7 July 2014 by Adeline Lum CM-
Pr Edmund Smith from Real Love Ministry (RLM) partners with RC Deaf Missions Malaysia in serving the Deaf Community in Malaysia.
On 4th of July 2014, Pr Edmund served as sign language interpreter and fundraiser when RCDM held a booth in Mid Valley selling paintings, earring, t-shirts, and accessories produced by the deaf community.
Having volunteered and being a student in RC (Regina Coeli)Deaf Missions Malaysia for more than five years now, Pr Edmund Smith first decided to learn sign language at 17 years old when he first sighted a group of people in Pudu Raya interacting in sign language.
“I told myself one day that I must learn this beautiful language. It all began with a human passion. When I look back in time, through this language, I could counsel them and befriend them. I never knew God will use me in this area,” said Pr Edmund who took a year learning the Signing Exact English (SEE) course in Singapore and another two years learning the Bahasa Isyarat Malaysia (BIM) in Malaysia out of interest. He is also currently doing his Master’s Degree in Sign Language Interpretation.
“They (the deaf community) have their own culture. It’s like a race like the Chinese Race or Indian race, but this group is made out of different people who bond like one family no matter what creed or background they have,” said Pr Edmund.
Bold and strong-spirited, Pr Edmund shared that the deaf community do not feel shy in socializing and disadvantage over their hearing limitation.
Mary Seng, a staff who is deaf at the RC Deaf Missions Malaysia booth shared in writing, “I want to support the deaf community by working together with them. By doing this, I am confident we can progress and succeed.”
Hence, for a hearing person to be part of the deaf community, Pr Edmund shared that the person must first understand their culture.
“Firstly, we should never treat them in a way that they are less. They don’t want that but they want to be treated as normal people,” said Pr Edmund.
Krystina Alcantra a member of RLM and a volunteer for the RC Deaf Missions Malaysia agreed by saying, “I think we need to respect the deaf because sometimes, I see the deaf being looked down at. That’s the first thing we can do. It is to know that they are the same as us. All of us are imperfect and they are imperfect in hearing.”
She shared that a mere acknowledgement or a word of “Hello” would demonstrate love and acceptance, because many people acted like the deaf community does not exist. “I am a people-oriented person. That is why I am cool with anyone—deaf or not deaf,” she added.
Indeed, many of the merchandize sold in the booth demonstrated the creativity of the deaf community. Angela Yeo, a customer who bought a painting at the RC Deaf Missions Malaysia booth shared her keen appreciation for the painter, “I really like how the painter presented the painting with many depths. When I saw the little bird, it reminded me of the Holy Spirit. And when I saw the chickens and its chicks with the kids, they represented my family.”
Pr Edmund shared, “More people should put an effort in learning sign language though it is not an easy language. I know people of every age doing it. They (deaf community) get very excited when a hearing person knows their language.”
He shared that Real Love Ministry’s goal is to raise up believers-in-Christ to become Befrienders for the sexually/relationally broken and for the deaf. It is part of his church’s culture to teach sign language, welcoming folks from other churches who are interested to learn.
While being a Befriender to the sexually/relationally broken typically involves counseling, befriending a deaf person meant helping them fulfill practical needs such as accompanying them to the doctor or to the bank.
Would you like to learn sign languages to communicate with and be a part of friends who are deaf? The sign language of love crosses all barriers!
Real Love Ministry (Melaka) offers sign-language courses:
Time | Second Tue every month (free class) / 1 hour lesson (paid class)
Sessions | Once a month (free class) / Weekly (paid class)
Time Slots | 8pm (free class) / 1pm-8pm (paid class)
Venue | Plaza Mahkota / Ujung Pasir
Course content | Vocabulary, sentence construction, and orientation on deaf culture
Fees | RM50 (per lesson for paid class)
Enquire | Pastor Ed (0166658773) | email@example.com
RC Deaf Missions (PJ) offers sign-language courses:
Time | OCT 4 – DEC 2014
Sessions | 10 sessions
Time Slots | 10 AM – 11:30 AM | 1:30 PM – 3 PM
Venue | AHTDC, Menara PJ
Course content | Vocabulary building, short sentence construction, orientation on deaf culture, exposure to deaf community, assessments, and graduation
Registration Fee | RM350
Enquiry | Miss Low Chai Yun | firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit the RC Deaf Missions Malaysia booth on the Ground Floor of Mid Valley Centre Court, which will be opened till AUG 3.
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