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This has been an exciting few weeks! You may remember that the Medical Missions Outreach team came and set up a clinic in August. (Picture: most of the MMO team, plus several of our church volunteers who helped out, this past August. Check out 2019 trips at www.medical-outreach.com)
Word got out, and a Deaf couple I never even informed about the clinic came to have some dental work done. Donald and Gina (both Deaf) invited me for dinner after the medical team left, and there, at their home, I met the husband’s (hearing) father, José. José is a successful housing contractor here in town, and built Donald and Gina a house next to his. I introduced myself to José and his wife upon arriving, and José, specifically, was fascinated to learn about the Deaf ministry we are planning at our church. He immediately wanted his Deaf son and daughter-in-law to attend.
Following the professional interpreting ethics I was taught several years ago in my Hospital in Baltimore, MD, I was careful to interpret everything that was said or signed, so Donald and Gina could follow the conversation and contribute. I learned that José had managed to secure a scholarship for Donald to study in a Deaf school in Illinois during his teen years. However, since José had never learned sign language himself, it was soon apparent he had never truly communicated anything more than basic gestures with his grown, Deaf son. Donald took advantage of having an interpreter present (me) and brought up some questions he’d had for his father for months. A few hours later everyone seemed to be on the same page, and dinner began at 9pm!
That was the first of many dinner invitations to the Pérez home. (Picture: Gina teaches me how to make Pupusas, a favorite Central American dish.)
José would frequently express his desire that his Deaf son, Donald, would attend a church where he would learn in-depth Bible teaching. This was an interesting preference from a man who had not attended any church, himself, in years. But, through me interpreting, José repeatedly insisted his son begin attending our church.
I reminded José that we have no Deaf ministry yet. The couple I’m training to lead the Deaf Ministry have only had a few weeks of sign language classes. But José was unmoved, “you can interpret, right?” I nodded. “Then it’s settled. My son is going to your church, and you will interpret for him.” (The whole time I continued interpreting our conversation so Donald could keep up.)
José, Donald and Gina and their toddler, Noemi, have been faithfully attending our church for 6 weeks, now. It has been a very good learning experience for me, interpreting hymns, Sunday school, preaching, etc, from Spanish into LESHO (Honduran sign language). (Picture: Interpreting for Donald and Gina next to the church platform.)
The second Sunday they attended, our pastor gave an invitation to accept Christ as Savior, as he often does, and José raised his hand. A church leader who also happens to be a building contractor (and has known José for years) took José aside and shared the Gospel with him. José found me later and, with eyes shining, told me he’d “reconciled with God.”
Donald and Gina assure me they are saved. Please pray for wisdom as we make sure they understand what that means, and encourage them to take the next step of obedience: baptism. They continue to invite me over for homemade meals 1-2 times a week... excuse me while I watch God at work and gain a couple extra pounds at the same time! :)
(Names used with permission.)