The deaf are part of our communities and live their lives in full abundance. This program will explore their culture and life and help us to understand their challenges.
Invite a speaker who is deaf to share their life story and experience. Research where ASL is taught in your community and invite a speaker to share about sign language.
There are many webpages that teach Sign Language (ASL). Share with the women the basic alphabet. Teach some basic words and have them practice with each other. Check the video found on YouTube for additional help: https://youtu.be/lYhAAMDQl-Q
Games for learning American Sign Language
The website: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YWWhnsYRXGU has some suggestions for games that can promote learning sign language.
The website: https://www.startasl.com/printable-sign-language-alphabet.html has a sign language alphabet chart that can be printed and shared with the women.
Bible Scripture in American Sign Language
Beth Moore demonstrates “The fruit of the Spirit” in sign language. Play this short teaching link during the program and join in the learning. It’s easy to pick up.
The Sounds of Home
“In that day the deaf will hear words read from a book and the blind will see through the gloom and darkness.” (Isaiah 29:18).
When you hear the title “The sounds of home,” what comes to your mind and how does it make you feel? Maybe some of us can go back to when we were young and came home after school to your mother greeted you asking about your day. Possibly before you even opened the door, you could smell dinner cooking. Maybe the sweet aroma of a delicious dessert filled the air.
Our imagination tunes our ears to the memories of our childhood. We can remember listening to mother remind us to wash our hands and call everyone together for the family dinner. Some of us had to do homework; others helped in the kitchen and the younger ones watched television. All that formed the sweet homelike atmosphere that we remember. Perhaps in the background you could hear grandma’s sewing machine and the radio sharing the latest news from around the world.
Some of us were surrounded by generations of our family while others grew up with only one parent. Perhaps your family moved a lot and your family was scattered. No matter the situation of your growing up years, when someone suggests thinking of your childhood home and all the memories, what comes to mind? Take a moment and reflect on the pleasant memories. Invite the women to share with each other.
Some people in our community have a different perspective because they are deaf, or they lost their hearing sometime after birth. When we conjured up our memories, much of what we remembered is memories of sights and sounds. The valued community of deaf people received the “sounds of home” through sign language or lip reading. Their listening memories are visual as they remember what was signed to them.
You and I found out about the world around us without much effort. We instantly heard sounds as they occurred and we took in the information. Even now, walking down the street we hear people talking or a car passing by with loud music, and all that information enters our brain. For the deaf community this information is limited. They have to rely on their other senses. Very few in our midst are able to speak in sign language, and this can be very difficult and lonely for those who are deaf. I have known what it is like to be surrounded by others who speak a language I do not know. For me this was a very lonely feeling. To a deaf person it can be the same. They want to be a part of all that takes place around them, but we exclude them when we do not try to learn their language.
Romans 10:14 says: “But how can they call on Him to save them unless they believe in Him? And how can they believe in Him if they have never heard about Him? And how can they hear about Him unless someone tells them?” We realize that the deaf community has been marginalized by the lack of interpreters who know the sign language and are willing or share the gospel.
We as Christians tell the Lord that we are willing to serve Him doing whatever He asks us. Could it be that few of us have considered the idea of learning a new language to get out of the comfort zone and share God’s love with those who do not know Him? Today we are talking about the deaf, but like them there are many other communities that have been marginalized, such as the blind, those who have an impediment, or the elderly who no longer live at home.
Isaiah 29:18 says: “In that day the deaf will hear words read from a book, and the blind will see through the gloom and darkness.” For this word to take place, we have to do our part and get out of our comfort zone and communicate with the blind and the deaf and the marginalized.
Maybe you think, I don’t share the gospel because I do not speak English. Or I do not know Spanish. Public and private schools offer free courses in Spanish, English and sign language. If you take a language course, it will open doors for you to evangelize. There are so many that may die today without knowing Jesus because the saved around them have not found a way to reach them and communicate God’s love through language.
Just before leaving His disciples to go to the cross, Jesus shared the following: “Don’t let your heart be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in Me. There is more than enough room in My Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with Me where I am” (John 14:2–3).
When Jesus calls us home, He will take us to that great mansion. There we will hear the sounds of a new home, a home of peace, love and eternal blessing. There we will worship the Lord for all eternity and together with the angels we will sing “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord.” It is our desire that the deaf, the blind, the handicapped, may come with us to be in the presence of the Lord. To reach that mansion and hear that beautiful song, they must recognize the Lord as their personal Savior. We are here today because we have had the opportunity to listen to His word and accept it. I think of all those who have not had the opportunity to hear about Christ and I ask the Lord to guide us and awaken in us the desire to prepare ourselves to be useful in His hands.
Play the video “We Believe” (Newsboys) presented by The Salvation Army that can be found at: