I have never taken an American Sign Language course in my life. Before August, I knew one deaf person and she doesn't sign. I knew like four words in ASL (No, I'm not kidding... Four signs: God, Jesus, worthy, and "I love you").
Last week when [my hard-of-hearing friend] Renee suggested we study together I was down right terrified. I've learned enough sign to hold my own in a short conversation and I like to watch conversations at dinner, but study together for multiple hours? And history? I don't even know the sign for the United States of America. Plus, Renee signs quite fast. Even if I could understand every fourth sign, what were the chances I could carry on a conversation with her and actually study? To help calm my nerves, I asked a mutual friend, Lizzy [name changed for confidentiality], to study with us. Unfortunately, she couldn't that day. So Renee and I studied together. And by studied together I mean studied the same thing sitting next to each other. We did this two or three times before Lizzywas actually able to join us. Each time I learned more sign, and we were actually able to communicate together.
Renee, Lizzy, and I studied together again last night. This time we really studied together, quizzing each other, and everything. For awhile I was wondering what the heck I was thinking trying to study history in a foreign language with two native speakers, but it worked out really well! I learned a lot of sign and a lot of history.
A little over halfway through our study session, we decided to take a break and go play BINGO. After the first round, Lizzy looked at me and said,
"If you want to help me interpret, that'd be great."
WHAT? Are you kidding me? It made more sense for me to interpret because I was sitting across from Renee and Lizzy was sitting next to her, making it harder to sign but still! So, I tried. I mean, how hard can it be to interpret Bingo, right? O 66. I 33. B 14. Relatively easy, right? Well, yes. Except that I didn't know any numbers above ten. So, I'm struggling through this Bingo game, apologizing for being a crappy interpreter. Renee said I wasn't that bad and she was helping me learn numbers like 12 and 13 (I missed those up EVERY TIME... haha).
Chief (the caller) announced this would be the last game and the president was paying $100 to the winner.
Phew, we're almost done! I thought.
Chief made a call and I hear Renee's voice,
"Bingo!" What?! Well, someone else across the way with a louder voice had screamed it almost simultaneously and Chief heard his scream before hers. We urged Renee to go up anyway (she said it first, in all honestly). The president decided to give all three winners $100!
So, my first interpreting experience and she wins $100! How cool is that? :-)
Once again, God's shoved me out of my comfort zone, but He hasn't forgotten about me. He's still right there! I love that about Him. :-D
Still learning to listen,
"The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? " Psalm 118: 6