Our men finished up their power inverter class. They assembled a power inverter themselves and also learned how to troubleshoot and repair power inverters. These concepts are extremely advanced, so they certainly still have much to learn. However, we were able to provide them with a base of knowledge and skills and also certification. This should help these men to find jobs in this field or at least do some work on the side for their families, friends, neighbors, etc.
The women have completed two classes in the last couple of months. We had a jewelry and accessory-making class and a manicure and pedicure class. In the jewelry and accessory-making class, the participants learned how to make some beautiful products, which some of them have already been making and selling out of their homes! They also learned how to perform manicures and pedicures so that they can either find a job in a beauty salon or make a little extra money by giving manicures and pedicures to their families, friends, and neighbors.
During the manicure and pedicure class, one of the women asked the teacher (who regularly attends our sign language classes at the church) how much it costs to buy everything she would need to begin doing this work independently. The teacher responded that it had been a long time since she had purchased these items and wasn't sure. She told me that she would call the pastor of her church (who also regularly attends our sign language classes) to ask if she knew. The next day, the pastor showed up for the sign language class with a large bag. She handed it to me and said that she had purchased manicure and pedicure kits for every participant in our class. She told me that she had been wanting to bless us with an offering and that this was the perfect opportunity. I was so touched! God truly even takes care of the little things! The women were so grateful to receive this gift, as many of them cannot afford to buy these tools. Now they can start working!
The sign language class is going amazingly well! We have had four weeks of class (just one hour a week) so far, and we have a steady group of 20-30 hearing participants. They are all so enthusiastic and are learning so quickly! Many Deaf men and women come to the class to help teach and interact with the class. The participants are already able to have basic conversations in sign language. It is incredible how God is touching the hearts of so many people in the community to learn this language and support the Deaf Community.
We have received two visitors in the past month who have been an incredible help to this ministry. Our first visitor was a woman who has been working with the Deaf Community longer than I have been alive! Dr. Jeanne Prickett is the president of the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind. She gave a one-day workshop to new teachers of the deaf. New special education classrooms for the deaf are opening up all over the country, but the teachers have not been trained in how to teach the deaf, nor do they know sign language! They went through the education program at a university and then were thrown into deaf classrooms knowing no sign language or strategies to teach the deaf. Dr. Prickett flew to the Dominican Republic to talk to these teachers about deafness, Deaf culture, Deaf education, and to teach some basic signs. What really touched me was that these teachers, who spend every day as fish out of water trying to teach students they don't understand in a language they don't know, were so enthusiastic, energetic, and eager to learn and improve. Please pray for these teachers.
Our second visitor was a good friend from Hands of Joy's annual summer camps. Rebekah is a CODA (child of deaf adults), which means that her parents are both Deaf. She has been involved in the Deaf Community her entire life and was able to come be a part of our work and share her experiences. She had the opportunity to speak to some of the children of the Deaf adults involved in the church and vocational program, and she was also able to give advice and encouragement to many Deaf mothers. I was so thankful to have her with us, even if it was just for a short time.
The biggest miracle of all was the success of the Christmas party at the church. Up until just a few days before the party, we couldn't figure out how we were going to make it all come together. There was no money to put together a Christmas party! Well, God had bigger plans than we could have dreamed. We received enough donations that we were able to have an amazing party and have some money left over to save for future expenses. Over 100 people came to church that Sunday morning, almost all of them Deaf. When you consider that we normally have 20-25 on Sundays, a service of that size is incredible! We had a church service with singing, praying, and a sermon about the true meaning of Christmas. Afterward, we were able to feed lunch to each of the over 100 people. With the help of some of the church members, we also put together 75 food bags. Each family took home a bag of food full of rice, beans, fruit, sugar, pasta, tomato sauce, oil, seasoning, cornmeal, oatmeal, canned fish, cookies, crackers, and much more. This way, even the poorest of these people could make their Christmas dinners. We even were able to buy toys for some of the children (all of the children are hearing. They are CODAs.)! It was just an incredible day. Hopefully some of those people will start coming on a regular basis! Pray for that!
|This picture doesn't capture the full crowd. There were more in the back and off to the side.
|75 food bags to give out to each family
|Giving toys to the children
I am currently in the States spending the holidays with my family and friends. Being with them is such a blessing. I don't want this time to end, but at the same time, I am eager to get back to work. We have many exciting things coming in January!
If you would like to see more pictures from our classes, events, and the Christmas party, check out our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/manosdediossordos/ or search manosdediossordos on Instagram.