School Days

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Coffee

The bad news is we are out of coffee. And the coffee pot broke.

The good news is that there is coffee available in other parts of San Salvador. Shout out to Ben’s Coffee. Great cappuccino. Set a spoon on it and its so thick it doesn’t even sink through. Good coffee and good discussions. Thanks Wesley and Kevin.

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The other good news is that tomorrow my sister Margretta is coming to visit!

As far as the coffee at the deaf school here…Margretta is bringing a new coffee pot. And we are praying the director doesn’t forget to get more Strong Tower coffee beans.

Essentials

As you know, Matthias is a big fan of food. Especially food that falls into the category that many people label junk food. People with nicer attitudes toward sweet things call them snacks. To Matthias – they are essentials.

Several weeks ago, a friend from my youth group came to visit. Somehow he knew that I need snacks. He filled his suitcases to the brim. Perhaps even leaving out a shirt or two to get yet another pack of double stufs in. Needless to say, I was quite pleased to receive this essential food. Several weeks supply. Or several months – depending on how disciplined or sharing I would be.

It was Holy Week, also known as vacation from teaching school. So Nathan, my visiting friend, and I headed to Antigua, Guatemala for a week of Spanish school. Melody Eash, another teacher from the deaf school, decided to go and further her communication abilities. It was great fun to spend time studying Spanish once again. Being in Antigua brought back many memories of a year ago when I spent a month there studying. It was very good for me to go back, correct mistakes that I have been making, and learn more about the many tenses of Spanish grammar. Many good times drinking coffee and eating ice cream in various shops around town.

Antigua was quite full sine it was Holy Week. Many many people filled the town. The Catholics spend a lot of time and effort reenacting the story of Jesus. They carry floats all through town. Accompanied by music. Some processions last for hours. It is a privilege that people pay for to be able to help carry the floats. Thursday night, before on of the main processions on Friday, people stay up all night making carpets in the streets. They use painted sawdust. They make many intricate patterns and pictures. The artwork is quite impressive. But short lived. The procession comes by, walks over top of it, and right afterward comes a crew cleaning it up. It was very interesting to see all the activities, but at the same time quite sad. Many people believe that they are earning salvation by their good works.

Normally the streets of Antigua are empty at night. Not during Holy Week. For many youth it’s there first time away from home and parents for the night. While the parents ignorantly believe the youth are helping in processions or making carpets, the youth are out getting drunk and having a party.

It was great to have Nathan here at the deaf school the week following vacation. Cooling off at the water park. Eating pupusas. Having great discussions. Thanks Nathan for all the encouragement you gave in your time here.

Thanks to each one who is praying for me. I feel a need of much prayer and wisdom. God is at work here. He is teaching me many things about life and about relating to people. Pray that I would have the understanding to get what God is saying and the courage to live it out.

Success

What is success?

How do we determine if a church is successful? Or a mission? What about an evangelist crusade?

Don’t we usually look at the size of the church? Or the number of people being reached for the Lord by a mission? Or how many people respond to the invitation?

But what about Noah. Doesn’t that make him a failure? That guy preached for 120 years while building a massive boat. How many people responded to his message? Or how about Isaiah? God sent him to a people that had hard hearts. God even told Isaiah that they would not respond to his message. What were Isaiah’s odds for “success”? John the Baptist wasn’t even around to see the ministry he prepared the way for.

Failures? Not by Gods measure of success.

These people were faithful to God. Followed in obedience to His leading. To His commands.

So lets focus on being faithful and obedient, and stop worrying about whether or not we appear successful to others.

Jairo

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This little guy is 5 years old. He has been catching on to sign language with amazing speed.

He’s got lots of talent at begging for food. Teaching him to say please was no problem when it meant getting the chips he was begging for. Now gotta explain that please doesn’t always produce the desires result 🙂 It’s great to have another little deaf guy here.

Welcome, Jairo.

Rats

Back to El Salvador. Time flies.

When referring to my return to El Salvador, there were three things I liked to mention. A land of flip-flops, lots of coke, and cheap data plans. Thats doesn’t adequately describe it, but it was three fun things to throw out there. But cross out cheap data plans. That changed unfortunately.

But back to the intention of the post. To inform you that I, Matthias Beachy, am now in El Salvador. Seems like it was a while since my departure from here in early November 2012. Winter in the states flew by. I worked at Carlisle Printing for seven weeks. Totally enjoyed it. Then was at Calvary Bible School at tech guy and clarion editor. Also for seven weeks. Many good times during my “summer vacation.” Family. Sister’s wedding. Singing. Friends. So on.

I feel that I am in the right place. Teaching school. I have three deaf students. [I’ll introduce you to them later.] We have fun, learning together. I’m excited about the school year. Wanting to bring out the potential in each of my students. Your prayers on my behalf for wisdom, patience, and growth are certainly needed and appreciated.

Oh, and the reason I titled this post, “Rats” is cause its catchy and cause tonight I played the longest game of Rats ever. Like a whole hour on one game! Maybe it’s too early to say thats long cause I learned how to play like a whole week ago. Thanks Markus and Micah for teaching me to play and giving a game for here. The kids love rats! The game that is.

Teaching speech?

Have you ever thought about how a deaf person learns sign language?

Think about it. How did you learn how to talk? Do you even recall learning how to talk? It just happened. You heard others talking ever since you were born. And you learned without realizing that you were learning. But what about a deaf child born into a hearing family? How does the deaf child learn sign language?

Meet Joel. Joel is five years old and is just starting school. A cute little fellow. Joel is a deaf child, born into a hearing family. At five years old, Joel can’t talk. Not even sign language. His family doesn’t know signs. Joel started life in a very silent world. His only communication was pointing and yelling.

I came to the deaf school expecting to be dad to two boys that stay here during the week. Those plans changed shortly after arrival. Just before school started, Joel was discovered. I was asked if I would be willing to teach. I decided that I could learn sign language with him.

The first day of school came. I sign good morning to the cute little boy that would be my student. He responds with a blank look like, “What are you doing with you hands?” Suddenly, I realized that more than teaching math, reading, and writing, I would be reaching a language. Sign language.

The first day of school, I thought I would hand him a paper and pencil and say write the numbers 1 through 10 several times. We will see how well your handwriting is and go from there. Not sure what I was thinking.

The first few days were long. Joel was scared. Didn’t understand what was going on. What are these marking on a paper? These pictures are cool, but why is this guy moving his hands like that?

Soon, Joel relaxed. School, was no longer scary. In fact, those early strange hand motions were making sense. The signs for animals, colors, and the alphabet were soon mastered. School was great!

Joel’s world has been getting bigger ever since. These days he is working on addition and learning to spell words for the spelling bee.

I have been blessed to have Joel as my student. Seeing his eyes open to the world of communication has been so much fun. The excitement of seeing Joel make his first sign. I have had the opportunity to learn so many things.