Saturday, May 28, 2016

The End Has Come

May 3

It is now May. How did that happen?? I feel like it was just March and I turned over my Charlie Brown calendar to April, and now it is May and we have less than 3 weeks left of school. WHAT??  Seriously. How did this happen??

The whole month of March, I was so exhausted every day. I don't know why. I don't know what from, but it really got to me. Then, once I kind of felt like it was getting better it was April and some very special visitors came. With their presence here, I felt like I needed to be with them as much as I could. But I knew when I needed to be by myself and I made sure to take time to rest while they were here. This is something that God has taught me during my time here. When I first came, I felt like I had to be doing everything with everyone. As time went on and visitors came and went, I slowly learned that I needed to be by myself at times. I learned how to manage my time when teams and visitors came, spending time with them when I wanted and hiding away in my room when I needed. I thank God for that. I hated to be alone before I came here, but now I know I need it and sometimes I enjoy it. ;)

So what happened to April? With me being so tired in March, was April just me getting back into the swing of things? Maybe... Actually, I had to get adjusted to my new duties after Easter break with the start of me teaching Yajaira. So much went on in April, too. Maybe that was part of the reason it seemed to slip by? I don't know, but now it is May, and I am still not sure how that occured. Time goes by so fast, everywhere really, but here it seems to go by faster. There is always so much going on, things planned and changed, things coming up at the last minute, etc. I just go with the flow. Many times that means I don't really pay attention to the days and they just slip by... I don't know if that is a good thing or not!

Anyway, there are only 12 days left of school, but really less than that since we have bell performances and end of the year activities planned. I'm kind of feeling rushed to get done what I planned for my reading class. With the way things come up, I am praying that the things I'd like to do get finished before May 19. I also feel pressed for time with Yajaira. I feel like we do pretty much the same things everyday in math, but I am praying that what I am teaching her, she retains, and next year when she comes back, she just has to be reminded of things and can pick back up pretty quickly. Sometimes I feel like, "what's the use?" with her. But God has really given me the desire to keep on teaching her, even if it is the same things over and over. I am trying to be persistent and trust that what I am doing is making a difference in her life. I have seen improvements, but it is still especially hard since it is the end of the school year. In just 2 weeks, the students pack up their stuff and go home for the summer. For most kids, summer break isn't a problem. But for a few of the students here, summer break is more of a hindrance than a help for their brains. Yes, they need a break just like everyone else, but many times deaf children aren't getting much stimulation or learning done at home. Most times, at least for these children, they sit at home in front of a TV and watch endless hours of nonsense or play video games which causes them to totally backslide. So by the time August comes and a new year starts, we have to re-teach everything that was taught the last few months of the year before, and then by the time that is re-taught, it is Thanksgiving and the Christmas season begins and not much is learned around Christmas time. They are all excited and thinking about what 'Santa' will bring them.

Deaf children, especially in Puerto Rico, are already at a disadvantage because they can't hear. But not being able to hear isn't really the issue. The issue is that language isn't being learned. And with 90% of Deaf children having hearing parents, their language development is, in many cases, very delayed because 1. the parents don't know their child is Deaf until a bit later in life, so their child isn't exposed to language for the first few years of their life; 2. many parents don't take the initiative to learn ASL, causing their child to not be able to communicate at home, therefore further delaying their language development. And if they can't communicate at home, what else is there to do except for sit in front of the television?

Pray for our students. That as they go home for the summer, their minds would hold the things they learned this year. That when they come back, there is less time re-teaching and more actual teaching and learning that happens. As I said, I am a bit concerned that all the stuff I am teaching Yajaira now, will be gone in August when she returns. Pray with me this won't be the case and that when she returns, she will remember all the Spanish words she learned this year as well as how to count money, tell time, and trade/borrow when subtracting. These seem like very simple tasks for anyone, but for her it takes time to explain how to do something, and then even more time of repetitious practice until she finally understands it on her own. And if it isn't practiced often, she forgets it again. We wonder if there is something else going on in her brain that is causing that delay. Or is it just that she has lived all her life up until recently without having to use her brain the way she is now? We probably will never figure out the answer. But she has shown such a desire to want to learn over these last two months and the progress that she made proves that. Many times she asks me if she can have math homework and she is always wanting to do the workbook that goes along with the reading program. I pray this desire continues and that the work we gave her to do over the summer, she completes and even goes over a few times to practice more and more.

I have been enjoying teaching her as time goes on. She makes teaching fun because she is always doing something silly and making me laugh. And with her desire to learn, she hasn't had many times that she complained or has said, "This is hard. I can't do this." When she has said that, I would encourage her and tell her the things I was teaching her were things she has done before and I know she can do it. Sometimes a little reminder of going back to work and not being a student helped too. ;-) So please pray for her. Pray for next year too, that whomever teaches her would have more knowledge and wisdom to get the point across so she understands easier.

I praise God we are able to teach the five students we do. If they were in the public school system here, they would most likely fall through the cracks. Puerto Rico is very uneducated about Deaf people, and lack services for proper communication for them. In the states, there are agencies with well educated interpreters for the Deaf to call and request when needed for doctor visits, conferences, court hearings, etc. Here, there is one, maybe two, agencies that I know of. And from what I have seen, there are only a handful or two of people who are skilled in ASL and able to interpret properly. Many of the university students that I have meet over my time here don't have a good knowledge of ASL, but yet they are able to become interpreters for the Deaf in PR. So many of the children that are mainstreamed (in public schools) sit in class with an interpreter that isn't skilled nor well educated about Deaf people trying to learn, but many times are just told to copy what the teacher wrote on the board and actually don't learn at all. To be able to have the students we do, educating them on how to read, write in English, learn Science, S.S., Math, and many other things, is awesome. I am so grateful that this school exists and that I am able to help disprove the myths that so many people here think about Deaf children/people.

