Daily life and other happenings

Wanted to post again and update you on what my daily life looks like now!  Since "Maya" and Brittany came back the end of February it has been an adjustment to what our daily routine will be.  For the most part it has been pretty consistent the last couple of months, and the other day I realized I hadn't shared with you all what exactly my days are like now.  So I will use this time to update you on that. 

 

M-F Mornings - After Brittany works with Maya from 9am-10am she has snack, and then I work with her until noon.  In the mornings we do our bble story time.  We always start out with speaking to the Father.  Recently we made cards with people's names on them, and everyday we each choose a couple of cards and pray for those people.  This is something I've recently done to introducing the idea of praying for others.  After that then we do some song time.  Everyday we watch/sign two praise songs either from Deaf Harbor, or Dr. Wonder's Workshop.  I think this is her favorite part of the whole day!  Not only does she get to watch something on the computer, but it has sound AND it's music, both of which she loves!  

After this we go into a bble story.  It has been challenging to teach her the stories because often she is not interested, and the children books don't have good pictures that show the whole story, but I have been able to find some good resources to help with that.  We also do a craft or color something related to the story.  If there is time left we might do a puzzle, game, or worksheet depending on what we are going over that week. 

Recently I have seen her make some connections with the stories I have been teaching her which is HUGE since most of the time I think it goes in one eye and out the other!  One day we were outside and it was sprinkling.  She turned and looked at me and signed "It's raining! Maybe boat, maybe flood!"  Then one day last week I was trying to explain to her the story of Joseph and how his brothers told their father that Joseph was dead.  She then referenced a situation that happened about a month and a half ago when we were at the airport and we saw a man die.  She asked if he came back to life like J.  I had to explain to her that only J come back to life because He is G.  That lead us to a discussion about her being scared when the week before she couldn't breathe because she got water in hole still in her neck from the trache.  I explained that G helped her and that she didn't die, and we need to thank Him for that!  All of those connections she is making from our lessons to real life has been REALLY cool to see!     

Monday Afternoon - At 1:15 "Maya" and I head to school where the other kids go, so she can take part in Art and P.E. with the kindergarteners.  

This also has been challenging to teach her how to behave.  Not only has she had to learn how to sit and do what she is told, but also to watch me and let me interpret for her.  Finally the last couple of weeks has gone really well, and she has done really well in her behavior and understanding of me interpreting for her.  

Tuesday Afternoon/Evening - Since December I have been doing sign language lessons/practice with the two Deaf ladies I have told you about in a previous post.  We start out with tea and snacks and then go into the topic of signs that I want to learn.  We meet for three hours, and after this I'm exhausted! It's gotten less tiring now, but I am still spent after three hours practicing this new language!  In the evenings I'm a part of a B study with several ladies from the hearing church I attend.  It has been a really great time for me to get to know other likeminded people who are also serving here. 

Wednesday Afternoon/Evening - Wednesday afternoon I work with Maya again from 1p-3p.  I don't have a set routine work with her, but mostly I try to spend time reading with her and playing educational games with her.  The afternoons tend to be more challenging with her attention and willingness to do things, so I try to change it up and do something she is interested in.  In the evening after dinner around 7p I do a sign language lesson with the family for about 1 hour.  It has been challenging for me to try to find content that fits the varying levels of skill, and will also be interactive and novel.  It's been good though, and recently I have started giving them homework to watch a signed story.  I think that has been really helpful. 

Thursday Afternoon - On Thursdays after I work with Maya, we both go to school at noon to have lunch with the kindergarten class and I help out by doing lunch duty that day.  After lunch from 12:30p-1:15p I do a sign language lesson for the kindergarten class so they can have better communication with Maya.  It's been really good for Maya to see them learning to sign and try to communicate with her in class.  They are really cute and do pretty well!  After this I then teach a sign language class for the Jr and Sr high.  I only have five students, but they do really well too! It is really cool to see them interacting with Maya when they come in contact with her.  After I get done at 3:30pm I go home and rest a little bit before dinner, and also spend time doing some lesson plans. 

Friday Afternoon/Evening - Friday afternoons are pretty much the same as Monday afternoons. I spend another two hours with Maya, and try to read with her, play games with her, play pretend with her etc.  Mostly just trying to interact and sign with her as much as possible...I know that's what she really needs, lots of language input!  Then at 5pm I leave to go to Deaf believers gathering.  The leader lives in the same part of town I do so he and his wife come pick me up on their way into church.  Church goes until 8pm and then we all have tea and snacks after that.  We normally leave around 9:30p or 10pm, which means I don't get home until 10:30p or 11p!

Weekends - On the weekend I try to rest, lesson plan, and get ready for the new week.  I also try to meet up with someone in efforts to build more relationships here.  In this country relationships are SO important.  People won't listen to what you have to say until they know you.  Until recently I hadn't spent much time meeting up with Deaf people on the weekends because most live so far away and I have been insecure about my communicative abilities.  Recently though I have been able to do that more, and also video message with people more.  I know that relationship piece is vital to starting discipleship relationships, so I am really trying to be better about setting those up.  

