Furlough News

svoboda family

Most mission agencies require a furlough after every 2-4 years of service. We have completed eight years of service and this will be our first extended time of leave from Jamaica. While most furloughs are intended for rest and recuperation, we have two additional goals. Our son, Andrew, has graduated from Jamaican high school and desires his next life experiences; work and computer programming training, to be in the United States. He has lived almost half his life in Jamaica and we want to do everything we can to make sure his transition to American culture and into his next phase of life goes as smoothly as possible.  We, also, will be seeking God’s direction for the next steps of ministry in Jamaica which includes taking time to ascertain what resources are needed for future life and ministry there.


svoboda family

You may be wondering what our lives will look like for the next year?

Our recuperation will include both physical and spiritual elements. Andy has developed several medical conditions that need to be addressed. Michelle is still trying to resolve her digestion/intestinal issues. Curtis’s teeth need to be evaluated for braces and Andrew needs medical insurance that he can afford.

For our spiritual and emotional needs, we will be taking time to focus on our marriage and consider transition programs for young adult children of missionaries, like Andrew, who do not intend to return to the field with their parents. It is also highly recommended that missionaries and their families go through a debrief and renewal program every four years, which we have never done.

svoboda family

Andrew’s Graduation Party with Friend’s From Campion

svoboda family

There’s always the practical side of things to be done, too . . . getting a car, a learner’s permit and, eventually, a license for Andrew, establishing a bank account, preparing for job interviews … all the things families with graduating seniors have probably been working through since Junior year. Curtis will continue to school from home, but through an online school. In addition to the normal daily responsibilities of family life, Michelle is hoping to assist in the care of her elderly grandparents. Andy will continue managing the interpreting program at University of Technology in Jamaica. He may, also, be called on occasionally to tutor and/or interpret online. Sometime next year, we will begin the process of meeting with our supporters.

svoboda familyThese are the things we know need attending to at this time. We assume the list will grow as the year progresses. Somewhere in all of this we need to make time for rest. As I (Michelle) wrote this, I decided to look up the definition of rest to see if my expectations are realistic. REST = Allow to be inactive in order to regain strength or health. It’s a very simple concept, but very difficult to achieve in our frenetically paced society.




  • travel was comfortable and went smoothly
  • apartment for quarantine was very comfortable and had lots of space outside to walk and roam around and sit
  • our hosts were kind, very friendly, and exercised excellent sanitization practices 
  • Andy’s mom came down to sit on the patio and visit
  • our favorite discount grocery store was nearby and had delivery service
  • had the joy of watching fields being harvested
  • sleep has been sweet

As God brings us to mind . . . please pray:

  • a problem with our citizenship/visas was discovered on 7/14, pray for resolution that does not require us flying back to Jamaica
  • Post high school transition programs; all but one, which is full, have been cancelled due to Covid, pray for an opportunity for Andrew to connect with other Third Culture Kids and debrief.
  • for affordable health insurance for Andrew
  • for financial support for the needs mentioned above (i.e. doctors visits/medical needs, counseling, transition and debrief programs, a car, costs associated with online schooling)
  • for discernment regarding future ministry
  • for wise use of our time allowing us an opportunity to REST

svoboda damily deaf ministries

From 2019

Svoboda Family

Counting Our Blessings

Hello all! We’re popping in with a quick update on ourselves and our mission right before the holidays. Hope you all are doing well!

In 2019 we:

  • Preached every month at the Kingston Deaf Church.
  • Went from interpreting for 2 full-time students to 5 full-time students at two different universities!
  • Provided interpreting for counseling and academic advising sessions.
  • Received an award from the University of Technology for “Outstanding Service!”
  • Provided teaching supplies to teachers at 2 different Deaf schools. We need more!
  • Renovated the staff room and Vice Principal’s office at LMG (Lister Mair/Gilby) High School for the Deaf).
  • Installed the required safety signs at LMG.
  • Michelle assisted 2 Deaf friends in receiving medical assistance.
  • Started the citizenship process for our family.


Our Goals for 2020

In 2020 we anticipate:

  • Wrapping up our citizenship process. When this is completed, our family will be dual-citizens of both Jamaica and America.
  • An “English for Deaf” class, to prepare students for their high school proficiency exams and to generally help Deaf adults improve their English. Often, English proficiency is the only thing holding Deaf high school students from meeting the academic requirements of entering university.
  • A partnership with a Jamaican university to develop an interpreter training program.
  • Creation of an interpreter certification body.
  • Transitioning Andrew back to America after his 11th grade year in Jamaica.


How You Can Help

pie graphIn order to reach our goals next year, we need your financial support. Please consider becoming a monthly financial partner. Visiting deafjamaica.com makes your giving even simpler.

Interpreting costs:

    We would like to help Sherene with obtaining her Social Work degree. This requires interpreting which her school cannot assist with – $900 per month.

Deaf School Supplies:

    The amount of supplies we were able to give this year only scratched the surface of the real needs of the Deaf schools we work with. We would like to give $400 per month in supplies, repairs, updates, etc.

Transitioning Andrew to America:

    Andrew will graduate from his Jamaican high school in June 2020, after which he wants to transition back to America to look for work and pursue vocational training. His areas of interest are HVAC and Robotics. If you know of any opportunities in these, we would love to discuss them. Can you help with the costs of moving him back to Northern Ohio, getting him established, and preparing him to live independently? We are estimating $2,200. We are also looking for a family or a single person who would be willing to step in the gap when we return to Jamaica by providing Andrew a place to call home.

Vehicle Repair Expenses:

    We do our best to save every month for needed car repairs for our personal vehicle and the ministry vehicle. Unfortunately, the cars are getting older and this year’s repairs were a bit higher than expected. Can you help with the added expenses of $761?


Short-Term Mission Trips

CDM would like to start bringing teams down for short-term mission trips. Groups would meet and connect with our Deaf students and work on projects around the schools. Mission trips, short and long-term alike, are hugely beneficial for both the volunteers and missionaries. We ask that you seek God’s will for you and see if this is a step that he wants you to take. Questions should be directed to Andysvo@gmail.com

thank you

Checks should be made out and addressed to Caribbean Deaf Ministries.
PO Box 370
Hinckley, OH 44233-0370
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Thank you for your interest in what God is doing among the Deaf community of Jamaica.

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Caribbean Deaf Ministries
PO Box 370
Hinckley, OH 44233-0370

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