*For those in a hurry, read the underlined text!
We pray this newsletter finds you well, healthy, and not totally stir-crazy!
Somehow, it is already April. And yet, March felt like such a long month with everything going on in the world. We know you are all hearing so much about the coronavirus, so we will give a brief update from our end on it and then share about what else God is doing here in Jamaica.
C O V I D - 1 9
As of this week, there are 38 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Jamaica. There have been no reported cases within the CCCD organization, including in the village and our family. Jamaica has been incredibly proactive - closing schools island-wide upon reports of the first case, mandating fever checks and hand sanitizer to customers in shops (as well as limiting the number in a store), and encouraging quarantine. The borders were closed a couple of weeks ago, effective for all incoming travel - this was largely done to prevent spring break trips from continuing despite calls for social distancing. Although the virus has not hit the island as hard as it has many other places in the world, the Jamaican government is prepared in the (likely) event it spreads rapidly on the island. We continue to practice social distancing and proper sanitizing within our home!
W E ' R E M O B I L E !
We bought a car! (photo above) We're so grateful to be independently mobile on the island. The car has already been a huge blessing to our family, and we are looking forward to how it will continue to expand our ministry here (especially after the pandemic clears out).
S C H E D U L E
Our schedule for March, April, and May has dramatically shifted. We were scheduled to have seven teams in eight weeks, and all have been canceled. This was a huge disappointment for all parties, and has led to CCCD taking a financial hit (as mission teams are a huge portion of the organization's revenue). Some teams are rescheduling for the summer, which will mean having multiple teams on campus at one time, but as you know even this summer still holds many unknowns with the virus. We were heartbroken to need to cancel our trip to the US in May for Pat's graduation and our brother's wedding. Our hope is to make it to the US sometime in 2020 still, dependent on travel restrictions and safety.
C O M M U N I T Y
Continuing ministry and building community has, of course, changed drastically over the last month. With sign language being a manual language (that involves a lot of touching the face) we have been working hard to find how to continue the work God sent us down here to do, while staying healthy and honoring social distancing mandates. Many Jamaicans already live paycheck-to-paycheck, so schools closing took a large toll on families here on the island - including in the Jamaica Deaf Village where we live. We were able to organize a community dinner for the residents of the village out in our front yard the first weekend after schools closed. We had a meal made by the village cook, we played yard games, and Pat gave a short devotional on what the Bible says about sickness and where our hope is found (photo above). We are planning on an outdoor movie night projecting a film, this has been postponed due to rain in the evening but we are excited for it! We continue to search for ways to support the village in this time, and hope that you can be in prayer with us over that.
S I L A S
In these times with so much unknown, our little guy is making himself more and more known every day. Silas is now 7 months old, and his personality is developing rapidly. He likes his mornings to be slow and just with mom and dad, but after his first nap of the day he is a full-swing extrovert who talks, moves, and chews nonstop. He's very close to sitting without support, and desperately wants to crawl - he has found that rolling multiple times can get him to where he wants to go, so we are already working to baby-proof the house! He brings so much joy to our lives and everyone in the village - we just can't believe he's ours. He is really the greatest blessing and sweetest gift.
J A M A I C A N I S M S
The last Friday of each month is an exciting day on the island. Most people work half of the day, and then because it is pay day, they go into town to go shopping for groceries and household items. Another difference in Jamaican culture is that most Jamaicans go to the grocery store a couple times per week and buy food for just the following few days!
- Praise for our family (State-side included) remaining healthy during this time
- Praise for the funds and ability to purchase a car
- Praise for the timing of our move, that we were settled in before the pandemic hit
- For The Lord to continue to show us ways to love and support the village right now
- For opportunities to safely continue language learning (we have an online program, but have found we learn best face-to-face)
- For this virus to be stopped in its tracks across the island and the world, and if its not, for the multitudes to come to know Christ better in it