Another thing I do on weekends is teach the family how to sign a song that will be in sung in the Sunday morning service at church.  I always translate for Maya at church before she goes to children's lesson, and she tends to only want to actively participate when others are also signing.  So, since there are a lot of songs, every week I pick one, translate it, and teach it to the family so Maya isn't the only one signing.  She really likes it when they are also participating.  

Other - Something else that I coordinate once a month is have a meeting to talk to the father about the local Deaf community.  There are two expat families and a single woman here who have a connection with the Deaf community elsewhere and have a heart for Deaf people.  The group also consists of a couple of local ladies.  One whose father and uncle are Deaf, and another who has been learning the local sign language and desires to share the father's word with the Deaf people here.  We meet once a month and pray over different areas of life for Deaf people here (education, access, employment, scripture access, hearts open to the father etc.).

I have become good friends with the single woman in this group and we actually are planning on living together next year.  She has been here for two years with her company, and has been trying to figure out what part of her organization that she wants to work in long term.  In the past she has been interesting in sign language B translation, but was not really sure.  Since I have been here, and after she started doing the local sign language lesson with me she has decided to work in sign language translations for her career path!  After one more year here she will come home to the states, and then do the same linguistic schooling that I have gone through and get the same degree that I have! :-)

Another thing we have going on here is working with an organization to start sign language B translation here!  I am trying to introduce the idea of sign language B to the Deaf brothers and sisters I know here, and so far it has been positive.  Please be talking to the father that people would be interested in starting this project here.  Last week I had the opportunity to share my testimony of how I became first became a sister in Him to the Deaf congregation here, and how I came about to be here.  I also was able to use some sign language translation that was released in a sign language that is similar to what is used here in my presentation.  I think it went really well, and they seemed to really like the content of what I had to share.  

I see the father working in big ways here among the Deaf community here, and I am excited to see more of the role I can play here in His word being advanced here among this people group!  

Maya signing a song during our bble lesson.

 Fun during Art class!!  

Fun during Art class!!  

 Maya learning how to punch holes for her fish's scales!

Maya learning how to punch holes for her fish's scales!

 "I did it!" Working with matching shapes and making shapes! :-)

"I did it!" Working with matching shapes and making shapes! :-)

Mock situation for sign language lesson :-)

Music in the Deaf gathering!

 

 

catherine shorrock
Decisions

Hi all!  I am sorry for the lack of communication for almost two months.  It has been a hard several weeks.  Before I go into why it's been hard and what has been going on, I wanted to update you all on my decision about whether or not I will come back here in the fall or not. After much prayer and consultation I felt like the Father is telling me that He is not finished with me here yet.  I do want to thank you all for your prayers.  I really believe that your prayers have helped me make the right choice and follow the Father in deciding to stay here for another school year.  To be honest, it was not the decision that I wanted to make.  I wanted to come home and do something different, but every time I prayed I felt Him telling me that I needed to stay and wait.  If you know me, waiting is not one of my strong suits...but I know that He has me here for a season and a reason.  When I told the family about my decision they were really excited and so was I.  It was good to finally decide and know again that I am in the Father's will.  

My plan is to come home in the beginning of June and stay there for a couple of months before coming back here in August.  My goals for coming home will be to see family and friends, as well as raise more funds to be here for another year.  To come back here I need some one time donations as well as more monthly supporters.  I know it seems like little amounts don't really help be they do!  If I can get just  50 people who would give $20 a month for the next year I would be almost fully funded!  I also need some one time gifts to help me get back out in the fall and cover my visa, but the monthly donations would cover everything else!  It would be awesome to have you partner with me for another year, and see what God has planned!  If you would like to go ahead and commit to that you can go here https://nldeaf.com/catherine-donations and start your monthly donations, and of course all gifts are tax deductible!

Also, if you have a small group, sunday school class, or gathering that I can come talk with about what the Father is doing here, I would love to schedule that with you.  Please let me know :-)  

So, after I decided to stay here for another year, about a week later, I was hit with a HUGE amount of spiritual attacks.  All of a sudden I hated being here...I wanted to run away and NEVER come back.  I wanted to have nothing to do with this place.   I was mad that the Father put me here..."Why did He have to take me away from my family?" "Why did I have to come to such an ugly place?"  "Why did I have to leave my friends?".  On top of these thoughts I felt very useless, like what I'm doing here is not enough.  So many thoughts and feelings that were negative, many lies from the enemy.   All of this after I had just said that I would come back for another year!  Was I wrong?  Did I misunderstand what the Father wanted?  More lies.  After about a week of just feeling frustrated and wanting to leave, I had several instances where the Father reconfirmed I'm where I should be.  First: I FINALLY met some Deaf people on the bus!!  I live in an area of the city where there is not a large Deaf population, and I had never seen a Deaf person out in real life.  One day I decided that I needed to get out of the house since I had been at home a lot, so I made myself get my things together and go out to a coffee shop.  When I got on the bus I noticed a couple of people briefly sign.  It was out of the corner of my eye, so at first I wasn't sure.  I watched and they signed again!  They were Deaf!  I was nervous, but decided to get their attention and began a conversation with them.  I actually ended up getting off the bus with them and walking around a park with them for a little while.  I was able to hold good conversation with them, and we actually found out we knew mutual friends!  Before this I was feeling really down about my level of communication ability in the local sign language, but now I felt more confident and realized how much I had actually learned in the last four months.  Second: I was able to share the Easter story with my Deaf sign language tutors!  It was really cool to have the language to be able to do that, and that they were told that story for the first time!  Third:  I was invited over to the Deaf pastor's house to make a cake for his wife's birthday party and also invited to the party!  This was also huge because I'd not been able to spend time with her yet, and it was an honor to be able to use that skill to bless them, and have time to get to know their family better!  Fourth: That week I also found out that a scripture translation story set had just been released in a sign language similar to the one here.  When I went to Deaf church that week I was able to share it with several people.  They all were VERY excited about it, and said they would go home and watch.  I was also able to share it with the pastor and he also seemed very interested in it.  Fifth: That weekend I took an uber home from church and my uber driver was Deaf!!  We also had conversation all the way home, and I understood most all of it!   Since then I have had him a couple of other times as well!  All five of these things happened in the span of a week...It was huge confirmation to me that coming back here for another year was the right decision, and that the Father is doing a work here!  I have also meet several other Deaf people out and about since that week and have been able to hold my own in conversing with them!   Very encouraging to me, and I'm super excited to see what the Father has planned next!

