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Friday, August 10, 2012

A Local Vacation Bible School for the Deaf

I was thrilled to see a local church actually thought about the deaf and hard of hearing children and included a vacation Bible school with accessible language for the kids. Seeing young people reach out to other young people in our local community really made my heart smile. I hope to see more of this in the near future!

I was away on vacation when I got an email from Jenice who shared with me what Rachel had written about a mission and an ASL Vacation Bible School for the Deaf. I didn't realize the time sensitivity when this arrived in my email box.. I was away on vacation when this arrived, and we were away a couple of weeks.  My sincerest apologies for the delay.

A Local VBS for the Deaf
Last month as you may recall, my team and I flew across the ocean to the balmy island of Puerto Rico where we spent nine days at the Evangelical School for the Deaf in Luquillo, Puerto Rico.  Our primary goal was to host a Sonrise National Park VBS for the deaf kids in Luquillo and the surrounding area—although we also helped out around the school and did some maintenance work around the grounds.
     The curriculum is written with daily Bible lessons, Bible skits, crafts, snacks, games, and many other activities that kids enjoy.  Our team sat down for many hours and discussed the best way to take a written script that would be read/taught to hearing kids and interpret it into Sign Language.  We decided that the best way to accomplish this would be if each person would take responsibility of a specific area.  Someone was responsible for teaching the Bible lesson (in ASL), the next team member was responsible for teaching the VBS songs (in ASL), another was responsible for making/explaining crafts (in ASL), etc.  It took much time and hard work, but every last bit of it was worth it when you saw the heart-warming smiles on the students’ faces when they understood the rules for the game or the laughs when they suddenly understood the underlying joke in the skit you were acting out/signing. 
     So when our team returned from our unforgettable mission trip, we knew that, even though we had left Puerto Rico, it didn’t mean that our ministry to the deaf had to stop or that our return was the end of our ministry. 
     Some of my team members attend the West Shore Evangelical Free Church in Mechanicsburg.  Next week their church will be hosting the same Sonrise National Park VBS that we taught in Puerto Rico.  Since the church has decided to open the VBS to deaf children in our area, several of us from my mission team will be helping interpret during the program:  the lessons, skits, games, songs, etc.  I am so excited to participate once again, signing the songs and being a general ‘den mother’ to the first and second graders, that I can hardly wait until it starts to meet the deaf children who will be attending.
     This week will not only keep me in practice but will also count towards my Sign Language class this coming school year (nothing like killing two birds with one stone.)
     So if you know a deaf child/children between four-years-old through completed fifth grade, please invite him/her to join us.  We would love to have them! 
The VBS runs Monday, July 30—Friday, August 3 from 6:00pm to 8:30pm.
For more information & registration, please check-out the West Shore Evangelical Free Church’s website.


  1. Hi Xpressive Handz,
    Welcome back from vacation. I don't know if you saw this post I wrote about a church in Goshen, IN offering a summer camp for deaf/hard of hearing kids, but here is the link. The newspaper story really touched my heart.

    1. Thank you, Sarah! I remember reading that , now. It is a lovely thing they are doing! Thank you for sharing this post here. Perhaps other churches will start providing this for the deaf in their own communities.