Thursday, December 20, 2012

Tis The Season

Robin with the 'gaggle of children'

Tis the season.  We hear it over and over and over again during these weeks.  Tis the season to be jolly.  Tis the season to give.  Tis the season to make dreams come true.  Tis the season to be merry.   Tis the season to get together.  Tis the season, tis the season.  

I’ve been convicted this year more than ever that each and every day ‘tis the season.’  Christmas isn’t supposed to be celebrated just one day a year…it is to be celebrated each and every day.  It’s the reason we live – breath – and have our being.    

Christmas gives us hope, when our hope seems to have run out.  It gives us reason when there seems to be none.  It gives us determination just when we are ready to throw in the towel.  Christmas is the heartbeat of love and is vibrant around us, and when we submit to it, it’s even in us.  

I just finished visiting a very rural and poor area in Honduras.  It’s a place my husband and I happened upon a little over a year ago, one evening when driving home down a long winding dirt road, passing a mother with two little babies, one in her arms, and the other by her side.  My husband stopped and told this mother to get in the vehicle, we’d take her home.  She lives miles down this dirt road in a little community at the end of nowhere.  Her home consists of blocks with a roof and a pavement foundation, nothing else.  No water, no electricity, no bathroom, no kitchen.  But, she has shelter, and she has her children.  That evening started a special friendship…one that mainly consisted of my husband and I helping her out.  We would frequent her at her home, and my husband would always comment on the need for a church in that community.  He even blogged about it once.   This woman has a close friend who lives near her who is also a single mother, and somehow they ended up being a package deal.  

It was months after my husband’s death, and I had not been to visit these two families.  One day I heard voices outside my window, and when I looked up, there were the two mothers, traipsing up my dirt driveway with their gaggle of children. They did not come to ask for food, or help for that matter.  They came to hug me, cry with me, and let me know they heard the news, and they were so sorry this had happened.  They were in disbelief, as they said, “We don't understand why this would happen to someone so good to us.”  Then they asked if they could pray for me.  What?  These women that my husband and I had been ministering to now wanted to minister to me?  It was like our reason for living had been shown to me right then and there. 

You can imagine my delight when this last visit to their community a few days ago proved to be quite amazing.  One of those ladies now has a home church going on in her home!   

It’s when we don’t give up…when we keep on plugging along…when we keep loving even when we don’t feel like it…when we put others first…and when we don’t lose sight of His promises – that things really do change.  Tis the season each and every day.  

Friday, December 7, 2012

God With Us

By Jessie Fox
Imagine not being able to communicate your basic needs with your own mother.
Imagine not being able to communicate your joys and pains with your brothers and sisters.
Imagine your uncle leaving to another country, and no one ever telling you if he will come back or not.
Imagine your mother picking up the phone and horrified looks come across her face as she begins to weep. But you don’t know why...until you attend the funeral of your brother the next day. No one told you.
Imagine the life of a deaf person in Honduras.
Deafness separates them from communication.
Deafness separates them from family.
Deafness separates them from community.
But deafness does not separate them from knowing the love of Jesus.
In the Old Testament the Israelites were separated from God’s presence with a veil that separated the Holy of Holies in the temple.  And a “normal” human, like you and I couldn’t ever enter His presence. Only the high priest could enter and only once a year, and never without blood (Exodus 30:10).
Sinfulness separated them from God.
 …Until God entered our sinful world.  The Creator of the universe left His family, left His community (with the Trinity), and left His face-to-face communication with the Father.  For what? To enter our world, so that we would no longer be separated – that we would never be alone again.  He became “God-with-us”, Emmanuel.  And His death on the cross tore the veil that once separated us from Him (Mark 15:38).
My prayer this Christmas, for each of the deaf that have so often felt the sting of loneliness, is that they may feel and experience Emmanuel, God with them, like never before!

