Friday, October 11, we were blessed to have only ONE student in attendance. That student took an interest in this millipede so millipedes became the focus of the day. Today is October 18 and we are blessed to have only TWO students in attendance. They were given the opportunity for FIX YOUR FOOD FRIDAY and learned (or helped) to make chili for today’s lunch.
Sometimes, having a small number of students is a blessing. We are able to spend time to chat about THEIR specific lives and needs and trials and joys. Often we have too many children and not enough hands to put into their learning. More and more students coming to us, as a special school, have multiple needs in addition to being Deaf. What a joy when we have one on one time and can share in their lives specifically, learn more about them and pray with them alone.
Pray with us for the special needs of the Deaf in Puerto Rico.
We are excited to have our regular Friday handbell rehearsals and the dedication of the adult Deaf persons who are participating in that. They have their work and their families and yet have this desire for music. One of them told me, “I work and I am stressed all week but I have THIS BELL TIME in my mind and look forward to this time all week.”
Praise God that through the ministry of handbells, this person’s emotional needs are being cared for.
Last week, we held a week-long ASL workshop. We were pleased with the attendance and outcomes – more people signing with a little more confidence and new connections we have made with a pre-school were our little student Natalia will be attending!
Our school director, Betsy, was assisted by Valie Carrillo (our maintenance man) and Jennifer Woods (visiting ASL teacher from the States). With the occasional assist of Mike and Glenda Coupe, the class had plenty of models for great signing. We played lots of games to keep everyone’s attention – the morning sessions were 3 hours – and to keep everyone learning. What a great week!
We are already thinking and scheduling for the 2020 version of the workshop so if you are interested in learning ASL and wanted to join us, let me know!
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!
We started 2019 with prayer. God is at work in our area and we are SO excited to see HOW God will carry out His plan using us.
You can read this at http://cscdluquillo.com/with-these-hands/ – we have been praying for quite some time now for God to show us His plan for this facility and for the Deaf of this part of the island to be reached for Him.
“Continue to pray with us for workers to realize an adult Deaf ministry on our northeast corner of Puerto Rico with CSCD as the home base.
The SAME needs that the first workers discussed in 1957 and 1958 before opening the Evangelical Deaf Mission are still the needs of today:
the need for Bible teaching among the Deaf population (there are presently less than 10 Bible-teaching churches for the Deaf on the island),
the lack of literacy skills among the Deaf population (how can God’s Word speak if God’s Word is not accessible?)”
We look forward to classes resuming on January 14. We have two new volunteers on our list of workers- pray that they will be consistent workers and willing to adapt to the needs of the Deaf children they will be working with.
We are SO thankful for God’s faithfulness to this ministry as we enter our 60th year here. None of the present workers has even been alive for 60 years- we draw on the heritage of the ministry and thank God for His vision in the beginning and through the years until NOW. He continues to provide and we continue to be blessed by His provision.
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.
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!
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.