Leadership training

Last week we hosted a 3 day leadership training for the leaders-to-be in each of our 7 villages, something I have been dreaming of doing for over a year now.  Each day we were amazed at the opportunity to spend time with these amazing young men and women and to see glimpses God growing His Church as disciples made disciples!

Even though most of the 9 deaf in attendance had seen eachother before, they didn’t know much about where they lived, what their family life was like, which other deaf were in their village, ect. During the introductions they ended up putting a sticker on the map of where they were from. 
IMG_8440 IMG_8509We did several team building activities throughout the training but this was my favorite. Each student was given a different colored marker and a sheet of paper. They were asked to draw a house, tree and sun. When they finished they share their drawings with one another.  Then, they were given a piece of poster board and asked to collectively draw a house, a tree and a sun. They weren’t allowed to trade markers.  It was so interesting to watch them communicate with one another all with varying levels of sign language ability. If the person that had the brown marker didn’t understand that the group wanted them to draw a tree trunk then someone would act it out.  If they still didn’t understand they would draw it on their hand with their color and then show them. They spent a good 30 minutes not only drawing a house, a tree and a sun but an entire landscape.  Carlos from Tesorito lives near a river. He had the idea to draw a river. So they talked it out as a group, where the river should go how big it should be, who has the blue. Yajaira who lives near the base of the hills thought they should draw the hills with trees on them. Ondina who lives near a Dole plantation thought their needed to be banana trees.  They added fish to the river, a hammock between trees, a family sitting at the table, a cat in the yard and a swing.  We then discussed how working as a team wasn’t always easy, but the end product that they produced was more colorful, creative, and special. They were proud of their final product!

Any down time they had they were either talking with one another or watching “The Bible” (History Channel series).  They couldn’t get enough of the stories. What was even more fun was seeing the leaders that already knew the stories helping those they didn’t know them to understand what was going on. They would pull out their Illustrated Bibles and show them where the stories were in the Bible to practice at home.  One night after dinner I look over and see Nancy is explaining the Great Comission that was being acted out on TV.  She then compared it to the leaders returning to their villages and the going out from there to share the most important story of all time!

Most of the teaching was centered around our call to be imitators of Christ (rather than the world).  We planned to teach 5 qualities of Jesus that we could imitate but the questions they had ran so deep we only got to 2! Holy and humble, and we touched on loving.  Holy took up most of the time and included a teaching on the narrow and wide gate. Nancy and Orlan had great dramas and shared their testimonies.  During the break we look over to find Genesis, the youth representing La Ceiba and the youngest of the group, sharing her walk in the wide gate with Yajaira. She shared about how she came to know about Jesus and how she made a decision to repent of her past sin and follow Jesus in the narrow road.  Yajaira in that moment asked how she could do the same. Nancy lead her in prayer to repent of her sins and her desire to follow Jesus.  When she said amen Yajaira was beaming!  Then Genesis shared how she was baptized in April as a public profession of her faith and Yajaira asked how she could do that too!! It was an amazing privilege to baptize Yajaira with Genesis in the same place we baptized Genesis just 3 months earlier!!! (Read more here about what Yojaira is already doing in her village with what she learned to makes disciples!)

Another lesson was on humility.  Our original idea for a service project fell through the morning of and it was because God had better plans for us.  We ended up taking the students to an elderly home that cared for 27 elderly people that are unable to care for themselves.  We wracked our brains as to what the deaf could do with them.  We came up with a few funny dramas and painting left over from camp. We threw in some dominoes, the giant dog costume and some ice cream for good measure.  The students took turns greeting each resident and delivering ice cream.  Several of the residents were blind so it made for some interesting and sometimes precious moments with the deaf students.  Ana from Zamora was helping one man who was unable to feed himself.  When he wanted more ice cream he would bang loudly on the side of his wheelchair until she game him some more.  Some of the girls painted nails with the ladies and the boys dominoes with the men. They helped them paint with watercolors.  The favorite by far was the dog costume.  The 2 male leaders-in-training took turns putting on the costume in the ridiculous heat and greeted each resident with a “lick” and a “wag of the tail”.  Some elderly laughed with joy, other wouldn’t let go from a hug, but my favorite was when one of the old ladies smacked “the dog” on the butt and told him to “scat!”. I was truly impressed by the leaders in training and how they handled situations outside their comfort zone and how they loved on other that were different than them. 

The last day we discussed the expectations for the coming months for the students. One of which was to pray the “Armor of God” (the corporate camp theme) over each person in their village weekly. They were given a group photo of their village and little visuals to pray over each one such as believing truth, obeying God, peach and faith. We modeled it and help each one (many for the first time) to pray in front of others for each person in their village.  