So with all that said, pray for the people here. That they would be educated properly about the Deaf and would realize that Deaf people are just like everyone else. They can learn to read and become great assets to their communities. Pray also that our students can grow up to become successful people and are able to educate Puerto Rico on Deafness and show that they did what many have thought and said they couldn't.

May 16

There are three days left, but actually one day of actual school. Tomorrow is a field trip to a University for a performance done in Sign Language. Thursday is the last day of school celebration and lunch with the students and their families. Wednesday will be filled with finishing up class work, tests, cleaning their desks, and probably some fun games or something if there's time. So this is it. It's over, done. I can't believe it. I feel like I just came back from Christmas break a few short weeks ago, like I just celebrated my birthday which was in the middle of March, and now it's the end of the semester. Seriously. Did someone push a fast forward button on the remote of life and not inform me??

After this week, comes the week of staff thoughts and input on things we've noticed that may  be helpful for teaching the students next year, major cleaning, and the time of the dreaded 'goodbyes'. This year will be different for sure. The Yoders are moving back to the states, so things around here will definitely change. No more calling Brendan when something is broke, clogged, out of whack, not connected (i.e. the internet), etc. No more random new doohickey placed somewhere by him offering a wonderful help and leaving us thinking, "Why didn't I think of that??" or "Wow. That was surely creative." No more wonderful food, both sweet and not so sweet made by Rebekah. No more conversations with her that normally uplift my soul and bless me after they happen. And certainly no more children's screams of either being rebellious, in pain, or most of all, joy and laughter. Those will be the things I will miss most without them around.

Also leaving are Abby, the Jr. missionary that has been here from the beginning of the semester, as well as my wonderful roommate, Christie. She has been here since August and will be returning to Canada the second week of June. And then there's me. Yes, I will be leaving too. So not only am I saying goodbye to those leaving, I will also be saying bye to those staying. This is going to be hard. For the last three years, I've called this place my home. For the last three years, I've grown to love each staff person that has come through here, as well as each student. For the last three years, I've been involved in my church, serving on their worship team and participating in the women's ministry and other activities, growing to love my pastor and the people in the congregation. For the last three years, I've been able to drive about 10 miles to the beautiful rainforest to view part of the awesomeness of our God, and only 4 miles to see and enjoy the gorgeous beaches that have an array of blue ocean waters to swim in. And even in the tough times of the last three years, those times when I wanted to be home and not here, I knew this was the exact place God wanted me to be because I always saw and felt His blessings and for that, I've been grateful. This is going to be difficult, have I said that already?

So what next? I don't know. Honestly, I have no clue. All I know is my time here is up. God has made it very clear that this be my last semester and I should return home to PA. As far as what is to come when I get there, I have not a thought in my mind. It's so hard to see my life outside of here. I don't have much sense of what life back home looks like. Obviously, it will be filled with seeing friends and family more often than when I was here, but as far as a job, where I will live, what I will drive, etc, no clue. I can't see much past the first few days of June, because that is when the last things written on my schedule are. I will be staying a bit longer here to clean up, prepare things for the next teacher, and take some, hopefully, quiet, relaxing days of rest and processing before heading home.

So with all that said, I ask that you pray for me. Pray the Lord shows me exactly what He wants me to do. Pray He speaks very clearly what His will is next for my life. This is one of those 'fully rely on God' situations, and I honestly don't have any other choice but to do that. I mean, I guess I could worry myself sick, but why? He is the One that called me here and had me stay for the last three years. He's the One that has been faithful throughout those years. And He's the One that has called me to leave. Why would He fail me now?? He wouldn't, because I am His child and He loves me. He will work everything out, I have no doubt about it. I am a bit concerned about what is to come though, only because I don't know yet, but I know He will lead me in the direction I am to go. But I ask you to pray with me as these next few months happen. Going home without a job lined up and no source of income is scary.  Not knowing what my next thing will be is a bit daunting. Transitioning from life here to life back home will be overwhelming, to say the least. Finding my place there again is going to be interesting, and will probably take some time. Knowing me, it will take longer than I expect. So again, I ask that you pray for me through this time.

I know it is not going to be easy to say goodbye to here and all the wonderful people I have met and now are a part of my journey. I do plan to come back and visit as God allows. This place will always have a special place in my heart, but I know it is up to Him and His plans for my life as to whether or not that will happen. I hope it does so that I am able to see how the students will grow and mature, how they will change, how they will allow God to work in their lives.

I have said this before and I'll say it again- I am grateful to our Father for allowing me to live the life I have here. He has blessed me so much during my service here and I am so very thankful. How many people can say the Lord called them to serve Him in a beautiful place such as this? How many people get to enjoy warm weather, beautiful wildlife, nature, and beaches pretty much whenever they want? How many people have the privilege to work with other Christians toward a common goal, being uplifted, encouraged, and prayed for by one another through life's trials and chaos? My time here wasn't all hunky-dory, fine and dandy, enjoying God's beautiful creation and other things whenever I wanted to, though. There were some days I thought I was in 'hell'. But God used those days to strength me into the person He wanted me to be and I am grateful He did.