2 of our Honduran Deaf missionaries
teaching (in drama form) the story of
Christ's birth to 2 Deaf children
at a village program

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Fingerprints of God

John chapter 10 verse 10 tells us that the “thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy”. If you are reading this blog, I am sure that the enemy has at some point stolen, killed or destroyed something of yours. Since Signs of Love was born, the enemy has been trying steal, kill, and destroy this precious organization. What the enemy does not understand however, is the second part of the scripture in John chapter 10 that states that God came “that we may have life, and have it to the full”. As we remember all the things the enemy has destroyed of ours, we remember that we are not forgotten. Signs of Love is not forgotten. The enemy cannot win, because the battle has already been won. If we lose focus of this Truth, it is easy for us to feel forgotten, or destroyed, but if we keep our eyes on the Savior, Helper, and King, we can see that His fingerprints are all over our lives and He is leading us in ways we never could have imagined. I want to share a story about a girl who may have seemed to be “forgotten”, but was used as an instrument to grow Signs of Love and provide the Deaf on the Northern coast of Honduras empowerment, and new opportunity. Meet Lucila. (far right)

Two years ago Lucila was living in Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras. While living there and attending a school for the deaf she was introduced to the Links of Hope, an organization that teaches and equips women and Deaf artisans in developing countries. Alissa Matiya (far left) and Beth Engleman (middle) were part of this short term team.. Lucila learned the trade of jewelry making, thanks to these two beautiful ladies. However, one day Lucila up and left Tegucigalpa with her family leaving Alissa and Beth believing they would never see her again. Alissa and Beth told us that they prayed and prayed for Lucila, not having any idea where she would end up in life. Would she have people to look after her? Who would continue her education? Would she be in a place where sign language was used? Who would teach her about Jesus and His love for her? Little did they know in 2011, Lucila ended up in the class for the Deaf in La Ceiba where Signs of Love was working.
Throughout the school year Lucila would talk about these two North American women who taught her jewelry making, and how much she loved them. She even showed us photos of her time in Tegucigalpa which included both Alissa and Beth. 

One day, Lucila showed Jessie, a teacher from Signs of Love, her certificate from her Links of Hope training, giving Jessie a name to the photos and stories. Hoping to give a simple "thank you" to Links of Hope for all they had done for Lucila, Jessie found them on Facebook, which then led to the Links of Hope team coming to La Ceiba this past summer to teach jewelry making skills to Deaf in rural villages along the northern coast. It was so beautiful to see Lucila reunited with her friends she met in Tegucigalpa and the people that showered the love of Jesus on her. It was also amazing to see a seed that was planted 2 years ago, grow into a project to teach and empower more Deaf in the rural villages of Honduras.

The fingerprints of God are all over Signs of Love, we are not forgotten, and in fact we know that God has tremendous plans for Signs of Love and the Deaf in Honduras. I hope you are encouraged by this story and reminded to pray for this organization as the Lord moves among us in mighty ways!

- Kathryn Groseclose

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Role Reversal

By Jessie Fox
I love teaching and I love learning as well.  Since being in Honduras I have done a lot of both!  Most of my learning hasn’t been in a formal setting but rather from interacting with the people here an djust doing life here.  However most of my teaching has been in a more formal setting a classroom, an office, during a training or lesson.  Many of the staff members see me as a teacher and I have enjoyed playing that role.
But a few weeks ago the roles were reversed in a simple but profound way.  The amazing deaf staff members that we work with day in and day out have taught me so much, but like I said, in an informal setting and in ways that they probabaly don’t see themselves as teachers in the formal sense of the word.

The’ve taught me that many things in life are a process, and that process should be cherished not rushed.
They’ve taught me patience.
They’ve taught me how important trusting relationships are.
They’ve taught me how to be joyful in tough time.
They’ve taught me so much more!
For the first time Nancy got to be my “formal” teacher in learning how to crochet.  When Links of Hope was here in July Nancy quickly mastered the skill of making crochet necklaces.  I felt it would be good to learn to be able to teach other deaf people as well as better understand the product that the people in our vocational training program would be making.
“Nancy, will you teach me to crochet!”
Her face lit up, “yes!”
She got to see me confused and struggling with this new skill that required attention to small detail and fine motor skills.  She never gave up on me but encouraged me each step of the way telling me that I would get it, to just keep practicing, and giving me more strategies to try.  She was such a good teacher, as I had the opportunity to observe so often as she taught the deaf sign language in the villages, but now I was getting to experience it from the other side and for some reason it was special.
I actually didn’t learn to crochet that day. But several days later after more practice, just like Nancy said, I completed my first corchet necklace.  As I proudly displayed the product of this newly acquired skill she seem to be just as proud as I was.
Nancy teaching Jessie 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Love Is A Verb

