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.
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.
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.
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.
This year, we have three students every morning. Two are doing High School work and we are thankful to have English and Math volunteers working with them. Our English tutor meets with the students two hours each week by Facetime while our Math tutor walks into the classroom when he has time free to do so. We are thankful for the ways God provides for morning assistance so that our principal, Betsy Hoke can work with our new 6 year-old student who is learning the alphabet, learning to sit in class, learning to ask before taking or doing things, learning to use his hands to communicate, learning so many life skills!
Pray for teachers as Diego (6) and the two older students all need full time teachers to be present in their learning times. We also have a little 18 month old girl who we would love to have full time – again the need of someone to be her guide and language model through the day is holding us back.
In our next blog entry, I will introduce you to our missionary staff for this school year. Busy busy busy days prevent me from getting the photos I want to post!
Next Friday, September 7 is Deaf Social Night – come if you are able and join in games and fun with us!
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.
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 (email@example.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
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:
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.