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The last morning we also reviewed humility. Nancy and Orlan (the two that lead the programs) washed the feet of and prayed over each individual student.  I have never seen Nancy and Orlan more beautiful in my 3 years here…beads of sweat dripping off their heads in the heat of the morning as they knelt with great reverance before each of the leaders in training from each village that they have been faithfully praying for and serving for years.  They with great care washed their feet and with great intentionality and individuality prayed from their hearts and for the hearts they would go back and share with.  It was a moment of reclaiming ground for the Kingdom and a moment of pure hope for those that these precious ones will share with.  Nancy’s final group prayer over them included a vision of them to touch those that live in their households, that live in their villages, and that “cover to world” with the gospel of love!

Let it be so Jesus!

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Each student signing the name of their village.

Each student signing the name of their village.

 

 

 

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Mini camp in La Moskitia

Last year, Orlan and Jessie took a week long trip to La Moskitia, Honduras, a remote marshland of Honduras that requires a plane to get there.  Our goal last year was to relocate (after more than 7 years since the last SofL visit) and connect with the deaf in several villages.  It was an eye opening trip filled with new cultural experiences, new languages, new forms of transportation, and new hardships for the deaf we met. It left me wondering what could be done to help so many deaf that were in such a hard to reach place.  Each one of them have been in my prayers over the past year.  We were super excited to get to take a small group of Hondurans and North Americans for a mini camp to encourage, love on and share the hope of Jesus with.  Processed with Moldiv

Bottom left moving clockwise: We took our team of 8 on a small plane for about an hour and a half before landing on the dirt run way in Puerto Lempira.

Our team releasing our “love hearts” over the lagoon after the day of loving on the precious deaf. Praying God will continue to show up in their lives, lavishing His love on them.

Daniel helping the hearing sibling of a deaf girl with a craft project.

Nancy and Orlan did a great job teaching with very basic signs and gestures. It was fun to see the various new gestures that the deaf there used.  In this photo, we celebrated the many talents each deaf person had as a way of encouraging self-esteem. 

Rosie’s smile was contagious! What a precious soul!
Processed with MoldivLeft moving clockwise: Part of the team set out on foot to invite everyone in the town we landed in to the program the following day. Robin and I took a boat (the main form of transportation there) across the lagoon to visit several deaf there and invite them.

Last year when we met Athenia we had to chase her around the orphanage she cleans trying to get just a few seconds to visit with her.  The team reported similar experiences the day before as well.  We were a little surprise to see her come on her own and once she warmed up, boy was she a hoot! 

Bexy was a quick learner and enjoyed having part of her family learning sign language as well.

Robin sharing the most important story of all with a precious deaf lady across the lagoon.  You might recognize Jose in the background.  He was in my class in La Ceiba my first year here because of the generosity of another missionary to provide for him to come a learn.  Now he is back in his home town in La Moskitia and we pray that Jose would follow hard after Jesus despite the lack of a deaf church or deaf peers to live in community with. 

We have been studying what makes a New Testament church in Acts with one of the rural villages we serve the past few months as they transition. It was a privilege for us to baptize 2 deaf as they decided to make their decision for Christ public to encourage others to turn to Jesus! Please pray for these 2 as they continue to walk in obedience to Christ in every aspect of their lives for His glory!Processed with Moldiv

Egghunting

 

 

Happy to share with you all 3 of the 7 new deaf we found while “egghunting” yesterday! Grateful for the opportunity to encourage their families and excited to see them grow in abilities to communicate and understanding of Jesus!

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June Summary

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Thank you for your support during the month of June!
Some highlights…
LEFT: the 14th annual Signs of Love camp. We had 107 campers for 3 days learning about “Strong Love”. Please pray that each would grow in living out this theme. TOP: Moskitia camp with 7 precious deaf that live in very remote places. Their life stories are hard but it was truly a blessing to get to bring a smile to their faces, even just for a day. May the love of Jesus resonate in their lives in the coming days! BOTTOM: A reminder of how “worth it” each child is! No matter how “difficult” or broken or stubborn we are God goes to great lengths for us to see his love and we pray that this little boy saw it too! RIGHT MIDDLE: Daniel teaching math at our “homeschool”. We are almost done with 5th grade! So proud of the hard work these young adults have put into it! MIDDLE: We have had 3 lovely ladies volunteering with us over the past month. We are incredibly grateful for their time, expertise, and love that they have lavished on SofL!