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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 ( 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 or to arrange a date for your hard workers to come and lend a hand with us.

week of November 04 2016

November 6th, 2016


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!

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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.

Science Month!

October 23rd, 2016

if a picture is worth a thousand words, I’ve already said too much!

Hope you enjoyed looking at the October Update.  Pray for the students and workers – everyone is learning more daily.  Pray that we will continue to serve the Lord with gladness.

Summer Reading 2016

June 17th, 2016



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

Talking to your returning Missionary Friend

May 25th, 2016

I copied this from another blog:

Suggested Questions for Parents/Friends

  1. What was the biggest highlight of your trip?
  2. What was the hardest thing you faced on your trip?
  3. What did that hard experience teach you?
  4. What things surprised you the most?
  5. Do you feel like you were prepared for your trip?
  6. If you could do it all over again, what would you change?
  7. Do you have any regrets?
  8. What was the food like?
  9. Where did you sleep?
  10. Tell me about the people you met and ministered to.
  11. Did you connect with anyone that you might keep in touch with?
  12. Did you get a chance to share your faith?
  13. Does your view of the world and your life look any differently now?
  14. Do you see Jesus any differently now?
  15. Did you see anything gross?
  16. Did you get sick?
  17. What was the scariest thing you experienced?
  18. What was the weirdest thing you ate?
  19. What was the church you worked with like?
  20. How was their form of worship different from ours?
  21. Did you get a chance to meet anyone’s practical needs?
  22. Was there ever a time that you really felt like God was directing you?
  23. What was the funniest thing you experienced?
  24. How did you work out any differences you had with your team?
  25. What was it like in the evenings? What did you do?
  26. What were your worship times with your team like?
  27. Did you miss me?
  28. Did you pack enough stuff?
  29. Did you really miss me?
  30. What was the weather like?
  31. Did you cry when you thought about me because you missed me?
  32. Would you ever want to go back?
  33. Do you think you would consider being a full-time missionary?
  34. What was the biggest thing you saw God do?
  35. Do you think you’ll go on a short-term mission trip again?
  36. What’s going to be the toughest thing about being home now?
  37. Do you think anything will change with your friends that weren’t on the trip?
  38. Do you think you have changed in any way? How?
  39. Is there anything you smelled on your trip that you’ll never forget?
  40. Are you tired?
  41. Has this changed anything in your relationship with Jesus?
  42. What were some of the ways you ministered on your trip?
  43. Did you get to share your story of how you met Jesus with anyone?
  44. Did you get any ideas of how you could minister here at home?
  45. Was there anything you saw that just broke your heart?
  46. Did you give anything away?
  47. Is there anything you HAVE to do this week after experiencing what you did?
  48. Was there ever a time you felt completely out of control in a situation?
  49. What’s the number one thing you are thankful for?
  50. Did you catch yourself praising God for things? Like what?

St Croix Camp 2015

July 15th, 2015

STX 2015 1

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.

STX 2015 billiards

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.

STX 2015 termites

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.

With These Hands

June 11th, 2015

Male and Deaf role models and volunteers! This semester we were blessed to have two Christian deaf men, Philip Tomlinson and Valie Carrillo, working at our school. Philip is from Canada and worked in the dorms in the 1980s. He returned this semester with the hope of being a frequent long-term visitor. In his time here, he was able to accomplish many odd maintenance jobs around the school and counsel with many Deaf people who are seeking God’s Word. What a blessing he has been to us and other people!

volunteers 2015 03

Valie lives close to the school, attends a local church, and is a skilled carpenter. He has recently started volunteering with us. He is a big help both with grounds maintenance and in the classroom teaching math and assisting our students with their class work.

We are very thankful to both Philip and Valie for their work around the school and the relationships that they have formed with our students. They have been wonderful role models, especially for our young male students, of Christian Deaf adults who are growing in God’s Word.

tree lined road 2015 05 01

Additionally, we are thankful for Brendan Yoder who has been our resident maintenance man. Brendan and Rebekah and their kids are great models of what a Christian family can be. The Yoders also help with chapel time where Brendan has been using creative powerpoints to help to transmit the Gospel of John to our students.

Surf the Bible and Sins forgiven


Which was more important, the one thief on the next cross (Luke 23:40) or the 5000 gathered on the mountainside (Matthew 14:13)? The 99 sheep in the fold or the 1 that strayed (Luke 15:4)? The widow’s mite (Luke 21:1&2) or the gifts of the wealthy?

