These past 7 weeks I have begun equipping myself and others to slowly and carefully lay the groundwork for a future Deaf ministry, here, at Iglesia Bautista el Faro (Lighthouse Baptist Church). To start with, I must learn the local sign language. (Sign language in Honduras is different from American Sign Language.)
To do so, I have been shadowing 2 days/week at the only educational program for Deaf people in my city. This has proved invaluable experience, not only in developing my LESHO (Honduran Sign Language) but in building relationships with local Deaf leaders and interpreters. (Photo on R: these Deaf teens learn Spanish vocabulary and LESHO vocabulary from a Deaf, Honduran teacher.)
I have also had the opportunity to visit Deaf churches and deaf ministries around this country (outside of my city) to learn about the general educational level, Bible knowledge, and religious experiences of Honduran Deaf.
Interestingly, a Deaf man began coming to our church a few weeks ago, and I have had the privilege of interpreting the Spanish messages into Honduran Sign Language. As the Deaf ministry develops, Lord willing we will have Bible classes for Deaf people, taught in Honduran Sign Language.
I was invited to attend an intense LESHO immersion "retreat" in the Capitol city of Tegucigalpa (5 hours' drive away) earlier this month that definitely improved my own understanding of this new sign language. One of the many Deaf people we learned from was the vice president of the Honduran Deaf Association (woman on L). We also had a Q and A session and "heard" real life stories from a group of Deaf leaders. (Below)
Thank you for your prayers for wisdom and divine appointments as I seek more sign language learning opportunities and lay a professional and spiritual groundwork for a solid Deaf ministry (under national leadership) here in El Progreso, Honduras.