We have been in Jamaica now for two months, and can't believe how time is flying. In February, we got to take part in a number of opportunities for the ministry here, and are looking forward to what's ahead in March!
P R E A C H I N G
In February, Pat was asked by the campus pastor if he would preach at church that Sunday. There was a wonderful turn-out of students and those from the village and greater Mandeville Deaf community. There is a large spectrum of developmental abilities within the Deaf church, but Pat did a fantastic job managing this and preaching about the relationship between sheep and their shepherd - something that has been on his heart this past month. He says it was different having someone interpret while he was preaching, but he really enjoyed it!
A D M I N I S T R A T I V E T A S K S
Kara has been able to step in and assist CCCD's head office with some administrative tasks remotely. In the last month, she was able to create and organize a database of all CCCD's employees on each campus, create an archive of news coverage on CCCD and the Deaf community in Jamaica, as well as make phone calls and complete meeting minutes. Kara really enjoys this kind of work, and is grateful to be able to assist where needed, even from home!
E V E N I N G W A L K S
Something we have gotten in the habit of doing each evening before Silas' bedtime is going for a walk as a family on campus to the resident apartment complex. This initially started one night when we joined many of the village residents who were hanging out outside of their apartments because the power was out (not an uncommon occurrence), but now is one of our favorite times of day! This time of fellowship has led to deepening friendships and a sense of community, as well as the opportunity to work more on our sign language.
S I L A S
The man of the hour - the update many look forward to in our emails :) Silas is now 6 months old - yes, 6 months! We can hardly believe we have had him for half of a year now. His personality continues to show more and more every day - he is incredibly silly and loves to laugh, he loves being held and getting hugged and kissed by mom and dad, and this month he started on some solid foods. He hasn't been picky thus far, but seemed to especially enjoy Jamaican sweet potatoes. He has made a couple of local friends and thinks the dogs on campus are very funny and interesting - the feeling seems to be mutual. Life looks so different with him in it, and we can hardly remember how boring things were before him!
A U T O M O B I L E
We are so excited to share that we are in the process of purchasing a car! The past two months we have heavily relied on our neighbors and local friends to get into town to run any errands. We have in many ways been grateful for this, because it allowed us to spend intentional time with them while also needing to be humble in asking for help in that way. Driving in Jamaica is a totally different world, as we've said before, but we are feeling more confident now driving ourselves. That being said, purchasing a car in Jamaica is a very different process than we are used to! It requires a lot of back-and-forth between the car salesman, auto insurance, and tax office. Everyone wants original documents, so Pat has been bouncing between the three to make this happen for our family. We should be able to drive the car off the lot in the next couple of weeks! We are excited to venture out on our own and explore the island more!
J A M A I C A N I S M S
An interesting thing we have learned more about since being in Jamaica is how the school systems work. In the United States, the school you go to is dependent on the district where you live or if you opt for "school of choice". In Jamaica, the school you attend is dependent on the scores you receive in placement testing, which is administered every few years. On one hand, this results in students attending schools appropriate for their learning level. However, this can result in a public or private school that is either very close to home, or 45 minutes away. Due to most Jamaicans using taxi services for transportation, this can leave families in a financial bind if they are needing to pay a taxi every week day to bring their children to different schools upwards of 45 minutes away! Unfortunately, some students may miss days of school due to their family not having the means to get them there. That being said, there is a lot of pressure on students when they have placement exams, as the school they attend can largely determine future schooling and even employment.
- For deepening friendships in the village and greater community!
- For strength and energy: March is full of many week-long mission teams from the States. This can make for busy schedules and long days - we ask for prayers to utilize this time well while also not sacrificing time as a family and with the Deaf.
- For our continued language learning: our sign language has come a long way since January, but we still have much to learn!