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?
38 days remain in the 2015-2016 school year. The students have been enthusiastic learners and recently we had seen fruit from their labors:
Maria has learned to smile and say “Please” when asking questions. Mizael noticed that the hours of sunshine are lengthening and explained the tilt and rotation and revolution of the planet. Juan has begun to work faster on his written work and is telling amazing stories (truth and fiction mixed). Larimar is increasing her vocabulary and holding onto the words. The teachers are all excited to see these fruits in the lives of the students.
Paying attention IS a job skill and seeing the students give their undivided attention during class time is also an encouragement.
Of course, we continue to include hands-on learning. After reading Mr Ferris and His Wheel, Juan and Maria built a k-nex ferris wheel as part of their science class. Learning to work together, to follow directions, and to trouble shoot difficulties are also great skills to develop in life.
Pray for the next 38 class days – that the students will continue to grow in knowledge and in application of God’s Word in their lives.
So far, 2016 has been a wonderfully peaceful year. Students are learning – on all levels of learning – academically, spiritually, emotionally, physically. We love to see this.
Below, you will see Larimar working in class and also hanging out in a hammock. One day when she was the last student in the classrooms, we tried out the hammock lounge under the new deck. Larimar enjoyed hanging out with the new workers, sharing jokes and stories and enjoying some relaxed time.
In the other photo, Larimar is working on story telling by creating a “quadrama” (like a diorama with four open corners). She is such a creative young lady and we are so pleased to see her using her talents in ways that honor God. Continue to pray for her and our other students as they learn and grow in His grace.
The student handbell choir performed EIGHT times in the past three weeks!
Our NEW Adult Deaf Handbell Choir also performed TWICE in the past week.
Our school Christmas party was lovely – the children signed songs, the bells rang, the parents cried at appropriate times, the food was massive in quantity and in flavor, no one hurried away and the cleanup happened.
We thank God for each of you and your prayers for our ministry to the Deaf here in Luquillo. Look forward to seeing you again in January 2016! Happy Holidays (Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, Epiphany/Kings’ Day) !!