Cleaning up

I’m getting ready to go to bed for my last full night in Puerto Rico.  As I think back over the process that got our group here and what we have accomplished these last two weeks I am amazed at God’s provion.  Our team has been so blessed by the time we have been able to spend here especially with the students and staff of CSCD.  The relationships we have established are real and lasting.  It has been humbling to see how extraordinary tbese individuals are.  I have enough trouble using one language but they are all able to switch from English to ASL to Spanish and not be completely confused.  It was pretty funny the other night at the store Drista was doing a great job translating Spanish for me to make a purchase but as we were leaving someone said some to her in Spanish and she accidentally a answered in ASL.  ūüôā

  We have been blessed with time to finish so many of the tasks we have had before us but become a little frustrated with what we see we could do with more time.  God ‘s time is perfect though.  We are so greatful for the generosity of our VBS kids.  We purchased the power washer the school needed with the funds.  But because of there giving we were also able to purchase a microwave, generator, and a washing machine as well.  All things so needed by the school.  Please keep praying we have so much to finish up tomorrow.  We leave very early Saturday morning so not much sleep tomorrow evening.

Better get to sleep so I am ready to go tomorrow.

Thanks again for all of your support!

Steve

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Do we have to go home?

Often after going on trips away from home, it’s so fun, but by the end you are dying to get home. You enjoyed your trip. You are happy being there and even to stay for an extra day or two would be awesome, but you just you are ready to be home. Do you relate?

THAT IS THE OPPOSITE OF HOW I FEEL.

When we arrived at Luquillo I was nervous, excited, happy, even giddy. After being here, working here, playing here, and bonding here for just about 12 days I have this sense of home here. I love the thrill of traveling, it’s just the students are so great. The students, though there may be a small barrier, are brothers and sisters in Christ. They have opened up so much and just imagining never seeing them again is odd to me. God is doing great things here in the CSCD.
That being said, the students are mostly leaving today. Sigh. I think today is going to be a rough day for the team. We have our last day of VBS and then most of the students will head to their homes.

Pray for the team as we say goodbye to the students, the staff, the school, and the territory in the next few days. As hot, humid, and dirty it is here, it feels like another home and it will be hard to leave it. Also, pray for save travels of the students as thy return home. Lastly, pray for the students to remember what it is like to have the “under twentys” as role models. I pray that they remember how we acted, how we loved, and how we served. Pray for me because I’d really like to stay in touch with the students when we return home.

We do thank those of you at CBC involved in raising money for the school at VBS. This money went into a powerwasher, a microwave, a generator, and a washer. Lora, part of the staff, was SO happy to have the new microwave. Betsy was pleased to hear that she was getting a new generator as well. Be encouraged that your gifts to make a difference. Being on this end of the VBS offering was very very cool.

Thanks for reading!
See you on the other side soon,

Lyla

Thank you God for ‘more’

At meal time we each take turns praying in sign language. ¬†As you might image, the prayers are simple, short and to the point. ¬†Sometimes as short as “Thank you, God, Food, Amen!” ¬†Last night I volunteered since I hadn’t had a turn yet. At the end I said “Thank you God for our food” but instead of the sign for food, I signed “more”. ¬†We all had a good laugh but I was thinking about that today. ¬†I am thankful for more; more than I expected. Here are some ways that this trip is more

I am more tolerant of the heat and humidity than I thought. ¬†I love air conditioning …and love is not too strong of a word! ¬†Maybe ‘adore’ is better? ¬†I love being cool. ¬†I hate being hot and sticky – a Puerto Rican specialty! ¬†After a 10 days here I really don’t mind the climate that much. ¬†That said, the Spanish word seco¬†(dry) has no legitimate usage in Puerto Rico …nothing is every truly dry!

We have been able to do more than I anticipated. ¬†I’ve split my time between working with the students and making repairs and improvements to the facilities. ¬†While we never get everything check off the list there is much being accomplished. ¬†Additionally we have also been able to do more fun things with the students and as a team. ¬†Jumping off a 15 ft pier, snorkeling, the beach every other night, Bio Bay, old San Juan and the rain forest – twice!

I can communicate far more¬†than I ever would have thought. ¬†The deaf students and adults we’ve met are very patient and are willing to work with us to get ideas across. ¬†Sunday we attended a deaf church in San Jaun. ¬†The “singing” was beautiful. ¬†I talked with the song leader and was able to accurately communicate “I like your singing. ¬†It blessed my heart.” ¬†I know he understood because he blushed.

We are being used by God in¬†more¬†ways than I expected. ¬†I was in charge of games – mostly because someone had to be and you don’t want me doing craft! ¬†I was surprised at how the students really – I meant really, truly – enjoyed playing with our teens. ¬†The games were simple and sometimes lame/funny. ¬†Everyone got into them. ¬†The students were very proud of the Olympic metals they won. ¬†Some wore them for quite awhile after game time.

We have had more discussion in our devotions that I thought. ¬†With some exceptions, our team didn’t know each other very well. ¬†Our devotional time each night has been very interactive moving beyond the “right” answer to the questions.

The students are leaving tomorrow and we will miss them and I know they will miss us.

Bob

 

Awesome Missions Experiences

The first day of school I was partnered with a kid named Mizeal. Helping him learn was a blast! He was hard of hearing and could hear me and understand me quite with using minimal sign language. Even today we often sit together during lunch and snack. Since he hears so well I can use him as an interpreter to other deaf kids. Mizael was so energetic. When he came to school he would see Deliah (Ms. Betsy’s Great Dane) and they would wrestle each other and run around in the court yard. Mizael is the crazy, energetic student I was hoping for and God certainly always prevails for the better.

On the first Wednesday we went to an abandoned pier. The pier was about 15 feet till the water and jumping in to it was a blast, doing flips and dives off the pier were so much fun. Later we went to the end of the pier and explored the coral reef underneath the pier. The water was crystal clear and the fish were numerous.

On Monday the kids and the team were going snorkeling at the beach. The coral reef was beautiful. All the cracks in the coral each swarmed with hundreds of fish all different colors. The fish would swim in and around my legs, it was so cool. It was fun to see how many different types of fish I could pick out, but the variety of species was too much for any human to count. If any one looks at that reef and says there is no God. I very much doubt they are being honest. Ms. Betsy clearly knows how to put the ‚Äėfun‚Äô back in serving God.

Alexander

There’s Always that ONE!

Being here has been such a blessing and the fact that we only have 2 more days with the students has me panicking a bit. I love it here and see so many more things that could be done if we just had more time. I finally feel like I’m getting to know the students and am getting comfortable attempting to communicate with them. I see the team working well together and knowing that we need to finish strong in such a short period of time has me feeling both happy and sad at the same time!

This trip has been very educational for me as well. I came here willing to do whatever needed to be done. Seriously, anything! The down side is that sometimes I must wait; the people who I need to talk to in order to get directions are busy elsewhere, or my job is outside and it’s pouring rain, etc. The scenarios for delays are many and I have found I don’t like delays! I have had to accept the pauses in what I had assumed would be a crazy whirl of activity and have even tried to enjoy them. My Bible study this morning was on slowing down and taking time to appreciate what God is doing for me in the waiting and not just getting it done so that the next thing can get done and so on. It helped me realize that even though I knew I wasn’t in control I did think a lot more things should get done. In order for God’s Word to really take root I need to relinquish my well intentioned “let’s do this” attitude. I wish I had read that BEFORE this trip but something tells me I really wouldn’t have gotten it had I not come to accept that though I’m here to be a blessing to others I need to accept the blessing of another step in seeing God’s ways are best. I thought I was coming with a big enough definition of whatever. Clearly, I need to further my education in “whatever” and it has not been the most comfortable. I’m thankful that those delays have made it possible to write in my journal every day! A luxury for which I’m sure I’ll be thankful for years after this trip is over. I’m thankful for time to play with Betsy’s 3 wonderful dogs, time to chat and get to know my teammates, the students, and staff, and time to give thanks and praise¬†as¬†I see my family serve together.