We serve a BIG God.  I typed that sentence while having the privilege of sitting looking out over a vast, roaring ocean.  While waiting for God to move this blog post in a certain direction that He desires it to go, that was the only thing I could think about.  I look out and see people sitting along the coast line, literally dwarfed by the trillions of gallons of water that serves as their background.  We serve and more importantly are loved by a God who put the moon at just the right distance that gives us beautiful waves in the ocean, that make the ocean look like a living, breathing entity.  Full of thousands of different species of fish that he all knows by name.  It’s easy to sit here and dwell on the intricacies of truly how tiny we are in the grand scheme of all of life on this earth.  That makes the fact that God is constantly, deeply knowing/loving me, us, and every other being on this planet all the more beautiful and amazing.  Almost every other religion in the world features a deity that is distant, unreachable, and too grand to be amongst men.  Thus, God humbling himself to give us Jesus, or Emmanuel meaning “God with us,” is what makes Him so amazing.  We have a God who is relational.  The Maker of Heaven and Earth wants to know us, are you freaking kidding me?  What a love.  The greatest love we will ever know, having the Holy Spirit, his presence, inside of us.  Here’s the hard part, God calls each of us to replicate His love for us to everyone (John 13:34-35).  I don’t know why, but for me it’s difficult to look past people’s fallacies and love wholeheartedly and unconditionally.  It’s a daily struggle to look on people as Christ views them, both holy and unblemished (if saved), or someone in desperate need of a savior and experiencing the love of God (if not saved).  Something that has greatly convicted me during my time in Honduras is that I am a direct reflection of God’s love to those who don’t know Him.  In America it’s very easy to fade into the background, just live your life, do what you want to do and overall not many people really care.  So going to Honduras and immediately realizing that wherever you go people stare at you, constantly watching, because that fallback of fading into the background is no longer there.  Thus, as to be expected given my struggles, I was exposed under the spotlight.  Then came the long process of coming to realize that I was being extremely selfish in not displaying the God I know, who loves me, to those around me.  It was much easier for me to talk about His love, His greatness, His forgiveness, than to show it.  Come to find out that love isn’t a noun, a thing to be talked about or discussed; rather it’s a verb, an ACTION word.  It requires hard work, dedication, discipline, and patience on a daily basis.  Its meeting people where they are at, showing them love the way that they need to see it, and using the love that they need to lift them up closer to Christ.  Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13 that any spiritual gifts given to us from God are meaningless without using it with/through/in love.  In the NASB version says that without love we become like “a noisy gong or clanging symbol.”  Have you ever heard someone just randomly bang away at a symbol not knowing what they were doing?  If not let me tell you, it’s quite annoying.  My family likes to tell a story about me that when I was 2 I went to my uncles wedding rehearsal dinner.  We were all seated at this big table, everyone in the family just chatting.  While I was seated in my high chair a saw a shiny metal object called a spoon.  My infant mind thought it would be fun to take the spoon and begin to create my own “7th Symphony” with the noises that it could produce.  My dad told me that I would bang away on the table with that spoon creating the most unpleasant noise; whenever they took it away I always managed to find another one laying around somewhere and commence the banging all over again.  One of my uncles apparently couldn’t take it anymore and completely snapped at little 2 year old precious me.  I imagine that us using our gifts without love metaphorically sounds like 2 year old me banging on the table with a spoon to those we are trying to use or gifts with or for.  Every single thing we will ever do in this world hinges on how we love others in Christ’s name.  In many ways love is the gospel in action.  People can’t help but see love in other people and wonder where it is coming from.  If we are accurately displaying love selflessly it can only point to Jesus, since His was the most selfless love of all.  Isn’t that whole point of us being alive?         - By Daniel Fox 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Gift of Language

A few months ago, I met an 18-year-old Deaf boy who had no language. I couldn’t quite figure out his name, so I will call him Jose. His friend who was with him told me that Jose’s family lives in a village several hours away, but that he has been living on the streets of La Ceiba for three years. This Deaf boy has a history of being picked up by the police for attempted robbery. His teeth looked like they were rotting and I’m pretty sure it had been quite a while since his last shower.

Initially, I tried to use Honduran sign language to communicate with Jose, but when it was clear he wasn’t following me, I switched to gestures and miming. As I was trying to ask him questions, all he would do was gesture that he wanted food. At first, I was annoyed. I was trying to help this kid out (he was in a tough situation) and all he could think about was food? Really? He had way bigger problems to deal with. But then I realized that he is literally so hungry that he couldn’t concentrate on anything else but the empty feeling in his stomach. And then my heart broke, and I went and bought him some food.

