I had to smile at how the Deaf here are so much like the Deaf in America and probably around the world. The same things are important to them here as they are in America. First, they had to get the seating arrangement just the way they wanted it so that they could all see BJ easily. Then they love interaction during the lesson. BJ asks them lots of questions during his lesson, so that they have the freedom to talk and discuss things. Also, facial expression when signing is pretty much exactly the same as it is in America.
I once again interpreted for them during the English service in which BJ preaches.
This week I felt that I did not do very well at getting the message across to them. It definitely made me realize that I need to put more prayer into it throughout the week. I need to depend more upon the Lord because I know that without His help, I cannot do it by myself.
We are a bit concerned about something. It seems that there are not as many hearing people coming to the church as there were when the other missionary was still here. We have been trying to figure it out, and asking each other what may be causing them to leave. Yesterday, a thought hit me, "I wonder if it is because of the Deaf who've been coming to our services." The numbers of Deaf are increasing and the hearing numbers are decreasing. What is that supposed to mean?
Kenyans are extremely superstitious, especially about anything they consider to be not "normal". For centuries, their culture has taught that the Deaf, the blind, and cripples are cursed, and therefore it is best to stay far away from these people so as not to bring that curse on them as well. This is a very sad mindset, yet very prevalent in Kenya and in many other countries. We are wondering if this is even the case here in Nairobi. It is definitely a matter of prayer for us. This is why we came to Kenya to specifically start Deaf churches because the Deaf and the hearing simply do not mix. BJ is determined that the Deaf are welcome in this church, that they are just as much in need of the Savior as the hearing people are. Turning them away to make the hearing people happy is not even an option. But eventually, the Deaf need their own church that will fit their own needs. It is so much better for them to get preaching from a preacher in sign language as opposed to getting it second-hand through an interpreter, and a very rusty one at that!
Here are a few more pictures that I took before and after church. Seth with Pastor Ephraim, the assistant pastor. Ephraim preaches the Swahili service each Sunday.
BJ hates having his picture taken, but he is sweetly tolerating it for my sake these days because he knows I like to post pictures on my blog!
Seth absolutely loves this little boy, Ryan. He has even asked if we could please take him home with us. He likes to play the big brother role. Yes, I agree, he needs a brother or sister really bad. That is in my daily (hourly) prayers!