So again, pray for all this. For the Yoders, as they leave next week to a new place and home. For Christie, as she goes back to Canada and her old job. She has things on her heart that she wants to do, so pray for a clear vision of those things, and the opportunity to do them. Pray for Abby as she heads back to PA also, wondering the same thing I am-what's next? Pray for the staff that will stay-Betsy, Lora, and Tess. Philip also, when his six months in Canada is up and he is allowed to come back. Pray for the next workers that God will bring here. That He will already start to work in their hearts for their time here. Pray for His Spirit to be so powerful on this place, that every person that walks onto the school grounds would know that this is a place that serves God above all else. Pray for the student's families, that they would see the work the Lord is doing in their children's lives and would come to accept Christ, or recommit their lives to Him. Pray for the students, not only for their summer break, but for their future. That their eyes and hearts would be open more to who God is and what He has done for them. Pray for future students, that they would find this place and while attending here, they would grow in knowledge of Jesus Christ and the wonderful gift of salvation He gives us.

Just... pray.

Heavenly Father, what else can I say but thank You? You are just so wonderful and sometimes I feel as though those two words aren't enough. But because I can't think of any other words that would even begin to bring You glory and honor, I say thank You. Thank You for my time here. Thank You for Your blessings. Thank You for Your Son. Thank You for my salvation. Thank You for Your love. Thank You, Father. Amen.

UPDATE: The last day of school came and went, and was such a lovely day. The Yoders left Monday and are now setting into their new home in a new town. Abby has flown back to Pennsylvania and is now being challenged with life there. Christie, Lora, Tess, Betsy and I are focusing on a Silent Workshop coming up this week, as well as one of the student's 15th birthday. After that, Lora and Betsy will fly to their home town's to spend a few weeks with family and friends before returning here for the rest of summer preparing things for the new school year. Christie will fly in about 2 weeks, leaving me and Tess here until I fly closer to middle/end of the month. Lots going on, so remember - please pray! :-)

Tuesday, May 10, 2016


Started March 13,  finished March 26 (but not edited),  added to April 9,  edited May 8

So here it is again, the middle of the semester and I haven't written anything to keep you updated with my life here. To be honest, since Betsy went away in November up until now, it's been kind of rough, causing me to not really want to write. I apologize about that. Things are getting better and with the recent visitors, I really felt like I needed to share.

One thing that God has been teaching me over these last few months is to have less expectations. You would think I would know this by now because I have been in a place in the past that did not meet my expectations and I was quite disappointed. So much so that I wanted to give up everything to just get out of the situation. I was even in a different country and wanted to come home because my expectations weren't being met. It really was an awakening experience, because who, in their right mind, would want to leave a beautiful place they've never seen before because a few expectations weren't being met?? I did, until I realized that was foolish! But here I am, years later, still falling into that disappointment of unmet expectations. But isn't that just like us humans? Thinking we learned something, only to find out later that we really didn't learn anything and/or are troubled by it again...

I've said this a few times before but I keep being reminded how true it really is: It's amazing how people can have such an impact on your life in such a short amount of time. God seems to work through the people that He brings here to allow me to see and know Him more and the power that He has. When thought about, I am in awe. It just is greater proof that we really ARE a part of His family!

What's the reason I say that again, and how does expectations fit into that? From the 4th to the 12th of March, Lancaster Bible College was back for the second time. They were here last March and I was excited to hear they would be returning. Earlier this year we got word that the male leader wasn't going to be here this year because he got a new job. I was hopeful, though, that someone on the trip from last year would be returning, but when I got the list of names, I realized that the only person I would know would be the female leader. I was excited that I was going to see her, but I knew it was going to be different since none of the same people would be back. Even though I knew it would be different, I still had a few expectations. I didn't have many (or so I thought) but they were still there. It's hard not to when people from the same college, organization, group, etc, return.

Last year when they were here, I was in charge of making sure the work they were doing got done. Because of that experience, Betsy asked me to make some plans for them before they had arrived. In doing so, I made them according to the schedule they had last year [expectations]. But as it much often does, the schedule was changed before they even got here.

As we were preparing for them, and them preparing for here, we got news that the female leader wasn't going to be able to make it after all. There was a family health issue causing her to have to stay home. Which meant, we didn't know who was going to be leading the girls. This made me a bit apprehensive since there probably wasn't going to be anyone I knew on the trip. About 2 days before they arrived, we found out the girl's leader would be Denae, one of the girls from last year that has recently graduated. I was happy to know she would be returning. Yay for someone I knew! But with the knowledge of her return, my expectations continued.

With the schedule changing, as well as the female leader, even though I knew this one, I kept telling myself it wasn't going to be like last year. But I honestly didn't realize how many expectations I put on this year's team until closer to the end of the week, and even more now as I sit down to write this. Some of the expectations I had were: I thought I would be able to interact with everyone on the team like I did last year. I thought we'd hangout some playing games and just chatting in the evenings. I thought that more deep conversations would happen. Last year, I was able to connect with everyone on the team at some point or another throughout the week. This year, that just didn't happen because of different reasons.  

On Saturday, they were supposed to start work and Lora and I were to tag team leading them. I woke up not feeling well at all, causing me to be in bad half the day. Then on Monday, Betsy got sick and I had to be in her classroom for her. So, me helping to head up the team didn't happen. Which meant those one-on-one chats that happened last year didn't really occur either. The few deep conversations that did happen were mainly with the same people; most of them being with the guys rather than the girls. With my apartment being in the same building as them, conversations happened on the porch, or just in passing by, as well as some at meal times. And because of the circumstances listed above, interactions with many of the girls just didn't happen and I am sad they didn't. But still in just 9 short days, the impact that a few of the guys has made on my life is really something. I honestly can't get over it. It truly is amazing.

