Wednesday, January 26, 2011

An ASL Journey

A couple years ago, for our foreign language, the kids began to learn Sign Language.  At that time I really didn't have a desire to learn it myself, but that soon changed.  About a year later I began to have an overwhelming desire to learn the beautiful language.  I honestly cannot pinpoint a specific event that triggered my desire to learn.  I thought about it day and night.  I began enveloping myself in the language.  Spending my spare time engulfed in books, the Internet, watching videos, online lesson's etc. (you can find my favorite ASL help site here)  It came to the point that I couldn't go much farther with it.   There is only so much you can learn from a book and the Internet.   I wasn't even sure I was doing all of the signs right.  I had so many questions and no one to ask.   So I did the only thing I knew to do.  I began to pray about it.  I told the Lord that I didn't understand why I wanted to learn, but that I believed He was the One giving me the desire.  I asked God if this is something that He wanted, if there was a bigger purpose, a way that it could be used for His glory, that he would send me someone.  Someone that knew the language, so I could talk to them, ask the questions to, and get direction from.  I continued to pray.  Then when I least expected it, God answered my prayer! 

I had reconnected with an old High School friend of mine and we visited her church.  The first thing I noticed was that they had a sign language interpreter.   I was so excited.  Then I found out that my friend's mom was one of the interpreter's.   On top of that she held a class at the church twice a month that was free (which is a very important detail for a poor gal like me: )!!

The first class we went to was overwhelming.  Most of the people attending knew alot of signs, where very good, and had been at it for some time.  There were also two deaf individuals (my friend's aunt and uncle) that attended the class to help everyone learn.  There was a sweet young lady who is a certified interpreter who volunteered  to teach a 6 week beginner class!   So we dove right in!  

I am still very limited in my signs, but I am learning, trying.  However slow the progress is, it is still progress.  We also found another church in our area that has a very large deaf ministry.  They have monthly fellowships.  Now, you need to understand that I am a very shy person.  Being around people that I don't know very well makes me extremely nervous, but I stepped out of my comfort zone and attended one of their fellowships.   I completely forgot everything I learned.  I introduced (in sign language) my son as my daughter and my daughter as my son.  It was horrible. But I survived and we went back again.  The people are great and this month will make our 3'rd time attending.   It is amazing how much you learn when you surround yourself in the language and there is no other way to communicate.

I still do not know God's purpose for this.  But I believe with all my heart that there is a purpose.   It may not be for me, it may be for my children for they are on this journey with me, but I believe one day, maybe even years down the line, something will happen, or maybe someone will come into our lives and it will all come into focus and I'll think to myself "Oh, this is what God was doing.

Did you know???

There are over 250 million deaf people in the world…and that it has been reported that only 2% are Christians.

"And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature".  Mark 16:15

Who is going to tell the deaf about Jesus?  Who is going to bring the gospel to their culture?  

When we wake up on a Sunday morning we have dozens of choices on where to attend church.  What about the deaf community?  How many choices do they have? 

I have found a great resource for bringing the gospel to the deaf community.   Deaf Missions has many products including online daily devotions in sign language and ASL Bibles.  Their resources have also helped me in my learning.

I love watching songs interpreted in ASL.  Here is my favorite.

A few Fun facts
When Beethoven composed his ninth symphony, he was profoundly deaf.

Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone (by accident in his efforts to create a HEARING AID) was originally an instructor for deaf children and invented the telephone to help his deaf wife and mother to hear.
A deaf center fielder for the Cincinnati Reds, William Hoy, invented the hand signals for strikes and balls in baseball.

Deaf people have safer driving records than hearing people nationally.

The huddle formation used by football teams originated at Gallaudet University, a liberal arts college for deaf people in Washington, DC, to prevent other schools from reading their sign language.

The man who invented shorthand, John Gregg, was deaf.

Pretty cool isn't it!


  1. did you know that Alexander Graham Bell also was for sterilizing the deaf and making it illegal for them to have children...not such a great guy after all...but they don't often teach that in school, just about his telephone!

  2. This was such an interesting post, Sheila! Oh, I can hardly wait to see how God uses you and your new language for His Glory!
    Had to stop by and see who my latest follower was and say Hello! And what an adorable blog you have ~ name and background match!! How fun!

  3. Thank you Lady Farmer. :)

    City Sister, I had no idea! How terrible. You are right..not such a great guy. Thank you for the info.!