Noreen Corey, a 1979 graduate of Phoenix, has spent her life mostly overseas working in the field of deaf education. In 2006, she founded Manos Felices (Happy Hands), a school for the deaf in Equatorial Guinea, a coastal country of Central Africa, which previously did not educate the deaf population at all. She returns each year to Phoenix during the summer to visit family and for a respite from the rigorous responsibilities associated with her mission. Then Corey returns to the frontline of her rigorous responsibilities, hoping for the ability, support and resources to raise up the deaf population half a world away. Her newsletter is forwarded every few months as an update for local residents and for those interested in supporting her efforts.
It was Mao who proclaimed: “Women hold up half the sky.”
Half the Sky by Nicholas D. Kristo/Sheryl Dunn is a must read for every woman!
You may judge the strength of a nation by the political consciousness of its women. (Kwame Nkrumah, first president of Ghana)
Dear Friends and Family:
This letter coming from Equatorial Guinea is mostly about answered prayer - prayers one prays for a seemingly long time and then suddenly, miracle-like, an answer comes and one sees how perfect God’s timing is and one is able to once again declare His faithfulness to the world at large.
Since 2007, we have been trying to get an audience with the First Lady. On March 12, I received a phone call from a contact saying she was going to be in a public forum for people with disabilities that morning. I had cancelled classes that day for my group and was with Juan Capo working on his passport. After the call, we quickly returned to the house, changed clothes and got to the location.
I communicated with the teachers asking them to also attend with the preschool kids. In brief, she finally arrived and I had the opportunity in the meeting to speak. She thanked me for my work and pledged (in front of the cameras) to support the deaf. At the end of the meeting, she handed out envelopes of 50,000 CEFAS ($100), when she reached me she gave me all the envelopes left in her hand - 600,000 CEFAS about $1,200.
The next day, I waited two hours to see the governor to give him the school building plans that we had drawn up years ago. He seemed very excited about the prospects of building a National Residential School for the Deaf in Bata. He also spoke of the need for a census, of the deaf, in each district. Now we wait in faith some more for the ground breaking.
In the same meeting, Juan Capo was able to present his desire to produce another music CD. She promised to give him 500,000 CEFAS ($1.000) which he has received. He went to a small studio here in town and did a sample CD and has put that, along with a letter for the First Lady, in the hands of the governor.
He is asking that she would sponsor him to go to Cameroon to record a CD, which could be sold and he could earn some money to build a house, which would secure his future when I am no longer in the picture. So we are thanking the Lord for all that has taken place.
The next huge answer to prayer is that there is a young Mexican intern here working with a private Christian school that knows deafness and wants to work at Manos Felices. Her name is Luz Maria Carrillo Hidalgo, and she is willing to take my place for a school year. After all the communication with her authorities and with me, the plan is that she will return to Mexico at the end of June and will arrive back at the end of August.
I will stay in E.G. this summer and have a transition month in September, orienting her to the position of director and prepare her to teach my two groups. I will then leave early October for a furlough year with Juan Capo in tow (Lord willing) and probably settle in Puerto Rico.
I feel so relieved and peaceful about this decision. I know I’ll feel some grief - even when something is right - leaving is never easy, nor stress free. However, knowing it is inevitable that I return for at least a couple more years will make it easier. I definitely need this next school year away. I am so grateful to God for watching out for me and making a way for this furlough year.
I wish I could end the letter like this, but there is sad news to report. First, we lost Francisca, a first year preschooler before the second trimester ended. Her mom took her back to the village since the family in Bata was not caring for her adequately.
The other news is almost too sad to print. Ana, a 12 year old who has been with us for three years and is the only special needs child that is not deaf has been sexually molested over a substantial amount of time by an adult male. We suspected something was happening and spoke to the father more than a month ago, but he was not listening. She did not finish the trimester and we are unsure if she will return.
The country has no laws protecting children and as a director and teacher I do not have any rights to fight for a student outside school hours. However, I did end up going to the police and they contacted the father and he was furious with me.
Please pray that she’ll return after vacation. Also, remember Francisca and all the deaf children living in the villages, that someday we will be able to serve them.
Other prayer requests: 1) the continued stability of the country, 2) progress of the students, 3) provision of financial needs and the need for more teachers, 4) that salvation will come to the kids and their families, and to family members of the teachers.
As always, I want to thank those for supporting us. It is because of your generosity that we can continue this ministry. I’d like to thank the Deaf from Victory in His Word in Florida for their substantial, consistent giving - be blessed. Support can be sent to IDEA, P.O. Box 20715, Billings, Mont. 59104 just be sure to mention my name and if the donation is for my personal account or the project account.
I am so glad that I know that my redeemer lives.
Love and Prayers, Noreen
(Isaiah 55: 11) So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.