Download the PDF file (click on this: WTH Fall 2021-Winter 2022 )
As I write this, I am listening to a handbell+violin duo practicing (photo below) in the coolness of the school chapel a.c. while another student is working on a biography beside me. What a peaceful Monday afternoon. Last week was not so peaceful as there was a small explosion emotionally in one of my students. The residue left me exhausted and without words. One of those times when the INWARD GROANING of Romans 8:26 is so real and so comforting. I usually resort to comfort food but that Monday, I just sat. Even the verse BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD that is written on my living room wall was too much to take in. I simply sat and rested. When I woke on Tuesday, my soul was at peace and my body also. My explosive student was home on disciplinary suspension for a day and when he returned on Wednesday, I was ready to greet him with a smile and help him sort through the events and emotions. Pray for us.
This year, we have two full-time students who are 17 and 18 years old. They are close in age but far apart in ability. One is has been with us for YEARS and is working on completing the requirements for his graduation from Grade 12 in May 2023. Yes. He has another year and a half before graduation. If any of our readers ever worked with Mizael, please make plans to come for his graduation tentatively scheduled for May 23, 2023.
Mizael has been attending CSCD since he was 2 years old. He is delayed in graduating due to health issues a few years ago which prevented him from studies. We are SO THANKFUL that God has healed him of most of his migraines and that he is gaining in his academic and spiritual life. What a huge blessing he can be as he helps other students and the staff as well. Mizael helps in our preschool language development program as he works with Natalia who is 4 years old. We have a second preschooler we are praying for and hoping she can join us part-time in the new year.
Henry has come to CSCD as an “ASL as a Second Language” learner. Henry has suffered brain trauma/head injury and lost some of his hearing. He still functions as a hearing person but does not hear as well as he once did. His prognosis is more hearing loss and in preparation for that, his caregivers have him with us to learn to function with hearing loss and to learn ASL. He is able to join Mizael in some lessons but is not at the same mathematics and English level so most of Henry’s classes are one on one.
We are SO THANKFUL for the smallness of our school population at this time. We have plenty of classrooms to have students in isolation or with sufficient distance and breathing room so that we can have small group activities together. The Department of Health is still coming for random inspections and testing and we are still passing without any issues.
Language is learned in community. Language is not easily learned in isolation. Deaf children need deaf children and language role models. Visual language models who are using language visually for real-life communication. One teacher with one little student is not a community. We need to these little ones to over“hear” (over”see”) conversations; to learn incidentally by seeing ASL in action. I remember one day having some big kids enter the little kids’ classroom for a scolding. When they big kids left, one of the little ones said, “WOW FAST TALKING!” Yes! We communicate slowly and clearly with little eyeballs and new learners. We communicate more adult-ly with older students. We need incidental conversations so that our little learners can see adult signing.
No matter if we have 2 or 12 or 20 students, the licensing and certifications remain the same and October and November were a little busy with getting those certifications caught up. A new law required the installation of a grand and glorious fire suppression system to the tune of a 4 digit number. God provides and we were able to (1) find a technician and (2) pay for the work to be done without hesitation.
That said, Amber and Betsy are spending their days juggling responsibilities. While Betsy prepares lunches, Amber has the boys for exercise and/or cleaning chores. While Betsy has the preschool program, Amber is working on Sign/Word of the Day videos that are shared with Deaf adults and children who are not able to be with us in the classroom. While Amber is working on ASL vocabulary with Henry, Betsy is working on Algebra and English writing skills with Mizael. When one is feeling tired or ill, the other picks up the slack.
The Palmas Community Church’s outreach program
(photo to the left) is bringing school lunches that can be eaten today and left-over for another lunch day. Others are depositing some dollars into the school account so that we can order pizza or other food for pick up and our local handyman is willing to do some of the pick ups for us. God is providing and we are SO THANKFUL.
We have one pre-school girl who comes on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons for language development and intervention work. There is a second little girl we are praying will be joining the first in a few months. Parents have jobs and schedules and we are not able to have them for full school days due to shortage of more teachers, so we are working around parent job schedules trying to accommodate their needs and not wear ourselves out.
Language is learned in community! One person is not a community and we are so thankful for God leading Amber Tate to join our staff at this time. Amber is a recent graduate of an interpreter training program and is working with Henry to increase his receptive and expressive vocabulary. Because she has recently been an ASL as a Second Language Learner, she is in tune with Henry’s special needs as a second language learner. Amber’s goal is to become a tri-lingual interpreter so her work with Henry is also benefitting her as she works with both Spanish and ASL in his classtimes.
Merry Navidad / Feliz Holidays
[Christmas * New Year * Valentine’s Day * Etc.]