Because Jose was never taught language, he could not tell me his mother’s name, where he was from, when his birthday was or even what his name was. And now he is stuck on the streets, without a language, without an education, without a family to support him. I’d like to say that Jose is unique; that all the other Deaf in Honduras are given the opportunity to learn language or go to school. Unfortunately, that is not the case.  The majority of the Deaf in the villages are just like Jose.
The good news is that Signs of Love is working like mad to reach as many Deaf as possible and teach them language.  By reaching the Deaf in La Ceiba, as well as in the rural villages, Signs of Love offers this disenfranchised group of people the chance to learn language, and with language comes so many incredible opportunities.  With language comes empowerment, self-esteem, self-respect, knowledge, education and so much more.

SofL Deaf staff teaching language to a rural deaf teenager
As I watch Signs of Love’s Deaf staff members teach the Deaf children in the rural villages, I am constantly reminded of what a difference they are making. It is so beautiful to see how Signs of Love has already positively shaped the lives of over 100 Deaf in northern Honduras, and I look forward to seeing the organization continue its Kingdom work in the years to come.

Written by Joy Pfanner - Social Worker with SofL

Friday, June 22, 2012


Cuando usted piensa en algo que no tiene precio, lo que viene a la mente? Recuerdos, sueños, eventos, o tal vez una joya o antiguo?

¿Qué sucede en SdeA, cada uno y todos los días, no tiene precio. Así que pocos pueden hacer este tipo de trabajo, y que solo lo hace no tiene precio. Nuestro trabajo no tiene precio a los ojos de los que se suben las mangas, y no tiene precio para aquellos que están recibiendo nuestro amor. Cada día los que servimos nos da preciados recuerdos de cómo sus vidas han sido siempre extendido. No extenderse en el tiempo, pero en el aliento y la profundidad y sentido y vale la pena y la comprensión. No tiene precio.

¿Cuáles son las cosas valiosas que suceden en tu vida? Sólo en los últimos dos meses, hemos sido capaces de amar intencionalmente sobre los niños sordos (y adultos) a través de nuestras mini-campamentos. En esencia, este ha sido un tiempo de invitarlos a nuestra casa (casa de la misión) para los días largos, y verter todo lo posible en ellas. ¡Qué profunda diferencia se hace cuando en realidad vive con ellos. Piense en cuando tiene invitados en su casa. Después de su estancia, ¿cuánto más íntimamente tienes que conocerlos? Ahora piense en ser capaz de enseñar a sus invitados las cosas que nunca han pensado, cosas que no sabías que existían. Piense acerca de ser capaz de prodigar su amor en ellos a sabiendas de que provienen de un lugar donde el amor se tuerce y no existente que con demasiada frecuencia. Piense en ello. Tienes la oportunidad de ser "Jesús" a sus invitados y hacerlos sentir como un millón de dólares. Eso es lo que hacemos, a menudo. No tiene precio.

Nos esforzamos para hacer una diferencia no tiene precio cada día. No queremos tomar a la ligera Lo que nos ha hacer. Al igual que las vidas que llegan a servir, su interés y participación con nosotros no tiene precio. Vamos a centrarnos en lo que no tiene precio para nosotros, y seguir con todo lo que tenemos.

Recuerda...todos pueden oír El amor.
Aquí está una foto de 'inapreciable' en acción.

Thursday, June 21, 2012


Here's a photo of "priceless" in action.

When you think of something priceless, what comes to mind?  Memories, dreams, events, or perhaps a jewel or antique?    

What goes on at Signs of Love, each and every day, is priceless.  So few get to do this kind of work, and that alone makes it priceless.  Our work is priceless in the eyes of those rolling up their sleeves, and it’s priceless to those who are receiving our love.  Each and every day those we serve give us priceless memories of how their lives have been forever extended.  Not extended in time, but in breath & depth & meaning & worth & understanding.  Priceless. 

What are the priceless things that happen in your life?  Just in the last couple months, we have been able to intentionally love on deaf children (and adults) through our mini-camps.  Essentially, this has been a time of inviting them into our home (mission house) for extended days, and pouring everything we can into them.  What a profound difference is made when we actually live with the least of these.  Think about when you have guests in your home.  After their stay, how much more intimately have you got to know them?  Now think about being able to teach your guests things they’ve never thought about, things they never knew existed.  Think about being able to lavish your love on them knowing they come from a place where love is twisted and all-too-often nonexistent.  Think about it.  You get to be “Jesus” to your guests, and make them feel like a million dollars.  That’s what we do, often.  It’s priceless. 