 

 

 

catherine shorrock
More happening

Deaf Retreat

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to go on a retreat with the Deaf church here.  We went to a town a couple hours away to a get away near the mountains.  I was really excited about getting away and be with Deaf people only for a few days.  While it was really good to spend more time with the Deaf people I have been getting to know, it was actually a really hard trip for me.  I am still learning language, and I can have conversations with people, but most of the time when they are all talking to one another I struggle to understand anything.  It was really hard to strain to understand things, but still feel left out of the loop with what was going on.  It has been so long since I have struggled to understand what Deaf people were saying that it has given me a new understanding for students learning ASL.  Other than language the trip was also full of cultural learning.  The people here are so different than in America.  At a retreat in America everything is planned out, every minute is accounted for and a schedule is given out.  While I'm sure there was some what of a schedule, the only thing that was consistent time wise was when we ate.  Everything seemed to be very laxidazical.  SO much free time!  The other thing that was hard was the hours they kept.  Another struggle was the hours they slept.  Every night people were up until 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning!  I couldn't stay up that late so I was always going to bed early.  Going to bed early, and not being very out going because of my struggle to communicate lead me to being very self conscious about what they must think of me.  I really didn't want them to think I didn't like being there or think that I didn't want to be there, but it was so hard because I felt so out of place.   Looking back I can see how much I was under spiritual attack because those feelings of inadequacy and insecurity lasted a couple of weeks before I gave them to the Lord.  While the thoughts still come up from time to time, I am on the watch to speak truth into the lies of the enemy.  Please pray for me as I continue my journey here...that I would not listen to the lies that come. 

Going back to the retreat, it really was a good time of making connections with more Deaf people.  I think it was a moment that changed my relationship with some of the ladies at the church, and it I have seen the fruit of it since coming back.  I did have fun as well :-) We bowled, played games, ate together, learned from the Word together and just fellowshipped for almost a full four days! Here is a video of some of the pictures from the trip.  It was a winter wonderland for sure!  

Brittany and Maya's Return

After being gone in the states for a long two months Brittany and Maya finally came back the second weekend of February!  Maya's trache tube has been successfully taken out, and she is now breathing normally, PTL!!  It was a long time for Brittany to be gone with Maya and be "on" with her all the time, and we missed them so much, so we were all ready for them to come back here.  While they were in the states Brittany decided that the best plan for Maya right now in school is to homeschool her.  The school that the other kids go to is good, but the other kids are just so far above Maya and she doesn't handle the distractions of a classroom well.  So, now instead of being an interpreter/tutor for her in school, my role has changed to being a teacher.  This again is a struggle with my insecurity issues because I really don't know what I am doing with teaching a Deaf child.  Brittany has also shared her insecurities about working with Maya with me, but we are moving forward with this education journey.

The nice thing is though that we are still going to the other school for some classes like Art and PE.  So far it has been good for her to have some time around the other kids her age during the week.  Everyday I am working with Maya one on one teaching Bible, English/reading, and ASL, while Brittany is doing calendar, math and writing with her.  Some of what we work on overlap, but the reinforcement is good.  In this journey I would ask that you would pray for patience for both Brittany and I on the days where Maya is being stubborn, and creativity in how we approach our time teaching.  Also please pray for Maya...she has been testing boundaries in her new freedom being trache free.  I think the adjustment of being back has been challenging and she is resistant to getting into a routine of learning.  It is all still very new though since we have only been doing homeschool for two weeks.  

Busy

When I came here I expected not to be busy at all, and in the beginning I wasn't really busy...however now that Maya is back I am VERY busy! I'm teaching a lot even though I have scaled back on a lot of what I was doing.  Right now I spend 16 hours a week with Maya teaching her, I teach a kindergarten ASL lesson as well as a Jr HS/HS ASL class once a week, 5th and 6th grade Bible lessons Mon-Thursday, one to two weekly ASL lessons with the family, and interpret for Maya at school for Art and P.E.  On top of that I am also going to Deaf church Friday nights and doing sign language lessons on Tuesday afternoon.  Not only all of those classes I'm teaching but it has been a struggle to plan for all of those lessons.  I think I am starting to get my new routine under control, but I am still praying about if I need to let any of these things go.  I really want to spend more time with the local Deaf people, but struggling to find balance in everything I'm currently doing.  Pray of me in that too. 

