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.
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!
While many people don’t understand it, or believe it, Puerto Rico DOES have a “winter” season. We don’t have snow but our temperatures do go down… on the average to the high 70Fs (21C) in Luquillo and to the low 40Fs (4.4 C) in the mountain areas. Some lovely quilters from New York state sent us three boxes of quilted blankets and throws and wall hangings. In the photo about, you will see how one student immediately adopted a blanket as her own. One former student took a quilted blanket home for his mother who hugged it and cried. Thank you quilters for your gifts of love!
The work to return the school campus to it’s pre-hurricanes (P2H) state of functioning is continuing. As God brings us workers (from left above) from various places like Calvary Chapel, independent families, and the local Internet installer, we are slowly beginning to get the grounds and infrastructure back to P2H normal.
A special group of workers has worked this past month to rebuild our sport/storage room as well as our awning at the dining room entrance. Additionally, some of the men in the group from Ontario Canada had some electrical savvy – they were able to work through the wires and restore power to parts of the dorm that were not powered up and were able to configure a solar backup for the school kitchen (not for every day purposes but in case of a power outage, we can now use the solar power system to run the fridges and freezer). Their inventiveness will save us many headaches from generator issues in coming years… assuming their power cord remains aloft.
Oh and the phone line to the school office is now working again! AND the CableTV company has restored the service to the TV in the school library – a donation of their service for educational purposes.
Mail is arriving as it had been P2H and our little corner of the world is fairly back to normal.
Please do not misunderstand me, the rest of the island (and our little part) still carries the scars and still has delays. Since the FEMA satellite link ended, it has taken a few weeks to get back online so our e-giving donors have not heard from us this month (yet). We will be working on that this coming week.
Trees remain broken and the ones that will grow new leaves are working on it. The DTOP guys are out there trying to get the traffic lights working to restore order – yesterday I was in Carolina and after a few blocks of non-functional traffic lights on the business roads, I was glad to get back to the autopista and take the bypass from all of the tangle.
Some stores have not re-opened and some have announced that they are not planning to reopen. OurSam’s Club is one of them. The two nearest Sam’s are both about an hour’s drive away so we will have to rethink the cost effectiveness of that choice. But, meanwhile, we have plenty of fresh produce again. Plenty of meat in the grocery stores. Plenty of options to enjoy choosing from. And the students have been enjoying choosing the Monday Make Your Meal Menu option that has been given to them this year.
Thank you for your prayers and for your assistance and your parcels and your partnership in our ministry.
We returned to the CLASSROOM on January 8 2018 after a 2 week Christmas+Holidays Break.
In November and December, we were using the back of the chapel as our classroom due to the absence of electricity and the FEMA generator powering the classroom and chapel. It was a lovely change for us (rather than working in the dark or running a smaller generator to get some lights in the classroom) but it’s good to be back in the classroom at last.
We were able to get things running more normally again by purchasing a solar energy system for the classroom building. We were only able to do that because of YOU who sent donations to help us in our time of need. As we are still without electricity from the street, we are SO thankful for solar energy and how it has enabled us to continue our work.
Our telephone landline and our internet cable are still coiled and dangling in front of the school dining room entrance which is in need of replacement or repairs (a carpenter will know what is needed there) so we are again thankful for the FEMA and SPRINT response of satellite internet for the Deaf community to have a communications alternative.
This semester so far has had a Home Ec focus as the students pitch in daily for Make Your Meals. Friday afternoons we have spent time with visitors practicing social skills, communication skills and hospitality skills (oh do I have some blogs to write!). It’s been a good return to learning and we look forward to more cooking and sharing.
Yesterday, we ate a salad made entirely by Edgar and had birthday cake made entirely by Larimar. We also had spaghetti and we served it to our returned snow bird Philip and his new wife Norma Elena, our Deaf friends Lourdes and Chris, Deborah and her family visiting for the moment and our daily helpers Valie and Jerry. Edgar was surprised when he was asked to SERVE the cake, not just eat it. WHAT ABOUT ME? he asked. He was told, FIRST HELP LAST EAT. He did. It is never too early to teach children that service with a smile is a good rule of life.
While we waited for our guest of honor to arrive and after lunch also, we played some card games. So interesting to watch as students and visitors play together. At one time, Edgar said, THAT LITTLE GIRL KNOWS SIGN LANGUAGE I said, “Yes, her mom is Deaf and so she talks to her mom.”
He looked at the mom. I said, “You and she are both Deaf. Both talk with hands not with voice.” She smiled at him and said, “Yes I am Deaf. My children sign to me. You are Deaf, you sign too.”
All kinds of learning are happening.
Thanks for your prayers as we continue to generate power and as we continue to learn more about ourselves and our Almighty God!
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…
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
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.
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 (email@example.com) 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
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.
Oh I wish you could have seen the kids on Thursday, May 25. They were magnificent in their presentations of their science projects. I was excited and amazed by them. The two boys pictured above presented Plants and Colors respectively. Great stuff there.
The older two students presented their findings on Bows and Arrows and Bamboo Music. Very good work all around. The families enjoyed watching and learning along with their students. And Edgar, pictured below with his brand new glasses, could not keep his eyes off his awards and his science project. His smile and enthusiasm were priceless.
Pray for the students at home this summer. Pray for the bell choir as we prepare to leave on Thursday June 8 for our trip to Toronto Ontario. Maybe we will see YOU there?
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!