I am contentedly digesting the church’s Christmas lunch and mentally processing the  evening’s possible foods at the Christmas Eve party I will be attending.

I am a little on the melancholy side thinking of

  • Students who left in the past year, in the past month, who were not here on Friday for our end of the year luncheon,
  • Staff who left and relocated in the past year,
  • Huge blessings of YE FAITHFUL who have prayed for us through this year, these YEARS, these hurricane recovery times…
  • God’s wisdom, goodness, and infinite love and peace to hold up this ministry through the recent economic tough times and hurricane recovery times…

As I think of YE FAITHFUL – I know there are readers whose relationship to the school precedes mine and I’ve been around 33 years. I think of YE FAITHFUL who have prayed and cared for this ministry since 1957. I think of YE FAITHFUL who were praying for Deaf ministries before that! I think of YE FAITHFUL who have responded to hearing about a hurricane by sending supplies and money for more supplies and calling to volunteer your hands and sweat to work with us.

I think of YE new FAITHFUL who are praying TODAY about serving God and about when and about where. Here’s the challenge: we need YE new FAITHFUL for the next thing God is doing here.

  • We need teachers who will come and stay and teach Deaf adults Spanish literacy skills and disciple Deaf young people for our Saviour;
  • We need support workers who will maintain the grounds and vehicles and buildings so that the others can do the discipleship work;
  • We need YE new FAITHFUL to build a team that is united in the vision of seeing Deaf Youth and Adults grow in Christ.

As I think of the song, O COME ALL YE FAITHFUL… Well, is it YOU who God is calling to come here?  And what has kept you from responding? Is now the time to send that e-mail (emhoke@cscdluquillo.com) or make the contact (well, other means are so less reliable these days so stick to e-mail for now? or snail mail HC-01 Box 7111, Luquillo PR 00773).

I am SO thankful for YE FAITHFUL and praising God already for His work to bring in the YE new FAITHFUL who will carry this work into the next 60 years (because our first documents are dated 1957 so that was the first 60 years.) God is preparing this property for YE new FAITHFUL who will be coming.  Kind of like John the Baptizer preparing the way for Jesus’ ministry years. The preparations are happening, now, who is coming to carry on the work?

That’s my Christmas Eve 2017 pondering. Pray with us for YE new FAITHFUL ones and their coming.

Excited to see what God does with us, through us and around us in the coming weeks, I am your servant and the school director, Betsy Hoke