Mail has been SO slow and we are not sure when you will receive this so may this multi-holiday greeting suffice! During November, we were thinking ahead to American Thanksgiving. Our school chapel times were then focusing on THANK GOD FOR… But since we started back to school in August, we have been focusing on themes from a Destination Dig VBS program. We completed most of that at the end of October and have segued into – What do you treasure and why? What does GOD say about the things we treasure? Matthew 6 has been often visited during our discussions.
Pastor Jerry Harmon has been sharing Treasures from the Bible as he presents weekly Bible lessons and our students have loved having him visit. It is so good to have some man-to-man discussion for our boys. Boys become men and we want to see ours become men of God. Pray with us for this – a pastor who will take on not only our student chapel times but the planting of a Deaf Church in this area.
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And He who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. -Romans 8:26-27
Download the PDF file WTH Fall 2020 – Winter 2021
Forty Faithful Years of Service
W.M.D.’s story spans a period of forty (40) years beginning in 1979 with the formation of a board of directors comprised of Kirk Dupre, Ross Ward, Howard Boese and Floyd Cummings. In 1981, W.M.D. became incorporated as a Christian Non-Profit Charitable Organization and more directors were added as needed to maintain a total of seven overseers on the General Council. An Advisory Council was also established of those interested and willing to provide practical helps in deaf missions both at home and abroad.
Through the years, W.M.D. assisted in the development of other ministries to the deaf. One was the establishment of a permanent Church for the Deaf in San Juan at 100 Alhambra in Hato Rey,
PR. Roger and Pamela left E.S.D. in 1986 to work as the full-time pastor at the Evangelical Church for the Deaf (E.C.D.). This ministry continues today under the direction of their son, David Rawlings, who is now pastor of the church.
W.M.D. encouraged the establishment of the deaf ministry in El Salvador, Central America under the leadership of Ana Silvia Valencia (who served at E.S.D. 1983-1986) and Lissette Gonzalez in 1990 which has continued as a school for deaf children for the past thirty (30) years in the capital city of San Salvador. Other deaf ministries where W.M.D. provided personnel and training were in Belize at the Cayo Deaf Institute and also at the Deaf School in Basseterre, St. Kitts, W.I.
W.M.D. was instrumental in encouraging and bringing Betsy to Puerto Rico. Betsy was introduced to W.M.D. in 1983, when Kirk and Dorothy Dupre visited her in Hanover Pennsylvania after months of written letters and phone calls. Through the assistance of W.M.D. and personal involvement of W.M.D. board members, Betsy came to Luquillo in 1984 to begin her career as a full-time worker.
In the year 2000, the Christian Mission to the Deaf in the U.S.A. asked W.M.D. for assistance in their African Deaf ministry primarily in the Democratic Republic of Congo. At that time Roger Rawlings and Kirk Dupre spent a month visiting fledgling deaf schools disrupted by civil war in Bukavu, Goma, Nyankunde, Kissangani and Bunia.
In 2010, W.M.D. commended Doug and Valerie Clutton to the Lord’s work among the deaf in the Philippines which continued until June 2020 at which time Doug took a teaching position at Silliman University, the Philippines.
Over the four decades that WMD has functioned as a Missionary Service Organization their goal was to see the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ be clearly presented to the deaf community where Christian workers labored in schools and local churches. The desire was to see the Lord glorified in the salvation of both children and adults in carrying out the “Great Commission”. Now at the close of 2020 the Lord has directed W.M.D. to close its office, thankful to the many missionaries, workers and volunteers on the field and supporters at home who responded to God’s
call: some to go, some to pray, and some to give.
The Need God Sees And How He Prepared To Fill It
While CSCD has had fewer Canadian workers and donors in recent years, we still have a Canadian connection who need the assistance of a Canadian missionary service organization. The God Who Sees, had this in mind when just a few weeks after receiving the news of W.M.D.’s closure, Betsy received a phone call from Pastor Harold Espinosa in Manitoba, Canada. Harold, being Puerto Rican himself, has a long association with E.S.D. – having married the daughter of John and Mary Wiebe, missionaries at E.S.D. from 1988 through 1993. In more recent years, Harold has come to Puerto Rico with the Bunker ministry (Winkler Manitoba Canada) to work in association with a local Puerto Rican church- Iglesia Bautista Hermanos Unidos, Fajardo, PR. During their visits, the Bunker ministry team has stayed and helped at CSCD. God sees the larger picture and connects the dots.
In January 2020, a major earthquake shook the southern region of the island of Puerto Rico and caused major devastation to the area. (As of this writing, the tremors continue, and warnings of a larger earthquake are predicted.) In response to the disaster, Pastor Harold accompanied by a team of came to Puerto Rico in February of 2020. Working in partnership with Pastor Rosendo Arvizu and the Iglesia Bautista Hermanos Unidos, they visited the devastated areas and distributed hygiene articles, food and other necessities and toys for children.
Out of this trip, Sixteen13 Ministry was born. Genesis Sixteen13 tells us “She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: ‘You are the God who sees me,’ for she said, ‘I have now seen the One who sees me.’” The God who saw Hagar is the same God who sees every individual and reaches out to us when we find ourselves in desperate situations.
