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ye faithful

December 24th, 2017

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 (emhoke@cscdluquillo.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

Now, we could use your hands…

December 11th, 2017

The island and infrastructure is beginning to recover. A small percentage has electricity.  We do not.  But we have a generator and hope for the day when those trucks come here and restore our lights.

What we really could use are small self sufficient teams of 6 or less WORKers.

  • We need to pressure wash and paint parts of the buildings.
  • We need to remove dead trees from the field and perimeter where we left them after the storm.
  • We need to do some indoor painting.
  • We need to put up new rain spouts.
  • We need to build a new wall and block in a door that blows out too often.
  • We need to do general maintenance on the grounds and buildings – repairing leaky places and revisiting the hot water solar heating units.

But we don’t have electricity yet.  So keep that in mind.

The dorms are your choice of (a) smelly and noisy from the generator but you’d have lights and fans or (b) dark and quiet with an extension cord to run some appliances.

The school kitchen has limited refrigeration space but you could share. And we have a propane gas stove for cooking (i.e. boiling water to add to dehydrated meals).

Contact Betsy at emhoke@cscdluquillo.com or cscdluquillo@gmail.com to arrange a date for your hard workers to come and lend a hand with us.

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.

Handbell Choir

April 12th, 2017

April 7 2017 we had our first and only spring performance for the handbell choir.  It’s been interesting getting our two younger boys to multi-task as required by musical instruments.  Looking at the director.  Looking at the music.  Remember which hand is which color according to the color code we use to teach note reading. THEN remembering no matter who is in the audience, still watching and focusing on the director and the music. Serious skills required!

These two did well and so thoroughly enjoyed the snack box provided by the group we performed for. The other members of the bell choir were packing the bells and van while these younger guys were hanging out. The largest issue of the day was Edgar’s tie which had some smudges on it. Yep.  Not acceptable to him.  We’ll try to get those cleaned before they are needed the next time.

How many more coconuts would be able to be in this truck before the tires pop? As we drove, we passed cautiously lest the tailgate let go and the coconuts cascade out.  Driving here is always a challenge.  Praise God that day, there was no challenge other than passing safely on the highway.

Thanks for your prayers for our ministry!

Learning at Lunch

August 27th, 2016

Learning At Lunch

This year, we began with 5 students so rather than open the entire dining room for 7 diners (5 students and 2 staff), we are having lunch together in a staff apartment, family style.

The students are learning to serve themselves a reasonable portion of food, pass the serving bowls and platters and share in amiable conversation. After lunch, they take turns doing the dishes and clearing the table. So far, the students are enjoying the change of pace.

One day 13 of the school year, we added a new student to our student body when we welcomed Edgar back into our classroom.  Edgar had been with us when he was 3 to 5 years old and has been away for 7 years.  Returning at 12 years of age, he is sadly behind his former classmates even though he had been ahead of several.  The system of education here is lacking in resources and though this boy has had an interpreter, his language skills are still not what they could be. He is also unable to write and read. So we are VERY excited to have him back with us. Please pray with us for this little boy’s attention span. Please pray for more teachers so that we are able to meet the needs of the students we have and also to accept others.

We look forward to a new student joining us in October as we have accepted an adult learner who is interested in studying English and his third language so that he is able to do more online learning and perhaps attend university in the States. Again, pray for the potential we see and for God’s wisdom in accepting or denying students.

thinking ahead

August 14th, 2016

With the first week of classes behind us, we are getting ready for a four day school week with our visiting Missions Team from Calvary Bible Church of Hanover PA.  Keep up with their team blog to see what their team members think of their time here.  P1220052

Team leader Steve with his head submerged in the waves 🙂

The four day week was planned by our principal – the school staff can use a break; the three dorm students can use the long weekend to be at home a little longer; and the work team needs some time to debrief, pray, think and then clean the dorms and gather their belongings into suitcases for their trip home on Saturday.

Two of the residential students have already expressed their opinion that they should stay to hang out with the team on Friday. Yea.  Relationships are growing and good-byes are so hard. So this week as you are praying,

  • pray for those relationships between team members and staff members,
  • between team members and students, and
  • between all of the humans interfacing at CSCD.

As far as we KNOW there are no issues, but prayer helps to prevent potential issues 🙂 you know what I mean.

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The SUBMERGED theme of the week is beautiful!  The students enjoyed the introduction to the Bible school program on Friday.    Our principal particularly liked the way God led us to a fun Wednesday afternoon of pier jumping in which we were physically SUBMERGED in the ocean as many overcame fears so that on Friday we could discuss what it means to be SUBMERGED in God’s will  and word.Read Betsy’s Blog to stay up to date with her musings too.

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Thanks for taking time to dive into our news this week!

 

2016 08 08 is now history

August 9th, 2016

God is so good!

This school year, He provided us with a team of families and friends to help with getting our students excited for learning. Monday August 8 was our first day of the school year. The students enjoyed getting to know the teens in the group and working closely together to carry out some fun and exciting activities which included using quizizz to review information recently learned.

In the afternoon, the teens (both hearing and Deaf) worked together to come up with names and flags for their “countries” and then we began our own Olympic Games. Fun fun fun.

We look forward to many more fun days with the work team from Calvary Bible Church of Hanover PA and to the many blessings God will use them to pour into our lives.

Summer Reading 2016

June 17th, 2016

 

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The mission statement of the Christian School and Chapel for the Deaf, Inc.  is to “Nurture Deaf Children to Think and Live Biblically.”  We can only begin to do this.  And we can only begin to DO this as we ourselves explore biblical precepts.

This summer, Lora, Tess and Betsy (three ladies in the center of the photo) are reading Discipling Nations by Darrow L. Miller for their summer  THINKing material.  Of course, we hope they will be reading their Bibles and other edifying literature as well.

During the past school year, the CSCD lady staff (those ladies picture above PLUS a few others) worked through the book How People Change  by Timothy Lane and Paul David Tripp in a weekly evening Bible study.  Some weeks we had lively discussions.  Other weeks we were drown into thoughtful and prayerful moments as we discussed personal struggles and our perceptions of how God would help us to overcome, grow deeper into His character and live out the biblical standards we were learning.

We completed that book at the end of March and then began a series of readings related to Ending Well (as three of our six Bible study members were leaving and all of us were ending the school year).  Our studies included reading the Ken Boa’s Finishing Well series, and excerpts from Coming Home by Howard and Bonnie Lisech. Spending this time together perpared us to say “goodbye” to our good friends and co-workers as well as helped us to see that our school year’s end was simply a transition into the NEXT thing that God is preparing for us.

Twice during the past school year (November and April/May), we  prayed through Andrew Murray’s Helps to Intercession guide. Rosa commented that having repeated this guide several times during her three years of serving at CSCD had helped her prayer life in that Mr. Murray reminds us to pray for things that we often don’t pray about.

If you are looking for something to read this summer, and you should choose Discipling Nations, let us know.  We would love to hear how God is working on your worldview and how you are learning to think and live in a more biblical manner.  Also, if you have a favorite book/Bible study to recommend, please let us know!

As a SCHOOL staff, we make sure to never step away from learning for ourselves. As Christians working in full-time ministry, we make sure never to step away from our Lord Jesus Christ and His awesomeness.  As teachers desiring to instill a hunger for learning into our students, we constantly discuss ways things that impede our learning and understanding and we attempt to plan our classroom, dorm and study times so that we can remove obstacles to our students’ learning as well.

For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? – Mark 8:36

Celebrating Milestones

June 7th, 2016

birthday 15 40 2016

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.

birthday 15 40 irma maria

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.

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!)