*For those in a hurry, read the underlined text!
First things first: We considered sending a mid-month update in March about the COVID situation at the Village, but things got a little busy! Our family's tests all came back negative of COVID (Praise the Lord). There were a few positive tests in the village, so those persons were quarantined. CCCD continues safety measures within the village and schools, and recently Jamaica has increased restrictions (more on that below)
This newsletter is a little lengthy, simply because we have a lot to share! Again, for those in a hurry, read the underlined text. Now the fun stuff: After over a year of waiting, we finally got to have our first visitors! Kara's parents visited for one week in March after getting fully COVID vaccinated.
F A M I L Y V I S I T
Kara's parents (Nana and Papa) came and visited us for seven days - spending four days at our house in Mandeville, and three days at a resort in Montego Bay. It was so refreshing having family - people we have known and loved for our whole lives - here to share this space with. It's been a really difficult reality for us to have Silas away from both sets of grandparents, so we cherish the time he does get to spend with them! We love watching him get to know them as much as they are getting to know him! We got to drive them around town (remaining in the car due to quarantine), walk around the village, and share in our day-to-day routine! We won't share TOO many details since...Pat's parents (Grandma and Grandpa) will be visiting us in April! We will also spend four days at the house and three days at a resort with them. We're so grateful our parents could all get their COVID vaccines, and that despite travel restrictions, we could still make their trips happen. We'll be sure to share photos of our Bloemendaal visit in our next newsletter :)
V I R T U A L T E A M
We had our first virtual team in February! The team of eight was coordinated through our sending church, Community Reformed Church in Zeeland. Virtual teams sponsor a project on campus with the funds from signing up, and this team sponsored a much-needed bathroom being put into our sewing room. Above you can see a photo of some very proud workers outside the bathroom on the plumbing! Check out this link to learn more if you are interested in being a part of a virtual team!
M A R R I A G E W O R K S H O P
At last! We had our first Readiness Course this month, a Marriage Workshop. We had 11 JDV residents attend (a mix of married couples, engaged, and singles) and the course was led by Kara, Sheldon Burkett (JDV's Deaf pastor), and his wife Rachel. This was still a really fruitful time for participants to reflect on where their relationships are at, and for singles to share what they are looking forward to in the future. We discussed Love Languages, questions to regularly ask your spouse, ways to continue dating after the wedding, mutual respect, and realities around balancing things like children and household chores amidst a relationship. We are looking forward to our April Readiness Course: Computer Training, led by Pat! Above is a photo of Kara leading the course (in Jamaican Sign Language).
W E S T E R N S E M M E N T I O N
Western Theological Seminary (where Pat graduated last May) has a newsletter called The Commons that is sent out a few times per year. Pat was asked to be interviewed in the most recent issue to talk about our work here and how his education at WTS has impacted it! Here's a link to the article - check out pages 8 and 9 :)
C O V I D R E S T R I C T I O N S
About once per month, the Jamaican government reassesses the current COVID restrictions in light of how many cases are on the island. With a recent spike in COVID cases on-island, the prime minister called into effect this month a mandate that all travelers receive a COVID test within 72-hours of travel (previously it was 10 days), and Jamaica does not accept the rapid COVID test. Although this will lead to a hit in tourism (Jamaica's #1 source of financial support), the hope is that it will lead to a quicker decline in cases. Along with this mandate came lockdown measures over the Easter holiday and the weekends before and after. Unfortunately, this means that we will not be able to spend Easter with others in a corporate sense, but we also understand and appreciate the safety measures. Easter is a HUGE (arguably the biggest) holiday in Jamaica, so it is expected that many would be out and about. Lastly, the prime minister called for all schools to go back to virtual learning for the time being. Although most schools on-island were still virtual, a number of private schools (including one of CCCD's campuses) were back to in-person learning.
K I D D O S
Last but anything but least, an update on our kiddos. Silas is now 19 months old! He absolutely loved getting to spend time with Nana and Papa this month (we're pretty sure the feeling was mutual) and is excited to see Grandma and Grandpa this month! He continues to be very busy and loves being a big helper whenever he gets the chance. He is sweet and silly and loud and difficult to get a great photo of these days!
Baby B2 is growing like a weed! Kara is now officially halfway through the pregnancy at 20 weeks, and we just had an ultrasound that gave us a better idea of how baby's organs and growth is progressing - thank you SO much for your continued prayers over baby and the pregnancy. Kara continues to feel good, though between growing a baby and wrangling a Silas, a mid-day nap is often in order. We were bummed when baby decided to sit cross-legged at the ultrasound, preventing us from finding out the sex! We'll keep you updated...
J A M A I C A N I S M S
This month we tried a custard apple (or a sweetsop) which grows locally here in Jamaica. You don't eat the skin, and the inside of the fruit literally tastes like sweet and creamy custard! Fortunately for us there is a tree of them between our house and our neighbor's that is blooming :)
- PRAISE for family visits!!!
- PRAISE for baby B2 continuing to grow, now reaching the halfway mark!
- PRAISE that our immediate family remains healthy
- ASK for increased peace and clarity in our presence here in this season
- ASK for continued health of our family and all those within CCCD, students and staff alike
- RCA 30 days of prayer: We'll share more about this next month, but for now, check out this link for how you can get involved!