I'm energized, happy, and ready to go back tomorrow for more. Here are my three most touching moments from today.
1. A is a middle-aged guy who hasn't been able to hear for a year (since he fell on a construction job). Although he can still speak fine, he doesn't know sign language or lip-reading and only "hears" through writing. As he was leaving from his hearing test, he looked at me with the most earnest eyes and asked, "Am I going to be able to hear again?" The audiologist says he isn't sure. I wish I had been able to say yes. He wants it so badly. While he was waiting, I prayed with him and his sister, who had brought him to the hospital. A didn't hear any of it, but Jesus did.
2. C is six years old and has never been able to hear. When he heard the "beep, beep" of the hearing test machine, his entire face came alive. I wonder if he's ever heard a sound before. His eyes lit up and a smile stretched across his eager little face. His mother, a sweet woman probably in her early to mid 20s, teared up to see his reaction. She told me it was the emotion of seeing her own son hear. He's coming back tomorrow for hearing aids. I hope they can help.
3. One sad story. H is nineteen and has lived in the countryside his whole life, raising cattle with his grandmother. His aunt brought him in to see if his failure to pronounce words well had anything to do with his hearing. Pronunciation? I couldn't make out a word he said. He's never gone to school or learned to read and write but now wants to study to be a motorcycle mechanic. He'll need to hear and speak for that. During his hearing test, he kept indicating that he heard when there was no sound. We gave him the instructions again, but he kept doing it. "Is he crazy?" I asked the audiologist. "No," he told me, "he just wants to hear that badly." The test was useless; the kid probably couldn't hear a thing. We told his aunt that she should take him to learn sign language, that it was his best chance at being able to communicate and engage in the world around him. It wasn't the answer they wanted to hear.
What a day, and what a blessing. I'm so glad to be a part of this offering.
Thanks to you too for all your encouragement and prayers regarding the robbery. I don't know whether it was those or the translating that turned the tide for me, but I'm grateful for both.