Sunday, June 11, 2017

Is Deaf church different?

I struggle with how to write this post as I don't want to come off as all knowing. I am far from an expert in Deaf culture.  Even Nathanael would be more "qualified" to write this as he's taken Deaf culture classes for his interpretation degree.

Let me then reiterate, this post is about me and my experience, perhaps to open your eyes to what Deaf church looks like.

One of the first things you will notice when walking into any Deaf event is it seems quiet. People all around you may be talking, but there isn't much noise when talking is done with your hands.

The call to worship looks similar.


Growing up I was taught to bow my head and close my eyes. In Deaf church you don't close your eyes. (how would you know what they were signing?) It may seem silly but this was an adjustment. Years of indoctrination about what you do when you pray went out the window. It has been a learning experience for me!

Worship is an interesting topic. Last month we went as a Family to the Anabaptist Deaf Retreat at Laureville. I had started this blog post before going. I am glad that I waited until after the retreat was over to finish the post.  It was really neat to be a part of the discussion relating to what Deaf worship looks like.

Since I'm not an expert, I would sum it up by saying I don't think Deaf worship needs to look the same as it does in a hearing church. I also wanted to say that as a hearing person it is not a good idea to sit in front of or even near the speakers at Deaf church. Deaf people love to feel the music!

Here is an example of Deaf worship I was introduced to this weekend.
Sermons look very similar, minus the fact that it's in ASL. Since I am still learning ASL, it is darn near impossible for me to take notes. If I look down at the page, I loose words! While in Belize Nancy took a lot of time illustrating her sermons with pictures. I found this very helpful. 

Conclusion: Deaf church is similar to what I grew up with in some ways, and others very different. We worship the same God. It doesn't have to look like I expect. 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

All Quiet on the Davis Front?

I just read a post from a popular gossip column.  Apparently, a reality star couple was asking for financial support from their fans.  They are missionaries in Central America.  The website ripped them up and down for asking for support.

I personally felt my stomach turn as I read the article.  Gossip columns are meant to sensationalize, and that is what happened.  I find myself very thankful that I am not a reality TV star.

Since being confirmed with both EMM and CTEN, our biggest mission is now fundraising.  When people even hear it they feel for us.  Fundraising seems to evoke many feelings, mostly because it has to do with money.  EMM gave us a book as we first started with them called the Spirituality of Fundraising.  It was so important to look at fundraising from God's perspective.

We recognize that through our own efforts, we are unable to provide for ourselves in Belize. We have to depend on others to come alongside of us.  People who believe in what God is doing in the Deaf community in Orange Walk.

We are also aware that we have to put effort into it.  One lecture at our CTEN orientation was entitled "The Big Ask".  We were taught that statistically, the best way to raise support is to ask individually. This was a challenging, yet important thing to discuss. When we were speaking at Finland, Pastor Chris taught an important sermon about all money being God's.  How timely for us to remember.

So is our house quiet?  Nathanael has been spending every spare moment contacting people.  He is using facebook, texting, email and face to face.  I have been working at thank you notes to those who supported the work on our internship.

Fundraising has been a learning journey for both of us.  I can tell you went into it green, expecting, and dreading.  This being our second time at this, I can truly say this is a part of our journey.  God has taught us so much through it.  Is it our favorite thing?  Not really.  At the same time, God has guided, encouraged and surprised us.  We are thankful to him and to you for where we are.

If you haven't heard from Nathanael (or I) don't worry, you will :). Thank you for being our friends and for supporting us on this journey.  Every little bit counts. We are so thankful for the support.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

In case you didn't get the news...

December was quite a busy month for us. The first week started with a "bang".  Zion and Zephaniah slept at a new friends house. (some of their family traveled with Nathanael to Honduras) Abigail and Selah spent some  nights at a different friends home. Nathanael and I got up so early I had to literally hold my eyes open when I first woke up.

What was going on?

Nathanael and I spent 3 days in Texas. We have spent the past few months working to change our sending organization.  Joining with CTEN was an immediate blessing. We were welcomed with open arms. It was humbling to hear the story of a grass roots organization that grew from a few missionaries to over 400. Each and every missionary is supported by a pastoral care couple.

One of the most moving things for me was to be there during the staff prayer time. As an organization they weekly pray for their missionaries. This was confirmation to me of the choice we made.

We are excited to be on this journey as CTEN missionaries. At the same time we really value EMM. We were able to see that their presence in Belize (and former presence) was truly a foundation of our ministry. We would not have been able to do what we did without EMM. We will continue with EMM as associate missionaries.

What does this mean for you?

our ministry focus (Deaf ministry, education and access) stays the same
EMM will no longer be accepting funding for us.  All ministry funds must be directed through our page at CTEN. 
Cten is more flexible with the finances allowing us to be more flexible.

While in Texas Nathanael and I got to visit the Cross at Kerryville. These are the pictures we took on that visit.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

The Sound in the Silence

The room was silent but for a few clicks of a keyboard and the occasional swish of clothing. No spoken words, but full of life.

It had been a while since I had been to Deaf church. Too long for me actually.  My lack of exposure to ASL has lead my already struggling vocabulary to decrease.  The people at Connecting Deaf church were more than gracious with my struggle to communicate.

The lack of spoken words didn't decrease the Spirit of God that was in that place.

I am not sure if you have experienced "knowing" someone was a Christian before they told you? My lack of ASL didn't decrease the fact that God was in that place today. It was wonderful to fellowship with other believers, to be encouraged in our journey back to Belize, and to work at my ASL.

Connecting Deaf is one of our sending churches, and a support in the Deaf community.

as a PS thanks to Greg Stemler for taking our younger two children to Hopewell for us :) I am sure it was an exciting day for him as well!


"I'm going to really miss Mrs Hughes when when we leave."

 We walk out of time with her tutor and my daughter discusses how she is going to say goodbye. Goodbyes are an often brought up topic in our household. Spending a year internship in Belize then returning home for fundraising was in some ways a good idea.

We got our feet wet. We were able to have a tangible answers to what we will do in our next term.

Our children also grasp the concept of saying goodbye. They know what it means to really miss someone. We have multiple conversations centering on what we miss, and who we miss (or will miss).

I have an overflowing box of things to go to Belize. Things we didn't have access to, summer clothes,