Next year

Scott and Brittany have invited me to come back next year and continue working with them and Maya.  While I have been thinking for it for the last few weeks, having a formal invitation hasn't cleared up what my plans for next year should be.  Part of me wants to come back home to pursue working in sign language Bible translation, but the other part of me wants to continue working with the family and have more time to invest in the local Deaf community.  It's hard because I feel like both things would be good to do, and right now I don't feel a particular leaning either way.  Both seem to be equally heavy on my heart.  I have been asked to give an answer by the end of next week so they can start looking for someone else to come if necessary.  I need to make a decision soon, and finding that really challenging to do so.  Please pray for me that the Father would make it clear to me what my decision should be.  

Last but not least I would ask that you pray for my funds.  I am low on funding right now, and I will have to be traveling out of the country soon for a new visa for the remainder of my time here.  Pray that God would continue to provide.  Thank you to all of you who have prayed and have given...I am continually humbled by you gifts and messages of encouragement!  Thank you for joining me in this journey :-)  

 

catherine shorrock
Holidays and More

Hi all!  It has been over a month since posting and update, and there has been a lot going on!  I've been able to meet a lot of Deaf people, and learned a lot more language! It really has been great! While there has been some emotional times in being away from my family for the birth of my niece and the holidays, I am so thankful that I was obedient in staying here and cultivating relationships.  Hard to know where to start, but I guess I will start with the holidays and move on from there :-)

Christmas

So, here Christmas is not a holiday that is not locally celebrated.  The only people who celebrate are Christians.   Even though it is not a national holiday the local Deaf church does a yearly Christmas party/service.  The Deaf church uses a hearing church's facilities, and meets on Friday evenings.  On any given evening there are around 20-30 Deaf people in attendance.  At the Christmas service however there were over 150 people!  They come from all over the country to be a part of the Christmas celebration.  I met people who traveled over 7 hours to be there that evening!  It was SO awesome to be around Deaf believers from all over the country!  There were songs, skits, games, food, and lots of fellowship!  We didn't leave until midnight! It was so much fun :-)

 Christmas at Deaf church

Christmas at Deaf church

Since Christmas isn't a nationally celebrated holiday it is a normal working day, so leading up to Christmas even a couple of days before shopping at the mall for a couple of small gifts was so nice.  It wasn't crowded and there wasn't a bunch of people fighting for last minute gifts.  Then on Christmas day it was such a nice relaxing.  It was so nice to just be, and really celebrate and remember the reason for celebrating.  Even though I was away from my family it was a different and very meaningful time of really remembering and thanking God for coming down here to be with us and paying the price that we could not pay.  It was nice to be away from the hustle and bustle and commercialism of Christmas in America and celebrate the true reason for the holiday.  

New Year

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In this country the holiday this time of year that is celebrated is New Years.  It is a large time of celebration and parties.  It's really interesting/funny that the decorations for New Years are the same things that we use for Christmas!  In the town square there is a holiday New Year village, with "Christmas" trees and even Santa Clause but it is all for celebrating New Years!

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My Deaf friends Ayshen and Seadet that I wrote about in my last update invited me to go with them to the Deaf school's New Year celebration.  There were SO many children and Deaf adults!  It was so cool because the kids were dancing and celebrating and even signing their national anthem!  I wish I could have communicated with them a little more, but it was so nice to be around so many Deaf children and adults! 

Then one of the best things about the holiday was going to Ayshen and Seadet's house for New Years!  Since New Years is such a big local holiday it was really cool to spend the holiday with a local Deaf family for almost two days!  Not only was it fun to celebrate with them, I learned a lot of new vocabulary and also was able to share a little bit about my faith with them.  Seadet is a muslim, and her daughter Ayshen while she used to be muslim, she now doesn't really ascribe to any religion.  In one of our conversation we were talking about different signs for Muslim, Catholic, and me being Christian.  The signs for Muslim and Catholic are related to how they pray.  Ayshen asked me how I pray, and I told her that I was able to just talk to God because He is my Father.  When I said this, she did a double take and asked me for clarification, and when I confirmed that she understood me correctly she accepted what I said.  Then later during another conversation Ayshen was telling me about the holiday they celebrate in the spring time, and she asked me what we celebrate in America during the spring.  I told her that we celebrate Easter because J died and rose back to life.  He then stayed on earth for 40 days, saw people and taught before he ascended into heaven.  Ayshen seemed interested in this and said "no one has ever died and come back to life", to that I answered, "yes, Jesus is the only one!"  I was so thankful to be able to share just that little bit of gospel truth with her and her mom!  Please be praying that I would get more opportunity to share with them.  Pray that they would have dreams of J...that both of them would have soften hearts to be open to hearing more about who J is and why He is so important.  Anyways, after two days of being with them, I came home and did some signing time with the kids...I had such a hard time signing ASL!! I kept mixing up my languages!     

 Happy New Year!!

Happy New Year!!

