Three weeks into the school year and we have a MAJOR HOLIDAY on our hands. What was to be long weekend for Labor Day has become a longer break due to Hurricane Irma.
Predictions include 175 mph sustained winds and the word “catastrophe” is being used a lot. At least our students don’t KNOW the word CATASTROPHE yet. (what a teachable moment we are having without them here – booo) They are looking forward to life without electricity so they can see the stars better! That made me smile when a student told me that!
Other predictions include not having electricity restored to the entire island for 4 to 8 months. We normally have 40 days without electricity. Hopefully that will be the norm again this time. Asking the parents, they all agree that school can happen in the cool of the dark classroom and that life without iPads can happen.
We hope to be in class again on Monday morning, September 11, 2017. Betsy, our main teacher, is preparing lessons which rely on BOOKS and PAPER rather than electronic devices.
Thanks for your prayers.
Since some have asked, our link for donations for hurricane relief is HERE. Or at the top right corner of this page where the word DONATE resides. Our policy is to use your gifts first for repairs at the SCHOOL and if there are designated hurricane relief funds above those needs, we will pass those donations on to student families or neighbors of the school or other Deaf families in need of financial aid. Sometimes, we will make the purchases for the families in need so that we can KNOW the money is being used for THAT purpose and not for other things. You understand. Anyway, if you want to help, that’s the easy way. A little harder, you write a check and mail it. Scroll down on that page for the mailing address.
Of course, you can always just send a letter. The mail box is a huge encourager when the electronic mail box is inaccessible.
We hope to update you as soon as electricity is restored. If that’s in a week or a month… then it will happen. Of course, we can always go to an access point that HAS electricity even when our campus out in the country still is without that blessing.
Thanks for your prayers for our safety and for our students’ and friends’ safety as well.
August 14 – first day of school!
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.
The semester is continuing on as all good semesters do. For science, we are learning about EXPERIMENTS. Many experiments FAIL – or do not produce the expected results. We packaged eggs and dropped them. 3 out of 4 resulted in scrambled eggs. Our winner, Juan (on the right above) succeeded in packaging his egg so that it was useful later.
In our Bible class, we are memorizing verses about WISDOM. Pray with us that our students will learn to depend on God and His wisdom above all other choices available to them. Pray with us that our students’ lives would not like scrambled eggs… but would be protected by God’s wisdom as they apply it to their lives.
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!
Someone’s family member died. Someone’s car is not working. Someone has a medical appointment. Someone has an appointment for educational testing. But TWO students have been in school this week. Since these two are a little ahead of the others in their linguistic development, we have been taking the time to work on problem solving skills, musical literacy skills and handbells, Bible and life skills, and of course written language skills. It has been a nice quiet calm week. Of course tomorrow is Friday and God alone knows what Friday will hold for us!
Tomorrow night is social night and we are hopeful to have a full house of friends coming by for games and conversation. The Adult Bell Choir will be rehearsing and hopefully honing our skills.
And then there is the weekend. We have been under a rain cloud for several days now. We also have a team of workers who were hoping for some sunshine. Sorry. Today we sent them to the south side of the island. Tomorrow they may hit the north-west corner. Saturday they may WORK doing some odd jobs that have accumulated. If there is any break in the rain, maybe they will hike into the rainforest and enjoy the wetness there.
For now, we are thankful that God is sovereign and has given us a peaceful start to our semester. Pray for the broken car, the medical appointments, the educational opportunities, the understanding of our students in the face of these situation. Many times, they navigate without an interpreter. Many times, they come back with questions and want some help with figuring things out. Pray for our insights and wisdom into situations we do not understand!
See you next time!
Too often recently, I have heard a complaint that a governmental entity has not called for an interpreter for a Deaf person in need. Too often recently, I have seen video of such interactions. Too often recently, I have received a phone call from an agency asking WHY an interpreter was needed…
And so to have this at my fingertips, here is a PDF of a model letter for a Deaf person to give to an agency or office explaining the law and requesting an interpreter be called. I did not write this. It was given to me by someone who knows more about this than I do. Yet it is so needed. It is in Spanish.
Modelo Carta para Persona Sorda a Entidades
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.
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
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.
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.
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!)
I copied this from another blog:
Suggested Questions for Parents/Friends
- What was the biggest highlight of your trip?
- What was the hardest thing you faced on your trip?
- What did that hard experience teach you?
- What things surprised you the most?
- Do you feel like you were prepared for your trip?
- If you could do it all over again, what would you change?
- Do you have any regrets?
- What was the food like?
- Where did you sleep?
- Tell me about the people you met and ministered to.
- Did you connect with anyone that you might keep in touch with?
- Did you get a chance to share your faith?
- Does your view of the world and your life look any differently now?
- Do you see Jesus any differently now?
- Did you see anything gross?
- Did you get sick?
- What was the scariest thing you experienced?
- What was the weirdest thing you ate?
- What was the church you worked with like?
- How was their form of worship different from ours?
- Did you get a chance to meet anyone’s practical needs?
- Was there ever a time that you really felt like God was directing you?
- What was the funniest thing you experienced?
- How did you work out any differences you had with your team?
- What was it like in the evenings? What did you do?
- What were your worship times with your team like?
- Did you miss me?
- Did you pack enough stuff?
- Did you really miss me?
- What was the weather like?
- Did you cry when you thought about me because you missed me?
- Would you ever want to go back?
- Do you think you would consider being a full-time missionary?
- What was the biggest thing you saw God do?
- Do you think you’ll go on a short-term mission trip again?
- What’s going to be the toughest thing about being home now?
- Do you think anything will change with your friends that weren’t on the trip?
- Do you think you have changed in any way? How?
- Is there anything you smelled on your trip that you’ll never forget?
- Are you tired?
- Has this changed anything in your relationship with Jesus?
- What were some of the ways you ministered on your trip?
- Did you get to share your story of how you met Jesus with anyone?
- Did you get any ideas of how you could minister here at home?
- Was there anything you saw that just broke your heart?
- Did you give anything away?
- Is there anything you HAVE to do this week after experiencing what you did?
- Was there ever a time you felt completely out of control in a situation?
- What’s the number one thing you are thankful for?
- Did you catch yourself praising God for things? Like what?