El Roi

As one flies into Honduras it’s pretty hard to not see the beauty.  The ocean to one side, and on the other rolling mountains of lush rainforest.
Now zoom in: Within minutes of getting off the plane it is hard to not see the hunger.  The barefoot boy washing windshields in hopes of receiving a few coins.  The crippled man whose foot is rotting begging for just enough to buy his next meal.  Being the second poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere, there is much hunger.
But what about those that hunger to be seen, those that feel invisible? Don’t we all have this desire deep within us, for someone to see us. And not just to see our physical appearance but to really know as us as we truly are?
Mother Teresa said, “There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread.”
This is the hunger of so many of the deaf people in Honduras, “Someone see me!” The community around them says, “You are deaf, you are nothing.” and rarely acknowledge their existence except to tease.  The only time their family sees them is when they put them to work.  They have no voice, they are not heard, and they are not seen.
This was the plight of Hagar as well.  She was a slave and after finding herself on the run, alone in the desert, God sees her, despite her mistakes and inperfections.  Genesis 16:7 says, ”And the angel of the LORD found her…in the wilderness…” After God instructs her, Hagar says, “You are a God of seeing [El Roi]…Truly here I have seen him who sees me.”” (Genesis 16:13)
Signs of Love makes it a point to “see” these precious people, to look them in the eye. Often times, when we first meet them, they don’t look back, they are afraid and quickly shift their gaze to the ground.  But one of the most remarkable experiences is to look into the eyes of a child that has never been seen, with the eyes of Christ.
It has been so exciting to have the village minicamps.  We get to spend 3 days with a small group of deaf that we usually only see for 2 hours once a month.  During this time we have gotten to “see” so much more of these amazing people!
 Hilda really likes butterflies and wants to make jewelry when she grows up.  She is patient and is skilled in cooking.
Melkin likes hugs, she believes she can do anything and will try anything new.  She is good with animals and smiles all the time!
It’s been said, “The eyes are the door to the soul.” When we look at these special people like no one else has ever done we are opening a door, a door to share Christ.  That person may not know the name of Jesus (for that mater they may not even know their own name!) but as they grow I know that they will remember the first person that ever “saw” them… Christ in us!  And I pray that they would come to have a relationship with El Roi—“the God who sees.”

Teacher Training in the Villages

As part of the community deaf awareness programs, we are finding teachers in the villages that are interested in learning how to teach the deaf.  Below is a photo of our first teacher training in the village of Tosca.  Erika already has one of our deaf kiddos in her class! I was very grateful to my amazing interpreters, Diana and Laura, that helped me train this teacher to visit the homes of each deaf person in her village and teach sign language!

She asked us to come back to teach some sign language to her class.

We had fun with it too!

And Melkin (her deaf student) and Nancy (one of our deaf staff members) gave each student a sign name to use in the class.

Afterwards we got some more time to practice some basic sings that Erika is learning to teach the families of the deaf in her village.

We are hoping to find one teacher in each of the villages we work in.  They will be trained and sent out to work with the deaf and their families on a more frequent basis than what we are able to do now (monthly). We are so excited to see how this grows!

Please pray that we would be lead to the right people to train and that they would develop a love for these precious children!

Mini-Camp

We had the first of 6 mini-camps (one for each village we work in) with the children from Tosca.  The Deaf in the villages are very isolated, and rarely have opportunities to interact with one another. Because they are often surrounded by hearing people who do not know sign, it is very difficult for them to learn sign, as well as to retain the signs that they learn in our monthly village programs. The mini camp is three days of learning sign language, going on adventures, doing lots of activities that make them feel really good about themselves, and building relationships!

Grocery shopping scavenger hunt. Learning numbers and food signs.

Jump for joy! Trip to the local park.

Joy (our social worker) put together amazing empowerment activities for low language deaf. These are their body silhouettes surrounded by things they like.

It wouldn't be a real Honduran camp without soccer!

Fun at the beach! It was the first time for these kids to see the beach!

Baking cookies. While taking lots of picture to use to teach sequencing and cooking verbs at the next village program.

Deaf leaders teaching God's word.

"God made you special and you are loved by God!"