domingo, 15 de octubre de 2017

Celebrate Good Times, Come On!

I feel like every time I make a post, I say the same thing: These past few weeks have been filled with so many exciting experiences! But it's always true! There is never a dull moment. International Week of the Deaf was celebrated near the end of September. ANSORDO (National Association of the Deaf Dominican Republic) celebrated by visiting many government institutions to express the difficulties and needs of the Deaf Community. At the end of their tour, they and groups of Deaf people from around the country (probably about 200 in number) all met at the Senate Building to debrief. There are currently numerous Senators who support the demands of the Deaf Community, and there are people working on legislation to give the Deaf more rights in the workplace, access to interpreters, etc.

I arrived with my group of Deaf men and women from the church at the time we were told, but that ended up being two hours before the ANSORDO tour would arrive. For those two hours, groups from all over the country arrived. And for those two hours, I was the only hearing person who knew sign language. I had people grabbing me by the wrist and pulling me this way and that to interpret between the Deaf Community and those who work in the Senate Building. Interpreting between my second and third languages is a bit of a challenge, but I sure am getting a lot of practice at it lately!

Our power inverter class is up and running! The men have been enduring the boring part of any class: the theory, vocabulary, etc. However, we did spend one class learning how to solder and desolder. Apparently this skill is extremely important when working with power inverters.

Our decorations class has come to an end. It was a very exciting, but also kind of sad day. The women in the class put everything they have made in the last seven weeks on display and we invited their families and friends, people from ACOPRO (the organization that sponsored the class), and also some important community leaders. Everyone, including me, was absolutely stunned at how everything came together. The displays were beautiful! These Deaf women have learned and accomplished so much in the last seven weeks! Yes, they made and put up all of this themselves, with the instruction and guidance of their teacher (NO, not me hahaha).

If you would like to see more pictures of this event, check out the church's Facebook page Fundación para Sordos Manos de Dios or @manosdediossordos on Instagram.

These women now have the opportunity to find jobs at event planning businesses or make and sell their craft out of their homes. My job since this class ended has been helping these women make their resumes, as most of them do not have one and it is difficult for them to communicate with professionals to get help making one. We are also currently planning a manicure and pedicure class, which will begin soon.

However, by far the most exciting update is the growth of the church. The church has doubled in size in the last two months. We may have to start looking for a new building or raise money to construct one of our own because we already barely fit in the building we have! And I know that it is going to continue growing. In the last month, eight adults have accepted Christ and committed their lives to the Lord for the first time. EIGHT! These newcomers are so hungry to learn about God and what He says in His word. In addition, many of them are bringing their hearing children with them to church. This is so important, because these CODAs (Children of Deaf Adults) are this community's future interpreters, teachers for the Deaf, and hearing supporters. God is really using this project to reach a community that was being largely ignored. I am so thankful that God is allowing me to be a part of His work here in this community.

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