This past month has been a non-stop adventure! Between our daily decorations classes, starting the power inverter class, two hurricanes, and numerous special events, this month has been crazy! We were very blessed in that neither of the hurricanes did us any harm. I live and serve in Santo Domingo, which is the the southern part of the island. The provinces in the north experienced some scary winds and flooding. I am very pleased to announce that there was no damage to our home nor to any of the homes of the Deaf community where I work (that I have heard of). We did get some rain and wind and decided to cancel classes for a couple of days with both hurricanes for safety's sake, but neither storm lived up to the hype (THANK GOD!).
This month a missionary ship called the Logos Hope, part of Operation Mobilization Ministry, has been docked here in Santo Domingo. It is the largest floating library in the world, has over 400 volunteers from 67 different countries, and travels all over the word giving knowledge, hope, and help and preaching the gospel. It was a total God thing how I got connected with them. Our Deaf church is a chapel connected to a much larger church called Templo Calvario. About once a month, we bring our group to the large church and interpret the service for our Deaf congregation. It just so happened that the one day last month that we brought our group to the larger church was the same Sunday that one of the missionaries from the ship visited the church because she had heard that there was a Deaf ministry. I talked with her, and it turns out that she was attempting to plan an event for Deaf students on the ship but had only been able to contact one school. I was able to help her contact other schools and interpreted the event since the common language on the ship is English. The final head count for the event was about 287 people, including the Deaf students as well as teachers and assistant teachers. They did games, dramas, and songs. It was a great success!
|There was a whole other row to the right as well.|
|Ramen noodle eating contest.|
|"Good, Good Father" by Chris Tomlin performed in ASL|
In addition to us visiting the ship, some of the missionaries from the ship also came to visit our church. We had a special event one Sunday morning and so many people showed up that we couldn't fit inside! Fortunately, we saw this coming and set up a tarp to hold the service outside. Over 50 Deaf came! Before that day, we were averaging probably 13 people on Sundays. Our lovely teacher from the decorations class put up some balloons, an amazing group from a hearing church came and performed a fun song and a very moving drama, one missionary shared her testimony, another missionary preached about the importance of the Deaf taking responsibility for the salvation of their community, and we served a little food and juice. It was a fantastic event!
We haven't reached 50 again yet, but the master plan is working. Slowly but surely, the participants of the vocational classes are beginning to attend church on Sundays. In the Sundays since the event, we have had around 20 in the congregation. Pretty soon we're going to need a bigger location!
The decorations class is going absolutely fantastic. We have a group of about 20 who come everyday, and they are learning to make so many cool things for birthday parties and baby showers. They are all so excited and are proud of the products they are creating. This class ends in two weeks, and we are currently trying to plan the next class.
|For the kids to wear at a unicorn birthday party.|
|Little shoes for a baby shower|
|These are made from toilet paper rolls that I have been saving for the last year and had no idea why!|
|Fake cake so you can keep the decorations display pretty and make the cake mess in the back.|
|Cupcake stand for a unicorn party|
|Cupcake stand for a baby shower|
|Cupcake stand for a baseball party|
The power inverter class has been struggling since it is only once a week and the hurricanes have forced us to cancel class for two weeks. We will see how many show up this week!
All of this progress is happening so much faster than I could have ever hoped for. To be honest, I imagined that I would be sitting alone in an empty building trying and failing to get something started for at least six months. But God has taken control, and in the past two months that we have been open, we have had incredible success and seen so much growth. I am beyond excited to see where all of this leads. I have so many hopes and dreams for this project, but not enough time, hands, or money to make it all happen yet. If God has proven anything in the last two months, it is that He provides everything we need in His perfect timing. Please continue to pray, because your prayers are clearly working!!! Thank you all for your prayers and support.
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