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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The students have been learning so much. It’s been a fun season of seeing them as they refine their skills socially and academically.
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.
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.
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.
Since school started in August, we have been busily studying and creating some poster projects for friends at the San Juan Community Library. We deliver the projects on Monday September 24, 2015.
The students have been learning WHERE in the world our island is located and how it was first settled by Native Tribes from North America. The Taino People who met Columbus in 1493 were originally from South America. After the Native People, Spaniards (Europe) arrived, then came slaves from Africa. Our little island is a crossroads for FOUR continents.
Some of the students are still mis-labelling the world map exercise we do in Social Studies as part of our regular review (name the 7 continents and Puerto Rico on this map) but they are beginning to have a more global knowledge.
We are studying the refugee emigration crisis in Europe and learning about some of the associated countries in Europe, Africa and Asia. As we learn about our place in the world, I am praying that the children will begin to understand that GOD LOVED THE WORLD SO MUCH THAT HE GAVE HIS ONLY SON (John 3:16).
We are also working on NOUNS and VERBS and sentence structure; a wide variety of math concepts; how to understand what we are reading (WHO? WHAT DID –DO? WHERE did it happen?) and the time line of the Bible.
We estimate that the first Native People arrived from South America around the time that Abraham and Sarah lived. We estimate that the Tainos arrived around the time of Jesus’ birth. It has been a fun first month of school and I (a teacher) am excited to see what comes along in the next month!
Thanks for praying for us. PRINT THIS staff students 2015 09 if you want to know the names of those for whom you are praying.
We are ending the month of August 2015 and the students are still smiling 🙂 As you can see from the photos above, we have 5 students at this time. We are working on place value and trying to improve memory (hence the bottle of glue pouring into a brain cavity).
Five students – and days often feel overwhelming as each of these students could use a full-time tutor. Each has special needs in addition to requiring that their coursework be presented in visual means. So much out of the classroom time goes into preparing powerpoint and worksheets and captioning pictures and developing specific for THIS child activities to help them learn.
Christie Hoeksema just joined us last week. She is proving to be a valuable resource – (1) because she is fresh and new and has energy! and (2) because she can use technology to make worksheets, flashcards, and materials that are time consuming and (3) because she is Deaf herself and can offer insights when all of the Hearies are rather at a loss for WHAT? is being signed to us by our low language learners.
Thanks for praying along with us this school year.
Larimar and Mizael joined Betsy this year at St Croix Deaf Camp. The three of them traveled to STX on July 6 (because their July 5th flight was canceled). They spent 4 wonderful days with the Deaf camp of STX making new friends and loving every minute of it.
Betsy praises God for the opportunity for the team of three to go. The CSCD students were able to share their faith in private conversations and in Wednesday morning devotional time before the camp day began.
The students loved the whole adventure – from billiards to jumping off the cruise ship pier to eating termites under the supervision of Discovery Grove nature trail staff. They are already asking if they can return next summer. Pray with us as we pray for the Deaf of St Croix – that maybe next summer at Deaf camp, we will see some Deaf adults and have more opportunities to share God’s amazing love.