Back to the expectations. All throughout that week, God was telling me, "Stop with the expectations. That is how you become disappointed." Which was true. It happened before, and I'm sure will happen again... This team wasn't the same as last year. But I realized that was okay. They weren't made to be. They were both unique in their own way. And everyone, on both teams, was created to be special by our great God, bringing different talents and skills here. One team wasn't better than the other, they were just different. And I needed to stop expecting them to be the same.

March 26:  It's been two weeks since they've gone back to PA and I still feel like something is missing at times. There are still times I sit on my porch expecting to see or hear them. At times, I still walk into the cafeteria expecting it to be full of people. And even though I didn't get to talk with some of the girls much, their laughter and joy really are missed. I enjoyed watching them interact with one another, and I loved seeing their smiles. They are missed today just as much as the guys.

I will leave you with something one of them said the last night they were here, "This is all because of Jesus. The deep conversations, the reason to come here, the relationships that were made. It's all because of Jesus." How true is that?! If it weren't for Jesus, how would have that week went? If it weren't for Jesus, the close connections that some of us made would most likely not be there. If it weren't for Jesus, some of the team members wouldn't have influenced my life as much. And because of Jesus, we all belong to the same family, the same Father. Even though I miss them, I know I will see all of them someday in Heaven! We will be able to praise Him together for eternity! SO exciting!!

I am grateful for the impression this team had on me - grateful to them and to God - even if my expectations weren't met! ;) 


April 9: Since then, things have slowly gotten back to normal... well, kind of. This semester, we started Yajaira out kind of like a work study-she worked during the day and had classes at night. Before we took the girls home for Easter, she asked if she could come back to school as a student. Betsy agreed which has led me to be her teacher for reading and math. So last week, after Easter break, I started teaching everyday in the mornings, where as before, I was only teaching a few days a week. I guess I didn't tell you how that changed either...

Well, over Christmas break, my mom and I were in a car accident. Nothing too terribly wrong with us, but because of some injuries, I didn't make it back here until close to the end of January. School started on Jan 12, and because I wasn't here, Abby, a Jr. missionary for this semester, was asked to teach reading while I was gone. When I came back, I was given the option to teach Math, because Tess was doing both teaching and office work, or teach my one class of reading, help out in Betsy's class the other times, and then help out in the dorm. I opted for the latter, which freed me up to be able to teach Yajaira now. (Not. expected. at. all. Nothing in this paragraph! ;-) )

So now I teach her 2 classes in the morning, and every other day, I still do my reading class with Larimar and Mizael. So, I've been busy trying to figure out what she needs to learn, as well as how I can teach her to learn it. Things in the past that she should already know, she has forgotten, so I'm having to teach her those things again. And I also have one night of dorm duty during the week, and a shift on the weekends when the girls are here. Now, I'm adjusting to this schedule and the challenges it brings. But God is so good to me. His blessings are ever so near every day, and I praise Him for them.

Things to pray for:

~Recently, there has been quite a few mentions of deaf children in a few different places on the island. We are trying to be in contact with them to let them know about the school and the services we provide. Please pray that God's will would be done in these situations.

~Since the end of March, a young Deaf mother and her 3 young children have been coming to the school off and on for a few hours a day. Pray as we figure out what is best for them all.

~With those 2 things in mind, pray for more teachers/staff to serve here. If all these students were to come here next year, more teachers and staff will be needed to fulfill the different duties here.

~Transitions- quite a few people will be leaving this year/semester. So pray for all of us as we each go back to our hometowns, new places God has called us to, or stay here to continue His work at the school. Pray for people to come fulfill the duties of those that are leaving.

Thank you for stopping by, and I am sorry once again this is so late. It's always so BUSY! BUSY! BUSY! And I tend to be one that has to edit my writings a million times before posting. And because it was a while ago that I started it, I felt like I kept having to add more to make it up to date. Well, I finally said "That's it!" and decided to edit and post it! Hope you enjoy!

Father God, thank You for the ways You remind me of Your love and presence. Thank You for the people You bring in and out of my life while I am here. I am blessed by them. Thank You for Your lessons and how You teach me through various things. You never fail, and I am so grateful for that. Thank You for Your love. I praise You, Amen.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

A month of challenges

This post was started last month, worked on over the last 3 weeks, and finally edited. Sorry, yet again.

My, has lots happened in the last few months!! They have gone by so quickly and it feels like a whirl wind. I seriously cannot believe it is late October. Really. How did that happen?? Days here always go by so quickly. It's crazy. I have been going, going, going pretty much since I've arrived, and it's not going to stop anytime soon.

In my last post, I didn't mention that we have both girls from Orocovis this year as well as the three that were here last year. So now we have 3 dorm kids. With Maria and Yajaira being from 3 hours away, they stay over the weekends also, so I not only have been helping out during the week with the dorm, but also on the weekends.

During the third week of school, Christie, a girl from Canada who visited us in Feb of the first year I was here, came. She was planning on being here at the beginning of the semester, but had a small medical issue come up so that delayed her arrival. But she's been here since then, and also helps out with dorm duty in the evenings and weekends. So it's nice to have another person to split things up with!

