The BIG NEWS of the day is NO CLASSES NEXT WEEK! Monday, November 19 is the celebration of Columbus’ arriving to Puerto Rico, thus we are closed. Thursday is American Thanksgiving so we are closed Thursday and Friday. The public school system did not see it necessary to open for 2 days so we are closed for the week. SO Friday, November 16 we had a small Thanksgiving lunch with the students. Diego was underwhelmed…he thought we were having a grand party. THAT will be November 30. If you in the area, come on by!
Now for an entertaining moment:
A theme around the school is NOT TO PLAY WITH. We use it regularly. Natalia, our tiniest student, has learned that Roxy the brown dog is NOT TO PLAY WITH. While doing a photo shoot for the school calendar (see ABOUT US/OUR CALENDAR), Roxy snuck up on Natalia and licked her cheek. Look at those pictures. Does Roxy look like she was trying to get away with something there?
Later Natalia was seen closing herself into the classroom behind the security bars. We thank God that she was inside the NEXT day as it was rainy. The large bull seen in the next picture frolicked in a panic through the courtyard mid afternoon. He is still in the lower field… maybe we don’t need to buy a new lawn mower after all!
For your amusement, our puppy Hephzibah (we call her Zyba) was last seen gnawing on conch shells she has removed from the plant beds. We toss them back into the foliage, she wrangles them back to the courtyard. Funny pup.
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.
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.
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.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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
Most schoolday mornings, I hear HOOT HOOT from the mail man and say RUN!
The kids love charging to the gate and carrying back the parcels that are coming in.
I have to tell you, YOU and your boxes are making these kids lives (and MINE) so much fun. And FUN seems to be a little lacking. We are still in the shadow of the storm… trees are just beginning to grow leaves again. Stores are beginning to have meat again. Some people have electricity —intermittently as it shuts down again for another reason or fault in the line.
But a box arrives and WOW! LOOK! Beef jerky was once a foreign word and now it’s a great delicious surprise inside the larger box. Trail mix!! Who knew that would go over so well? And we mix our own from the tins and jars you send when there is no “trail mix” in the box. A few nuts from New York. Some dried apricots from Kansas. M&Ms from Pennsylvania. Cashews from Maryland. All tossed into the classroom container. Then someone’s mother says, “Hey that looks good…” and a ziplock baggie of it is given to the family!
Batteries! We still collect them – AA for some flashlights, AAA for others, D for the larger lanterns. When our collection overflows the confines we have delineated, we give the overflow to people in our churches, the students’ families, random visitors who mention the need.
I took several packages to church one Sunday with baggies of Starburst candy. Imagine a child being more excited for the batteries than the candy! One little girl held up the 4 pack of AA batteries and said, “Mommy look. My flashlight stopped working last night and now I have new batteries for it!” Praise God for YOUR generosity in sending.
Stores are not stocking up on batteries. They are sold out almost as soon as the boxes are opened. School lunches are most often dehydrated foods or rice and beans supplemented with canned meats or ‘refrigerate after opening’ meats.
Thanks for making the morning mail run so much fun! You brighten the lives of our students as you serve God with your creative parcel making. We are trying to respond to each parcel received – the students are practicing HOW TO WRITE A LETTER and so is their teacher because while is it more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35), we as receivers feel SO blessed and want to give you our thanks.
Three weeks into the school year and we have a MAJOR HOLIDAY on our hands. What was to be long weekend for Labor Day has become a longer break due to Hurricane Irma.
Predictions include 175 mph sustained winds and the word “catastrophe” is being used a lot. At least our students don’t KNOW the word CATASTROPHE yet. (what a teachable moment we are having without them here – booo) They are looking forward to life without electricity so they can see the stars better! That made me smile when a student told me that!
Other predictions include not having electricity restored to the entire island for 4 to 8 months. We normally have 40 days without electricity. Hopefully that will be the norm again this time. Asking the parents, they all agree that school can happen in the cool of the dark classroom and that life without iPads can happen.
We hope to be in class again on Monday morning, September 11, 2017. Betsy, our main teacher, is preparing lessons which rely on BOOKS and PAPER rather than electronic devices.
Thanks for your prayers.