So what’s up with the title? Glad you asked! If you didn’t know before this blog post, sometimes it doesn’t take much for me to be unable to juggle well the things life throws at me. That’s where “There’s Always that One” comes from.¬†I have seen that title on a few social media memes; either with kittens sitting nicely and one about to pounce on them or several neatly dressed older ladies with one in a feather boa and an outlandish hat. I have a few of “those ones” in my life and I suspect I may be “that one” to a few friends too. However “that one” for me here in PR is a dear friend who has texted me often to let me know she is praying fervently for me. I have prayed with her many times and I know she is a passionate, effective prayer warrior. Even more humbling is that she is going through a trial of her own. That’s what I mean here by “There’s Always that One”. I know that even mission trips that go well are not¬†all “rainbows and unicorns”. I now know far better the need to pray fervently for missionaries. Do you have ‚Äúthat one‚ÄĚ? Oh, how I long even more now for church families to be a place where there is always ‚Äúthat one‚ÄĚ. Where every person has a place at someone‚Äôs side to fervently support in prayer no matter what life throws at them. Isn‚Äôt that the type of mission we should all be on? To be ‚Äúthat one‚ÄĚ who is able to set aside their own troubles to pray or provide whatever support they can, no matter what life throws at them.

Lord, help me be ‚Äúthat one‚ÄĚ also.

Dorinda

Thoughts from Drew

Here at CSCD (Christian School and Chapel for the Deaf) the deaf children are taught about Christ and his love for them despite their lack of auditory reception. The children have a rather peculiar sense of humor better than I expected. I was surprised at how fast the team and the children learned to communicate despite the language barrier.

The children (Mizael, Yajaira, Maria, Larimar, and Juan) started off their school year by learning the team’s members’ names. They enjoyed the Olympic-themed games set up for them by my dad and brother (Bob (Father) and Alex (Brother)). The games were enjoyable for all who participated and even those who watched.

Many of the other activities included Bio Bay (a bay filled with motion activated bioluminescent single celled plankton), snorkeling, swimming and body boarding at the beach (which I haven’t done in 6 years!!!), catching lizards, visiting the rainforest,  visiting Old San Juan, and seeing iguanas, which are HUGE down there, by the way!!!.

The wild life’s diversity far exceeds that at home in Pennsylvania. While here, we have squirrels, deer, and trees. Puerto Rico has plenty of tropical and exotic wildlife to offer. Iguanas, many species of lizards, coquis (small frogs), Many types of coral, sea anemones, fish of all sorts, sea cucumbers, and aquatic life are only a few of the many animals populating Puerto Rico.

God is teaching me to accept that ‚Äúlife‚ÄĚ happens sometimes. Though at times it can be hard and sad, it is crucial to survival in modern society. Sometimes you have to accept what life sends your way, good or bad. I praise God for teaching me this valuable and useful skill.

A Silent Perspective

Not knowing what to expect but prepared for anything, I have not been disappointed or suprised at God’s presence here. There is a good part of the people here that suffer from hearing loss. Ms. Betsy and her team do a teriffic job with the children. Some have never had any eduation at the age of 14 yrs.
The children are so happy here despite their hearing loss. It has been a challange for me to remember all the signs, but again, God is good and the kids are patient. The hardest part of this trip will be having to leave them behind and hoping God gives me another opportunity to serve here in the future. The second is all the animals I want to rescue.

The weather here is VERY hot and humid but God is good and He has taken care of me. I feel blessed to have come on this mission trip for several reasons. The first, is seeing how the Lord takes care of the hurting and those in need by sending His people to help. Two verses come to mind; Matt. 20:28 and Phil. 4:19. Missions has taken on a whole new meaning. Secondly, I’m so thankful to have the opportunity to get to know people from church and here at the school.

This trip was something I wanted to do since I got my diagnosis because I knew I need to be able to truly trust the Lord in the difficult days to come and He has proven faithful time again. My walk has grown and I’ve made lots of new friends in Christ. Thankful doesn’t begin to describe how I feel about all that God has done and shown me. Thank you Calvary Bible for believing in me and trusting in the Lord that He is in control and for your heart for missions. I’m looking forward to getting more involved at church and getting to know the rest of the family.

See you all soon.

In Him,

Sue Richard