This month comes a new challenge for us, for me. Betsy, our principal/director/head teacher, is away for the whole month. This is her 30th year here at the school and her friend was planning on them taking a trip to Australia. She wanted to go in Summer or Christmas time,  but for different reasons, it just so happened to be scheduled in November. That means, since I am the oldest and have been here the longest, I am in charge while she is away. Thankfully, with Christie here, she is teaching most of the classes with me as her co-teacher. I still have my classes, as well as helping out with some of Betsy's classes that Christie isn't sure about. Since both of us are in the classroom all day, we are relieved of dorm duty. Philip came back on Oct 31, being able to help out with the dorm, and Lora came back a few days before that, also providing that helping hand. The Yoder's have also come back with the addition of their new little girl! They aren't doing things in the classroom or dorm, but it is good to know they are here in case they are needed. There was also a family here for the first 10 days of the month doing some work here. God is so good in His timing. He knew that Betsy would be gone this month, and made it so all these others would be here so that in her absence, we would have more people here to help if needed.

As far as teaching goes, never have I understood as much as I do this year how much work a teacher actually does!! Up until the beginning of this month, I only had 3 classes I was teaching. I do the reading program plus 2 other classes. All 5 students are on different reading levels so teaching each of them is tough in its own way. So even though I only have 3 classes, it's really like I have seven. Very challenging sometimes. One of the classes is Spanish vocabulary for both Maria and Yajaira.  Yajaira is also learning to read in Spanish, so not only am I teaching these, I am also learning right along with her/them!

I seriously don't know how teachers do it. I said it before and I'll say it again. I am not a teacher. This is not something I really enjoying doing (the prepping, planning, researching). Before this month even started, I found myself doing more work for my 3 classes than I have all semester. I was kind of getting bored with how I was teaching and really wanted to try something different. So I spent the time that I am supposed to 'have free,' researching, prepping, and planning for the students. Most of my free time isn't really free anyway, but I found myself spending more time on just one assignment for a few students than I have spent on getting prepared for all my classes!! Tiring! Then this month came along and there is no time to try to be creative in teaching. I am just trying to prepare, plan, and survive with the addition of Betsy's classes.

As I said, prepping, planning, and researching are not things that I really like to do. I do, however, enjoy seeing the students actually learning and understanding what I am teaching. It is hard. Sometimes I feel like, "Why am I even doing this? What are they actually going to learn?" Sometimes I feel like I am not getting anywhere with them. But over time, and continual practice from them and teaching from me, I see the progress. When a student sees a word that, in the past, didn't know what it meant, but is now able to recognize it and tell me what the sign is, I see that the work I am doing is benefiting them. I see the progress that has been made. And THAT, I enjoy!

I've heard the saying, "A Teacher's work is never done," and I never doubted that wasn't true. But now I truly understand what it means since I have experienced it myself. So, shout out to all the teachers out there. Thank you for all your hard work. You may feel as though your work isn't appreciated, but I am here to tell you it is. At least by me anyway. A BIG thank you to all the teachers I've had in the past. I see how much it took to teach me and all my other classmates, and I say, your work was not wasted. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Please pray for us during the rest of this month. Pray for me! Since Betsy left on Nov 2, the enemy has really tried to rear his ugly head here at school through some of our students. Thankfully, God is on our side and things are now peaceful. Pray that the Lord would give us the wisdom and knowledge needed if times of chaos were to come up again;  that Christie and I are able to focus on our lesson plans for Betsy's classes; that Tess, Lora, and Philip are able to work together on things that come up in the dorm; that us as staff would be able to work through the challenges that come up during the rest of this month; that it would be a month of personal growth for each of us while she is away; and that the Holy Spirit would just rest upon this place and we would be so in tuned with the Spirit that we would have and feel His comfort and peace.

Pray also for the students- that they will be obedient, respectful, and patient with Christie and I as we take on Betsy's classes, that they would all have peace with everyday life here at school and the different things that may come up, that they would grow in maturity and knowledge of life and school things that when Betsy returns, she will notice the difference. Pray also that we would not have any SERIOUS issues with the dorm girls (this is my main concern while Betsy is gone).

Thank you all for your prayers of support. Thanks, also, for taking the time to read my blog. Above all, I want to thank God, who pours out His continual blessings each and every day, sometimes when I don't even notice. Thank You, Lord, for equipping me to do the things that I am. For the things that I will face, I thank You in advance. I know that You are right here beside me, cheering me on. You never fail, and I praise Your Holy Name. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Some encouragement

GOD is so faithful and awesome! The other day, I read in my devotion book to breath in Jesus. I read the whole page, then read it again slower, as I tried to focus on what it was actually saying, and when I was done, read that sentence again and did exactly that. I quieted myself and imagined I was breathing Him in. Since then, I find myself thinking about that and doing it on occasion. It gives me peace and reminds me that He is there with me.

Also lately, each day I read the book (because I do different things for my devotion time), it starts with "Come to Me," Seek Me," "Rest in Me." Man, the Lord must be telling me something. But those things are exactly what I need to do. And I find when I actually take the time to do them, I feel more at peace and have a calming in my heart and spirit. Yes, things come up and are thrown at me each day, but when I take that minute and breath Him in and rest in Him, even just for a minute, I feel better. So I encourage you, take some time today to breath in God. And when you have a little more time, go to Him, seek Him, and rest in Him, because He wants to give you restoration and refreshment.

Be blessed my friends! And please keep me in prayer as things here are always so crazy. I'm working on an update to post soon, but really just felt like sharing this with you. :)

Have a great rest of the day and week!  

Friday, August 14, 2015

"Bend me, Lord"

So, once again, it has been forever since I have written. :-/ I was totally planning on it while I was home for the summer, but being there is always so busy and crazy that none of the stuff I plan on doing while there gets done. :-/

Oh well. Last semester ended well and my summer was super great! A much needed time home with my most favorite people. I seriously can't believe it is the middle of August and we just finished our first week of school. Seems like such a blur. 

