We rolled into Boyei Primary School on a Monday morning with a lost look in our eyes and an uneasy anticipation in our guts. However, the headmaster and teachers welcomed us with eager excitement and gave us free reign in their classrooms. We spent the first day meeting the deaf students and sharing stories about who God is. We quickly realized that the students’ language age was about 5 years below their physical age. As we prepared for the next day we wondered how we could introduce them to Christ when they didn’t even comprehend the sign for “sit down”
We spent the next day drawing and acting and signing and singing (deaf singing is the loudest, most off key and beautiful thing I have ever heard!).. We wrapped up our day by showing the Jesus film. While the students watched the film I watched their faces. As the story unfolded, their eyes would light up as they saw the stories from earlier play out before them.
At the end of the movie, they decided to send the youngest students back and discuss the film with the older students. I couldn’t stay…the Lord brought me to this verse At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Matthew 11:25
I grabbed sweet Bethany, a team member competent in ASL, and followed the 5 and 6 year olds. I began to ask them what they saw, what they liked, what they remembered.They were quiet, perhaps lacked the words at first, but then one boy raised his hand and began signing the most beautiful Gospel presentation I have ever seen. He said “Jesus came to the earth, He loved people, then he died on the cross, he rose from the dead and he ascended to heaven on a cloud and now we can go to heaven too.”
I looked in disbelief for the child who did not understand left and right the day before had just shared the gospel. But the Lord was not done. Another little boy jumped up and pressed against the wall with his arms spread wide. A classmate came and pretended to hammer in three nails. The boy against the wall “died”, I went over picked him up and laid him on the ground. I asked the students if it was finished, they all said no. I tapped the little boy on the shoulder and he got up. I asked “why” and a little student simply signed “love”.
The child that had pretended to be on the cross ran to the back of the classroom. He grabbed a bible story book they had looked at for months, but never understood. He turned to the page of the cross and pointed with wide eyes as if suddenly all the little bits and pieces of broken communication had culminated into understanding. A little girl stood up and took a small cross we had given her earlier out of her pocket. She looked at the cross and then pressed it against the pages of the book as if seaming it all together for the first time and I realized that the Lord meant so much more than audible sound when he promised “that in that day the deaf will hear…” Isaiah 29:18
“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” -Jesus
To read more stories from the trip visit the School to the Nations Blog