Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Women's Bible Study Update

In the picture Reinalda and Angelica are writing the verse in their books.  Alma is reading and signing it.  Miralia is asking Martha (not pictured) how to sign one of the words.  No one ever thought that Alma would learn to read, but she is :-)  Amazing!  She is so proud of herself.

Trolling through the internet I came across 30 Bible verses every Christian should know. It was a good list: "I am the Lord, your God, you must have no other God besides me." (Exodus 20:3) and "Do to others what you would have them do to you." (Luke 6:31) and of course, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." (Phil 4:13).  What verses would you include in the list?   I started thinking of verses that I would have included because of the encouragement they have given me. My list plus the website's list came to about 50 verses.  That's about a year's worth if you memorized one each week.  So I started thinking about using this list to be the basis for our Women's Bible Study for a while.  We would study, record, and memorize one of these significant verses each week.  I gave each woman an exercise book. (What's an exercise book? Because the classrooms do not supply paper for the children to use in school, each child must buy a small, 75 cent, lined blank book.  These exercise books are available everywhere and used for everything throughout the Caribbean.)

I bought 14 of these exercise books and gave one to each of our women. The first verse would go on the cover: "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path" (Psalm 119:105).   Not all of our women can read. (Yikes!  i wondered if this was actually a good idea.)  But the grace of God is good. They all rose to the challenge of learning to read the verse and decorating the cover with a picture to help them remember the concept.  We had a great discussion about why God's word is important. Everyone took their books home and practiced reading/memorizing the verse.  When they returned the next Friday night, Martha brought a friend.  Miralia had seen Martha practicing and said she wanted to do it too.  So sometime last week Martha met with Miralia and taught her how to read the verse and they practiced memorizing it together.  When Miralia came on Friday she asked for an exercise book so she can write down the verses, too.  It inspires me to see how God lead me to this idea and how it is going to help us to learn together.

Saturday, August 23, 2014


Coda VBS 

     This VBS was designed to provide a Summer Bible School for the children of our Deaf church members.  We also included young siblings of Deaf members and two young Deaf children. All of the children were under 8 years old except the boy on the far left is a neighbor of Selena (standing with the baby).  He doesn't fit the equation but when I pulled up, he jumped in the van.  Hmmm.  How could I say "You can't come to church." (??!)   It worked out.  This photo from the first day is when we had 10 children.  By Friday we had 16.

     We had tremendous helpers!  Kristel and Lupita assisted the children with all the activities.  They were invaluable.  Kristel is so patient with some of the children who have behavioral issues.  She doesn't seem to get frustrated.  Lupita helped to show the children how to make the craft or play the game.  She and Kristel added laughter and goofiness to a lot of what we did. Sulmi is the most introverted of the three and preferred to take the pictures.  All of the pictures, except for group shots, were taken by her.  

     We started at 9:00 and ended at 11:30 AM.  The general schedule was:
  • Worship (prayer and singing)
  • memory verses and prizes
  • the new Bible story and drama
  • the new memory verse
  • active play (games outside)
  • a drink and snack
  • Centers (The children needed some time to play but not do it in unison with the group, so I set up 4 stations where they could be creative and work at their own pace....blocks/cars and trucks, playdoh with some cookie cutters related to the theme of the day, a craft, and something else that fit the theme.)
  • Prayer and dismissal
Here are the pictures :-)


Clothes relay.

Can you jump the river? (The ropes spread father apart after each round.)


Selwayne playing Jesus and calling the disciples to "Come follow me".

This was the story of the lost sheep and the good shepherd who cares about us.

Jesus to Peter, "Do you love me?"


Marshmallow treats for those who remembered their verses.

We "fished" for the words from our verse and then glued them in order.



 Marble painting....This was a blast!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Thank You, Kathy

 Last Sunday, July 27th, we said goodbye to Kathy Miller.  She came in January to interpret for Sulmi at St. Peter's.  Sulmi was struggling because she needed an interpreter/tutor.  Kathy brought the right combination of interpreting and helping to the task.  Her competence with that job allowed Sulmi to learn and excel in her Standard 6 (8th grade) classroom.  Kathy was a Godsend.  I don't know what we would have done if she did not come.  I am so grateful God called her to be a missionary with us for 7 months.

In addition to interpreting at St. Peter's, Kathy also started a children's Sunday School/nursery care program for our church.  When she arrived the parents and I were having some trouble keeping the toddlers in the pews during worship and the sermon.  They liked to get up and move around and were hard to ignore.  Kathy and Chelsea took turns taking care of the children under the age of 8 during the testimony and preaching part of our church service.   It was wonderful!  The young children looked forward to joining in free play and activities in the Sunday School room.  The adults were able to focus on the sermon and not be distracted by children running between the pews.  Ahhhh.  We were blessed by this service that Kathy and Chelsea provided.  

When Kathy's term was nearing the end, our church talked about "What are we going to do when Kathy leaves ???!!"  Sometimes the question was posed rhetorically, sometimes in panic.  Once or twice I answered the question by saying, we as a church are going to have to take turns watching the children. That was usually met with quizzical faces and unspoken replies, "I hope you don't mean ALL of us.  Will I have to do it?  Maybe only the women?  Maybe only the mothers?"  Following my organized mind set, I said I would set up a nursery sign-up. But I thought about it later and that doesn't really work with this culture.  Most people plan only a few hours in advance.  The school doesn't even send home a notice about meetings until the day before it happens.  Only the few super Type A professionals carry a day book . Rarely, if ever does anyone in our church write something on a calendar... if they have a calendar.  It's very relaxed here. That's nice to be in a place that is not as ultra-scheduled as I remember from my American experience. It's nice to be free to pick up and go at the last minute, but that means a "nursery schedule" would not carry much weight if the person got an inkling to go visit friends in a neighboring village instead of coming to church that Sunday. Hmmm.  I was still wondering what we will do when we arrived this morning.  I brought a bucket full of books, chalkboards, construction toys and coloring books and put them in the front of the church.
Within minutes Lupita picked up the bucket and took it to the table I had set up for children in the back.  She said she would take care of the children today.  Just like that.  I thank God for Lupita.  I thank God that she answered this call.  And she even listened to the sermon while she was back there... because when I asked a question, there she was in the back of the room waving her hand waiting for me to call on her.  

We didn't have toddlers today, but when we do, I am confident God will have a solution for that, too.