Report from Paul Aseka
At the University of Texas, Arlington, I'm a full time student with twelve (12) credits. I studied very hard to earn B's in all courses which I took. I learned a lot about Information System especially digital revolution which happened after the World War II and Mathematical Applications for the Management, Life, and Social Sciences. I researched one area that every Church needs, digitization, because it helped processing of converting text, numbers, sound, photos, and videos into data. I also learned database and how to solving problem in Math which are important for every employer and non-profit organization around the world wide. These helped learning how to analyze problems and make a good looking presentation.
I went to Dallas International Rescue Committee (IRC) to see how my ASL students were performing. I learned that some of them were able to sign every picture of buildings, furniture, street signs, shops, fruits, animals etc. One of the main challenges was that there were new students who knew nothing about ASL and their home sign language, but they kept smiling when others signed. I felt that it was unfair for them, because they were unable to participate. I recommended to the IRC volunteer co-ordinator that IRC needs to do the best for those deaf students who behind.
I went to Lovers Lane Academy for the Deaf on several Wednesdays for the devotional. I gave them an opportunity to watch the biblical video and encouraged them to share with each other what they have learned from it. I learned that ASL video helped them be able to catch the important sign verses, more than reading sentences in the Bible. I taught them the Lord's Prayer.
In the Evangelism department, I always gathered information of first time visitors, new members, and those who will be baptized from pastor, then process them into the data and system before sending out a membership report to all pastors every Monday. I also sent out the welcome letters from the senior pastor to the first time visitors every week. I also posted attendees into the software program Fellowship One, changing rosters for each Sunday school book at the end of the month, printing attendance forms, also member forms and then put in all the books. And I also put offering money bags in 24 Sunday school books.
I was invited to present to the audience during Silent Night Benefit Dinner, which was hosted by Lovers Lane Deaf Ministry team. Miss Deaf America, Rachel Mazique was our special guest speaker. I presented about my work with Deaf Bhutanese refugees at the Dallas International Rescue Committee (IRC). I explained to the audience about where they came from, who they are, how they were motivated to learn ASL, and what they learned from me. My presentation attracted people, because it was good for them to learn how hard I could be able to work through without help from someone. I also closed with prayer for the 70 year celebration of Lovers Lane in the Sanctuary. It was good experience.
On August 17th, I met with Staff-Parish Relationship Committee (SPRC) and they interviewed me about my call for ordained ministry. The interview took about less than forty minutes. The next day, there was a big meeting in Asbury Hall. There were numerous staff, members, and committees present at that time. The aim for the meeting was the Action Plan for 2015 and nomination of candidates for ordained ministry. There were 62 people present, 61 of them voted for me and only one person against. Eventually, my name was announced as a certified candidate for ordained ministry.
My family and I were invited to First United Methodist church in Shreveport, Louisiana to spread the good news about Jesus Christ. Mrs. Evon Malray distributed flyers with my picture to the Deaf community before I went there. She and other members of her church set up plenty of food, but few Deaf people appeared. She decided to welcome homeless people to join our dinner inside church building. This reminded me that Jesus said, "Feed me when I am hungry." She did this as example, because I felt that Jesus was in them. I attended worship service in Couch Chapel. I signed sing like "Jesus inside work outside God changes me." I read the Bible verses and interpreted how they applied to my life. It was about Jesus healing a man who was born blind. I used these verses to apply Deaf people who had experienced negative attitudes from hearing churches. I served the Lord's Supper after FUMC blessed wine and bread.
Paul Aseka is interning at Lovers Lane United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas, thanks in part to a grant from the United Methodist Committee on Deaf and Hard of Hearing Ministries. Paul is from Kenya and became deaf at age 7. He has studied at National Technical Institute for the Deaf in Rochester, New York and is sensing a call to ministry with the Deaf. At the March 2013 meeting of the UM-DHM, the committee set aside funds to support local churches that desire to develop Deaf Christian leaders. In the months ahead. Paul will be sharing his experience as an intern. This is his most recent report (previous reports can be found here).