Chris Chandler - Our New Sister - Tasmania, Australia - 2004 November 14

I said I'd tell you a bit about Sky, who has made her choice to follow Jesus...

Sky is profoundly deaf, she was born that way. She does not hear any sound at all. She is in her mid to late 30s, and was raised a Catholic. When she was 3 years old, she was sent to a Catholic Home for deaf girls. She did not see her parents for a whole year!! After that she saw them only a few times each year. I think she was in the home until she finished school... The home was a bitter experience, and has left her emotionally scarred...

Three years ago, Sky met one of our friends, and started coming to gospel meetings. She has been attending meetings ever since! She misses a lot in meetings, because she depends on lip-reading, and someone to write notes for her. None of our friends knows Sign Language, unfortunately...

This year, we have been visiting her every 2nd week... The visits go well. Often she has questions about things which were spoke in of in the meetings, and from her reading of the bible. Slowly she has learned to pray, and to read the Bible more. On day she asked us if she will be able to hear in Heaven? She said, "I'm looking forward to that!" Then she said, "I cannot hear, bit I can hear the Voice of God in my heart."

Another time Ray spoke about the leaven in the flour...after that she told us about God working in her heart to change her... We could see that she was growing in understanding...

Just before we ended the mission, Ray chose 99 as the last hymn. The next day, when we visited her, she told us that she had been reading the hymn. She said she woke in the night and read it again! Then she had been thinking about it at work that morning (she works half days at a nursing home, in the laundry).

She got her hymn book, and showed us the last verse, "Will you now choose to obey Him, yielding your life to His claim?" She told us, "Yes! That is what I want to do - now! I can't wait any longer!" :-)

In the next gospel meeting, opportunity was given for those who had made their choice to walk in Jesus Way to stand to their feet while we sang the last hymn. Sky did not hesitate! She has been beaming ever since!! :-)

The next meeting was our last for the year, Ray choose 393 as the first hymn, and said, "This is for Sky." The hymn says, "I am now a child of God..." and verse 4 says, "Open now my inward ear, quicken all my soul to hear..." It seemed very appropriate...

Yesterday was "cottage day," when friends come to clean out the accommodation, kitchen, etc for preps! (Mostly ladies.) Sky was there! And looking so happy and "at home" amoung all our friends...

She misses a lot in meetings, and conversation, of course. But there is now denying that the Spirit can (and does) speak to her!

She has begun the process of tests, etc, to see if she is able to have a cochlea implant ("bionic ear"). If it works out, she may go to Melbourne next year for the operation. After the implant, she should be able to hear most sounds, but will need to learn the sound of every word from scratch, as she has never heard anything before!! It is hard for us to imagine the handicap that deaf people have...