When my wife and I retired and decided to move to Florida we searched for a place near a church with a Deaf ministry. We were not raised as Deaf, but were hearing-impaired most of our lives. Due to family genetics, my wife lost whatever hearing she had and is now deaf (meaning she is now deaf, but not culturally Deaf). Old age and 60+ years of hearing-aid use have worsened my own hearing so I’m now profoundly hearing-impaired.
As believers who follow Jesus, we despaired of finding a church with a vibrant Deaf community. There are many reasons for it:
Store display in Valleta, Malta
I discovered chess when I was in high school. It was in math class where I saw fellow classmates playing chess during break time. I knew of chess, the game, but did not play. But, because those playing chess were the whiz-kids, I got to thinking if I could play the game I would know if I could even beat them in the game. Chess did not require having good hearing.
I bought a book about how to play chess and read it from cover to cover. I applied myself to study the game and understand the rules. When it began to make sense to me I went back to that math class and when an opportunity presented itself, I asked if I could play. After defeating them all, I felt, for the first time, that I had some worth or capability. This is because school was always a struggle for me, being hearing-impaired, and I did not have good grades. No one would have thought I could beat those math-whiz kids in chess. Continue reading
My life was turned upside down by God when He used my then future wife to witness to me. At the time I was living as an atheist, minding my own business and working hard. I was physically active with tennis and ping pong, and I played chess. I was not actively dating anyone, but at my work place, the wife of a match-making couple “pestered” me about meeting a nice girl her husband knew at his work place. She said the girl was hearing-impaired like myself, loved cats, not a “religious fanatic”, and lived in a mobile home. Meanwhile, her husband told my future date that I was hearing impaired like herself, played tennis and chess. The reminders finally got to the point where I gave up all resistance and took the nice girl’s phone number. I was to call and make a date. Continue reading
I was born Deaf, but became deaf through a marvel of technology: the hearing-aid. What’s the difference between Deaf and deaf? Heart language and culture. There is a range in the severity of deafness. Mine was severe enough so I could not hear well enough to use a spoken language. Fortunately, hearing aids became available to me when I was in second grade. They were very large and expensive. With the hearing aid I could learn to speak English with the help of a Speach Therapist. My therapist also taught me how to read lips. English became my heart language, not ASL. So I was able to make my way through public schools. I barely made it to college, but then almost flunked out in my first term. By changing to a different major and minor, I had more teachers who spoke English without an accent. That made all the difference for me. I struggled all the way to graduation. Continue reading
John 14:27 “27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.“ (ESV)
I recently attended a class at church. We were asked to share our greatest fear. Mine is the fear of not understanding what people say or sign. Why? Since I am hearing-impaired, almost deaf, I struggle to understand people. I am challenged with understanding the signs of my Deaf friends. I am also challenged with understanding my hearing friends or family. I am not native Deaf and my primary language is English. Somehow, being bilingually fluent escapes me. I am not like people who can be fluent in many languages. I am often afraid and without peace. Continue reading
Becoming a believer. Knowing Jesus as Lord. Living life for God. These are all parts of my new life as a deaf Christian. The desire to serve God continues to this day in my life. Becoming active in a local church is one part of my new life. When we moved to Florida, my wife and I looked for a Deaf Church. My wife is now deafened like some others in her family. A hereditary condition. Being late Deaf means she needed to learn Sign Language. So did I also learn Sign Language to communicate with my wife. Continue reading
It was after attending my future wife’s church a few times that I came to a decision, or a fork in the road, of my life. I understood what believing in Jesus was all about. I knew that God loved me just as I am. Indeed, God created me just as I am, deaf and hearing impaired. There are few decisions which are life altering, but believing in Jesus is one of them. Continue reading