Bonswa!! I write to you all tonight during a beautiful sunset after a great day of work in the deaf community. As always I hope this message finds you all in the midst of adventures that make your heart race!
Last week a team from Frazer United Methodist Church came to conduct a photo mission trip in the deaf community in order to capture family photos. In short, it was a wonderful week filled with a lot of laughter, great community, and an incredible relational dynamic between the team and hundreds of members of the deaf community. Once again we witness how true fellowship and a mutual interest in the stories of people from different cultures can transcend cultural and language barriers.
Many members of the team had limited sign language at their command, but that rarely mattered as our professional photographers showed families their beautiful photos and shared simply that they are beautiful and that Jesus loves them. If I had to come up with one major theme of the week it would be laughter together. Many of the families and households broke out in infectious giggles as they viewed their photos and basically said . . . “wow, we look great!!” To my knowledge, this is the first time in the history of the community that people have come down to capture their photos and share talents in this way. Many people from the community left the experience communicating that they felt beautiful and were very excited to see the final copies next month.
As you all know, construction has begun on over 150 new permanent homes for the deaf community. We plan on moving the first 50 families by the end of January. As a gift from the major church partner on the project, I think it is truly awesome that the first item that can grace the walls of the new homes will be the same family photos that caused dozens of families to giggle together – in my opinion, a great start and encouragement for a new life.
On that note I want to briefly comment on how much these short term teams have aided in relational development and a building of trust and good expectations for the community. It often happens with short term teams in a community that a community will wait expectantly for all of the “stuff” that the blan (white people) usually bring. Whether it is new toys, clothes, food, etc… the communities seem to merely tolerate the foreigners because the foreigners always bring suitcases full of stuff.
Because of the great encouragement and fun that many short term teams have brought to the deaf community, the majority of the people in the community ask for education, for a chance to learn anything new, and overall to be in fellowship with one another sharing stories and lives. SO COOL!!! Often the greatest encouragement comes from friendship and the realization that someone cares about your story.
That is exactly the point of this whole project. To always be working alongside people who are crying out for a chance to prove that they are hardworking and capable of doing great things. Our biggest repetitive mantra in the community now (in sign language) is “deaf can do.”
For more information from the photo team and a chance to view many of the photos you can check out my good friend Will’s blog at: www.w-hue.com. Will has also linked to the blogs of several other team members from the trip. I hope to have a gallery of pictures up on this blog soon in order to share some of the beautiful pictures that were taken last week. Thanks to the team for an awesome several days, and to all of you for your continued prayers and support.
I hope that this week you can all find an opportunity to tell someone simply that they are beautiful and that you appreciate them.
Wishing you the continued experience of the abundant grace and peace of our Reigning King!!
Cheers to this beautiful life!!!!!!!!