I arrived last Friday, well really Saturday early morning (1 am), and have been on the go since I arrived. I normally come back about 2 weeks before school starts, but a family vacation was planned for the first week of August before I knew I was coming back for another year. So Betsy so graciously let me come back after it was over so I could spend the week with my family and nephew. So glad to have had the opportunity to make those memories! But in doing so, I had to jump right in to work for the semester. I thank God that there was a group here that took care of our welcome back VBS week, so all I had to do was be on stand-by and make sure that everyone was behaving and focused and doing what they were told when they were told. That was super nice to be able to have a few more days to figure out my thoughts and plans and get things ready for this week ahead.

At the beginning of the week, during our morning staff prayer time, a devotion was read that stated, "Bend me, Lord." Wow. What a way to start off the school year. And I feel as though I will be bent quite a bit this year. For those of you who don't know, I am going to be my own myself. This is a new challenge as I am not, naturally, a teacher. Some whom have worked with me over the last 2 years may say differently, but I do not consider myself one. Not a classroom one anyway. I have no concept of what children should be learning, I don't like planning, I am not creative, and the list goes on. Thank You, God, that Betsy knows/does/is all those things and has provided me with lesson ideas for the students. YAY!! :-D

I will be teaching Reading Comprehension. I did teach the reading program last year and helped out A LOT last semester in Betsy's class on days that she wasn't there, which were many as she was dealing with a court case as well as had other things going on that took her away from the classroom. So I do have some experience, but all of the planning, etc, was hers. I just followed what she told me to do. This year, it is ALL ME!

I am also dealing with getting readjusted back to life here, being away from home and the things from there, and on my own again by myself away from my family and friends.

So pray for me as I deal with all of that as well as get last minute things together for my classroom and finish up my lesson plans this weekend. As I said this is a challenge, part of the bending process that He will be doing, and, although I was very overwhelmed and anxious and nervous before, I am now a bit more at peace and am trusting that the Lord will not let me fail. Why? Because He is for me. And if He is for me, who can be against me??  (Romans 8:31)

Prayer requests:
-Besides above, the students-that they would be obedient and gain much knowledge through me as I teach. Also, that they would gain a better and more understanding of who God is.
-My relationship with with God would grow more deeply.
-For my financial support. It has dropped quite a bit over this last year.

Thanks, friends. And thank You, Father, for you continual love, grace, and mercy on my life. You never cease to amaze me with Your greatness in both my life and those around me. Thank You, Lord. Be with each of the students and staff as we prepare for the start of another school year with You. Help us as we each go through that bending process.

Some pictures of my bulletin boards:

Pictures of my time home:


Saturday, March 28, 2015

A new semester and some new friends

This was originally written in the beginning/middle of February. It is now the end of March and I am just getting this up. The team I talk about, has come and gone and now we are settling back into our normal routines. I have been quite busy with this and that. I also had some computer issues for a while, and that is why I haven't gotten this out yet. But I still wanted to post it and I have added to it since then. I hope you enjoy!

Between 2/8 and 3/10

Wow! It has been an eventful semester already and it's only the middle of February!! I went home for Christmas break and had a WONDERFUL time with family, friends, friends that I count as family, and my precious nephew. I miss everyone dearly.

This semester has had some changes. We have Tess back! She was here for my first year just boarding at the school while finishing up her college degree and working. She then went home over the summer to raise support so she could be full time staff here. She came back the middle of Dec and is here as our social worker/office worker at this point. She also helps out with Juan in the evening.
There is also a gentleman named Philip here for the semester. He is from Canada but plans to come down each year to help out here. Since he is here, and he is a man and is also Deaf, Betsy and I felt it was GREAT for Juan to be with him in the evenings. Juan will be able to learn so much more from him than from me because he is both male and Deaf. So Juan is with Tess for free time and with Philip for the rest of the evening.

That means I am relieved of dorm duty. So what am I doing? I am working in the classroom with Betsy! For the first 3 weeks, I was interpreting math class with a teacher who came down with her husband for a month to escape the snow and to see if this is something they want to continue to do in the future. I interpreted in the morning, and then in the afternoon helped out in Betsy's class.
Since they have left, I have kind of been doing a bit of everything in Betsy's class.  Toward the beginning of the month of Feb, Betsy had to be in court for 2 days interpreting for someone, so I had to be in the classroom all by myself! Boy was that interesting! Not something that I expected was going to happen, but someone had to be there to teach the children while she wasn't here. Since then, I have been in the classroom by myself about 4 days now. Each time I get a bit nervous, but then I remember that I did it before and it shouldn't be that bad.

Also during that same week in the beginning of Feb, Philip's first grandchild was born, so he went back to Canada to meet the little one, and Tess and I shared dorm duty. Needless to say, I was EXHAUSTED! I am SLOWLY getting used to being on a day schedule, so I still get tired easily. And then, with having Juan in the evening a few hours that week, it really wore me out. The tiredness has gotten better, but nonetheless, I still have to get adjusted.

Learning to give up control with Juan was challenging for me also. When you do something for a year and a half and then someone else comes in to take over, it is very hard to relinquish control of things if they don't do things the same way you do, which how often does that happen?!?! Sometimes I still have some trouble with this, but I am learning that there are so many things that he needs to learn and that we have been and are working on, that it is ok to say something that is new and has only shown up 1-2 times before. It's all a process.