Having SEEN the devastation, their community’s response to their fundraising and their own ability to help during their February 2020 visit, Harold Espinosa and team member Anita Rudi prayerfully sought to create an organization that would partner with local missionaries, organizations, and churches to reach the often unseen of our world for Christ. Sixteen13 Ministry believes that just as God cared for Hagar in the desert when she felt alone, God cares for every single human being and is near when situations seem desperate. The goal of the ministry is to support organizations financially as well as through practical and spiritual means. You can read more about Sixteen13 Ministry at their website www.sixteen13ministry.ca. Donors may give to CSCD through http://sixteen13ministry.ca/ministryprojects/betsy-hoke/ – all donations will be used at CSCD as directed by the donor.
Praising God for His Vision and Provision
From our temporal perspective, we see that God has placed Sixteen13 Ministry to fill a void that W.M.D.’s culmination will leave. Currently, Sixteen13 Ministry and CSCD, are reviewing one another’s documents and exploring a partnership agreement. We pray that God will use Sixteen13’s local board of directors and surrounding community to bless others and CSCD by being an extended arm of God reaching out to those who need to know that God SEES them.
Join CSCD in praising the God Who Sees for the faithfulness of W.M.D. for the past 40 years and for His provision of Sixteen13 Ministry as missionary service organization to fill the gap left by their closure. While this change only impacts our Canadian friends, workers, and donors, we ask all to pray for this new ministry and all that God will do through it.
Since August 2019, we have been tending to 4 fulltime students and one part-time pre-schooler. Our older students are taught in our classrooms by Betsy Hoke and Glenda Coupe. Glenda also covers our pre-school part-time student.
We have two little boys, ages 7 and 9, who are both handfuls. They seem to take turns being moody children – Thank God they take turns! They are fun to teach and fun to watch as they learn and question and develop a sense of God and His love. Pray for them both as they have shown an interest and enthusiasm for all things spiritual. Above all else, we want them to have an understanding of God’s love. The other day, the 9-year-old commented,
“I do not like the cross.”
Yea. The cross was a scary tool of death.
We can understand his perspective on this. Yet we sing every day about the cross and God’s love. How does a scary tool of death equal God’s Love?
We went back to Genesis and talked about God’s perfect Creation marred by humankind’s disobedience. We went back to yesterday and talked about his disobedience. We talked about how disobedience separates us from people we love – how sitting away from our friends is no fun. How God wants everyone to be WITH HIM and to LOVE HIM. How God made Jesus Christ to be The Way to His love.
Pray for these precious little ones as they grow in knowledge and stature that they will also grow in favor with God and people.
We have a young adult studying with us this year – 28-year-old Zuleika who moved to the area last March. Zuleika is learning some new hobbies – latch hook and string-nail art – and is doing some remedial studies in Mathematics and Reading. Pray for Zuleika as she plans to study for her driver’s license and also as she learns independent living skills. Pray also for her understanding of God’s love. How we long to see her also know that Name that redeems and frees us from our sins so that she can walk with the Lover of her soul.
Pray also for our 16-year-old Mizael who has been having some migraines. He missed most of the previous school year due to health issues and we are thankful that diet and some life-style changes have been helpful for him in managing his headaches. Continue to pray for this young man as he studies and desires to live life fully. The other day when the teacher said, “Time for Bible Class” Mizael replied with “YES! I LOVE BIBLE CLASS!” Praise God for this young man who has accepted Christ as his Saviour. Pray along with us that Mizael’s next steps will be to desire to follow God’s leading for his life without reservation or doubt.
The Winter-Spring 2020 Semester:
The first semester of 2020 sees CSCD welcoming MIKE COUPE as our full-time OUTREACH & CHAPEL/ADULT MINISTRIES DIRECTOR. Mike has been working alongside us since August 2018 as he has transitioned from the ministry in Dominica under Caribbean Partnership Missions to work in Puerto Rico and Deaf ministry. Mike and Glenda are still with Caribbean Partnership Mission but are “on loan” to CSCD. Mike was away most of 2019 visiting supporting churches but spent weekends in 2018 and since his return in October in 2019 scoping out the various Deaf churches, Deaf fellowships, Deaf gatherings and Deaf social spots to develop friendships with the Deaf of the island and to begin to learn the culture of the Puerto Rican Deaf.
The CSCD vision is to see a group of Deaf lay-persons develop the skillset needed to begin an outreach and discipleship ministry among the Deaf of PR and who could grow into a full-fledged church. After expressing an interest in church planting, Mike has been tasked with seeing if this is a realistic vision or if there is something else God has in store for the ministry. As part of our Adult Ministries, we see the need for educational opportunities for the Adult Deaf in our area. The addition of a Deaf young lady to the student body and several other Deaf adults who have asked for classes in reading, writing, ASL and arithmetic, lifeskills, cooking, financial responsibility… have led us to pray more earnestly for teachers who would have a heart to work with the adult Deaf population one on one or in small groups.
