It’s been a very busy week with V2H, to which I’m sure you can all understand. Leading up to Christmas, we’ve had two Christmas concerts, made plans for the El Salvador trip in January and more. Here are a few details.
Summit Church Christmas Concert
A little over a week ago now, the Vision 2 Hear WAVE Teams performed their Christmas concert at Summit Baptist Church in Loganville. With teams coming from Fayetteville, GA, Snellville, GA, Loganville, GA and Hixson, TN, the church was packed with people and abuzz with excitement. The teams came together and worked well as a family of signers making this Christmas concert a pure joy.
Photos courtesy of Jamie Jenkins
Giving Tuesday Results
This year V2H was able to collect $2000 for India Orphans! Thank you all for your faithful giving and support of the work we are doing around the world. Your gifts will help the SAC orphanage in India continue to grow and support children in need. May God bless you for your generous gifts!
NC WAVE Christmas Performance
Last night the NC WAVE Team performed at the Havelock First Baptist Church with a great response. The team did exceptionally well for their very full Christmas concert, sharing 12 songs in sign and movement. It was a great time for all and I am very proud of this team and all their hard work! Videos from the show are being uploaded onto my Youtube Channel.
El Salvador Is Set
As I mentioned in previous newsletters, a college student is traveling with me to El Salvador in January. Here is some of her letter
I am coming up on my final semester of my undergraduate degree this spring. The opportunity has come up for me to take a trip with an organization called Vision2Hear that will count for a credit that I need to graduate in May. I stumbled upon this organization through a series of random events when I was searching through the internet on topics related to American Sign Language for the club that I teach on campus.
El Salvador is one of the most violent countries on earth. Coming out of various civil wars, the government is untrusted and crime rates are high. There is not much care for the country’s Deaf community. Unlike the Deaf in America who are educated and can read and write English, along with speaking their own language, Deaf Salvadorians are not educated in written Spanish. Also, many of them are lucky if they have a modality of language at all, as there is not a very unified Deaf community. Deaf education is a huge need. In some instances, untaught Deaf persons will make up their own signs called “home signs” so that they can at least communicate with family. All of this contributes to the difficulties and scattered nature of the Sign Language in El Salvador.
“There is an estimated 15,000 deaf signers in El Salvador, 0.25% of the population of El Salvador. Roughly 65% use Salvadoran Sign Language (LESSA), about 20% use a Salvadoran variety of American Sign Language (ASL) (either mixed with LESSA or following Spanish word order), and 10% use a combination of Costa Rican Sign Language (LESCO) and LESSA. In addition, roughly 5% live in rural areas and may use home signs (2010).”
As you can imagine, considering these language barriers, there are also significant resulting obstacles in spreading the love of Christ. Considering the lack of written education, most Deaf persons cannot read a bible, though they may have access to one. Since they don’t speak Spanish, they only have their visual language for communication of ideas. This is a heartbreaking reality, that even today there are people that still do not have access to the knowledge found in the bible.
In my participation with V2H, I would be working with the Deaf in El Salvador in various different contexts. Many of them use American Sign Language, which I am already quite familiar with. V2H is partnered with a church specializing in Deaf ministry in that area, so assisting their needs will be an important part of the trip. I will also be paired with the Wave team in El Salvador and do Sign Language outreach in the area to open up conversation about Christ. It is also a possibility that I may be working with Deaf schools in the area. There are various other outreaches done by the team such as ministries in local skate parks that I would likely be helping with as well.
I have never had a specific direction pertaining to God’s calling on my life—a surety such as that is something that all Christians wrestle with and hope to gain. In light of this truth, I am overwhelmed with an inexpressible joy within me that is unmistakably of God, and unmistakably, somehow, connected to the Deaf community. Sign Language does something to the spirit inside of me, where I feel a pull of compassion and purpose that I don’t feel as intensely in any other area of my life. I don’t believe that all of the coincidences that have brought me to my current position were coincidences at all, in fact, I believe I am just beginning to see the path that God is intentionally setting before my feet. I am unable to be convinced that this trip is a chance encounter. I am overwhelmed with His care and provision for every area of my life.
So we are very excited to be part of helping Angela and El Salvador at the same time. We are gearing up for this trip in early January and I’ll stay for a shorter period of time than she, since I had some other engagements back in the USA I need to take care of. But continue to pray for her and this great start for V2H’s New Year!
Over the last couple weeks The Movement, V2H’s church plant has been working diligently at raising funds for purchasing a building/land in TN for their own church facility. With the church having more than 60 in meetings at times, the space they currently use is really not adequate for gatherings. Please continue to pray for them and V2H as we move forward into 2016 seeking god’s will for the church movement and work God is doing in TN. For more information about the church check out tnmovement.com