Prayer and Cross-Cultural Ministry in Puerto Rico
Diane Robinette is the President of the Board of Directors of Christian Association for Deaf Education.
Several years ago, I was teaching Bible study classes for the high school students on Wednesday evenings at the Tennessee School for the Deaf. Brance, one of our Deaf members at FBC, chose Mark 7:31-37 for one of the lesson topics. A college student was working with us as a ministry intern. The conversation went something like this.
College Student: Why are you teaching that Bible story? The deaf students will think that they can become hearing after reading that.
Brance: What did Jesus say?
College Student: He said to be healed!
Brance: No, read it.
College Student: Ok, Jesus said, "Be opened."
Brance: Yes! Be opened physically, mentally, socially, emotionally, and spiritually.
Be Opened Physically: Because of lack of education and difficulties with communication deaf people in PR lack a basic understanding about how our physical bodies work. Often, they do not get adequate medical care because they rarely have interpreters when they go to the doctor or hospital.
Be Opened Mentally: Most deaf adults in PR are unemployed. They need more access to educational services and job training so that they can have meaningful careers.
Be Opened Socially and Emotionally: Jesus says, "Be opened" to receive blessings through deeper relationships with others. This only happens when there is clear communication.
Be Opened Spiritually: We all need opportunities to learn truths from the Word of God and receive guidance in applying the principles to our own lives. Most of the ministries in PR are focused on Deaf adults. Deaf children and teens need opportunities to study God’s word and worship. That is the primary reason for starting a Christian school for the Deaf in PR.
Prayer and Emmanuel Academy of the Deaf
When I began looking for a new location for Emmanuel Academy of the Deaf after Hurricane Maria, Pastor Rene offered us three classrooms at his church located on the southern coast. This is a blessing because of his enthusiastic support and the many contacts that he has to assist us with things like school lunches and contacts with government officials.
We are praying for qualified teachers. I have known Pastor Victor for 10 years and admired his leadership in Deaf ministry. He is interested in teaching at Emmanuel Academy! How wonderful it will be to have a Deaf man as our first teacher.
Jim Moore does a fantastic job as our accountant, and recently we have contracted with an accounting firm in Puerto Rico to do our payroll. This accounting firm was recommended by a member of Emanuel Bible Church, where our classes will be meeting. Managing the money wisely is of utmost importance.
Denisse, our part-time teacher, is working on the northern coast. She and I wrote a proposal to the Mayor of Arecibo to purchase a school building that is not in use at this time. A team from Kentucky has promised to renovate the school for us in January 2020.
We praise the Lord for continued good relations with government agencies and guidance in meeting all their deadlines.
To learn more about the Emmanuel Academy of the Deaf please visit http://www.emmanueldeaf.com/our-story.