Would you pray with us for the continuing work of the Evangelical Church and Center for the Deaf in Hato Rey? Pastor David Rawlings has been encouraged by Mike and Glenda Coupe being there on Sundays to serve along with him in that work.
Would you pray with us for the continuing work with our young Deaf students? Many people comment on the legacy of the Evangelical School for the Deaf, now the Christian School and Chapel for Deaf, on the Deaf of our island. We only seek to continue to share God’s Word with these who live in circumstances where His Word is unheard.
Would you pray with us for open doors and open hearts as we endeavor to reach new, unchurched Deaf people with God’s Word? There is a population of young Deaf people in their 20s and 30s whom we do not know. We have much contact with Deaf people over 40 but little with the young adults in careers. Pray that God will reveal His Plan to open the door to reach those who are in such need of His Salvation, His Truth, His Light. We see them in the malls and in coffee shops, yet we have not yet been able to establish a conversation past “HELLO. BUEN PROVECHO.”
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send?
And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” Isaiah 6:8
We say HAPPY HOLIDAYS here because we just celebrated AMERICAN THANKSGIVING Turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, rice and gandules, pasteles – yummy! The school celebrated Thanksgiving as a group on the Friday before the actual date (November 28). We were treated to a delicious meal by the Palmas Community Church out of Palmas Del Mar in Humacao. This church has blessed us over the years with their friendship and their support in practical ways. Lunches being ONE of those blessings.
Our next BIG celebration is the Christmas Party and Luncheon on Dec 13. We are having an END OF THE SEMESTER- CHRISTMAS CONCERT on December 19 which is NOT a holiday but after which the students will no longer be coming for their daily dose of academics for a few weeks. NOCHE BUENA or Christmas Eve on December 24 is a huge event in Puerto Rico as families gather for celebrations, Christmas caroling (parrandas) and storytelling.
Of course, CHRISTMAS DAY comes next. For many in Puerto Rico, Christmas Day is not about a huge celebration. In past years, Christmas was a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, an observation of the Catholic church and church goers. More recently, Christmas has become about Santa Claus and reindeer. Though some families will celebrate Christmas with gift giving, many families hold off with gift giving until later in our season of HOLY days. On December 31 we celebrate NEW YEAR’S EVE with our friends often at a church service. In many cases, churches will hold an early service so that members can get home safely before the rowdiness of the celebrations kick in. We will see advertising centered on DON’T SHOOT THE SKY or NO MORE GUN SHOTS. It is a custom to shoot on New Year’s Eve and every year some one is killed by a wandering bullet falling from the sky.
NEW YEAR’S DAY is normally quiet. Some will visit family and others will stay home to sleep off what happened the night before. The BIG celebration is EPIPHANY or KINGS’ DAY on January 6. The night before, Puerto Rican children will find a show box and put some grass or hay into it. The box will be placed by their bedside. The hay is for the camels (or horses) of the MAGI who come in the night to deliver gifts to the children.
The HOLIDAYS don’t really end in PR until the San Sebastian festival begins which happens on 15 January 2020.
If you need a calendar for 2020, download our With These Hands and print the FIRST PAGE WTH_Fall2019 only. We pray that our smiling faces will help you to remember to pray for us!
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven
Let’s see how Ecclesiastes 3 is playing out in our ministry:
“a time to break down”
2017 was the year of 2 hurricanes and the post storm trauma.
“a time to build up”
2018 was a year of calm and recovery.
“a time to heal”
2019 has been a year of sickness for our students.
“a time to be born”
When Larimar was born in July 2000, a portion of her intestines were exposed (Omphalocele or gastroschisis). Surgery was performed to get everything back inside. As far as we know, some sections of the small intestine were removed. JUMP ahead to 2019. Larimar had been experiencing intestinal obstructions for much of her teen-aged years. Pediatric surgeons reviewing her case were reluctant to go in to repair things. Larimar was left with trying to eat well to prevent problems.
In March, things got complicated and Larimar had an emergency surgery which removed another small section of her intestine, part of her liver, a miscellaneous scar tissue that had developed. She was healing from that in our local hospital and released. The next day she was back in the emergency room with a blood clot in her leg. She was transferred to a pediatric intensive care unit in a hospital an hour’s drive away.
Time. Medication. Skilled nursing care. More time. Finally, on April 24, Larimar went home from the hospital. She came to school on Friday, April 26!
“a time to lose”
Larimar and her family are making a move to North Carolina during the summer. After having Larimar in the school for 12 years, we are sad to see her go but so content in knowing she is going with God by her side. Her testimony throughout her pain and suffering has been, “GOD IS WITH ME, IF I DIE, I WILL BE WITH HIM. DON’T WORRY.” We praise God that her “time to die” is still in the future. We also praise Him for carrying us all through this journey together.
