It's story time, friends, so sit back and enjoy a walk down Momma Marauder's memory lane.
Sign language was always interesting to me. During my junior high and high school years, I volunteered at a day camp for kids with developmental disabilities. We used sign with some of the kids and I learned the basics: yes, no, sit, stand and the ever-important bathroom sign.
Later on, when I was in college, a fellow from the local Bible College came to our church. He started a Signing Choir, where we used taped music (that's like CD's today, kids!) and did sign language to the lyrics. We signed at our church and some local churches in Cincinnati. We even traveled some - with one trip to Michigan and a short excursion into Canada so we could call ourselves an "international" signing choir.
We had a lot of fun and learned a lot of sign language back then. The choir had been established for about 6 months when a family in our church found out their toddler son (I think he was two at the time) was profoundly deaf. How cool is it that God had put the ministry of the signing choir in place before the need was there? This little boy and his family were surrounding by hearing and deaf people who knew or were learning sign language.
The church went on to establish a strong deaf ministry and now there is a deaf church that meets separately in the same building. The family went on to be highly involved in ministry with the deaf. Here is a link to their website: http://www.deafinstitute.org.
The church is where I interpreted for the first time (4s and 5s Sunday School class) and learned so much from deaf individuals and hearing as well. They were patient with my mistakes and helped me develop a life-long skill that I can use to serve God.
Fast forward many years: I had used my sign language skills very seldom in the ensuing years. I taught school and was busy with family and church activities.
When we moved to Virginia, I used sign language with one of my students, but it was very basic. I felt what skills I had were fading. Then I moved to my current school, Mountain View Christian Academy. Here, I met a teacher whose husband preached in a church in neighboring West Virginia.
One evening during my prayer time, I asked God to show me what He would have me do with the sign language - give it up, use it to honor Him in service somehow. I didn't know what to do. But He did. :)
This post is getting long, so I will finish the story tomorrow. Stay tuned!