Language Learning

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For the last month and a half I have been able to meet with Ayshen and Seadet every week to learn more and practice.  It's been really great to have the individual time with them and be able to build relationships with them.  I also have been going to the Deaf church most every week.  While everyone at the church is really nice and welcoming, it is hard to have the confidence with my signing skills to talk a whole lot.  It is really cool though to understand more and more every time I go!  I think the biggest learning experience I've had was being able to spend two days with Ayshen and Seadet for New Years!  I learned SO much from just being with them for that long!  On Saturday I am leaving for a retreat with the Deaf church and I am looking forward to more time to learn and build relationships with the ladies!  

Teaching

This semester I am volunteering my time at the local international school that the kids of the Christ.an works go to.  I am teaching sign language classes for the JR/HS elective, and also a class for the kindergarten class that Maya is in.  This last week we made a video for Maya of the song Jesus Loves Me.

I want to teach more people so Maya have more people she can communicate with.  I am also helping out the school in teaching a Bible class every morning.  The school had someone who was coming to teach but she backed out last minute, so I was asked if I could help out.  While it is one more thing to do, it has been very helpful for me in building a morning routine.  On top of helping out at school I am meeting with another family once a week to do a lesson with their kids who are being homeschooled, and I'm also meeting once a week to help one of the M's here practice her sign language.  I'm also still doing practice and lessons with the family I'm living with.  I'm glad I have been able to stay busy while Maya and her mom have been in the states, but now I'm trying to figure out how to free up more of my time for when they get back and I'm helping to teach Maya.  Please pray for wisdom in deciding what my priorities are.  

Over Christmas, for our lessons the family and I made a nativity video for Maya so she could understand what the reason for Christmas is. That was a lot of fun!

 

 

 

Maya and her mom

Well, good news, Maya's trache is finally out and she is breathing without it!!  The trace came out last weekend and she did have some hard time breathing, and still continues to have trouble periodically, but the doctor says everything is staying open and clear.  We think she is having anxiety about the fact that her trache is out.  She has had it her whole life, so not having it there is hard for her.  Please pray that God would comfort her and give her peace.  

The end

I'll write more soon, but wanted to get this post up before I leave for the Deaf church retreat.  Thank you so much for praying and keeping in touch!  Love you all!

catherine shorrock
Meeting Deaf People!
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First Meeting

As you all know, one of my goals while here was to get involved with the local Deaf community and learn the local sign language.  Well, on Thanksgiving day I was able to meet a mom and daughter who are both Deaf.  "Brittany" and the rest of the family met them several years ago on a family trip, and then last year randomly ran into them again.  When "Brittany" saw them a year ago at first she didn't remember meeting them before, but luckily they did and they exchanged information.   Fast forward a about 3 weeks ago, "Brittany" made plans for us to meet with them. It was such and awesome experience to finally be meeting and signing with some local Deaf people!  It's hard to describe what it felt like after several weeks I was finally meeting local Deaf peoples and was like a breath of fresh air!

Deaf Church

Then the next week I was able to meet the daughter of a local Deaf church.  We had been trying to meet up with her for several weeks, and we finally made a time work!  It was such a good meeting, and she was SO excited that I wanted to come to Deaf church with her and her parents.  The Deaf church is not close by, but her and her parents live close by so she offered to have them come pick me up for church service on Friday nights.  Of course I took her up on that offer, and I have been the last two Friday evenings!  While I don't understand most of what is being said, I have been able to pick up on topics in the sermons, and have basic conversations with the Deaf people there.  It really has been awesome to be back in Deaf church!  Even though they don't use the same language I do and I don't even know them well, it feels like home!  There is something about Deaf believers coming together to worship and learn that is so encouraging and exciting to me!  At the services there are about 30 Deaf people, and other than the pastor's daughter and another CODA kid, I am the only hearing person there.  Even though  I am very welcome there, It has been challenging for me to be outgoing and proactive about conversations with the Deaf people there.  It is definitely challenging to have conversations when the language is so different, but I'm trying to get out of my shyness and jump in.  One thing that is really cool is that after the service is over, we all go and sit together and have tea.  That definitely provides good opportunity for conversation!  This last Friday I had one lady sit next to me and we talked most of the tea time!  She was so sweet in telling me about her family and life.  I think that is one of the things I love about Deaf church, feeling welcomed and pursued.  Next week will be their Christmas service and I have been told that last year there were 150 Deaf people in attendance so I am SUPER excited about that!  I really want to meet more Deaf people and practice more.  

Maya and Brittany Leave

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So, update on "Brittany" and "Maya".  When I was planning on coming out here in the fall, the original plan was for me to come out here when "Maya" was finished with the rebuilding of her Trachea and had her trach taken out.  Well in September her trachea was not healed enough to have it taken out, and instead a stent was put in that would need to stay in for two months.  Then after that two months would be up, the doctor would need to begin seeing her every two weeks to make sure that her airway was staying open or not.  So after being here for a couple of months, "Brittany" and "Maya" traveled back to the states to continue this process.  They had their first doctor appointment on Monday, and thankfully everything looks good and the doctor was happy on how it was looking!  They will have to keep going back every two weeks to continue to make sure her trachea is staying open.  This should go on for about two months before they get the go ahead to have the trach out and can come back home.  Please please pray for good doctor reports every two weeks, and that this process doesn't have to be prolonged past that two month mark. 