Mizael was born in 2003 and was diagnosed with a progressive/progressing hearing loss by the age of 2 years. Mizael has been at CSCD since the age of 2 and has always been a lively, curious learner. He has worn his hearing aid, learned to speak both Spanish and English, participated in classes with older students and loves MATH!
In October 2017, Mizael began complaining of dizziness. He missed weeks of class due to his inability to travel in the car, inability to sleep well, inability to do much.
So many tests later, the doctors have made a possible diagnosis of Pendred Syndrome. (Look it up using Goodsearch.org and get us a few more donations!) There is no cure for this syndrome. There are only efforts to treat the symptoms. As part of his treatment, the doctors are recommending a cochlear implant for Mizael but due to fluctuations in his hearing levels, he has been told that he is ineligible for a cochlear implant.
“a time to be mourn, and a time to dance”
While we are saddened that the treatment is not going forward at this time, we dance in the knowledge that God is sovereign and moved the insurance to approve the surgery.
Please continue to pray for this young man as he deals with almost daily incapacitating dizziness and nausea. He is tired of this event in his life and looks forward in hope to “a time to heal” and recover.
Those are our two upper-school students. We also have two younger students – Diego is 7 years old and Natalia is 2 years old. We’ve heard of at least 1 other Deaf preschooler in the area as teachers reach out for some ASL instruction to include these children in their pre-schools.
“a time to gather”
With only 1 full-time teacher, we are not able to have a full-time preschool program as well as elementary and upper school students. The educational trend is toward the mainstreaming of Deaf students. We are praying that we will be allowed into the hearing school programs to assist the Deaf student(s) and their teachers, and that we will be able to offer after-school ASL-language intervention-Clubs for the Deaf children and maybe even some hearing peers. How cool would this to be have an after-school ASL/Bible club to reach the students and their families for Christ!
“a time to plant”
We continue to minister to Deaf children and adults in need of education. This past year, we have reached an all-time LOW number of workers and students. With only 1 teacher, we have our own 1 room schoolhouse! And we have an assurance that God is at work in our area.
We recently added a Deaf adult to our day program- Zuleika appeared on Mizael’s street in Fajardo! She has just moved into her cousin’s house after the death of her mother. Zuleika somehow evaded learning opportunities in her career as a public-school student. Now, she is eager to meet other Deaf people (she is surprised we know so many!) and eager to learn. Even though she is working on simple things like telling time, counting change, and basic reading skills, Zuleika happily joins in with our classroom setting.
We are PRAYING that we will know WHAT SKILLS are most important to her life. The 1 THING we do know it that this young lady needs Jesus Christ. She needs Him as her Best Friend. She needs to know that He loves and values her.
“a time to rend, and a time to sew”
Our hearts break over this young lady’s status in life. We know there are SO MANY other Deaf adults like Zuleika. Even with the technology and opportunity available to most people, illiterate Deaf persons are still not receiving God’s message of love and salvation. Churches are reaching hundreds, thousands of listeners with radio broadcasts, podcasts, books, and other literature but so many Deaf people are still in need of a 1-on-1 friend who will TELL them about Christ AND who will SHOW them His love.
We are so thankful for God’s sewing in of Mike and Glenda Coupe to CSCD. Mike felt God’s call to Deaf Ministry about 20 years ago and landed in our front yard 5 years ago as a new friend. Mike and Glenda’s recent 10 years have been spent throughout the Caribbean islands. In January 2019, Mike approached the CSCD Inc Board of Directors with a vision and he has prayerfully been accepted as our Director of Chapel/Outreach Ministries even as he continues to work with Caribbean Partnership Ministries http://caribbeanpartnership.com/ and Disaster Relief Coordination.
There is “a time to keep silence, and a time to speak”. God has called us to break the barrier of silence and to speak His love into the lives of the Deaf who are isolated by this language barrier.
Think about this for just 1 more moment.
In Mark 7:31-37 we read how Jesus took the 1 Deaf man aside. Jesus separated himself from the multitude so that he could deal with the Deaf man in a respectful and most meaningful way. He SHOWED the Deaf man by touching his ears that He understood the problem. He used spit as a culturally significant way to show that He was planning to HEAL the Deaf man. He included the man’s tongue as part of His communication of what was going to be healed.
That Deaf man probably did not know who Jesus was. He had not HEARD the name of this 1 who stood before him. Being deafness, he most likely never knew that Jesus Christ was walking around Israel healing people. And yet, there was Jesus, KNOWING that 1 man’s need and meeting it.
We are a ministry of 1s. 1 way to Heaven. 1 God. 1 Truth.
God has called the workers at the Christian School and Chapel for the Deaf to do 1 thing. He has given us the example of His Son. Go find the 1. Meet that 1 where they are. Show that 1 Jesus Christ and disciple that 1 to walk in His way.
