Monday, July 25, 2011


Praises and Thanksgiving from Mr and Mrs Blake Widmer

We thank our God for the blessings showered upon us yesterday and in the last week. Jehovah-Jireh, the Lord who provides is always true, but we experienced this promise in a new way as God truly met all our needs in a so many aspects of our week with friends and family who came together to praise God for bringing our lives together. God be praised, yet we want to acknowledge that in His design He has CHOSEN to use His creation to fulfill His purposes and to provide for our needs...this past week would not have been possible without the prayers and servant-hearted support of our family, friends, CCCD colleagues and ACWR missionary team. We love you all and praise God for you!

Thursday, July 07, 2011


June 2011 Newsletter

June 2011 E-newsletter

Wednesday, July 06, 2011


Random Musings

1) There is a God, and He cares about details in your life and in my life, such as marriage licenses. This was a detail that kind of fell through the cracks in our wedding planning, and recently it got put back on the front burner where it belongs. After talking to 3 different pastors in Jamaica we finally felt clear about the direction we needed to take. So on Monday afternoon I went to the Ministry of Justice and picked up the blank forms. The lady was kind and showed me what I needed to do. I then left and went to the Tax/Stamp Office in downtown Kingston where I paid $4,000 to have a fading red stamp placed on the blank license. Then I contacted Tashi to see if she knew of any Justice of the Peace's, because we needed to sign the application document in the presence of a JP. She said, well a co-worker of mine is a JP, let me ask if we can do it tonight. Her friend was very gracious and let us come over later that evening. Tashi's mom had also just arrived in town for a workshop, so she was able to be our 3rd party witness who will also be present at the wedding. Tuesday morning I dropped the papers off at the Ministry of Justice and they were ready to pick up by noon, processed and ready to go! In less than 24 hours I went from nothing to a stamped, notarized, processed marriage license! Good job Jamaica!

2) My family, church and personal preference/conviction is to not partake of communion when I have not had an opportunity to examine myself (1 Cor 11:28) and so far I have always simply participated when at my home church. This is what is comfortable for me and so when I have been in churches in Jamaica (only once or twice) when Communion was shared, I simply passed the plate. But these situations were always in a large, hearing church and I never felt I was offending anyone. However, if this happened when I was with a more intimate group I could see where my decision to not partake could be offensive. This Sunday I had planned to attend Calabar Deaf Church here in Kingston, but last minute I was asked to help carry a visitor to our school to the airport. We were also delayed on the way back to buy some fish at the market. As I watched the time slip by I started to fret and get stressed, but the Holy Spirit reminded me that it wouldn't help, and rather I should simply let go and take this in stride. My friend buying fished thanked me for my patience as we got back on the road and I thought, this is all ok. When I got back to school I jumped in my vehicle and took off for church, but the result was that I was nearly 2  hours late to church. As I walked in they were just closing the service, and I noticed that a Communion tray was covered in cloth up front. I had to stop for a moment and thank God, for He is in control. Even in details like helping me to avoid a conflict in convictions, which He has placed in me anyways, God is there. Now I know why I was asked to go last minute, and why fish needed to be purchased. God was blessing me, and teaching me, and showing me that sometimes, or always, worrying doesn't matter when you serve a God as big as my God.

3rd thought: One of my blind students got a summer job working at the Salvation Army Rehab Center. For those of you with summer jobs or kids with summer jobs, maybe this will help them put their blessings in perspective. She earns 4,500 Jamaican dollars each week. This is a little over $50 USD, so about $10 per day. She works 8-3 everyday, so that's less than $2 per hour. She spends $400 J on taxi and food everyday, so in a week that is $2,000, leaving her with $2,500 from the week. She will work for 8 weeks, totaling $20,000 in earnings. However, she is paying rent to the family she is staying with, which totals $12,500 for the 2 months, so her post-cost earnings for the summer will be $7,500, a grand total of less than $100 USD. This is a best case scenario, not including the other things that will pop up, such as snacks, phone credit or anything for herself. Would you or any of your kids work for 2 months to earn less than $100?? But yet I thank God for this experience for her, because she is certainly learning and getting a taste of the real world in Jamaica. 

Sunday, July 03, 2011


Deaf Teen Quest and CCCD Mission Trip 2011

It's been a while since I posted, and I apologize for that, but summer time and especially June means the busiest time of the year...this year was no different. Deaf Teen Quest, a ministry of Youth for Christ, made their inaugural trip last year and I blogged about the profound impact on both their teens and our CCCD students. This year brought in fresh faces and a new approach, along with some of the leaders from last year that have taught me a great deal about ministry to Deaf teenagers. While their trip last year was more of a traditional work team experience, this year it was a combination of a lot of things. Each CCCD campus had a representation of about 10 students and a 3-4 staff members and the DTQ group  brought 9 students and 5 leaders. Each morning we would work on service projects (one group would stay at CCCD and the other went to a children's home), have free time in the afternoon and then activities and small group discussion time in the evening that tied into the week's message of "The Amazing Race." The Race was correlated to the Christian Life, and each day we would examine a subtopic "Purpose, Priorities, Plan, Promise and Prize." 

Why was this approach so powerful? For the first time they were involved with the team like never before. They ate together, they worked together, they played together, they worshiped together and they talked together. With most teams that visit, they get a few aspects of that, but never all of it together. Also, our students had to do REAL work like never before. And they were doing it both at their school (CCCD) and to those in need (the children's home for special needs children). Our teens were saying things like "I am thankful to have a healthy body, hands and feet and not depend on others to feed me or bathe me" and "it makes me feel good to serve other's in need" and staff members were sharing that "I've always seen work teams come to our school and serve us, but now I have been able to go and serve others and I understand that there are people in our backyard that need help." We also had small discussion groups, where staff and DTQ leaders shared responsibility for getting the students to open up and talk in a real way about life. DTQ's approach is solidly built upon relational ministry, which means caring Christian adults who are willing to step into a teen's life and show them the love of Christ and build an ongoing relationship. This is not always about giving the right answers, but more about listening to their pains and questions and building trust. Many CCCD staff members over the years have been doing this, but they may not have realized what they were doing is ministry, and that it impacts lives. Others may view their role at CCCD as more of a job and not so much ministry, but this needs to change and I believe this last week was a positive step in that direction. 

 DTQ Teens leading a song
 Bob Ayres, a good friend and truly a mentor for myself and many others, sharing on John 15 and the Vine.
CCCD teens leading in worship.
 Before work started on Monday...
 ...fading paint on the playground...
 ...and sans sidewalk, which is tough for the crippled who rely on wheelchairs and walkers.

Excavating and forming for the walkway
 My Jamaican bro, Daviot Reid, stepping in a leading by example for his students
Bob Ayres never shies away from being a servant leader
 Day 1 work at CCCD
 Students painting their own dorms instead of just having someone do it for them...great life lessons!
 Shantell Thompson, a brilliant young girl, improved from 5th place last year to 2nd place this year in the National Deaf Spelling Bee...she lost on the word "tsunami"
Repainted play area and a new wheelchair accessible sidewalk at the children's home!
Sidewalk with a few fresh footprints!
 Sweet Sandrine, I can't get the memory of a little 10 year old girl out of my mind as she continues to grow up and mature into a bright, beautiful young woman!
 Team DTQ
CCCD Knockpatrick

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