As much as I like having a break from him, and feel as though it is much needed for both of us (as he has become dependent on me and pretends he doesn't know things when I am around sometimes), with having him for that one week in the evening, it has made me realized that I do miss some things we shared during dorm time. I miss praying with him, and giving him goodnight hugs and kisses, and saying goodnight and I love you.  Unless I am upset with him, he always smiles during this time and spells H-U-G and K-I-S-S after I do each one. He really is such a happy carefree boy. And that gives me much joy to see him smile, spell those words, and say "I love you too" before he goes to bed. But I am enjoying having my evenings off. :)

Unfortunately because of different reasons, I still haven't gotten into a routine in the evenings yet. I so desperately want, and need that though and I am hoping if comes quickly because we have so many visitors this semester. With visitors here, there is always something happening, whether it is going to the beach, rain forest, store, out to eat, etc. I often am always running when people are here. I hope I am able to find a good balance between being with them, and being by myself as the semester goes on. I don't want to get worn out quickly by not taking time for me when I need it. So many times I get wrapped up in what the visitors are doing, since they are only here for a certain amount of time, that I forget that I need time to myself also so that I am able to be good company when they are here.
So pray for me. There is only about two weeks this semester that aren't occupied with people being here. One is this full week (last week in Feb) and the other is scattered, a few days here and there. I love visitors, but I just need to find the balance of when to commune with them and when to shut my door and hide away so that I get filled with Him and His peace, and not get burnt out.


As I woke up this morning to get ready for church, it was the first time in the last nine days that it was quiet. We were blessed this past week with a group from Lancaster Bible College. I must admit, before they came, I had mixed feelings about them. We have had visitor after visitor this semester and although it is wonderful to have people come and give of their time and skills, it is very tiring for us staff. Trying to keep up after them, make sure they are doing ok, have everything they need, spend time with them, take them places, etc, is a lot of work besides our normal everyday work. Thankfully, this was the first group this semester as others have just been 1-2 people at a time. But before they came, I didn't know if I was ready for a group of 14 people to come, as well as all the work that is involved in them coming. But it didn't matter, because they came, and now that they are gone, my life is changed because of them and I am so glad they did come. I am super exhausted from them being here, but the impact they had on my life was totally worth it.

Ice cream twins :)
It is amazing how much a person/people can impact your life in a short time. I said this a few times since being here, but it really is true. Normally, I have a small connection to one of the girls because the boys are younger and immature and just don't care to talk to a 'old woman.' But with this group, I was impacted more by the guys than the girls. There were 7 guys, 5 girls, and 2 leaders, one of each sex. I had the pleasure of sharing my walls with the boys this week, and it felt weird to not hear them rustling around, talking, and getting ready today. Watching and hearing the guys just unite over the week was so joyful to see. The team didn't have cell phones, because they all decided to leave them behind while on the trip, and the boys knew the unity among them was because they had no access to social media or communication to their friends and family back home. So they talked and goofed off with each other instead of being on their phones.

Their willingness to do hard manual labor and pretty much whatever was asked of them, was awesome. To be on the receiving side of that was so nice. I didn't get the talking under their breath, the rolling of the eyes, or the slight attitude that has happened at times with other groups. And I didn't hear any complaining from any of them about the work they were doing throughout the whole week. In response to something they had forgot to do, needed to be done again, or needed to do be added to their list was always "Sure, I'll get right on that." or "Ok, I'll make sure I do it tomorrow." There was never a sigh of "Ugh, lady we know, just get out of our way and let us do it." And that was MUCH appreciated.

It was also sweet to see that they tried to act like gentlemen when I was around. There was a few times that they didn't know I was near, and one would say something to the other that would be typical guy behavior, but then when they knew I was there, they'd apologize and kind of get a bit embarrassed. Or they'd be talking and when I would come up to ask them something, they would lower their voice or just stop talking so I wouldn't hear the "boy talk" happening. That was a reassurance that someone has raised them right, and that God is working on their hearts and they know how to act when a lady is around.

Sunrise with the group
Throughout the week while getting ready in the morning, I'd look out my window and would see a few of the guys do their devos out back in the stillness and quietness of the morning before the day started. That was so heartwarming to see. Most times, if at all, you see the girls do this more than the boys because sometimes guys think that it 'isn't cool' to spend time in the Bible and pray when they are around other guys. But to see that these guys' focus was on the Lord first, and then other things was very touching to me. It gave me a new hope in men, and made me believe that God is still raising up godly men for Himself. They all made me excited to meet my future husband because they  were examples of what godly men should be like and showed me that God is still at work in the men of this world (which I know He is but to see if in front of you, gives you new assurance :)).

I did have some connections with the girls too, but because there was fewer of them, 2 worked in the classroom almost all week, and where they were staying, I interacted more with the guys. Some of the girls impacted me too, though. Their story's and life experiences up until this point in their lives, was awesome to hear. And from hearing them, I was able to share some of my experiences and/or wisdom about some situations with them, which then made us grow closer. This group of ladies was great too! They seemed to not mind doing anything that was asked of them either. Also girls, many times, can be drama queens and/or create drama amongst others in the team, but these girls didn't. They were all sweet and got along well with everyone. That was also nice to see.

Everyone of them, touched my heart/life in some way while they were here. None of us were ready for them to leave. The work they did was done properly, quickly, and without complaint. And now it is a week later almost, 3/28/15, and I still think of them. I'm so glad they are only 45ish minutes away from my home in PA and hope that I get to see them over the summer when I am there. :)

Bonfire on my birthday!