November 5, 2019 will mark the beginning of our 60th year in ministry, our goals remain the same as those the first missionaries held in 1959 – to reach the Deaf for Christ and to provide training so that each Deaf person would have skills in life and service.
Pray with us for workers – teachers, counselors, teacher aides, life-skills teachers, Bible teachers, language pathologists, untrained but willing workers – whose 1 desire would be to serve God by reaching the 1 for Him. Deaf ministry is the work of finding that 1 lost lamb and prayerfully bring that 1 into the fold of our Shepherd and Saviour.
Thanks for taking your time to meet with us and to pray with us here.
(Remember, MOM, yours is in the mail so wait and it will be in your mailbox soon! Don’t use your ink and paper. That’s why we mail the paper ones!)
We missed our usual end of the school year edition (May) of the With These Hands – so many things were happening then! But we wanted to let you know how things are going here and what great things GOD is doing so here is a Back to School edition!
As you read, please pray with us for the needs of the school, the workers, the students, and the island as recovery from the 2017 storms continues. Most things are back to normal but people are still on the edgy nervous side… even our dogs let us know that RAIN is disturbing some times.
Celebrating the 1st Anniversary of our 2017 Hurricanes Irma & Maria
So much has happened in the past 12 months. As you can see from the pairs of photos here, Puerto Rico is beginning to flourish once again. Foliage is re-growing and we are planting new trees where needed.
We praise God that through all of the storms last fall, we only missed 8 school days. The parents were dedicated to having their students in school and we were dedicated to assisting the families however possible. Sometimes that meant driving children home – and praying that the gasoline supply was consistent; sometimes that meant keeping students overnight in the dorm – and praying that the generator would work through the night to provide some light and fans.
God proved His faithfulness through so many of YOU who sent parcels that provided much needed supplies: candles, batteries, food, drink powders, sheets, games, toiletries… your creativity in sending parcels was a reminder to us of God’s creativity in His Creation.
NOW, we have started a new school year, the 59th school year of this ministry. None of the present workers or students were here in 1959 but we are here as evidence of God’s provision and care of His ministry through all of these years.
The First 60 Years
Our school began in 1959 as Evangelical Deaf Mission with 7 students and 3 missionary families. Through the years, we have seen our numbers rise and fall but we have never seen God withdraw His faithfulness. As we approach our 60th anniversary of serving God in this place, we look back…
In 1970, the ministry changed its name to Evangelical School for the Deaf and our largest student population occurred during the 1980s when we had 24 students and 12 full-time missionaries.
We don’t have actual records of each Deaf student who has come through the school. Some have come for a few years; others have begun their pre-school education and stayed to graduate from high school. Our best estimate is approximately 350 students having been taught at the school since 1959 and approximately 500 Deaf adult individuals who have attended summer camps and retreats and outreach events. All of these numbers are conservatively estimated.
God knows the names of each person who has passed through the school including full-time long-term workers, short term workers and interning university students. Since 2002, the list expanded to include “Jr. Missionaries” and other younger short term (less than one year) workers. Just in the past 10 years, we can count 4 to 6 mission work-teams per school year and a plethora of individuals serving with us as short-term workers for non-specific time periods. Each person has been with us in a time and place where their hands were very necessary. Some have been back for repeat working visits. Others left to attend university – many of those have studied ASL Interpreting or Education of the Deaf and most maintain contact with the students they knew while here.
God has provided above all that we could have asked or thought through all these years.
In 2012 the mission changed its name again to reflect a desire to broaden the ministry’s renewed vision. The Christian School and Chapel for the Deaf, Inc. seeks to follow God not only in educating Deaf children but in reaching the adult Deaf community for Christ. Pray with us for workers to realize an adult Deaf ministry on our northeast corner of Puerto Rico with CSCD as the home base.
And We Look Ahead
As our board of directors for the ministry has met during the past year, we have been challenged to pray more specifically for the future of our school and our ministry options.
THE NEEDS are so apparent. The SAME needs that the first workers discussed in 1957 and 1958 before opening the Evangelical Deaf Mission:
- the need for Bible teaching among the Deaf population (there are presently less than 10 Bible-teaching churches for the Deaf on the island),
- the lack of literacy skills among the Deaf population (how can God’s Word speak if God’s Word is not accessible?),
- the lack of skilled interpreters (how can God’s Word speak if the interpreter doesn’t know sign language?),
- the lack of a common sign language throughout the island (how can we better present the Gospel in parts of the island where minimal language skills exist?).
We are seeking God’s will for our property, His desire for our future efforts, and for this present school year.
