The group of young people who completed the basic LESSA sign-language training course perform some of their signing during a special ceremony held July 7, 2018, at the Mejicanos Adventist Church in San Salvador, El Salvador. [Photo: Gamaliel Guerra, Inter-American Division News]

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In El Salvador, Young People Prepare to Connect With the Hearing Impaired

Leaders urge the youth to use their skills to benefit a neglected people group.

Eager to make a difference in their community, a group of young people from the Mejicanos Adventist Church in San Salvador, El Salvador, completed a basic sign-language course to be part of the special needs ministries where they live.

Ana Odette Medina, who is licensed in special education and certified to assist persons with hearing needs, said the group of 21 church members put in the effort to complete the course in three months. “The group met regularly every week for two hours to learn to be part of this ministry,” said Medina. They are now part of the Valuable Youth Deaf Ministries.

 

  • José Andrés Hernández of the Legislative Assembly in El Salvador presents a certificate of completion to Diego Mejia Guevara for completing the basic LESSA sign-language course. [Photo: Gamaliel Guerra, Inter-American Division News]

  • Ana Odette Medina, who is licensed in special education and certified to assist persons with hearing needs, gives a Bible study to young people with hearing impairment at an educational center in San Salvador. [Photo: Gamaliel Guerra, Inter-American Division News]

The group, mainly made up of young people and children, took part in a completion ceremony held July 7, 2018.

José Andrés Hernández, deputy official of the Legislative Assembly, and his wife, Luciana Hernández, of the council of the mayor’s office, applauded the group for their dedication to reaching out to those with hearing needs. The two public officials have supported the project with equipment and materials necessary for the sign-language course, which follows LESSA, the country’s basic sign-language curriculum.

Church leaders commended the group and urged them to use their talents for the good of others.

“You have the knowledge and great skills that most of us do not possess, so I encourage you to let God use you in this ministry,” said Abel Pacheco, president of the Adventist Church in El Salvador. Pacheco challenged the young people to be part of an evangelistic campaign geared toward reaching people with hearing needs.

Dany Perla, president of the Metropolitan Conference, told the group that the church has so few members with hearing disabilities “simply because we have not been able to communicate with them.”

“We have not been able to transmit the message of salvation yet,” said Perla, “but that story is going to change because you are preparing to reach this segment of the population here. God has called you to be the pioneer group to share the gospel message.”

Medina said she is happy with the initiative, which came out of a need she and her husband saw when they began teaching the “Faith of Jesus” Bible course for the deaf and hearing impaired in a teaching center in San Salvador in 2014. “We taught students about values and gave them Bible studies,” she said.

According to Medina, the plan is to begin a new phase in August in which, for the next five months, the group will train to sign Bible stories and translate hymns and Bible texts.

“We want for this ministry to reach every deaf person and share the gospel of salvation with them,” said Medina. “Our main objective is to train people in the LESSA course to let the deaf and hearing impaired know that they are important, while motivating them to follow Jesus.”


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