*For those in a hurry, read the underlined text!
Our Jamaican Thanksgiving
We've been asked a lot lately how we're doing with the holidays approaching, so here's our answer: Our hearts are aching to be with our families and our friend family. We want to share all the things Silas is doing these days, to bundle up in the cool midwest weather, to eat our mom's best dishes. We miss Michigan and all that it is in this season - things are so different here in Jamaica (although we do take some solace in the fact that things would be very different if we were in the States compared to past years). It's the holiday season, and we're feeling it.
Even so, we have a hope that surpasses our understanding. In the moments we wish our calling looked different, we take peace in the fact that we're obediently walking in our calling. The Lord has very graciously affirmed us in our roles here the past month, so despite the raw homesickness we feel, we also feel a lot of peace.
C O V I D - 1 9
The coronavirus continues to have a presence in Jamaica, but not nearly to the extent it is exploding in the US. On average, the island is seeing 50-80 new cases per day. All schools across the island remain virtual, but many are exploring reintroducing in-person schooling for a few days per week (including CCCD's Kingston campus). With kids here at the village being home for school, we have been asked a few times to help with schoolwork (as pictured above) - Turns out you really do need to know algebra in the real world!
M E N S R E T R E A T
Ministry continues in so many different ways and one way it took shape this month was with a small mens retreat focused on what it means to be a man of God. Sheldon, pastor of New Life Church of the Deaf (in orange), along with Pat and seven other men (safely) spent the weekend together talking about what God has for us as men. The men are all in unique walks of life and it was a wonderful time of fellowship and discipleship. If you look closely, the guys are spelling out "COVID 19".
G I V I N G
We would be remiss if we didn't talk about giving. We have been blessed over the past year with continued financial support, especially in light of the toll many have experienced on their finances this year. As the end of the year approaches, we want to humbly ask you to consider a monthly or one-time gift, as we are responsible for 100% of our income. We are blessed by individual and monthly gifts, in addition to church support - Even so, we are not currently reaching our monthly financial goals that will allow us to serve here long-term. To learn more about the various ways you can give, please visit our website here.
An additional way to support us and CCCD is for those of you who use Amazon - at no additional cost. The AmazonSmile program has given over 216 million dollars to charity, and nearly $2,000 of that has gone toward CCCD. Simply by setting CCCD as your AmazonSmile charity choice will result in a little support every time you shop. To do this, follow the "how-to" here.
S I L A S
Nearly 15 months old and Silas is very much on the move! He has perfected his walking, and there's no stopping him when he gets going. He has a newfound love for being outside, often pointing at the windows or leading us to his stroller - and letting us know his feelings on having to come inside. He has loved exploring the outdoors (something up to this point he hasn't been able to do a lot of independently due to the grass being full of ants and ticks). In fact, he has been walking so much in his sandals, we had to invest in a pair of tennis shoes to keep blisters at bay! In addition to walking, Silas has also started using sign language! This has been a wonderful tool for him to communicate with us - specifically the signs for "more" and "all done" (which he also tries to say). He is working on learning "food", "milk", "water", "book", "mama", and "dada" - but we have taken to signing as much as we can around him. He continues to be so affectionate, loves pushing toys around in his truck, and being outside whenever he can. Silas plays hard and sleeps hard - We overflow with love and pride in him more each day, he is the greatest gift.
V I R T U A L T E A M S
We shared a little bit about CCCD's virtual teams in our last newsletter. We are incredibly excited about this venture, and hope you will consider taking part in one! The virtual team experience will include:
- Helping fund a project on the island
- Meeting people on campus
- Participating in realtime island events
- Coming together to create an impact in your own community
- Helping your church family learn what CCCD is all about
- Affordable discounts for couples and families
Your funds will help pay Deaf workers, fund a specific project, and facilitate your travel experience. The teams can be catered to your group size (all the way down to individuals), length of "trip", schedule, goals, and projects you hope to aid in. We are dying to share this place with you all... So to learn more about virtual trips, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
J A M A I C A N I S M S
This time of year in Jamaica, goats are particularly in high demand (in fact, goat theft is at its highest now through the holidays!) Reason being is the Jamaican delicacy: Mannish Water Soup. Not for the faint of heart (or stomach), you can see for yourself what it's all about here. And if you decide to brave the recipe yourself, make sure to use a male goat - their urine apparently brings a particularly sought-after ("pungent") flavor to the dish.
H A P P Y H O L I D A Y S
It's certainly beginning to look a lot like Christmas here...at least in our house! We were able to find an artificial Christmas tree, and had fun going through our bin of Christmas decorations we brought down. We want to wish each and every one of you a happy holiday this season. We are so grateful for you, and appreciate your care and support of our family. We love you!
- PRAISE for continued health within our family and CCCD as a whole - still no reported COVID cases!
- PRAISE for small mercies like electricity to FaceTime our families on Thanksgiving, finding a Christmas tree, and scented candles that help us feel at home for the holidays!
- PRAYER for students in Jamaica. All Jamaican schools are virtual until January, but there is talk that they will remain virtual through the rest of the school year. This is very hard on students and families here, many who are having to do all of their schooling from a cell phone. For the Deaf students in particular, many families do not know Sign Language to communicate with their children about homework or attending online class.
- PRAYER for continued peace and comfort for our family as we approach the holidays.