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School Chapel Time

March 3rd, 2017

We have been SO BUSY with school that I am afraid I went the entire month of February without a blog entry!  I hope you are remembering to pray even when I am lax in blogging.

In February, Betsy, our principal and teacher, was out several days with an allergic reaction on her arm.  Of course she did not know that until antibiotics failed and a dermatologist was seen. With the right medications, her arm cleared up quickly and she was able to be back in the classroom.

The students learned 40 adjectives in 2 weeks and completed a 100 item spelling test on Monday February 27.  In celebration, we had lunch from Domino’s pizza and also went to a local pool with some visiting friends to work off excess energy. (Photos above.)

Our daily routine includes lots of singing in chapel.  The students enjoy choosing their favorite songs on Fridays (#favoritesongfriday ) and today was no exception.  There were no less than 8 songs as several students chose more than one favorite.  One of the songs today was a NEW song that surprised us all but when someone chooses, we attempt!

Thanks for your faithfulness in praying along with us and in praising God for His continued blessings.

 

Was last week only 5 school days long?

September 3rd, 2016

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While I know each school week is 5 days, some feel so FULL!  Last week was a full week!  We are doing more “silent” reading this year – trying to get in at least 15 minutes of independent reading daily and it’s fun to watch the students examine the bookshelves and find hidden treasures. Also sweet to watch the more able to read students introduce books and love of reading to the ones who are not able to read on their own yet.  Pray that literacy will be a skill they love and each student will exercise a passion for WORDS and sharing God’s Word!

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We were excited to see Nathan and Deborah visiting from Canada! This lovely Deaf couple stopped by with their three hearing daughters.  We always love seeing them and enjoyed some games and relaxing time together.

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This year, we are making cursive writing a priority. Every afternoon before we dive into our learning logs, we do some structured writing.  Betsy, our only teacher this year, has developed this framework for teaching cursive – using the data projector to shine guidelines onto the white board and then writing on them. The students love showing off their skills  too though they still do better on paper than on the board.

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Thanks for praying along with us for the ministry of our school and chapel.  We look forward to next week when we will be practicing conversational skills and learning how fractions work.

Summer Reading 2016

June 17th, 2016

 

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The mission statement of the Christian School and Chapel for the Deaf, Inc.  is to “Nurture Deaf Children to Think and Live Biblically.”  We can only begin to do this.  And we can only begin to DO this as we ourselves explore biblical precepts.

This summer, Lora, Tess and Betsy (three ladies in the center of the photo) are reading Discipling Nations by Darrow L. Miller for their summer  THINKing material.  Of course, we hope they will be reading their Bibles and other edifying literature as well.

During the past school year, the CSCD lady staff (those ladies picture above PLUS a few others) worked through the book How People Change  by Timothy Lane and Paul David Tripp in a weekly evening Bible study.  Some weeks we had lively discussions.  Other weeks we were drown into thoughtful and prayerful moments as we discussed personal struggles and our perceptions of how God would help us to overcome, grow deeper into His character and live out the biblical standards we were learning.

We completed that book at the end of March and then began a series of readings related to Ending Well (as three of our six Bible study members were leaving and all of us were ending the school year).  Our studies included reading the Ken Boa’s Finishing Well series, and excerpts from Coming Home by Howard and Bonnie Lisech. Spending this time together perpared us to say “goodbye” to our good friends and co-workers as well as helped us to see that our school year’s end was simply a transition into the NEXT thing that God is preparing for us.

Twice during the past school year (November and April/May), we  prayed through Andrew Murray’s Helps to Intercession guide. Rosa commented that having repeated this guide several times during her three years of serving at CSCD had helped her prayer life in that Mr. Murray reminds us to pray for things that we often don’t pray about.

If you are looking for something to read this summer, and you should choose Discipling Nations, let us know.  We would love to hear how God is working on your worldview and how you are learning to think and live in a more biblical manner.  Also, if you have a favorite book/Bible study to recommend, please let us know!

As a SCHOOL staff, we make sure to never step away from learning for ourselves. As Christians working in full-time ministry, we make sure never to step away from our Lord Jesus Christ and His awesomeness.  As teachers desiring to instill a hunger for learning into our students, we constantly discuss ways things that impede our learning and understanding and we attempt to plan our classroom, dorm and study times so that we can remove obstacles to our students’ learning as well.

For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? – Mark 8:36

Celebrating Milestones

June 7th, 2016

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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.

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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.

Merry Christmas in Puerto Rico

December 23rd, 2015

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December 18: we celebrated our end of semester with the families of the students and the Palmas Community Church Outreach Committee. The student handbell choir performed at their best ever much to the delight of the director and those listening.

We had a wonderful leisurely celebration, enjoyed the food and fellowship, enjoyed the culmination of our Godly Ornaments advent series, and exchanged hugs and waves of “See you next year!” as students and guests drove away.