Some things to pray about, if don't mind.  I appreciate it!
-Strength for each day.
-Wisdom and knowledge for the different jobs I do in the classroom and the days I teach alone (as this semester is filled with times Betsy needs to be out of the classroom for different things).
-I am able to discipline myself to learn a few new things this semester.
-I am continuingly showing God's love and grace to those around me.
-For my homesickness. This semester is the worst.
-I would hear His voice about a few things I am praying about.
-I am able to rest, rest, rest this week of vacation. My mind, body, and spirit need it. It came at a perfect time.

Father, thank You. For a good start to a new semester. For the chance to do something new. For the ability to do that something new. For the strength to face the fear of teaching (and have someone that forces me to face it). For the new things that I am taking an interest in and the ability to learn them. For the people you send in our lives at just the moments we need, for that encouragement, reassurance, and example of You and Your work. And so much more. You are so good to me and continue to bless me each day. Even if I don't see your blessings, I feel them, and for that I thank You too. I give you glory and honor. In the name of Jesus, Amen. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

I'm back!! :)


Wow have things changed since the end of last school year!!

Before I go any further, I want to apologize for not keeping up with my blog last semester. I started a few of them, but they never got published and for that I say I am sorry to those of you who have kept up with my life down here and wondered what was going on (if you would like for me to post them, let me know and I will, although they will be out of date ;). But I am hoping to keep it going while I am here from now on. :) I know I'm getting a bit of a late start, but here it is!

Anyway, as I said, lots has changed!! When the end of the school year came, I was the dorm counselor of 3 students, there were 5 staff people (myself included), and 7 students attending school. When I came back, I was most likely only going to have one dorm student, there were only 2 staff members (including myself) and we didn't know if we were going to have 3 or 4 students in the classroom.

As it turns out, 1 dorm student, 2 staff members, 3 students attending. Reasons? Not totally sure. But 2 of the 7 students moved to Florida, so we knew they wouldn't be back. We thought we would have 5 students attending at the end of the school year, but over the summer, two of them decided to change their minds. If you didn't know, last spring we got an additional student from Orocovis come and stay with us. We thought that Maria would be back again this year, but for whatever reason, only God knows why, she decided to go back to her public school where she doesn't learn hardly anything. So there went the first one of 5.

Also over the summer, one of the other students decided that he wanted a life style change and he didn't want to come here anymore either. He wanted to be in a school that had more students, so he could make more friends. He made a decision to not follow God anymore, so why would he want to come here? Needless to say, he kept telling Betsy (and me when I saw him), "I don't know if I'll be back." And then on the first day of school, he showed up to get transfer papers signed so he could go elsewhere. That left us with 3 students.

Side note: The kids often ask for prayer for more students and more teachers. Please join us in agreement for this prayer request.

As far as me and my life here, as I said, I only have one dorm kiddo this year, which is good, but also kind of not. Because it is just me, I have to do everything. Entertain him with fun, active things to do during free time, make sure homework gets done, make dinner, make sure he gets showered, ready for bed, etc, etc, etc. And for a normal kid, it wouldn't be too bad. But for Juan, it is hard. He has such a hard time focusing and paying attention that a math paper that would normally take a child his age 20 mins to do, takes him twice as long or longer. Especially if it is something that he has just learned that day in class and needs to practice to remember what he's learned! So because he has a hard time paying attention, finishing his homework, writing nicely, blah, blah, blah, I am constantly having to be on top of him for everything. TIRING! My patience is DEFINITELY being tested and my frustration level gets thinner each day of the week. I now know what it is like to be a single parent, literally. I felt that way some last year, but I had one/two other students who helped, and two other staff members who helped too. But this year I have no one. Just me! It is frustrating and stressful. But things have gotten a bit better since the beginning of the school year. It really all depends on the day with him though. One day he could be completely not focused and paying attention, and the next he could do really well and get his homework done in no time! I wish I knew if something made a difference.

But either way, I know this is where I am to be. I know that because I am here, this little boy is getting a MUCH needed education. Because if I weren't here, he wouldn't be here. And he SOOOOO desperately needs it. Not just in school, but in life also. So despite that fact that I get lonely, feel like I have no friends here sometimes, feel disconnected to the world as a whole and back home, etc, I know that God has placed me here for such a time as this. I know that I am much needed here, for more than just that little boy. I am here for myself, for those I work with, and for the students. God is teaching me, growing me, and using me in ways I never even imagined. I thank Him!

Some other things to pray about:
Those feelings mentioned above while here: Loneliness, no friends here, disconnected to the world and things back home
Juan: That he learn to focus and pay more attention, that he remembers what he learns in the classroom (many times if he has a few days off-even a weekend sometimes- he forgets what he learned and has a hard time answering questions he could answer quickly the week before), for him to come to a full understanding of what Jesus did and accept Him as his Savior
My financial support as I continue my time here
For those other students who are no longer coming here: that they would not forgot God in their lives, would continue in their walks with Him and/or that He would touch their hearts and bring them back to Him.

For the other 2 students here: that they fully realize how much God loves them and the power they have with the Holy Spirit, and that they remember what they learn in the classroom as well

Father, thank you for your Goodness. You have blessed me bunches, and I give you all the glory. Thank you for letting me realize (again) that I am here for a reason, and letting me know partially what that reason is, because I am sure that there is a bigger reason than just what I see and know. Thank you for teaching me. Help me to remember why I am here in those times that I feel so lonely or like I don't matter. Help me to keep my eyes and focus on You. In Jesus' name. Amen.