jueves, 3 de octubre de 2019

Growth and Expansion

Since getting back from my summer vacation, I have had to start using an agenda because I can no longer keep track of my schedule. I am working with so many different people and in so many different things. The first thing that I jumped into after vacation is a project aimed at training psychologists and interpreters who are interesting in working with Deaf clients. An organization called INFOILES (Instituto Nacional de Formación de Intérpretes de Lengua de Señas) has the goal of training professionals working with the Deaf as well as interpreters in specific areas. I have been asked to head up the psychology branch of these training ventures. I have been doing tons of research and am working on creating two different curriculums: One is aimed at educating psychologists about Deaf culture, basic Sign Language, the psychological reality created by being Deaf in a hearing world, therapeutic strategies for working with Deaf clients, etc. The other is for training people who are already interpreters how to be effective and ethical in the therapy environment as well as be knowledgeable in psychological terms and concepts in both Spanish and Sign Language. Needless to say, just preparing for this has kept me quite busy!

In September, various organizations came together and held the third International Symposium for Deaf Education. The symposium included parent education workshops in numerous cities throughout the country; two two-day workshops for teachers, assistant teachers, principals, psychologists, and interpreters who work with Deaf children and adolescents; and a four evening workshop for psychologists. Those were two extremely busy weeks! I first attended the two-day workshop here in the capital. I was warned that I might be called on to help the interpreting team, but was later told that I wasn't needed and simply sat back and enjoyed the presentations. That was day one. Day two in the afternoon, I was asked to help interpret. Heart beating out of my chest, I stepped up onto the platform to interpret in front of 300 people. I must have done alright because they asked me to be a part of the interpreting team for the two-day workshop in Santiago.
That's not me interpreting, but that's the room I interpreted for.

Second workshop in Santiago

The week after the two-day workshops, one of the psychologists (a Chilean man with Deaf parents who has been working with the Deaf in the field of psychology for many years) stayed an extra week to teach a four-evening workshop for psychologists interested in working with the Deaf community. I figured this would be a great opportunity for me to learn, to make friends with a real expert in the field, and also get contacts for more psychologists who may be interested in the training that I am preparing. It was very interesting, but not as informational as it was intended to be because the participants just couldn't get out of the mindset of deafness as an illness or a disability rather than a socio-linguistic minority that is disabled by the hearing society in which they live. The speaker was never able to get to the points he really wanted to make because the questions asked by the participants kept the conversation in the same circles. It was still a good experienced and was informative as I now know where I have to start when I begin to teach.

There were probably 25 more people behind us
I have also been doing some other random interpreting:

Me interpreting the news report about an event that I was interpreting in person hahaha!

This is a formal agreement announcing that the Scouts (like mixed-gender boy and girl scouts) will be opening their doors to Deaf children, teens, and young adults.
Doing some voice interpreting for a video created by the National Association for the Deaf (ANSORDO)

Though I haven't been able to be at the church nearly as much during the week, things are going very well. Attendance was down during the summer, but we are now back up to 40-50 Deaf attendees on Sundays and 15-25 for Bible study on Fridays. They seem to be really motivated and interested in learning more about God and His Word.

We are trying to teach them the importance of service, and as a part of that, I took a group to visit a young Deaf woman who was in the hospital. It was such a heartwarming experience to let them take the lead and watch them share God's love. They talked with her, comforted her, told her about Jesus and His sacrifice for our sins, invited her to church, and prayed with her. It was absolutely beautiful.

We have finally reached the point where we can no longer stay at our church location. We simply do not fit. Every Sunday, there are multiple people standing against the walls and others watching the service through the windows.
The empty chairs are people who were currently at the front asking for prayer requests
We have decided that we will have to find a new church building. It has been very difficult to find a place that meets our needs (Deaf friendly and large enough for a church and office space) that is in good condition, in the area that we want, at an affordable price. We are continuing the search but have come to the conclusion that we will need to buy some land and construct a church. The church cannot pay rent forever. This is obviously a long-term goal, but we are beginning the fundraising process. We have done some research and looked at some plots of land in the area. It looks like the plot of land will cost around $20,000 USD. This number is a little disheartening, and we are looking for more affordable land, but we landed on this number as a good goal because it will hopefully leave us a little bit to begin constructing. We know that God will provide! If you feel that God is leading you to contribute to this cause, you can donate to our non-profit at https://www.paypal.com/donate/?token=Ae94Q953-EQK1borj5oECdGCQNCDdmPEFellCaQkZcjkHypd2x79NXjLYdjzE1Nq6oIP50&country.x=US&locale.x=US. Please share this with your friends, as we will need a lot of support and fundraising ideas!

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