My journey into the world of missions to deaf people began when an adorable baby boy made his arrival, born to our family in 1997. We started seeing signs of deafness in him at age 6 months. We were shocked, scared, and saddened, but we knew God had a plan! Little did we know how much this would impact our lives in so many ways….blessing us, continually throughout!
Life kept going and we learned much about deafness, deaf culture & sign language. It was now a very normal part of our family and lives.
In 2003, God put on our hearts to adopt a child. This child wasn’t to be any child, this child was to be deaf. We were led across the world to China, where we met our 4th child, a beautiful, feisty 4 year old. We had many of the normal challenges of adopting an older child, but she also had no language at all, so right away we started the road of teaching her sign language and English.
In 2004, I had the opportunity to go on a mission trip to Jamaica. I visited a deaf school there. This school was WAY up on a mountain, far from normal civilization. I questioned “why” and found out that deaf people in this culture were a disgrace and frowned upon. People would ask me “why do you want to help them?” My heart was saddened, while watching these beautiful deaf children learn and play, just like any other person. At this point, I felt God leading me into deaf missions. I wanted to try to change the worlds’ view of deaf into BEAUTIFUL LY MADE by GOD!
So…..what did missions to deaf people look like? What was I to do? Well, I searched online for a deaf mission trip, which led me to a trip to Haiti. I made this trip in 2007 to work with deaf students along with others from around the country. We taught them sign language and we were taught some of their own Haitian sign language as well. My eyes continued to be opened to the fact that these deaf people were shunned, cursed and chased out of normal society. Voodoo is big in Haiti and many in that culture believed deaf people were a punishment to that family and a curse had been put upon them. This is just wrong! How can I help? Well, I have had the opportunity to work with a deaf school there, loving & teaching children. I have even been able to talk to family members, encouraging them to continue their child’s education and that they can do ANYTHING! They should be proud of their children. So many of these children are wanting to learn and are so very smart and I can see, if given the resources, can be very successful adults. They have blessed me so much!
Over the years, I have also been involved in support groups for families with deaf and hard of hearing children such as Iowa Hands and Voices and now am so thrilled to be a part of Deaf Child Hope! I prayed for something like this to happen since that first trip to Jamaica in 2004. I just waited, because “what could a small town Iowa mom to 4 children do to change this thinking?” God’s timing was perfect and he placed all the right people in all the right places at the right time for this mission to come about. I am so thankful for JD King, Debbie Klahn & Vicki Drummond who have listened to God’s calling into missions to deaf people. Because of Deaf Child Hope, deaf children in other countries will be given help with food, clothing, shelter, education and most importantly the opportunity to “hear” the Gospel of their Savior, Jesus Christ. How awesome is that!