 

 

 

I'm Staying

In light of the fact that "Brittany" and "Maya" are gone for so long, I was thinking about coming back to the states for Christmas and then to be with them for a few weeks helping out.  I prayed for a while, and even though I really wanted to be home around Christmas since my sister was going to be having her baby, and the fact that I was worried about being here without the two of them here, I felt like God was calling me to stay.  While I am glad I made the decision to stay, it has not come without it's challenges already.  First of all, I missed my youngest sister having her first baby and I won't get to every hold my newborn niece (of course I will later, but not until she is a few months old).  Also I haven't had the external structure that helps me get through my days.  There have already been a few days where I have stayed in bed way too long, and have struggled to use my time wisely.  In the next few weeks please specifically pray that the Lord would use this time to teach me how to be self disciplined.  It is a struggle, but I know it is something the Lord can use in my refining process, so please pray that I would be willing to walk through that with Him, and that I don't just give into the temptation of laziness and allowing time to just waste away.  Also please pray for the whole family.  It is hard on everyone to be separated for that long, and also the fact that it is during the holidays makes it even harder.  

Sign Language Lesson!

So, in other news...I had my FIRST lesson in the local language yesterday!!  I am in the process of setting up regular sign language lessons with the Deaf mother and Daughter I met and yesterday was the first one!  It was SO awesome I didn't want it to end!  I took video of some of the things I learned, and you can see the difference in ASL and the local sign language here. 

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catherine shorrock
Lots happening!

Hey everyone!  I know it's been a few weeks since I have made an update post, and I apologize for that.  The last couple of weeks has been hard with being sick and also hurting my wrist.  Now that I am feeling better and I have started to get back in the routine of working with "Maya", I can finally get to writing an update.  I have several different topics/events to talk about so I will just go ahead and get started :-)

Deaf Event

About 3 weeks ago I was able to go to a Deaf event!  I found out from a girl who is taking local sign language lessons that there was locally made movie which was translated into the local sign language.  It was after our Sunday gathering so I took a taxi over to the theater and made my way in.  I walked in, and it was SO cool!!  There were SO many Deaf people there!  While I didn't understand anything in the movie, I'm so glad I went!  I was able to communicate some with some of the Deaf people sitting behind me before the movie got started, so that was awesome!  They were taking selfies, and I offered to take the picture for them.  That started our brief conversation.  It was funny because I think it was a similar introduction conversation that I have had hundreds of times with the American Deaf community!  Question 1 - Are you Deaf of hearing?  Question 2 - Do you have any kids?  Question 3: are you married/have a boyfriend?  Other than answering those questions and me telling them I was from America that was all we talked about since we couldn't communicate much.  Even though our conversation was short, I LOVED being there around other Deaf people!  

After the movie I hopped in a taxi and asked to be taken back to the town where I'm staying.  The driver didn't speak english, but I was thinking that as long as he could take me to the town and drop me off at the main road I could walk back to the house.  I noticed that as he drove where he was taking me was not familiar.  For a second I was thinking how not smart I was to get in a car with a guy I didn't know and didn't speak English.  Not gonna lie, I said a prayer for safety!  After a few minutes of unfamiliarity I went ahead and called my host family and they told him where to take me, so he turned around and took me where I needed to go :-)  Apparently when I told him where to go he didn't actually understand.  Made it home safely and again was very excited about seeing so many Deaf people!

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Birthday

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November 4th!  My Birthday.  Last year I was so busy studying for my Masters degree comprehensive exam that I didn't do anything to celebrate.  This year, with being in a new country, living with a new family I honestly didn't expect to do much, but it was a GREAT day!  I slept in, and just hung out in my apt in the morning and relaxed.   Then the two buys came down and wished me a Happy Birthday.  I got dressed, and went upstairs and "Brittany" had made me some homemade pumpkin cinnamon rolls!  I had told her that in my family that growing up we always did birthday breakfasts, so thats why she made it for me :-)  After breakfast we took the bus into town and I was able to walk around and look at the sea.  I hadn't been able to go to that part of town and get that close to the sea yet, so it was really cool!

 We then went and had a late lunch and got pizza (my favorite food)!  Later "Brittany" invited a friend over from the school I'm working at and we did a movie night.  I ended the evening before going to bed by opening up the birthday cards that were given to me before I left.  It was so special to have the cards from friends back home! All in all it was a nice relaxing a fun day with the family, new friend, and a bit of home! 

 

 

 

 

Family meals

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We eat a lot of meals together which is really nice.  One day I was looking online for pomegranate recipes since we have a tree in the yard.  I found a recipe that is sautéed pomegranates with egg.  I made it one morning for myself and I loved it!  I decided to make it for the rest of the family so one night I cooked and invited the family down to eat with me.  I made the sautéed pomegranated and onion with eggs, my dad's has browns, and toast.  It was all SO good, and it was really nice to have everyone down in my space to eat :-)

 

 

Sick/hurt wrist

The evening of the pomegranate dinner my throat started hurting pretty bad.  I went to bed early, but I woke up still feeling sick.  I ended up staying in bed for almost 3 days.  Saturday evening I started feeling better, so I went out to dinner to someone's house with the rest of the family.  Then church on Sunday, and school on Monday with "Maya".  Since I was still kind of in a mode of recovery I think I over did it because I woke up on Tuesday morning sick again and had NO voice. I seriously was straining and could only speak up to a soft whisper.  I again stayed in bed for the next 2 days, and spent more time resting on days I didn't spend all day in bed.  It was rough.  After almost two weeks of being on and off sick, finally this week I have been feeling better, but still struggling with sinus headaches in the afternoon/evenings.  I think I got sick because I stopped taking my allergy meds when I got here.  I had assumed that when I got out of DFW I would not struggle with allergies anymore so I stopped taking all of my meds.  I am now back on everything, but like I said I'm still getting headaches so that's not fun.

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 In the midsts of all of this, the day before I started feeling sick I was playing outside with "Brittany" and "Maya".  We were playing following the leader and trying to teach her the concept of 1st 2nd and 3rd.  We had just started playing, and it was my turn to be leader so I started doing the soldier walk, and put my foot down wrong and rolled my ankle.  When I rolled my ankle and fell, I went to catch myself with my hand.  It bent my wrist too far back and I heard a crack.  By the time I realized that they pain was not subsiding it was early evening and it was too late to go to the hospital to have it checked out.  Luckily I brought my wrist braces with me so I wore that to keep it stabilized.  The next day it was still hurting so "Brittany" took me to the local clinic to get it x-rayed.  It was an interesting experience to say the least!  We walked in, and were escorted to the x-ray room.  Then our escort brought the radiologist back, and while "Brittany" went to go pay, I was taken in and given the x-ray.  When the pictures were taken and money had been paid, the radiologist handed us the pictures and said there was no break, and that was it!  At first I was still worried it was broken, but it is getting to feel better so I think it was just a bad sprain.  All in and out of the hospital was maybe 15-20 minutes and it only costed $20, and I also now have a good souvenir, an x-ray of my hand and wrist!  The two weeks that all of this went on with being sick and having my wrist hurt was hard.  I was discouraged and frustrated that I wasn't doing well, but I'm SO grateful for all of your prayers and messages.  I'm SO glad I'm feeling better finally!

School with "Maya"

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With all of that going on, the biggest part of my time here has been working with "Maya" in school.  There have been some good days, and some hard days.  Some days I get back home and I'm ready to spend more time with her, but then other days when we get done with school I just need to be alone and decompress.  We go to school on Monday Wednesday and Fridays from 8:45-12:30, and most days by 9:15 she was already asking when it was time to go home!  After talking with some people from school, and with a good friend back home who teaches Deaf Ed, and I knew that I needed to make some kind of behavior and schedule chart for her.  So last week I went to work making her a schedule and behavior chart and this is what I came up with.  So far it has been working REALLY well!! It helps her see what needs to be done for the day before she goes home, and for every activity she and I do a self check to see if she has been sitting well, paying attention and working with a good attitude.  If she gets less than 4 bad marks for the day, then she gets a reward when she gets home.  Anyways, it is helping really well, and I hope that it will continue to do so! 

 

Family

I love how it has been so easy to fit into the family here!  The kids and the parents are so great!  It has been a huge answer to prayer to fit in well here and feel comfortable so quickly.  It was one of my big worries coming here, but the Father has been so good in allowing me to fit in with the flow of the family quickly and easily.  One of the big things that I have been intentionally working on with the family is signing all the time and not only when they are talking to "Maya".  It is challenging for me to do it too, but I think we are getting use to trying.  We also try to have a sign language lesson twice a week, and also the family is learning to sign at least the chorus of a song for church on Sunday to "Maya" can see more people than just me signing the songs for service.  It's so cute seeing her sign along when her family is signing!  

"Brittany" and "Maya" will be leaving in two weeks to go back to the states for ac couple of months to finish up the rebuilding process of her trachea.  Please be in prayer for them as they are getting ready to leave and be away for the holidays.  I am praying through what I need to be doing during that time.  If I should come back to the states with them, or stay here when I have more time to meet and invest in the local Deaf community.  Please be praying the Father makes in clear where I should be and what I should be doing during this time.  Well, I guess that is all for now.  Thanks for reading and keeping up with my journey!  Love you all!

Cat

catherine shorrock
The First Two Weeks

Well, it's hard to believe it, but it has almost been a whole two weeks now that I have been overseas! It has been a full two weeks, filled with good days of exploration and meeting a lot of new people.  When I arrived it was a long weekend with the school being closed, so it was a nice relaxing time with the family and getting used to my new surroundings.  I've already been able to go out on my own some by either walking or utilizing public transportation.  I was a little nervous at first, but after successfully getting to where I need to be I have grown more confident :-)

Last week I started going to school with "Maya".  The kindergarten class only meets on MWF so her first day was Wednesday.  We have only been going to half a day so far, to ease her into the idea of being in a classroom with an interpreter, and being in a structured setting.  Today was her fourth day in class, and it is proving to be challenging.  She is not used to having to sit still, and pay attention.  It's going to be a process of learning how to work with her effectively.  It is so easy to be frustrated, or want to just give in to what she wants, but I know that is not good for her.  One day last week in class after I had tried to get "Maya" to look at me for what felt like the 100th time I could feel myself becoming frustrated.  In that moment YWH just spoke to my heart and said, "Dear Catherine, don't you see that you do the same thing with me?"  It stopped me in my tracks as I realized how I am always so busy in my mind and heart, and how it is so hard for me to be still and listen to Him.  But how gracious He is to be patient with me, and wait.  He waits for me and pursues my wandering heart.  He never stops pursuing in love and patience.  That has been my anthem going into this week.  Being still before the Lord, and also remembering how patient He is with me, so I can be patient as well.   Just as the truth that because He has first loved me, I can now love Him and love others.  

