PNG (4 of 6)
It was a blessing to have Janice Berbin, Pastor Michael Berbin’s wife, attend the class. She really enjoyed it a lot. It is always important to have as many of the pastors, missionaries, and other church leaders attending these classes, so that they, too, can understand the deaf better and learn to communicate with them.
When Michael Berbin started using signs for colors with Kubu at the church workday (green, yellow, white, etc.), Kubu emotionally came alive. Pastor Berbin was thrilled to see Kubu’s emotional response when he started signing with him, even though his signing was very basic. It was a great joy to hear Brother Michael tell that story. Now this deaf man has a pastor who knows some of his language… his NEW language! This language is new for both of them! To Kubu (age 26), this meant much more than a shake of the hand, a nod of the head, or a silent “Glad to see you!”
Please pray for Kamun, Koi, Kubu, (men) and Wero (female), as they are taught. Kamun and Koi walk 45 minutes to get to the church from their home. But to them that is normal.
Several of these deaf people came early today and found that the church was having a workday. The deaf joined right in, helping to cut grass with a machete (the PNG way) and helping in other ways, like pushing a wheelbarrow. I had to call some of them away from their work to come to class, but it sure looked like everyone was excited about starting class this day. Hallelujah!
I began with a review. As always, I picked some of them to actually lead the review with the other deaf. Even as they are learning, they need to learn to teach others. I doubt that any of them have ever had any leadership roles. Kamun (pronounced Ka-moón) is a natural leader and proved it more each day.
It was exciting to see the Deaf, for the very first time, interested in learning signs. They have gone their whole lives without being able to communicate fluently. They have relied on homemade signs which are few, and a whole lot of pointing and grunting. They think people are understanding them because people tend to point back in the same direction as the deaf are pointing. Actually, this is misleading to the deaf, but it makes them feel like they are communicating. However, with these new signs, taught by this foreigner, your missionary to the deaf worldwide, the deaf began building new vocabulary while building new confidence. To top it off, even the pastor began to communicate a little bit with them!
Praise the Lord. SWMI is making a difference little by little, one deaf person at a time. Yet, there is still much work to be done!
PNG (4 of 6)