The group young people who completed the basic Lessa sign language training course feature some of their signing during a special ceremony held July 7, 2018 at the Mejicanos Adventist Church in San Salvador, El Salvador. Photo by Gamaliel Guerra

July 24, 2018 | San Salvador, El Salvador | Gamaliel Guerra/IAD Staff

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.

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

José Andrés Hernández of the Legislative Assembly in El Salvador grants a certificate of completion to Diego Mejia Guevara for completing the basic sign language. Photo by Gamaliel Guerra

Jose Andrews Hernández, deputy official of the Legislative Assembly, and his wife Luciana Hernández of the council of the mayoral office, applauded the group for their dedication to reaching out to those with hearing needs. The public officials have supported the project with equipment and materials necessary for the sign language course teachings which follows the LESSA, or the country’s basic sign language classes.

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

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

Pastor Dany Perla, president of the church’s Metropolitan Conference, told the group that the reason there are so few members with hearing disabilities is “simply because we have not been able to communicate with them.”

Odette stands giving bible studies to young people with hearing impairment at an educational center in San Salvador. Photo by Gamaliel Guerra

“We have not been able to transmit the message of salvation yet,” said Perla, “but the 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 is happy with the initiative which came out of a need she and her husband saw while 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,” said Medina.

“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.”

According to Medina, the plan is to begin next month with a new phase where the group will train to sign Bible stories, and translate hymns and bible texts for the next five months.

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