Many people are concerned with numbers. We count the number of days in our school year. We count the number of students in the classroom. Right now, we have less than a handful of students. Is a low student population any reason to serve less joyfully? Are these few students not of value in God’s sight?

school happens 2015 01

Deaf ministry is a one to one ministry. When Jesus Christ healed a deaf person (Mark 7:31), the Bible tells us Jesus “took him aside, away from the crowd” (Mark 7:33). That is exactly what we do daily – take these few deaf children aside, away from the crowd and minister to them in Jesus’ name. At CSCD, our students find acceptance and an environment conducive to communication where in the hearing world they are often marginalized and isolated. At CSCD, we let our students know they are loved by God and created for His purposes in their lives.

He reveals the deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with Him! Daniel 2:22

Times are changing but God has not changed. He continues to provide for the needs of the ministry and the workers. He continues to bring students and workers. Few people are willing to give up the comforts of home to serve the Lord with gladness. This month there are three full-time workers where last year there were only two. We are told to “Ask the Lord of the Harvest to send out workers” (Matthew 9:38).

A few years ago, our ministry submitted to a review by an outside ministry consultant. He described the ministry as “reaching the least and the lost”. We will continue with God’s grace to reach the least of these for His glory. And we will continue to pray that the Lord of the Harvest will strength our hands to work in this field and provide new hands to continue and to grow the work. Thank you for praying with us.

Camuy Visitors 2015 04 20

Parent ASL classes! We are honored to congratulate Deynira Matos and Mariela de la Cruz  for completing one semester of American Sign Language classes! It is estimated that about 90% of parents who have deaf children never learn Sign Language and sadly have very minimal communication with their children. This semester, two of the mothers of our students accepted the challenge and came to weekly Sign Language classes. Deynira has been taking classes on and off for the past several years and knows a good amount of Sign Language. This was Mariela’s first Sign Language course and she is learning at a rapid speed- she even asked to continue the course through the summer! CONGRATULATIONS DEYNIRA AND MAIRELA!!!

Students receive awards

Meet our longest attending student! Mizael is 12 years old. He began school with us when he was about 2 years old giving him 10 years of learning already. His recent job goal relates to FBI and spying. Mizael won the Surf the Bible challenge this year.

orocovis 2012 11

Meet our newest student/visitor! Yajaira, 16, is a member of the Santos family who lives in Orocovis. She arrived to our school on April 18 and was with us until May 23. Yajaira has been in the public school system and has not yet learned how to read, write, or do basic arithmetic. In the short time that she has been here, we have noticed that she has a deep desire to learn to read books! We are thankful that God has placed her here for a visit and are prayerfully looking forward to her possible return in August for the new school year if that is God’s will. Please pray for the Santos family in Orocovis and how God would use us to make an eternal impact on their lives for Him.

Meet our youngest student! Juan is 9 years old and has been a full-time student with us since he was 7. Before that, Juan came to school part-time as we had no dorm staff and his family lives on a neighboring island. We are thankful for short-term workers who have made it possible for Juan to stay in the dorm. Juan has been helping a Deaf dairy farmer with his cows on Tuesdays as we introduce him to career options.

student body 2015 05

Meet our oldest student! Larimar, 14 years old (above right), loves God, dogs and cats and children. She came to us at the age of 7 with minimal linguistic skills. She once said she would like to be a veterinary technician until she found out she may have to cut into an animal in order to fix it. More recently, Larimar has declared a job at PetSmart as her career goal.

Box Tops for Education!

This year our school won the award for the most box tops collected in Puerto Rico! This school year we received a total of $2,128.20 from the Boxtop redemption program. This is over $700 more than we raised last school year! THANK YOU to all who faithfully send us your Boxtops; our school, staff and students are all blessed by your contribution.

The Newcomers Club of San Juan

We are pleased to be on the list of charitable organizations helped by the Newcomers Club of San Juan. The Newcomers Club of San Juan was established over 45 years ago to give people new to the area the opportunity to meet and develop friendship with others who live on the island. Membership is open to new arrivals as well as to established Puerto Rico residents. The Newcomers Club partners with us by providing volunteers and material support for the work of the school.

Evangelical Brethren Work Team

November 14th, 2014

Tonys Group 2014

Pictured above is a group of young men and women from Hanover PA who came to serve with us November 2 – 8. Having them was a blessing as they came with three teachers who were able to substitute for Betsy so that she was able to attend a conference for educators of the Deaf.

In addition to cleaning, they painted a dorm room, scraped ceilings and enjoyed several inches of rain. The team was predominantly teens and their leaders were ever present faithful servants during the week.   It was a joy to get to know them and to see how God used them in the lives of our staff and students.

Our next work team is not scheduled until March 2015. There will be lots for them to do!