Published Wed, Jul 25, 18. Written by Teresa Anderson.
DOES GOD UNDERSTAND SIGN LANGUAGE?
This was a question one of IDEA’s high school deaf students recently asked.
The deaf children want and need to know that they have a Heavenly Father who understands them and loves them. They need to know that God did not make a mistake when he made them but that they are special. IDEA strives to help the deaf students understand who God is and His plan for their lives. We teach them that God understands their thoughts and hearts so they don’t even need to worry about language. We want them to know that they can talk to Him any time through prayer. The deaf children and young adults learn about God through the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. Students at IDEA are not required to participate in any bible lessons, but they have plenty of opportunities to learn if they choose.
HOW DO WE SHARE JESUS WITH THE DEAF?
It takes years of academic education for the Deaf to understand the Bible. This means that even the simplest Bible stories can’t be shared by simply sitting down with a group young children and reading to them.
The most effective method to share with the elementary school kids seems to be through the use of felt boards. If you grew up in church, you most likely know exactly what we're talking about!
For those unfamiliar with this technique, characters, objects, building, trees, and etc. are rinted on paper with a felt fabric backing. Backgrounds are painted on large pieces of felt which the cutout pictures will easily stick to making a complete scene. Our teachers are given the materials needed as well as the curriculum to follow. Because of the deafness, our students are language delayed so the stories can be adjusted to every level.
Bohol Deaf Academy is our private high school located in Tagbilaran City, Bohol. The deaf kids who reach this grade have come far enough in language development to be able to read and understand. Bible class is incorporated into the curriculum of the school. In addition, every Wednesday night is Bible study night.
Each week there are numbers of Bible studies happening around Tagbilaran City for the Deaf and IDEA employees. These studies are set up for married couples and adult singles. Women from the Fly Tie Industry gather every Thursday evening while the ladies at the IDEA Admin Office as well as a group of men from the construction shop have their Bible study on Friday evenings. IDEA Philippines supports attending church or Bible studies by providing free transportation.
IDEA Philippines has helped establish a non-denominational Deaf Church where the pastor is himself deaf.
A number of young deaf adults have formed several spiritual outreach teams. Once a month these groups from Tagbilaran City takes the message of Jesus to the elementary deaf school in the different towns. These teams use dramas and skits to get their stories across. They also just spend time with the children playing games and making crafts.
We want every student at IDEA, their families, and the surrounding communities to know that they are loved by their heavenly father. With the support and prayers of people all over the world, we are able to share the good news of Jesus.