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Kananaskis Deaf Ministry Retreat - Near the Famous Banff National Park in Canada

Alberta Conference Deaf Ministry Department Retreat Weekend, November 4 - 6, 2005

Location: Watson Lodge Complex, Kananaskis, Alberta, Canada; 14 of us together - sharing two side-by-side duplex units.

News From 2005

Trip to China

September 2004
First Picture


By John Blake

On Sept. 6, 2004, I left Edmonton, Alberta to go to Hong Kong, and to the mainland China. One of the purposes was to study the needs and conditions of Deaf people in China, and also to give part of a presentation to the ADRA China Board on Sept. 13.

ADRA BOARD: I had been corresponding with an American teacher who had been teaching in China for three years. It is her goal to start a self-help and educational center for Deaf in China, not far from Hong Kong. We both gave a presentation to a special session of the ADRA China board where other NGO agencies were also present. I gave a report telling about our work in India, etc., and then gave information on what it is like to be deaf. The teacher gave a lecture on the specific conditions of Deaf people in China, as compared with Deaf in the United States, etc. She ended up with a challenge to help Deaf in China through a self-help project.

Second Picture

DEAF EDUCATION: The conditions for Deaf people have come a long way in China, but as in most countries, there is still a big challenge. There are officially an estimated 20 million Deaf in China (some feel that this number is very low). There are many schools for the Deaf, but there are still many Deaf who have never been able to attend a school for the Deaf.

I had the privilege of visiting a government school for Deaf about four hours drive SW of Beijing. I was very impressed with the school, and with the friendliness of the teachers and students. I was especially happy to meet the official government communist representative at the school. There seemed to be a good relationship between teachers and students. We visited the science class and the computer class.

It appeared that the students were being trained orally as well as in Sign Language. The students freely used sign language together on the grounds as they marched in a military style drill on the grounds, or signed together at lunch time. From what I have been told, not all schools use Sign Language. The main Lutheran Deaf school in Hong Kong uses the oral method of teaching.

Third Picture

VISIT IN THE COUNTRYSIDE: It was a great privilege to get to visit a deaf man and a deaf lady out in the countryside. We drove for close to two hours out of the city, and on out to a little village. Here the farmers lived together with their own families in small walled compounds. They would then go out to the beautiful countryside to work on their farm plots. When I was there, the corn harvest was just starting. After this harvest was completed, the farmers would plant winter wheat for harvesting the next year.

The deaf man I met was known as a sort of 'handyman' in his family. He had never had the privilege of attending school, so apparently did not know any regular Sign Language. He, and the other deaf lady in the village, had to communicate with home or family signs developed to get by in life. The deaf man knew how to write Chinese traditional writing characters. However, when we asked him a written question, he copied the question exactly and gave it back to us. My guess is that he knew some Chinese written words, but that he did not fully understand. It was difficult for all of us to communicate, for none of us knew any Sign Language used in that area, and I had to communicate through an interpreter with his hearing relatives and friends.

Fourth Picture

It was interesting to know that though the basic little family walled compounds looked much like they might have centuries ago, there was a TV in each home, and we noticed a telephone in one home, and a DVD player in another. The only heat in the home appeared to come from either a fire under a huge outside Chinese 'wok' used for cooking, or from a place where you could have a little fire under the bed to pre-heat the huge family brick bed in winter. There was only one large bed where everyone slept, and the thin mat on the top must have been less than 1/4" thick over a hard brick or stone surface.

I have also been corresponding with a deaf young man originally from a country area in Western China. He has both a deaf brother and deaf sister who were not able to attend any school. However, this young man was able to go away to a deaf school from the age of 14 until he was 20. He now lives in a city and gets home occasionally, back to the family farm area. Now he loves to communicate via email and web cam with people on the internet all over the world. He uses a computer Chinese translator to bridge the language barrier, as he knows no English. We have spent some time communicating by email, and also a couple of times by web cam combined with one of the instant messenger programs. This young deaf man now works in a printing plant in a city.

