Christmas is a time for JOY!
Our island is regaining GREEN as trees and plants regrow their leaves. The streets and school grounds still bear the scars of the hurricanes from September. Our electricity is reliable – because we are on a large generator supplied by FEMA with daily deliveries of diesel. We have moved our classes to the school chapel which is powered by the FEMA generator (the classroom is on a small generator for which we buy the gas and oil and take care of maintenance).
With all of that still happening around us, we are trying to embrace CHRISTmas – the celebration of Christ’s incarnation, the promised Saviour born to a virgin at last has come! I say TRYING because, with all that was happening in September and October, as a teacher, I got behind in my planning ahead for Christmas. I failed to order supplies for Christmas crafts and activities. I have been otherwise occupied with LIFE such that I was not thinking into November and December.
But God, in His goodness, provided through YOU who sent and are sending parcels of supplies. Suddenly, when someone asked, I thought, “Please send some Christmas crafts for the students. I have nothing planned. I lost a few months!”
And so the Christmas craft supply boxes have arrived from Wisconsin and Florida and Maine just to name a few. We started last week by putting a few Christmas lights in the school chapel to brighten our days. (We have solar powered Christmas lights outside for our evening enjoyment. And some friends have sent more so that the students can take home some solar powered lights for their homes!)
The students and visitors are enjoying making origami stars, candle holders, wee Christmas trees and various painted decorations. TWO people sent us JOY ornaments (see above). I think God is reminding us that even with the changes we have experienced and continue to live with, His JOY is always available. With Nehemiah, we can say:
the joy of the Lord is our strength.
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.
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.
Too often recently, I have heard a complaint that a governmental entity has not called for an interpreter for a Deaf person in need. Too often recently, I have seen video of such interactions. Too often recently, I have received a phone call from an agency asking WHY an interpreter was needed…
And so to have this at my fingertips, here is a PDF of a model letter for a Deaf person to give to an agency or office explaining the law and requesting an interpreter be called. I did not write this. It was given to me by someone who knows more about this than I do. Yet it is so needed. It is in Spanish.
Modelo Carta para Persona Sorda a Entidades
Our week started with students who wanted to “celebrate” Halloween. Well, I am not opposed to candy but I am opposed to many aspects of Halloween’s “religious” traditions. So we got around it by doing “Crazy Hair” and playing some games.
Thanks to our two stylists to their crazy input on the activity!
This year’s handbell choir did their first performance on November 1 with a surprisingly good repertoire. With three fairly young and new ringers, the director of the troupe was nervous but everyone came through with bells on!
We had some workers around this week – installing a new white board, installing a generator interface for power outages, and power washing everything it seemed.
How beautiful are the feet that bring good news! Isaiah 52:7 and Romans 10:15 both remind us that Good News comes by way of personal delivery. How eager we were to receive our guest workers and their news of jobs well-done! How eager we are to continue to teach the Good News to our students and plant the seeds of God’s Word in their hearts! Pray with us for their hearts to be fertile fields as we plant that precious seed. Pray for their minds to desire to obey Him always.
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
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.
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.
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!)
I copied this from another blog:
Suggested Questions for Parents/Friends
- What was the biggest highlight of your trip?
- What was the hardest thing you faced on your trip?
- What did that hard experience teach you?
- What things surprised you the most?
- Do you feel like you were prepared for your trip?
- If you could do it all over again, what would you change?
- Do you have any regrets?
- What was the food like?
- Where did you sleep?
- Tell me about the people you met and ministered to.
- Did you connect with anyone that you might keep in touch with?
- Did you get a chance to share your faith?
- Does your view of the world and your life look any differently now?
- Do you see Jesus any differently now?
- Did you see anything gross?
- Did you get sick?
- What was the scariest thing you experienced?
- What was the weirdest thing you ate?
- What was the church you worked with like?
- How was their form of worship different from ours?
- Did you get a chance to meet anyone’s practical needs?
- Was there ever a time that you really felt like God was directing you?
- What was the funniest thing you experienced?
- How did you work out any differences you had with your team?
- What was it like in the evenings? What did you do?
- What were your worship times with your team like?
- Did you miss me?
- Did you pack enough stuff?
- Did you really miss me?
- What was the weather like?
- Did you cry when you thought about me because you missed me?
- Would you ever want to go back?
- Do you think you would consider being a full-time missionary?
- What was the biggest thing you saw God do?
- Do you think you’ll go on a short-term mission trip again?
- What’s going to be the toughest thing about being home now?
- Do you think anything will change with your friends that weren’t on the trip?
- Do you think you have changed in any way? How?
- Is there anything you smelled on your trip that you’ll never forget?
- Are you tired?
- Has this changed anything in your relationship with Jesus?
- What were some of the ways you ministered on your trip?
- Did you get to share your story of how you met Jesus with anyone?
- Did you get any ideas of how you could minister here at home?
- Was there anything you saw that just broke your heart?
- Did you give anything away?
- Is there anything you HAVE to do this week after experiencing what you did?
- Was there ever a time you felt completely out of control in a situation?
- What’s the number one thing you are thankful for?
- Did you catch yourself praising God for things? Like what?
38 days remain in the 2015-2016 school year. The students have been enthusiastic learners and recently we had seen fruit from their labors:
Maria has learned to smile and say “Please” when asking questions. Mizael noticed that the hours of sunshine are lengthening and explained the tilt and rotation and revolution of the planet. Juan has begun to work faster on his written work and is telling amazing stories (truth and fiction mixed). Larimar is increasing her vocabulary and holding onto the words. The teachers are all excited to see these fruits in the lives of the students.
Paying attention IS a job skill and seeing the students give their undivided attention during class time is also an encouragement.
Of course, we continue to include hands-on learning. After reading Mr Ferris and His Wheel, Juan and Maria built a k-nex ferris wheel as part of their science class. Learning to work together, to follow directions, and to trouble shoot difficulties are also great skills to develop in life.
Pray for the next 38 class days – that the students will continue to grow in knowledge and in application of God’s Word in their lives.
Lancaster Bible College has come to us with a work team again this March. These people KNOW how to work! In fact, they worked so much during the past five rainy days, they earned an extra half day of sight seeing. This morning, (Thursday 10 March) they are off to see El Yunque and then Old San Juan for the afternoon. Tomorrow, we are all going to the beach for some fun and playing together. Saturday evening they leave – so we are not sure of the Saturday plans. Probably a little more sleep and then some cleaning of their dorms.
It’s been a good week with them – seeing the Bible stories they have presented in clever and entertaining ways, learning more of those characters presented – Joseph, Ruth, Samuel – to name a few.
Several of the girls served as substitute teacher for Betsy who was out with a cold a few days. Most have been working on grounds work, painting, scraping, cleaning, and generally helping in a variety in places. We are excited to see God work in their lives and in our lives as we spend time together.
Thanks for your prayers.
So far, 2016 has been a wonderfully peaceful year. Students are learning – on all levels of learning – academically, spiritually, emotionally, physically. We love to see this.
Below, you will see Larimar working in class and also hanging out in a hammock. One day when she was the last student in the classrooms, we tried out the hammock lounge under the new deck. Larimar enjoyed hanging out with the new workers, sharing jokes and stories and enjoying some relaxed time.
In the other photo, Larimar is working on story telling by creating a “quadrama” (like a diorama with four open corners). She is such a creative young lady and we are so pleased to see her using her talents in ways that honor God. Continue to pray for her and our other students as they learn and grow in His grace.