We strive to make a priceless difference each and every day. We never want to take lightly what He has us doing.  Just like the lives we get to serve, your interest & involvement with us is priceless.  Let’s focus on whatever is priceless to us, and pursue it with all we have. can be heard by all.

Monday, May 28, 2012

El Roi

As one flies into Honduras it’s pretty hard to not see the beauty.  The ocean to one side, and on the other rolling mountains of lush rainforest. 

Now zoom in: Within minutes of getting off the plane it is hard to not see the hunger.  The barefoot boy washing windshields in hopes of receiving a few coins.  The crippled man whose foot is rotting begging for just enough to buy his next meal.  Being the second poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere, there is much hunger.

But what about those that hunger to be seen, those that feel invisible? Don’t we all have this desire deep within us, for someone to see us. And not just to see our physical appearance but to really know as us as we truly are? 

Mother Teresa said, “There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread.”

This is the hunger of so many of the deaf people in Honduras, “Someone see me!” The community around them says, “You are deaf, you are nothing.” and rarely acknowledge their existence except to tease.  The only time their family sees them is when they put them to work.  They have no voice, they are not heard, and they are not seen.

This was the plight of Hagar as well.  She was a slave and after finding herself on the run, alone in the desert, God sees her, despite her mistakes and inperfections.  Genesis 16:7 says, ”And the angel of the LORD found the wilderness...” After God instructs her, Hagar says, “You are a God of seeing [El Roi]...Truly here I have seen him who sees me.”” (Genesis 16:13)

Signs of Love makes it a point to “see” these precious people, to look them in the eye. Often times, when we first meet them, they don’t look back, they are afraid and quickly shift their gaze to the ground.  But one of the most remarkable experiences is to look into the eyes of a child that has never been seen, with the eyes of Christ. 

It has been so exciting to have the village minicamps.  We get to spend 3 days with a small group of deaf that we usually only see for 2 hours once a month.  During this time we have gotten to “see” so much more of these amazing people! 

We are privileged to look upon and 
love Selvin, and we trust
that he will 
truly know El Roi 
Hilda really likes butterflies and wants to make jewelry when she grows up.  She is patient and is skilled in cooking.

Melkin likes hugs, she believes she can do anything and will try anything new.  She is good with animals and smiles all the time!

It’s been said, “The eyes are the door to the soul.” When we look at these special people like no one else has ever done we are opening a door, a door to share Christ.  That person may not know the name of Jesus (for that mater they may not even know their own name!) but as they grow I know that they will remember the first person that ever “saw” them... Christ in us!  And I pray that they would come to have a relationship with El Roi—“the God who sees.”

Saturday, May 12, 2012


There is a common saying here in Honduras: “Si Dios quiere,” which translates to “If God wants.” I have heard this phrase countless times throughout the past year, and have come to deeply appreciate its meaning. Loss is well known to many Hondurans. This country has an understanding of the fragility of life that we Americans often choose to ignore. They understand that life is “but a breath” and can vanish at any moment. And so, when I say, “Ok, see you next week”, they respond with “Si Dios quiere.”

I’ve been thinking a lot about the fragility of life these days. It is a vapor, a mist. It is there one minute, and the next minute it has vanished completely right in front of your face without you even knowing it. Life is tricky that way. It’s so there that you forget one day it won’t be there. The other day, I listened to a sermon, and in that sermon the woman asked, “ What will you do with the ‘vapor’ that you’ve been given?” I’ve asked myself this question countless times…

So here is my goal: to waste my vapor away on His kingdom work. To love strong. To give compassion to all. To fight for the least of these. And to keep seeking His guidance as my vapor dissolves away. And when I fail (because I know that sometimes I will), I will get back up and try again.

As I work alongside the servants at Signs of Love, I see how they are using their “vapors” for God’s kingdom work. I watch as they encourage, teach, love, challenge, empower and embrace those who have been considered “the least of these” for so long. Many of the “least of these” have never been given an opportunity to attend school, have never been given the right to learn sign language, and some have never even been allowed to step outside their homes. They are oppressed. But God has brought the servants at Signs of Love to remind them that they are NOT abandoned, NOT forgotten. These precious Deaf are Loved. Cherished. Adored. And as they realize their worth, they find a hope and a strength that carries them.

Now that is vapor-worthy.

“Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”   James 4:14