27 Mar Finding Her Worth
“When I was little, I knew about God. I guess I always knew, but I never understood. I even went to church but since I couldn’t hear, it seemed useless to me, so I stopped going; it wasn’t worth my time. No one helped me understand.” Digna López, 23, was born Deaf in a small Honduran community close to the border of El Salvador. It was a small village without roads, cars, and up until recently, no electricity. Digna recounts spending all day in the house with her Mom. She wasn’t allowed to go to school; no one in the village knew sign language; and when she would make up hand movements to communicate with her sister, they were punished. This is the unfortunate reality for the majority of Deaf in Honduras. They’re pushed into the shadows, hidden from the rest of society, often viewed as the shame of the family. Digna said her childhood was very hard on her. “No one spoke to me; I stayed silent my whole life. In my family there was never peace. When people would lie about me, it hurt me because I couldn’t defend myself; I couldn’t do anything. There is a lot of pain in my life but coming to the church and learning about God and His peace has changed me.” Digna started learning about Jesus and His power through her sister when she was 18-yearsold. A few years later she would begin attending the church of Christ in Barrio Belén thanks to the efforts of the budding Deaf ministry.
The Deaf ministry in Santa Rosa was born out of a realization of the need. On average, three percent of any given population is Deaf. (This percentage drops in first world countries due to access to devices like hearing aids and cochlear implants.) Meaning, that in a city like Santa Rosa, with a population of fifty thousand people, there are an estimated 1,500 Deaf living behind closed doors. With the vision of Phil Waldron and the help of various North American volunteers including Renee Flemming, the Wilson Family, Matt & Hannah Bridges, and Enrique Gonzalez, an effort was launched in 2015 to reach the oppressed, marginalized, and often hidden Deaf of Santa Rosa de Copán. Digna credits this ministry for shaping her life saying, “I started going to the church and I began to learn the bible and the signs. In time I began to understand the words and meaning, and I’ve been baptized because I finally understand and I believe. Matt Bridges and Abbie Wilson have helped me a lot to find peace in Christ. I really love going to church because its hard being in the world and a lot harder being Deaf, but I feel at peace with my brothers and sisters in Christ.”
Digna has been studying with ESPERO, our school for the Deaf and she has completed 1st through 3rd grade with plans to complete 4th and 5th by the end of 2019. She also works at the Moses Project during the day as a seamstress making specialty nets for the Tilapia ponds. We are inspired by Digna’s story and proud of how far she’s come in the past three years since she first came to church. “I’m very blessed by the community that I’ve found with the church and MUR. I’m learning more and more sign language every day. Also coming to church, I learn a lot through the songs and lessons and just by talking among the deaf I realized that I have a choice in my life. I’ve learned so much in school and I want to continue advancing in my education. Before, I didn’t know anything. Now, being a part of the church and the mission, I’ve learned so much and I want to stay.” Digna, in Spanish, means worthy. We believe, that through Christ, Digna has finally recognized her worth.