This past weekend, a group of dentists from the mother church came to our church in Sabana Perdida to clean and pull teeth for the Deaf community. So. Much. Blood. And. Saliva. Many of the men, women, and children in the Deaf community here live in extreme poverty. They do not have the means to keep up with their dental hygiene. So many teeth were pulled. There were some who we had to buy breakfast for because it had been so long since they had eaten that the tooth-pulling process made them nearly pass out. It is times like this when you see just how desperate and difficult the situation is for so many of the people in this community. It makes my heart ache when I am reminded of just how many needs this community has and that there is no way I can possibly meet them all. Fortunately, our God can.
|One of our young Deaf leaders (Darimil) giving a devotion|
|Learning how to maintain dental hygiene|
|Are we providing a service or torturing them??|
|Each dentist had an interpreter|
|Children playing while waiting for their parents to see the dentists|
We served about 50 Deaf men, women, and children. I was honestly expecting a larger turn-out, but I forgot how much people hate going to the dentist. Nonetheless, I am so grateful to every person who came to help make this day possible. Each of the dentists normally works in their own clinics on Saturdays and chose to sacrifice the money that they would have made in their nice, air conditioned clinics to work for free in a hot, cramped environment. We also had seven women give up their Saturday to come and interpret for the dentists, help organize, lend support, etc. Without them, none of this would have been possible. There was a group from the mother church who were not dentists, but helped with the planning beforehand and the set-up and organization on the day of the operative. Each of one them, as well as the dentists, left with their hearts touched. Some in tears. I truly believe that many doors will be opened for this church and ministry because of this operative. And I can't forget our Deaf leaders who stepped up to clean the church before and after, make coffee for those who were working, handle the list of names as people arrived, keep things organized, etc. It was wonderful to see these leaders taking initiative to support their church and serve their community.
We have also been continuing with our decorations using newspaper and business classes. The women are learning to make many cool products with cheap material, which is a perfect way for them to earn some extra money from their homes. (None of the products have been painted yet, but that is coming.)
|This will be a purse|
The business class, thus far, has mostly focused on teaching these women that they are capable of anything that their hearing peers are and ways to overcome the communication barrier. These women have spent their whole lives being told that they can't do this, that, or the other because of their deafness. They have expressed such a desire and motivation to work, be independent, improve their lives, and provide for their families. But every attempt thus far has been met by resistance and discouragement from their families and communities. Many of them have accepted the negative messages as truth and feel that they are incapable. Lack of experience has left many of them with little work ethic or skills. However, we have finally pinpointed our niche. With the help of multiple organizations, these women are in the process of opening their own Deaf cafeteria. They will serve things like coffee, juice, sandwiches, pasteles en hoja, empanadas, etc.
This Friday, we are having an activity where each woman is responsible for bringing a dish to sell to the community in order to raise money for this effort to start their own business. It will be held in an institution that provides vocational classes to hearing young adults, so there are guaranteed customers. Please be praying for the success of this activity!
There is a NASTY cold going around that no one seems able to avoid. It is quite debilitating. I spent a week and a half struggling to do any of my work because of it, finally felt better the last few days, and seem to have come down with another cold today. Please also send prayers for health!