February is often a month of guests and Feb 2019 was just that.
We started with 8 visitors from Pennsylvania (we enjoyed an afternoon with them at the beach and lots of fun times in the dining room)
followed by our principal’s mother (above photo far right, lady in the center in the white sweatshirt) and sister who also came to visit (purple shirt person). While they were staying at the school, our friends Tim (center photo adult red shirt) and Pam also came to the island (they rented a place off of the school grounds) and while they were hanging out with us, we had our own Bible Challenge Week with Brother Dan Knickerbocker and his lovely wife Anne Marie.
Brother Dan spoke with us the last four afternoons of February – challenging us to think wisely, speak Biblically, and to share our faith effectively. We enjoyed having Dan and AnneMarie for lunches during the week and some time to chat with them. Dan and AnneMarie have been ministering to churches on the island having been invited to Maranatha Baptist Church for a weekend of special services.
God’s goodness to us is amazing over and over again. We are SO THANKFUL for the ways He provides and protects our ministry here. Continue to pray for workers – teachers, a cook, people to work along with us as we develop outreach programs with our Deaf adult friends and for teens in need of tutoring and discipleship. The work is great and the laborers are few and aging! We are trusting God to send younger workers who will carry the ministry forward as our older workers begin to think about lightening their workload.
Meanwhile, we are praising God for the strength He gives our bones and our muscles!
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.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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
Most schoolday mornings, I hear HOOT HOOT from the mail man and say RUN!
The kids love charging to the gate and carrying back the parcels that are coming in.
I have to tell you, YOU and your boxes are making these kids lives (and MINE) so much fun. And FUN seems to be a little lacking. We are still in the shadow of the storm… trees are just beginning to grow leaves again. Stores are beginning to have meat again. Some people have electricity —intermittently as it shuts down again for another reason or fault in the line.
But a box arrives and WOW! LOOK! Beef jerky was once a foreign word and now it’s a great delicious surprise inside the larger box. Trail mix!! Who knew that would go over so well? And we mix our own from the tins and jars you send when there is no “trail mix” in the box. A few nuts from New York. Some dried apricots from Kansas. M&Ms from Pennsylvania. Cashews from Maryland. All tossed into the classroom container. Then someone’s mother says, “Hey that looks good…” and a ziplock baggie of it is given to the family!
Batteries! We still collect them – AA for some flashlights, AAA for others, D for the larger lanterns. When our collection overflows the confines we have delineated, we give the overflow to people in our churches, the students’ families, random visitors who mention the need.
I took several packages to church one Sunday with baggies of Starburst candy. Imagine a child being more excited for the batteries than the candy! One little girl held up the 4 pack of AA batteries and said, “Mommy look. My flashlight stopped working last night and now I have new batteries for it!” Praise God for YOUR generosity in sending.
Stores are not stocking up on batteries. They are sold out almost as soon as the boxes are opened. School lunches are most often dehydrated foods or rice and beans supplemented with canned meats or ‘refrigerate after opening’ meats.
Thanks for making the morning mail run so much fun! You brighten the lives of our students as you serve God with your creative parcel making. We are trying to respond to each parcel received – the students are practicing HOW TO WRITE A LETTER and so is their teacher because while is it more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35), we as receivers feel SO blessed and want to give you our thanks.
Oh I wish you could have seen the kids on Thursday, May 25. They were magnificent in their presentations of their science projects. I was excited and amazed by them. The two boys pictured above presented Plants and Colors respectively. Great stuff there.
The older two students presented their findings on Bows and Arrows and Bamboo Music. Very good work all around. The families enjoyed watching and learning along with their students. And Edgar, pictured below with his brand new glasses, could not keep his eyes off his awards and his science project. His smile and enthusiasm were priceless.
Pray for the students at home this summer. Pray for the bell choir as we prepare to leave on Thursday June 8 for our trip to Toronto Ontario. Maybe we will see YOU there?
We started the semester with several visitors – two of them were specifically classroom apprentices. Hayley Bowser (left) came with her dad (center) and Jason Veil (right) came on his own. Hayley did this and that including some crafts, some tutoring and some other work while Steve helped with some computer quirks we had happening. Jason came to lend his hands in the classroom.
Pictured below, you see Jason and Hayley carrying out Jason’s lessons on job ethics and how to apply for a job with two of our students. During the remaining time of their work days, Hayley and Jason helped in the classroom as the students learned more about English, Spanish, Science, Social Studies, Bible, etc.
Thank God with us for young volunteers and pray for the future teachers God will bring to the school.
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.
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.
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.
Thanks for taking time to dive into our news this week!
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.