Since some have asked, our link for donations for hurricane relief is HERE. Or at the top right corner of this page where the word DONATE resides. Our policy is to use your gifts first for repairs at the SCHOOL and if there are designated hurricane relief funds above those needs, we will pass those donations on to student families or neighbors of the school or other Deaf families in need of financial aid. Sometimes, we will make the purchases for the families in need so that we can KNOW the money is being used for THAT purpose and not for other things. You understand. Anyway, if you want to help, that’s the easy way. A little harder, you write a check and mail it. Scroll down on that page for the mailing address.
Of course, you can always just send a letter. The mail box is a huge encourager when the electronic mail box is inaccessible.
We hope to update you as soon as electricity is restored. If that’s in a week or a month… then it will happen. Of course, we can always go to an access point that HAS electricity even when our campus out in the country still is without that blessing.
Thanks for your prayers for our safety and for our students’ and friends’ safety as well.
August 14 – first day of school!
We had one student. The other three were at appointments or simply had difficulties arriving in a timely fashion. Nonetheless, we were blessed by the Palmas Community Church as they brought backpacks for our students and their siblings. (picture on left below)
August 15 – second day of school!
Everyone was present! We kicked off the first day of full attendance with our Science emphasis focusing on the eclipse that will be happening on August 21. All week (well except for Day 4 which saw only one student again as the others were flooded away from the school) we have been talking about galaxies, sun, rotation, revolutions, stars, planets… It has been a fun week in the classroom. While speaking of creation and God’s workmanship, we visited the apartment kitchen above the classrooms to see the workmanship of new cupboards that took place during the summer (center photo above).
We have explored the age of the universe by reading the Bible, created models of the sun, earth and moon to walk through what is a solar eclipse and had a guest speaker who has an interest in astronomy. Our chapel is decorated as if we are walking in outer space (see backgrounds in the photos above and below)— heads in the stars and hopefully provoking the imagination of the endlessness of our universe as well as the endlessness of God’s love.
We created our own stars by making constellations of nails and then wrapping string around them in patterns or in arrays. We read articles about the solar system at readworks.org
We have downloaded various apps to our devices so that we can “view” constellations in daylight and watch as the moon moves closer and closer to the sun. Excitement is mounting as we await the eclipse on Monday at 2:11 our time. We have had some RAIN this week so homework assignments of “observe the stars” were incomplete but we are hopeful that Monday will bring sunshine and blue skies for the event we have been hoping to witness.
Friday afternoons are often a little messy here as students go home early and our adult handbell ringers arrive for practice. This Friday, the students asked questions they had been formulating all week – Aliens? Diamond planets? Blue stars? – which we looked up on the Internet and youtube. How wonderful to have access to those resources! We also had art class and drew very inaccurate representations of the solar system.
All in all, the school year was kicked off and celebrated well. We are thankful for the students we have and prayerful about the staff we need to be able to reach more Deaf children for Christ. The task is daunting as we meet Deaf adults and children with very limited understanding of signed and printed languages… there is the need to begin with the basics of WHO? WHAT? WHERE? before we can begin to speak of GOD and SALVATION. Pray with us for the continuing ministry among the Deaf here.
The semester is continuing on as all good semesters do. For science, we are learning about EXPERIMENTS. Many experiments FAIL – or do not produce the expected results. We packaged eggs and dropped them. 3 out of 4 resulted in scrambled eggs. Our winner, Juan (on the right above) succeeded in packaging his egg so that it was useful later.
In our Bible class, we are memorizing verses about WISDOM. Pray with us that our students will learn to depend on God and His wisdom above all other choices available to them. Pray with us that our students’ lives would not like scrambled eggs… but would be protected by God’s wisdom as they apply it to their lives.
The Adult Handbell Choir Trio and our Upper School Handbell Duo are combining their efforts to raise money to fly to Toronto Ontario Canada to attend the 38th Annual World Mission to the Deaf missions conference.
flyer download : WMD Conference June 10 2017
We are super excited to be going together and have been practicing for weeks already. We are performing on April 7 at an afternoon meeting in Humacao PR and had our first FULLY attended rehearsal yesterday. The group is coming together so well. If you are interested in helping us on this trip north, please feel free to buy a t-shirt or send along your encouragements to us through e-mail or Facebook and of course letters by snail-mail are always appreciated as are your prayers.