Update what is new the last two days!
Deaf Idiot – This is a young boy, 13 years old that has never met another Deaf person, never learned to sign, and does not have any communication skills. (Yes, that is what the Deaf call him. They do not mean in a way to look down on him but a way to describe he is not able to communicate)
The boy’s mother learned we are having a workshop for the Deaf people. She brought him to join us. He was very scared! But he joined with us and is learning how to communicate. Imagine - his first signs are not mom or dad, he does not first learn ABC – his first signs he learns is JESUS LOVES ME! That is VERY cool!!
Deaf Prostitute – I am very impressed with the Deaf people here. They invited a Deaf Prostitute to join with us. One of the Deaf Christians is talking with them and this person wants change their life! They want Jesus forgive them and guide them! The Deaf make this person feel very welcome and they are coming to join us again today. Please pray for God to guide this person with His Holy Spirit so HE will change their life!
Deaf Worship – Liberian Deaf with us have only joined with hearing Worship. Can you imagine no interpreter? Or beginning person learning to sign? Thank God there are some hearing people learning to sign/interpret. The Deaf want their OWN Worship:) We are working in developing their own Worship. What works good for them. What is best way for them.
One person explained for hearing people – would hearing people like to go to a church that speaks a language they do not understand? They must wear headphone, or have someone sit next to them to whisper in their ear - have someone interpret the language every Sunday. NO! They want in their own language so they can understand. That is the concept these Deaf want. Please pray for them that God will lead them as He wants.
The First Time they have a Bible!! Most of the Deaf have never had their own Bible. The Deaf people here are wanting to learn God’s Word. WE are studying during the day and they are working on the Old Testament Questions, New Testament Questions, and the Deaf Catechism.
They are making plans for the training to continue after we are finished on Friday. We are practicing in class how they can work together and help each other study and grow together. They are planning for the Deaf people to gather together and continue study. They have never done this before!
We very much emphasized the Deaf CAN study God’s Word.
The Deaf CAN be the leaders.
This is the MOST important thing I thank God He is doing!
AS I talk with the Deaf it hits me to be more thankful, so here are somethings I have been thankful for this week…
· Water for a shower/bucket bath (most days:)
· Thank God for Deodorant too
· Refrigerator to have cold drinks (sometimes frozen!)
· Shower with a lip around bottom so I can wash clothes
· Electricity (most days) – but no lights in the church/classrooms
· Bed with pillows
· Trucks for us to ride in (with Drivers to keep us safe!!)
· Liberian Lutheran church members to host us
· Cooks – cooking Liberian meals
· Dr Who TV show my son bought and my wife sent with me – watching one each night was my way to relax at the end of the day – or until battery power ran out:)
I thank God for my family! Both physical and spiritual (Church family)! I miss my wife and family. I am looking forward to being home and loving them again. I would not be able to do this without their support!
I thank God for the people working together with me! Here it is Rev Scott Rische and Rev. David Seabaugh and their wives. In the U.S. Pastor Palmer and I have a great team of people working with us. I THANK GOD for ALL of you!! It is great to have a team to work together! I pray God will allow us to bring a Deaf Team here to work with the Liberian Deaf people.
I thank God for ALL our fellow Christians working in His Kingdom. Coming to Liberia and working with the Deaf here is awesome. But as we work together I am reminded each of us is very important in God’s Outreach. What is it that impacts the world? - As we share Jesus in our everyday life. Yes, leading the Outreach Training is necessary. BUT it is as these Christians now know THEY are important in God’s eyes and share His love and forgiveness – THAT is how God changes the world.
Thank you for your love, support, and prayers. I pray God will continue to guide us, help us equip more people, and bless our Outreach together!
Rev. Dr. John Reinke
I LOVE WHAT GOD IS DOING!!! TODAY WAS AWESOME!
Borbor and the other Deaf said we may have 20 people, oh me of little faith – I was wondering if that many would come. BUT GOD KNEW - we had 28!! Deaf people today for Worship and class!! Plus said more hope come tomorrow. We joined with President Amos Bolay and the Worship at one of the LCMS partner Churches, the UHP Evangelical Lutheran Church of Liberia in Monrovia. Much of the Worship was in English. But they also use a Liberian English that does not sound like English :)
I shared signing the hearing Worship with a young man learning to sign. One of the Deaf leaders is training him so he can help with communication. They explained there are almost no regular Interpreters that can be hired for Deaf services. He is still learning, so he learned from the Deaf people some signs and I learned their signs the same time. Many of the signs are close to what we learned before in Africa. But they also have some different signs specific for Liberia.
Today we talked a lot about their plans and ideas. I introduced them to the materials for ABCD and we started the study together. Borbor and the other leaders want to do more training and are already talking about our next visit. I told them we will be studying all day and night, so we will see what they think at the end of the week :)
After talking with the Deaf people, the plan for the week is to meet at 7 am for food and fellowship. Several of the ladies from the hearing congregation have volunteered to cook meals for us. Some of the Deaf ladies volunteered to help, the hearing ladies said “ok.” But the hearing ladies said they would want the Deaf ladies join with the classes, if they wanted. All the Deaf ladies said they want to join the classes:) So…Eat and fellowship 7 am, then begin the classes together 8 am until noon. Then begin again 1:30 to 5:30. Break for evening light meal, then go until about 8 pm. (So not ALL day and night, but close!)
God is AWESOME! We began a great discussion on what it means to be a Disciple – becoming a Disciple and training others to become Disciples. Same as us in America, they need to become trained to reach the many Deaf in Liberia. Tomorrow we begin with the Deaf Catechism (Faith Basics). I brought 20 copies with me of Deaf Catechism, plus OT and NT classes. They are having Deaf workers copy more for this evening as we need more copies for the week!
Personal Liberia notes: Liberia is like being “home”– If you have been with us other times to Africa you would see many similar things :) I hope you can see some of the pictures I am sending to Dacia to put on Facebook and the LutheranDeafOutreach.org page. I would title many of today’s pictures “what did you see on the way to church?” We have access to WiFi at the lodge/hotel where we are staying – yahoo! So I can send picture when we get back at night, send short emails, etc... Plus MOST IMPORTANT - talk with my wife on video IM.
Please pray for all the people you see in the pictures. Pray for the Deaf joining us for the week for safe travel and for the Holy Spirit to guide our study together. Also pray for the other people at church that God will be with them, but also for the people outside of church. Pray God will guide ALL of them to Trust in His promises and believe Jesus died to forgive ALL their sins, because we want them ALL to be with us in Heaven.
Thank you for your prayers and support!!
Thanking Jesus for His Gifts!
Rev. Dr. John Reinke
Rev. Dr. John Reinke
is traveling to Liberia to work with Borbor Taifaka Arku. As some of you know, Borbor has been begging someone to come and teach him for years. Borbor has 20+ deaf people who will be coming with him to learn how to share Jesus.