When the extended family gathered for the holidays, Thomas* watched his Deaf father become quiet, reserved, and withdrawn. Meanwhile, he observed his hearing mother come alive when socializing with family members, engaging aunts and cousins all the while immersing herself in the lives of others.
Growing up, Thomas felt that his father’s displayed behavior was insensitive and rude; it appeared that he just didn’t care about others. One day, he decided to confront his father about his standoffish actions. His father listened intently and then taking Thomas aside, he said, “Son, I am Deaf and your mother is hearing. When we get together for family affairs, your mother can communicate freely in two languages: English and American Sign Language. I, on the other hand, have one. My quiet disposition is out of respect to your mother and not wanting others to feel burdened. I deeply care about our extended family; however, I cannot communicate with them.”
As he grew, Thomas kept the words of his father close to his heart. God was preparing his future.
Today, Thomas is serving as a pastor and a leader in the Deaf community. The conversation with his father fosters encouragement as he shepherds his church. Daily he is pursuing equal access for both Deaf and hearing congregants. He is empowering the Deaf with the message of Christ in American Sign Language. His Sunday sermons offer a dynamic experience to the church body by integrating signed Scripture into the message. Antiquated equipment is replaced with new technologies, equipping Deaf people with God’s Word in their heart language.
God gave Thomas an opportunity to see life through the eyes of his Deaf father. Through his father’s experience, Thomas is improving the lives of Deaf people and making an impact for Christ.
“Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6