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Around Thursday or Friday of last week I really started missing my friends and family back home. While I have internet and I can contact people, it has been hard not being able to have conversations throughout the day and talk about what is going on.  I can text, but the time difference makes conversations quite challenging.  As I missed my 'peeps' back home, I was able to open some sweet cards from them, and every time I have opened one, it has really brightened my day! Also in the struggle of missing friends, the Father has been reminding me that I am not alone.  That His presence lives within me, and He desires to have those conversations with Him.  Nothing is too small or trivial to talk with Him about, and I'm thankful to be learning that and applying it.  

In other exciting news, I was able to go to a local Deaf event here!  There was a locally made movie, that was translated into the local sign language for the Deaf community.  There were SO many people there!  It was so neat to see a huge theater full of hands moving!  But it was also intimidating to not understand what they were saying!  I was able to sign with a couple of Deaf people who sat near to me.  Our communication was limited, but it was a nice interaction.  I'm excited about finding out more about the local Deaf community and making new friends :-)

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So, that is all for now.  Please ask the Father that He would calm both mine and "Maya's" hearts and that we would get into a good routine with school.  Also please ask Him to help me meet more local Deaf people.  I have seen a lot of interest from hearing people to want to learn and start work among the Deaf, but I know that need must come from the community.  I am anxious to find someone who I can do language learning with so that I will soon be able to communicate with them!  The last thing I will leave you with is a picture I took of a tree out in the yard where I am living.  It's SO cool to just be able to go pick a pomegranate and eat it with a meal!   

catherine shorrock
How He has led me here

Hi all!  Well, my first blog update here, and it's crazy to think that I will be leaving next week!  It is weird also to be writing, because it’s hard to know where to start!  This last year has been a crazy one for me.  Looking at where my life was a year and a half ago to now, I feel like a completely different person.  To the point of being convicted that God would “give me over to my own sinful desires”, to now where God has called me to give up my things, and go across the world to serve Him.  I will be honest; this process has not been an easy one.  It has been a process in which He has been teaching me to put my selfish desire aside, and follow Him no matter what.  A journey in learning that if I am not giving up my selfish ways, then I am not really His follower.  If the Son of God, the perfect one, the one who took on flesh and has endured all types of temptations, was willing to endure the cross in my place, who am I not to put my selfish ways aside to follow Him.  These are the lessons I have been learning.  Not only am I learning how to truly be His follower, I am also learning that what He says goes; that my ways are not His ways, and that my thoughts are not His thoughts. 

Earlier this year, I had plans of how I wanted to spend more time investing in my church and staying here, but God had other plans.  He knew that there were many things that I have relying on and finding security in instead of in Him.  That’s when this opportunity came to me via my boss.  In human eyes it doesn’t seem to make sense because it would mean quitting my job, going to work with a family overseas, not get paid, and having to raise money to go.   When this was first presented to me, I did not want to do it.  I had just started feeling like I was in a good place and really beginning to make a difference in where I was ministry wise.  I didn’t want to give up where I was and what I was building, to just lose it all.   I also didn’t feel ready or worthy to leave.  I felt like because of my past, and what I was working through that I was not worthy of being sent.  I was not good enough to partake in this opportunity to move overseas because I wasn’t good enough.   When I told others in my life about the opportunity I expected them to reaffirm how I felt, that I wasn’t ready, and that I needed to be fixed before I embarked on this journey.  This however was not the reaction I got.  In fact the response I got was very different.  These were people who knew my past, and know my present and they all were very encouraging that I should continue to pursue this.

  In my heart also I felt the Lord prodding me and not allowing me to just say no.  After several weeks of avoiding making a decision we did a series at church on Jonah.  How God called Jonah to go and do something that seemed crazy.  To go to an evil and dangerous people group, people who hated Jews, and tell them about the one true God.  Not only tell them about God, but tell them that they will be punished if they didn’t repent from their sins.  Jonah, in his heart did not want to do this, so he ran.  He ran but God followed him.  Jonah could not get away from God, and regardless of what Jonah wanted, God’s will persisted.  Another thing that really got to me, was when I was talking to my counselor about trying to decide on what to do.  She told me, “Catherine, I don’t want to have you here in my office this fall and us having to talk about why you chose not to obey God.”  These two things collided in my heart and I was finally able to say yes the Lord.  I believe that God has orchestrated all of these things and more to get me to a place where I was willing to say yes to whatever He says.  I will admit, this is not as easy as it sounds, and I still struggle with unreservedly saying yes, but I also know that God is not done with me yet.  It is a day by day, moment by moment journey of trusting and obeying.  We must say yes to Him in the little things, so He can put before us the big things and we will still say yes. 

catherine shorrock