We began classes on August 9 with 1 full-time teacher/missionary, 1 part-time maintenance volunteer, a work team comprised of teachers and skilled laborers and their support team from Hanover PA and 3 full-time students (ages 6, 15 and 18) and one part-time preschooler aged 18 months. We have a new elementary student who needs a fulltime teacher. We would love to have the 18-month-old full- time to provide her language development but with only 1 full-time teacher we are unable to do that. We have two high schoolers who need fulltime teaching. We don’t have a kitchen worker/cook or an office worker.
We have willing hands and willing hearts to do the work in the evenings, on weekends and before classes so that the lunch needs are met. God supplies the energy, the ideas, the flexibility and we respond with joy at His answer.
“He is jealous for me – Love’s like a hurricane, and I am a tree – Bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy – When all of a sudden, – I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory – And I realize just how beautiful you are and how great your affections are for me.” – How He Loves by John Mark McMillan
Most Fridays, during our chapel song time, we have “Favorite Song Friday.” Anyone present can choose a song from our DVD collection or online since we have some more reliable internet. It is 2017! We have technology!!
One Friday in August, one student handed his DVD choice to our director, Betsy Hoke. She asked, “Which song?” He replied, “NOW BOY LOVE”
He had chosen “How He Loves.” (see lyrics above)
This little fellow has had some hard life experiences and with all of those, he craves LOVE. We are teaching him that expressing LOVE includes putting an arm around someone he cares for, saying “Good morning”, putting down a handheld video game to talk to them. (It is 2017. He has technology.) Pray for him and his family, would you? Right now. Just do it. Thanks.
How He loves. That song includes the word ECLIPSE:
“When all of a sudden, I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory And I realize just how beautiful you are and how great your affections are for me.”
We began classes on Tuesday 15 Aug 2017 with the VBS program “Galactic Starveyors.” Our chapel was decorated as a planetarium, as if we were walking in the stars. This tied in to our TOPIC of the month in the classroom which was ECLIPSE and SOLAR SYSTEM.
Thursday 17 Aug we had only one student as rains and flooding prevented the commuting students from leaving their homes. But we continued the following day and culminated the VBS series the following week.
Our first field trip was 21 August as we took our sun-viewing approved eyewear to a nearby park by a beach. In our cloudy rainforest area, we could not see the sun but by the beach, Wow! We joined hundreds of others and an astronomy club in viewing an 80% eclipse of the sun. Two of the students’ families joined us at the park as we watched the eclipse happen. So cool! When we sang “How He Loves” on Aug 25, it had new meaning for us all.
Our solar system study ended on Sept 1 when the students made “meteorites/meatballs” for their families. That evening we had our regularly scheduled Deaf Fellowship and invited the students’ families for dinner beforehand. We also invited a local astronomy hobbyist to come with his telescope and show us astronomical things.
Sept 5, we were scheduled to begin a study of Deaf Culture and History. Instead, we stayed home and watched Hurricane Irma rip leaves from trees and roots from the soil. That little boy I mentioned before? The one you just prayed for? He was traumatized by Hurricane Irma. We visited his home on Sept 7 and had him for “school” on Sept 8. He learned to use a hand-powered small saw, a rake, a wheelbarrow, and helped to drill some holes. Sept 11, he returned for a half day and then for a staff outing, we went to the airport to pick up a hurricane relief worker, Dave Markle.
The school was without electricity for 12 days. We held classes and ran the generator. We didn’t have any cable signal to our modem, but we had cell phone service. We posted pictures on Facebook. We had communications. We received hurricane relief parcels. Who needs Internet to live? We can text and call. And get a wifi signal at Wendy’s to track Hurricane Maria.
Sept 12-15 were fairly normal school days. We talked about hurricane formation, our own experiences. The student homes had electricity restored. They brought frozen water to the school to share with the staff and guests. Sept 18 we discussed hurricane safety and what to expect with Hurricane Maria. It was a category 2. It seemed no worse than Irma had been.
On Wednesday, Sept 20, we stepped into a world best described with the words “catastrophic devastation.” But seeing Irma’s work prepared us a little bit for Maria’s.
Psalm 18:11 He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him— the dark rain clouds of the sky.
On Sept 18, we read Psalm 18:1-3, 7-19 in our chapel/prayer time. THAT passage described Hurricane Irma and our experience. After Hurricane Maria, one student said, “My house shook. I laid on my bed. I remembered, ‘God put me in a safe place because He delights in me’ then I pet my dog and slept more.”
Praise God for His Word and the seeds that sprouted in Hurricane Maria in this young life. While others were stressed out and seeking solace, she found it in God.
Our small damages include:
The wooden wall to our storage/toy room blew off, the northeast chapel door was ripped open and the stage area of the chapel was flooded, the carport roof north side collapsed and broke only one windshield.
We were able to do temporary fixes on everything and with donations received will do more permanent fixes when supplies, workers, and circumstances permit.
We began classes again on Sept 16 and have had one or more students daily. We are working the 1980s way—pencil, paper, whiteboard, books. We miss the technology we were using in our lessons but are finding that there are equally important lessons to be learned from not having the luxuries of electricity and Internet.