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And then we were ready for some Christmas light sightings: Old San Juan and Fajardo both have light displays worth the effort.  Saturday some of the staff went into Old San Juan and others went to Fajardo. How lovely to see that the Light of the World is celebrated in our country.  Continue to pray that the doors and lights will remain open and onto God and His Word.

Challenging times are coming as policies change and the world responds to godless influences. Pray that Puerto Rican Christians can be a strong influence for God-honoring practices and teachings to remain in the mainstream.

They heard the BELLS before Christmas day!

December 19th, 2015

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The student handbell choir performed EIGHT times in the past three weeks!

Our NEW Adult Deaf Handbell Choir also performed TWICE in the past week.

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Our school Christmas party was lovely – the children signed songs, the bells rang, the parents cried at appropriate times, the food was massive in quantity and in flavor, no one hurried away and the cleanup happened.

We thank God for each of you and your prayers for our ministry to the Deaf here in Luquillo. Look forward to seeing you again in January 2016!  Happy Holidays (Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, Epiphany/Kings’ Day) !!

 

 

December Schedule 2015

December 4th, 2015

We have such a busy schedule for the next two weeks:

Tuesday (8 Dec) and Wednesday (9 Dec) the handbell choir will be performing for some organizations who have been very helpful to our school.

Sunday (13 December) the combined efforts of our NEW ADULT Handbell Choir and our student handbell choir will be performing in Bible Baptist Church of Luquillo at 10  a.m.

Wednesday (16 December) the students on bells and guitars will be performing at the Palmas Community Church in Humacao in the evenings (7 p.m. I think)

And our Christmas celebration party will be 18 December at some time before 3 p.m.

With all of these dates and busy events in front of us, it would be easy to forget that Christmas is a time to think more carefully about God and enjoy the peace that He can give us.  To help each of us keep our focus on GOD (and not on receiving gift and playing bells), we have just completed “40” days of thanksgiving (Canadian Thanksgiving through American Thanksgiving) during which time, we talked daily about things we are thankful for.  One of the students wasn’t sure that AIR was something we needed to give thanks for… but she soon decided that it could be on the list,

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During this Advent season, we are doing 15 school days of meditating on God’s character and how God changes our lives. The theme “adORN your life with ORNaments pleasing to God” has translated into ASL as “Decorate your life for God’s glory”.  As we decorate the chapel Christmas tree with Bible verses written on cards placed inside clear Christmas ornament balls, we each write our own observation about the verses and place them onto decorations that each has made – a wreath, a wee Christmas tree, a light box, a poster.

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Busy busy busy

November 21st, 2015

The students have been learning so much.  It’s been a fun season of seeing them as they refine their skills socially and academically.

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In October, we visited Dr. Suarez at the University of Puerto Rico in Humacao for National Chemistry month.  We LOVE being in his lab and seeing science in action. It’s always amazing.

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Philip Tomlinson returned at the end of October and got into repairing the front fence/gate. Seems a post had rotted and the fence was laying on the gate thereby rendering the gate non-functional. Philip and Valie got it repaired in short order.

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Juan is learning and growing and always so happy.  Please pray for the students and workers as we continue to strive together to learn more about the world and about its Creator.

 

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With These Hands

June 11th, 2015

Male and Deaf role models and volunteers! This semester we were blessed to have two Christian deaf men, Philip Tomlinson and Valie Carrillo, working at our school. Philip is from Canada and worked in the dorms in the 1980s. He returned this semester with the hope of being a frequent long-term visitor. In his time here, he was able to accomplish many odd maintenance jobs around the school and counsel with many Deaf people who are seeking God’s Word. What a blessing he has been to us and other people!

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Valie lives close to the school, attends a local church, and is a skilled carpenter. He has recently started volunteering with us. He is a big help both with grounds maintenance and in the classroom teaching math and assisting our students with their class work.

We are very thankful to both Philip and Valie for their work around the school and the relationships that they have formed with our students. They have been wonderful role models, especially for our young male students, of Christian Deaf adults who are growing in God’s Word.

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Additionally, we are thankful for Brendan Yoder who has been our resident maintenance man. Brendan and Rebekah and their kids are great models of what a Christian family can be. The Yoders also help with chapel time where Brendan has been using creative powerpoints to help to transmit the Gospel of John to our students.

Surf the Bible and Sins forgiven

NUMBERS!

Which was more important, the one thief on the next cross (Luke 23:40) or the 5000 gathered on the mountainside (Matthew 14:13)? The 99 sheep in the fold or the 1 that strayed (Luke 15:4)? The widow’s mite (Luke 21:1&2) or the gifts of the wealthy?

Many people are concerned with numbers. We count the number of days in our school year. We count the number of students in the classroom. Right now, we have less than a handful of students. Is a low student population any reason to serve less joyfully? Are these few students not of value in God’s sight?

