I became a disciple my freshman year of college at the University of Cincinnati. A brother named Jordan Bishop reached out to me on campus while walking around doing cold contact evangelism.
I would say my biggest challenge as a disciple is being emotionally connected. It is hard for me to understand my own emotions and many times I view them as weaknesses. Obviously that isn’t true since Jesus was a man who wept with others but was also joyful. Becoming more aware of my emotions and connecting to them is definitely something I’ve been going after. It is really difficult but amen for victory in Jesus!
My best memory as a disciple, aside from being baptized, was going on a prayer walk with one of my best friends. I think I had just gotten baptized and a bunch of sisters went out for a girl’s night to the Cheesecake Factory and there was a bit of a wait. My friend suggested we go on a prayer walk, so we did. We ended up getting lost and it began to rain. Most girls might have seen these circumstances as a negative thing, but being lost in the dark with a sister and just praying to God as it poured is one of my favorite memories to this day.
I have been learning ASL since I was a sophomore in high school. I took ASL simply because I didn’t want to take Spanish and I thought ASL would be a cool alternative; it blew my mind! I currently have finished all the ASL courses that the University of Cincinnati offers. My goal is to become an ASL interpreter and the reason for me is because I love the language and the culture. Every day I will get to learn so many new things because of the experiences of the job. Helping individuals and cultures connect is an amazing ability!
I would say my weakness as an interpreter is my level of experience and wisdom with the field. I haven’t exposed myself as much as I should’ve to the Deaf community and those experiences are important to just immerse yourself in it and learn from the people themselves. My last 2 years in the program I am going to look for more ways to get involved with the community and see what I can do to really fight for those opportunities.
My skill would probably be my native feel to ASL. Everyone always tells me that I look natural when I sign and it truly feels like that. It’s so fun to get creative and use the space around me like my own personal canvas to express what I’m trying to explain with this amazing language.
There have been many learning experiences that I’ve come across being in the Deaf community. A big one would be the cultural difference and how to become more understanding of it. As hearing people we can easily get offended by the bluntness of the Deaf culture, but I’ve had to learn to understand people’s hearts; to know about the cultural differences so that there is a smooth transition of information between cultures.
There are so many things I see God doing in the Deaf ministry and my largest dream is to see the Deaf and hearing ministries work together like a well-oiled machine. I want to see the hearing disciples look at the deaf disciples as simply their brothers and sisters and vice versa. I think that these actions of unconditional love, by attempting to bridge the communication gap and cultural differences, will help disciples build deeper relationships that will aid them in getting to Heaven!
My favorite scripture is:
“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end”.
Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NIV)
It brings me so much peace to know that God is in control and that everything will be made beautiful in HIS perfect timing so I don’t need to try and figure out all the answers, God has me.