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.
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!
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!
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.
This year, we began with 5 students so rather than open the entire dining room for 7 diners (5 students and 2 staff), we are having lunch together in a staff apartment, family style.
The students are learning to serve themselves a reasonable portion of food, pass the serving bowls and platters and share in amiable conversation. After lunch, they take turns doing the dishes and clearing the table. So far, the students are enjoying the change of pace.
One day 13 of the school year, we added a new student to our student body when we welcomed Edgar back into our classroom. Edgar had been with us when he was 3 to 5 years old and has been away for 7 years. Returning at 12 years of age, he is sadly behind his former classmates even though he had been ahead of several. The system of education here is lacking in resources and though this boy has had an interpreter, his language skills are still not what they could be. He is also unable to write and read. So we are VERY excited to have him back with us. Please pray with us for this little boy’s attention span. Please pray for more teachers so that we are able to meet the needs of the students we have and also to accept others.
We look forward to a new student joining us in October as we have accepted an adult learner who is interested in studying English and his third language so that he is able to do more online learning and perhaps attend university in the States. Again, pray for the potential we see and for God’s wisdom in accepting or denying students.
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!
On June 11, 2016, I was offered and accepted to be a CSCD representative for the annual World Mission to the Deaf conference in Toronto, Canada.
World Mission to the Deaf is a Canada-based charity encouraging people to support Christian missionary service among the Deaf. They are currently supporting the Deaf in the Philippines, Puerto Rico and El Salvador. Together, we share praise, prayer, reports and encouraging messages.
They have shared wonderful reports of God’s work in each mission field. I am going to write a short summary for each:
A farm project that is run by a missionary couple named Doug and Val Clutton. They own a few acres filled with fruit trees and farm animals. They have hired Deaf workers to work on their farm, selling vegetables, mangos, quail eggs and pork products to generate income for them. They also support the various ministries of its mother organization such as their Deaf church, dorm for Deaf school, child sponsorship, Deaf pastors/churches and a Bible college. Please pray for them to continue to keep the Deaf community, and encourage others to learn more about God. Pray for Doug and Val for their tireless work to serve God!
A group of teachers are starting a new outreach to Guatemala which is located above the country border. They set up a workshop for the teachers and workers on Deaf education, as well as also offering tutoring. Meanwhile in their current Deaf school in El Salvador, they are doing well and are still busy as usual! It was wonderful, and blessing to see them using their full energy in helping the Deaf students as well as continuing to keep in touch with other Deaf communities outside their country. Please pray for them to continue to serve and spread the gospel about Jesus.
Now it was my turn to present about our CSCD school. God graciously gave me an opportunity to live in Puerto Rico for a year and serve with the Deaf students. I shared my experience as a teacher and the success stories of each student. We were amazed to see how much each student had grown within a year! Let me tell you a bit about each student.
Maria & Yajaira
Maria and Yajaira are sisters, and are part of our outreach ministry. They were raised with low level of education and language. We brought them to school to teach them how to write, read, learn basic life skills and share about God’s Word. They started to develop their deepest desire to learn because there was just so much information they wanted to know, especially regarding ASL. Their ASL and vocabulary had improved tremendously over the course of their studies. I remember when I teaching Maria math multiplication, last February. She at first hated doing the speed drills, which took her about 10 minutes to complete. But just a few months later, she got was excited about managing to complete in her speed drill in just 2 minutes. Yay for Maria! At the same time, Maria and Yajaira started to grow their faith in God, and even asked if they can be baptized. It was a wonderful opportunity to witness this event. Please pray for them to continue to walk in faith with Jesus, sharing the good news with their Santos family in the mountains.
Juan had just turned 10, but already he started to grow to nearly the same height as me! In math, just like Maria, he at first hated the multiplication drills, but soon enough beat the time limits a few month later. When I started to teach him division, he understood so quickly that he could easily finish all the speed drills with no problem. He also started to develop his own curiosity and storytelling skills. He was especially enthusiastic when talking about the animals he loved, the oceans, fish, and all the discoveries he found around the island. Please pray for him to find his own interest and hobbies. Pray also for him to understand more about God and develop his desire to serve Him.
Mizael & Larimar
Mizael and Larimar are two of our students who have been in school for a long time. They are always engaged in good discussion about their own interests, Larimar about animals and dogs, and Mizael on secret agents and FBI. They always ask very good questions because of their desire to learn. They participated the Puerto Rico Deaf speech competition, which focuses on the topic of their vision to improve Puerto Rico. Mizael’s was about putting a stop to fighting and bringing peace. Larimar’s was about strong family values. Both of their speeches are very much connected to their personal lives, as they want to share their real experiences in Puerto Rico. Larimar ended up winning 1st and Mizael 3rd in their age group. It was such a great achievement, and we are so proud of them! Please continue to pray for their independent growth and to keep Jesus in their hearts for rest of their lives.
At the same time, there was much personal growth in our staff as well. We shared and learned more about God,and looked deep into our hearts to see who we truly are and how we need to change ourselves to become a better servant of God. No matter what our age, we always have room to grow! A Iittle thing I’ve realized is that even though missionary work can be exhausting, there is always so much joy to be serving the Lord. Yes, there were some struggles among us but God has always helped us to overcome these, allowing us to grow in Christ, walking in his footsteps. We hope that we, as staff, can continue in our mission to nurture and guide other in Christ walk of life. Please pray for a smooth transition into the next year, which God is preparing for all staff members, whether staying for another term, or leaving for home or other service opportunities. Pray for God to give them strength and wisdom in all their missionary work.
I have concluded my presentation with a video of the students signing the song “Oh Happy Day”. The audience gave a great applause for the student’s work.
In closing, the conference went really well. It was very encouraging to meet new people and share our experiences of serving God, all over the island of Puerto Rico. It was exciting and I thank God for all the things He has done for us. We pray that we will continue to grow in our Deaf community, schools, churches and missions.
Together in Christ,
For more information about WMD, visit their website: wmdcanada.org