Meeting Deaf People!
As you all know, one of my goals while here was to get involved with the local Deaf community and learn the local sign language. Well, on Thanksgiving day I was able to meet a mom and daughter who are both Deaf. "Brittany" and the rest of the family met them several years ago on a family trip, and then last year randomly ran into them again. When "Brittany" saw them a year ago at first she didn't remember meeting them before, but luckily they did and they exchanged information. Fast forward a about 3 weeks ago, "Brittany" made plans for us to meet with them. It was such and awesome experience to finally be meeting and signing with some local Deaf people! It's hard to describe what it felt like after several weeks I was finally meeting local Deaf peoples and was like a breath of fresh air!
Then the next week I was able to meet the daughter of a local Deaf church. We had been trying to meet up with her for several weeks, and we finally made a time work! It was such a good meeting, and she was SO excited that I wanted to come to Deaf church with her and her parents. The Deaf church is not close by, but her and her parents live close by so she offered to have them come pick me up for church service on Friday nights. Of course I took her up on that offer, and I have been the last two Friday evenings! While I don't understand most of what is being said, I have been able to pick up on topics in the sermons, and have basic conversations with the Deaf people there. It really has been awesome to be back in Deaf church! Even though they don't use the same language I do and I don't even know them well, it feels like home! There is something about Deaf believers coming together to worship and learn that is so encouraging and exciting to me! At the services there are about 30 Deaf people, and other than the pastor's daughter and another CODA kid, I am the only hearing person there. Even though I am very welcome there, It has been challenging for me to be outgoing and proactive about conversations with the Deaf people there. It is definitely challenging to have conversations when the language is so different, but I'm trying to get out of my shyness and jump in. One thing that is really cool is that after the service is over, we all go and sit together and have tea. That definitely provides good opportunity for conversation! This last Friday I had one lady sit next to me and we talked most of the tea time! She was so sweet in telling me about her family and life. I think that is one of the things I love about Deaf church, feeling welcomed and pursued. Next week will be their Christmas service and I have been told that last year there were 150 Deaf people in attendance so I am SUPER excited about that! I really want to meet more Deaf people and practice more.
Maya and Brittany Leave
So, update on "Brittany" and "Maya". When I was planning on coming out here in the fall, the original plan was for me to come out here when "Maya" was finished with the rebuilding of her Trachea and had her trach taken out. Well in September her trachea was not healed enough to have it taken out, and instead a stent was put in that would need to stay in for two months. Then after that two months would be up, the doctor would need to begin seeing her every two weeks to make sure that her airway was staying open or not. So after being here for a couple of months, "Brittany" and "Maya" traveled back to the states to continue this process. They had their first doctor appointment on Monday, and thankfully everything looks good and the doctor was happy on how it was looking! They will have to keep going back every two weeks to continue to make sure her trachea is staying open. This should go on for about two months before they get the go ahead to have the trach out and can come back home. Please please pray for good doctor reports every two weeks, and that this process doesn't have to be prolonged past that two month mark.
In light of the fact that "Brittany" and "Maya" are gone for so long, I was thinking about coming back to the states for Christmas and then to be with them for a few weeks helping out. I prayed for a while, and even though I really wanted to be home around Christmas since my sister was going to be having her baby, and the fact that I was worried about being here without the two of them here, I felt like God was calling me to stay. While I am glad I made the decision to stay, it has not come without it's challenges already. First of all, I missed my youngest sister having her first baby and I won't get to every hold my newborn niece (of course I will later, but not until she is a few months old). Also I haven't had the external structure that helps me get through my days. There have already been a few days where I have stayed in bed way too long, and have struggled to use my time wisely. In the next few weeks please specifically pray that the Lord would use this time to teach me how to be self disciplined. It is a struggle, but I know it is something the Lord can use in my refining process, so please pray that I would be willing to walk through that with Him, and that I don't just give into the temptation of laziness and allowing time to just waste away. Also please pray for the whole family. It is hard on everyone to be separated for that long, and also the fact that it is during the holidays makes it even harder.
Sign Language Lesson!
So, in other news...I had my FIRST lesson in the local language yesterday!! I am in the process of setting up regular sign language lessons with the Deaf mother and Daughter I met and yesterday was the first one! It was SO awesome I didn't want it to end! I took video of some of the things I learned, and you can see the difference in ASL and the local sign language here.