One of the boys said, “After Hurricane Irma, it was fun to not have Internet. Now I’m bored so I ride my bicycle more and I’m teaching my friends sign language.” How cool is that?!
God in His omniscience sent Dave Markle, facilities manager at Calvary Bible Church in Hanover, PA to assist with cleanup and repairs after Hurricane Irma. Dave arrived Sept 11 and intended to stay until Sept 20. Dave brought a suitcase of supplies including batteries, candles, Twizzlers, Poptarts, and dehydrated ready-to-make meals—all of which have proven useful to our lives.
After clearing trees and preparing a return worklist, Dave helped to prepare for Hurricane Maria. He changed his flight to Saturday, 23 Sept and hunkered down to observe the mighty power of God as Maria pummeled our island. Dave finally left on Thursday, 28 Sept having guided us through hurricane cleanup and performing other repairs. He has a “future worklist” in hand and hopes to send teams to do welding, cement block work, and electrical repairs.
Pray for CSCD
- We are in need of long-term workers to teach and disciple children and adults for Christ
- We are in need of extra grace during this part of our journey as so many are stressed and panicked by the storm’s devastation.
- Our students are in need of consistency in their educations—pray for their drivers’ faithfulness and resilience on the obstacle courses we call roadways these days.
- Pray for the relief workers and their safety as they work to clear roads, recreate the electrical, telephone, and Internet services, rebuild homes and restock stores.
- Pray that God will be glorified and that Christians will represent their Saviour through this time of turmoil as well as after things settle down again.
We have no idea how long we will be running on generator power and depending on battery and candlelight. Our stores are carrying canned foods, and those are bought up quickly as people are feeding families. If you would like to send a meal in a box, we would love to prepare it for school lunch. We don’t have access to fresh produce in great quantity so be creative with what you send. Or, send healthy snacks, granola bars, trail mix, crackers, nonperishable foods items—canned spaghetti or pasta and a jar of sauce.
Today a parcel arrived and much of it was given to visitors who mentioned running short of food. What a blessing to receive a blessing and then pass it along to the next person. God’s timing again proves His attention to detail.
“God is our Refuge” Psalm 46:1
On Sept 4, God put missionaries, Jerry and Liz Harmon, on the school director’s heart. Jerry and Liz’s house had a metal-panelled roof. We were concerned it would blow away. On Sept 19/20, it did just that. The Harmons serve with BIMI and continue to reside in our former office suite. God’s timing and planning are so remarkable in this orchestration of events. Someday we will prepare a blog entry to tell about it. Suffice to say, God provided above all we had humanly asked and thought.
The Harmons are in the process of home-hunting—checking out potential rentals and houses for sale. Contact them by mail at the school address Attn: Jerry Harmon for information of how you can help them in this time of need.
Previous editions of the With These Hands
are available through these links:
Spring 2019 – Download PDF – Spring 2019
Fall 2018 – Download PDF – Fall 2018
Fall 2017 – Download PDF – Fall 2017
Spring 2017 – Download PDF – Spring 2017
Winter 2016 – Download PDF – Winter 2016
Spring 2016 – Download PDF – Spring 2016
Winter 2015 – Download PDF – Winter 2015
Check out World Mission to the Deaf website!
CSCD Inc. is a non-profit ministry seeking to evangelize the Deaf for Christ. CSCD Inc. does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion or economic status. Students attending CSCD receive academic, social, vocational and Biblical instruction at a minimal cost to the families. All gifts and donations enter into the ministry general fund unless otherwise designated. CSCD Inc. has been declared as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization under USA Internal Revenue Codes.
Gifts in Canadian dollars should be sent to the Canadian office or made online through the website. Gifts made in US dollars should be sent to the CSCD Inc office or made online through the website. CSCD Inc. is a member of IFCA International. W.M.D. is a member of C.C.C.C.
World Mission to the Deaf
39 Meadow Crescent
The CSCD Inc. Board
The CSCD Inc. Board appreciates your prayers
President: Lourdes Vargas
Vice President: Ruth Towne
Secretary/Treasurer: Elisabeth Hoke
General Members: Carlos Motta, Chris Monahan
Pray with us for –
- students’ spiritual growth
- spring work team
- more long-term teaching & working staff
- more financial supporters
How can you support us?
Remember to use GOODSEARCH so that your online searches benefit the CHRISTIAN SCHOOL AND CHAPEL FOR THE DEAF! In total, we’ve earned $2,916.48 from your searches. Keep up the Good Work of using your searches and shopping to support CSCD Inc.
This school year we received a total of $981.20 from the Boxtop redemption program. Please tell your friends, church, co-workers, family – anyone – that the Deaf school in Puerto Rico can benefit from their efforts. Then, collect and send in your boxtops – Thank you!
“For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light!” Ephesians 5:8