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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.

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.

the work continues

March 24th, 2018

While many people don’t understand it, or believe it, Puerto Rico DOES have a “winter” season. We don’t have snow but our temperatures do go down… on the average to the high 70Fs (21C) in Luquillo and to the low 40Fs (4.4 C) in the mountain areas. Some lovely quilters from New York state sent us three boxes of quilted blankets and throws and wall hangings. In the photo about, you will see how one student immediately adopted a blanket as her own.  One former student took a quilted blanket home for his mother who hugged it and cried. Thank you quilters for your gifts of love!

The work to return the school campus to it’s pre-hurricanes (P2H) state of functioning is continuing. As God brings us workers (from left above) from various places like Calvary Chapel,  independent families, and the local Internet installer, we are slowly beginning to get the grounds and infrastructure back to P2H normal.

A special group of workers has worked this past month to rebuild our sport/storage room as well as our awning at the dining room entrance. Additionally, some of the men in the group from Ontario Canada had some electrical savvy – they were able to work through the wires and restore power to parts of the dorm that were not powered up and were able to configure a solar backup for the school kitchen (not for every day purposes but in case of a power outage, we can now use the solar power system to run the fridges and freezer).  Their inventiveness will save us many headaches from generator issues in coming years… assuming their power cord remains aloft.

Oh and the phone line to the school office is now working again! AND the CableTV company has restored the service to the TV in the school library – a donation of their service for educational purposes.

Mail is arriving as it had been P2H and our little corner of the world is fairly back to normal.

Please do not misunderstand me, the rest of the island (and our little part) still carries the scars and still has delays.  Since the FEMA satellite link ended, it has taken a few weeks to get back online so our e-giving donors have not heard from us this month (yet).  We will be working on that this coming week.

Trees remain broken and the ones that will grow new leaves are working on it. The DTOP guys are out there trying to get the traffic lights working to restore order – yesterday I was in Carolina and after a few blocks of non-functional traffic lights on the business roads, I was glad to get back to the autopista and take the bypass from all of the tangle.

Some stores have not re-opened and some have announced that they are not planning to reopen. OurSam’s Club is one of them.  The two nearest Sam’s are both about an hour’s drive away so we will have to rethink the cost effectiveness of that choice. But, meanwhile, we have plenty of fresh produce again.  Plenty of meat in the grocery stores.  Plenty of options to enjoy choosing from.  And the students have been enjoying choosing the Monday Make Your Meal Menu option that has been given to them this year.

Thank you for your prayers and for your assistance and your parcels and your partnership in our ministry.

approaching Christmas

December 4th, 2017

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.

scrambled eggs

April 27th, 2017

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.

 

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.

 

Model Letter to Request Interpreter

November 16th, 2016

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

Disponible aqui:

modelo-carta-persona-sorda-a-entidades-pdf

week of November 04 2016

November 6th, 2016

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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!

p1250935 p1250955

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.

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!)