I never know how the months pass by so quickly! Here we are and it is August first already and so much has happened this year! I am so sorry for not making the time to write this update sooner.
The first half of this year was really full. I received a group from my home church, went back and forth to Rio a couple times to be with a dear friend going through chemotherapy, helped coordinate the logistics for a couple events with pastor Piper in São Paulo and in northern Brazil, participated in a deaf-led conference for deaf leaders and pastors, helped coordinate the logistics for the women's and youth conferences with Fiel...as well as continuing the ministry with the deaf group at church. Whew! All of these events/activities were wonderful and I feel incredibly blessed to have been able to spend time with each of these groups of people, but it has also been an exhausting whirlwind. I won't go into detail for all of these events, but I wanted to share a few highlights with you all because it has been so exciting seeing God at work in ways I never even imagined!
One of the events with pastor Piper took place in the north of Brazil in a city called Campina Grande. This event is a huge conference that takes place during carnival. A group of local pastors have organized this conference for the past 20 years and it has just kept on growing. This year there were around 100,00 people that participated over the course of the week. Pastor John spoke two times at the end of the conference and I had the privilege of interpreting his messages into Brazilian Sign Language (LIBRAS). This is a picture of some of the deaf people that attended the event. I am in the process of writing a longer reflection on one of the messages in particular, but it was so incredibly encouraging to see so many deaf people hungry for good theology. It was also great to work with a team of interpreters who (Lord willing) will be able to help me with some of the projects that I have in the works! I am hoping to attend the conference next year and be a more integral part of the interpreter/deaf ministry team.
Another highlight was being able to participate in a deaf-led conference. When I say deaf-led, it is because it was completely organized and run by deaf leaders from the state of São Paulo. The event was only two days long, but there were over 150 deaf pastors and leaders from the southern part of Brazil in attendance. I had the unique opportunity of being one of 2 hearing people to attend this event. It was incredibly encouraging to see so many deaf people with the burden to reach other deaf with the good news of the gospel. It also confirmed for me the need for theologically sound resources in sign language. There was a range of backgrounds and denominations represented, but a common theme that was discussed was how little training there is/was available for deaf people and consequently how ill-equipped the deaf leaders and pastors feel.
Ellie Lundquist, Missionary
Help Ellie reach one of the largest unreached people groups in the world, the deaf, with the good news of the gospel in their own language.