22 Aug First Fruits from the Deaf Community
It has been more than a year and half since we began to have deaf people visit our church services regularly. During that time, there have been ten adults that almost never miss worship or Bible study. Matt and Hannah Bridges, Abbie Wilson and others have spent countless hours teaching and studying the Bible with each of these individuals. During the last two weeks of July, after hours and hours of study and discussion, five of these dear friends made their confession of faith and were baptized into Christ. The whole church was delighted to witness the event of each of their baptisms. We hope and pray that these are just the first fruits of a large “harvest” that God is preparing in the deaf community here.
Minister to the Deaf Hired
Wow…how exciting it is about to become in the local church in Barrio Belén, Santa Rosa de Copán with the coming of Enrique Gonzalez Bizarro as our full-time minister to the deaf. Two years ago, Mission UpReach invited Renee Fleming, from Ft. Worth, to come and teach classes on signing. Renee spent a whole month with us at the time and that launched our deaf ministry in the local church. Matt Bridges, one of our AIMers, had taken sign language classes when he was preparing for his mission field experience at the Sunset International Biblical Institute in Lubbock, Texas. We asked him to lead the effort and he joined forces with Abbie Wilson, another of our AIM students who was already fluent in ASL, and together they began canvassing the neighborhoods to identify and get to know deaf men and women in the community.
God put more and more people in place to work in that fledgling ministry and if you fast forward two years, to present day, we now have a school for deaf adults who are learning to read and write. Most of them had never attended school at all. Only a few have ever attended school and even then only for a couple of years.
Enrique is a Mexican national that has just graduated from the Sunset International Bible Institute’s program for training deaf ministers. He has made a 5-year commitment to live and work in Santa Rosa de Copán as a Mission UpReach employee. We are delighted to have him as part of our MUR Team.