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Deaf ministry is a one to one ministry. When Jesus Christ healed a deaf person (Mark 7:31), the Bible tells us Jesus “took him aside, away from the crowd” (Mark 7:33). That is exactly what we do daily – take these few deaf children aside, away from the crowd and minister to them in Jesus’ name. At CSCD, our students find acceptance and an environment conducive to communication where in the hearing world they are often marginalized and isolated. At CSCD, we let our students know they are loved by God and created for His purposes in their lives.

He reveals the deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with Him! Daniel 2:22

Times are changing but God has not changed. He continues to provide for the needs of the ministry and the workers. He continues to bring students and workers. Few people are willing to give up the comforts of home to serve the Lord with gladness. This month there are three full-time workers where last year there were only two. We are told to “Ask the Lord of the Harvest to send out workers” (Matthew 9:38).

A few years ago, our ministry submitted to a review by an outside ministry consultant. He described the ministry as “reaching the least and the lost”. We will continue with God’s grace to reach the least of these for His glory. And we will continue to pray that the Lord of the Harvest will strength our hands to work in this field and provide new hands to continue and to grow the work. Thank you for praying with us.

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Parent ASL classes! We are honored to congratulate Deynira Matos and Mariela de la Cruz  for completing one semester of American Sign Language classes! It is estimated that about 90% of parents who have deaf children never learn Sign Language and sadly have very minimal communication with their children. This semester, two of the mothers of our students accepted the challenge and came to weekly Sign Language classes. Deynira has been taking classes on and off for the past several years and knows a good amount of Sign Language. This was Mariela’s first Sign Language course and she is learning at a rapid speed- she even asked to continue the course through the summer! CONGRATULATIONS DEYNIRA AND MAIRELA!!!

Students receive awards

Meet our longest attending student! Mizael is 12 years old. He began school with us when he was about 2 years old giving him 10 years of learning already. His recent job goal relates to FBI and spying. Mizael won the Surf the Bible challenge this year.

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Meet our newest student/visitor! Yajaira, 16, is a member of the Santos family who lives in Orocovis. She arrived to our school on April 18 and was with us until May 23. Yajaira has been in the public school system and has not yet learned how to read, write, or do basic arithmetic. In the short time that she has been here, we have noticed that she has a deep desire to learn to read books! We are thankful that God has placed her here for a visit and are prayerfully looking forward to her possible return in August for the new school year if that is God’s will. Please pray for the Santos family in Orocovis and how God would use us to make an eternal impact on their lives for Him.

Meet our youngest student! Juan is 9 years old and has been a full-time student with us since he was 7. Before that, Juan came to school part-time as we had no dorm staff and his family lives on a neighboring island. We are thankful for short-term workers who have made it possible for Juan to stay in the dorm. Juan has been helping a Deaf dairy farmer with his cows on Tuesdays as we introduce him to career options.

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Meet our oldest student! Larimar, 14 years old (above right), loves God, dogs and cats and children. She came to us at the age of 7 with minimal linguistic skills. She once said she would like to be a veterinary technician until she found out she may have to cut into an animal in order to fix it. More recently, Larimar has declared a job at PetSmart as her career goal.

Box Tops for Education!

This year our school won the award for the most box tops collected in Puerto Rico! This school year we received a total of $2,128.20 from the Boxtop redemption program. This is over $700 more than we raised last school year! THANK YOU to all who faithfully send us your Boxtops; our school, staff and students are all blessed by your contribution.

The Newcomers Club of San Juan

We are pleased to be on the list of charitable organizations helped by the Newcomers Club of San Juan. The Newcomers Club of San Juan was established over 45 years ago to give people new to the area the opportunity to meet and develop friendship with others who live on the island. Membership is open to new arrivals as well as to established Puerto Rico residents. The Newcomers Club partners with us by providing volunteers and material support for the work of the school.

2015 school year celebration

May 31st, 2015

May 21 was our Closing the Year/Awards Program.

We had a great end of the school year.  The students worked to help decorate the chapel and practice the handbells. Tuesday we completed final exams.  Wednesday someone invited us to their pool for a relaxing fun day. And Thursday we CELEBRATED!

Students receive awards

It was wonderful to present awards to the students for their hard work during the school year.

We had been trying to help Juan understand that doing wrong things brings consequences. We had the idea to write Juan’s misdeeds on little pieces of paper and put them into a jar. The goal was to torch the papers as an illustration of how God forgives our sins — tramples them (Micah 7:19), removes them as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12), buries them in the deepest sea (again, Micah 7:19).

Surf the Bible and Sins forgiven

I looked at Juan as I pulled out the “sin jar” and his face was priceless – surprise, shame, wanting the jar to disappear. Brendan made sure to torch the papers and remove the fire from the chapel before something bad happened. And Juan was RELIEVED.

We ended our program with What a Friend We Have In Jesus (this link is not our video)signed by Carlos, played by guitars and violins, sung in harmony by Rosa and Hector.

And then we had lunch and time to chat and enjoy the students and their guests. It was a lovely relaxing time and I thank God for the peaceful end to this school year.

Pray for the students as they are at home and as we see them in the summer. Ask God to help them to remember His Word and draw closer to Him.