As I ate, I periodically looked over at the couple. They had a baby and a little boy. Of course, little children look around. When the boy saw me looking at him, he turned shy and looked away. The next time he looked at me, I tried to sign to him. It didn’t work. So, I just ate my food and decided that afterward I would just walk over to them and try to communicate.
So, I walked over and signed, “Hello, I just wanted to tell you that I think your kids are really cute.” I was really nervous. I was afraid my signing must have been all messed up and that they wouldn’t understand a word I said. But they smiled and signed, “Thank you,” back to me. Then the man turned to me and asked how I learned to sign. I didn’t expect him to ask me any questions, but I answered him, and that’s when the conversation started.
We talked for almost an hour or more. It was amazing. I told them that my partner, Jacey, and I were in Denton for a mission trip for the whole summer. They were a little confused. I had to explain it further, which was awesome. I found out a lot about their lives, which isn’t surprising when you met a deaf person. They are very open most of the time. The man even told me how much his kids weighed at birth.
He ended up telling me where he lived, and then it clicked—Ashli Oaks! That was one of the locations where we were going for our second Rainbow Express. Also it was considered for a possible summer-long location for Mission Denton.
The first thing that popped into my head was: “home visit.” Mission Denton really tries to dig deep with the families in the community—not only provide spiritual needs for their kids and some time for the parents, but also serve them by coming to their homes, asking if they need anything, and praying for them. The goal is to build relationships with these families. So it seemed appropriate to ask if he would mind if Jacey and I came over the next day after work to visit in their home. He welcomed me over without hesitation. I was really getting excited by this time!
I felt like God had allowed me to see the opportunity right in front of me. I had been reading a friend’s article about how she was able to minister to deaf people where she was. Normally, I would get jealous because of my passion for the deaf culture. And up to that time in my mission trip, I had not had any interaction with the deaf community of Denton. But I was joyful and happy to hear that someone else was reaching the deaf community as well. I was glad God was using someone to reach these people.
Although God has placed a desire in my heart to reach the deaf people, he knows that I cannot do it alone, even if I think I can. So, he showed me I can rejoice when he uses other people’s passions—especially when they match my own. I feel like God was saying, “Yes, Amber, now you understand, and I will be faithful in using your gifts that I have given you as well. You just have to be patient and trust in my plans.” I was, and God was faithful, just like he said he would be.
After I spent time with this family, I understood why God’s plans were for me to wait and be patient. It was amazing getting to know them. I hope they saw Christ in Jacey and me. I’m excited to see how God will let us keep in touch with this family in the future.
Amber Gonzales, a student at Sam Houston State University, served at Mission Denton with Go Now Missions.