CHALLENGES: There are huge challenges for Deaf in both Hong Kong and China. One deaf family I met in Hong Kong are doing well for the husband has good work. The single young lady I met there, has little work and it seemed as if life could have many struggles for her.

I was told by a teacher that in a major new city near Hong Kong, that many deaf have come looking for work. However, it is hard to find, and without a legal registration card to live there, many of these deaf not finding work have resorted to illegal activities in order to survive. This is one reason why we gave the presentation to try and get funding for a self-help/education center in that city. Though ADRA China will not now be involved in this project, it does appear that good progress has been made in finding funding. However, there are still many other challenges to work out.

OUR PROJECT: Many Chinese feel that learning English is a key to a better economic life. There are English language schools everywhere in China. Some Chinese Deaf are beginning to feel that not only is English important, but learning American Sign Language can open new doors around the world to them. American Sign Language in the world of the Deaf is much like English is in the Hearing world.

We are now involved in a project to work with a Hearing young lady who has an Associate degree in "Interpreting". She plans to go to China to teach English to Hearing people and American Sign Language to Deaf people. To begin, she will earn her living teaching English to Hearing, and as the project develops, will plan to teach American Sign Language to interested Deaf Chinese. This could help open a new door of opportunity for them.

Deaf Church Dedication in India

India February 15, 2003

Blake and Jordan Go To Visit Deaf People in India

India November 19 - December 12 2002

Calgary Family Life Seminar

Videotaped With Francisca Trexler, Professional Counselor and Lecturer Calgary AB, May 2002

Hope BC, Canadian Mini-Camp Meeting for Deaf

B.C. Canada July 2002

Deaf Fellowship at British Columbia

B.C. Canada May 2001

Deaf Fellowship at Harmony SDA Church

Toronto, Canada April 2001

Deaf Leaders Meet in Maryland, USA

Maryland, USA March 2001

Gallaudet Volunteer Chaplain Ordained

Maryland, USA March 2001

Pastor David Trexler, while a student at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., was baptized as a Christian in the Silver Springs Adventist Church in 1969. On March 31,2001, he was ordained to the gospel ministry in the same Silver Springs church, 32 years later. And, he is now an Associate Pastor of that church with responsibilities to pastor Deaf in the area. Pastor Trexler is also working as a volunteer part-time chaplain with students at Gallaudet University. This University is the only University in the world specializing in the education of deaf people.

Both Pastor and Mrs. Trexler are deaf. Pastor Trexler has worked as a teacher of deaf students in North Dakota, and as editor and evangelist with Adventist Deaf Ministries of Lincoln, NE. His wife, Francisca, is completing her M.A in Marriage and Family from the University of Nebraska. She is a popular lecturer and counselor with deaf across the USA.

In the picture above, Pastor Arthur Griffith, lays hands of ordination on Pastor Trexler. Griffith was the first deaf Adventist pastor to be ordained to the gospel ministry in the history of the SDA church. This brings to five the number of deaf pastors now ordained in the SDA church who are working full time, part time, or as volunteers.

We wish Pastor and Mrs. Trexler God's richest blessings!

Deaf Fellowship in Edmonton Alberta

Edmonton Alberta February 2001

Deaf Ministry in Russia

Visit at Zaoski Seminary in Russia and a Russian Deaf-Hearing Camp

Baptism in India

Thanjavur, India October 2000

Arkansas Video Bible Study Series - Part I

Clinton, Arkansas USA October - November, 2000

Arkansas Video Bible Study Series - Part II

Clinton, Arkansas USA October - November, 2000
From the Arkansas Video Bible Study recording, Presentation Sets are now ready for sale through:
Edgemont Video
875 Old Brewer Rd. N.,
Edgemont, AR 72044
Phone: 1-800-371-5777

Each of the twenty-six 58 min. programs include a new Bible study and a Question and Answer section on the topic of that study. There will be 13 tapes, each containing two studies. If interested please contact us.

Pacific North-West Deaf Fellowship Day

Westminister, British Columbia, Canada April 29, 2000

B.C. Deaf Ministry Trip

British Columbia, Canada April/May 2000
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