Monday, February 6, 2012

Jesus Worldwide: Puerto Rico

From Katie: Know of someone with a story to tell or who wants to be interviewed about their international experiences? Send me an email KatieAxelson[at]gmail[dot]com. Thanks!

A CODA (Child of Deaf Adults) herself, today Ezelis (is-a-lease) is taking us to Puerto Rico to share what the Lord is doing in the Deaf community. (Deaf is capitalized when refering to the cultural group). For more stories of the Lord's mighty works, check out her blog at <>< Katie

A Year in Puerto Rico

When you hear the island name, Puerto Rico, what comes to your mind? It may be the beautiful beaches, perfect weather, and the best vacation spot but, my friends, when I hear the precious words "Puerto Rico" I think of the Deaf and their children (CODAS- Children of Deaf adults). When Puerto Rico is mentioned, faces come to my mind and memories ignite and it brings absolute joy in my heart but it also brings me to my knees.

These faces and these memories are a part of me that I can never let go of the impact of these people because of the opportunity I had this past year, I had the honor of being a missionary to the Deaf and the CODAs of Puerto Rico. Life I mentioned, often times, this island is thought of an amazing vacation spot, but these Deaf and CODAs who live there hunger to know who God is. There are Deaf and their children who live in the mountains who have not even seen the name sign- JESUS and do not know how deep His love is for us, His people who He longs for.

Months and months of traveling the island, I had the incredible honor in meeting some of the greatest people. People who have nothing but still can find joy in the Lord. One Deaf married couple, Victor and Isabel, gave everything of theirs in order for other Deaf to know who God was. They would endlessly serve and have about 60 Deaf & CODAs in their house and share the gospel. I would drive hours to pick up families and bring them to Deaf church so they were able to worship their Creator. While the parents were soaking in the Word of God, I would go outside with the CODAS and teach them who God through scripture, games, crafts- anything it took for them to get a glimpse of my wonderful Father in Heaven.


The more as time passed, the parents in Puerto Rico began to see how important it was that their children needed to grow as much as they did. The CODA ministry began to be recognized by the parents and the island. We began having retreats for the CODAS. We had a zoo trip for the little K(ids)ODAs and told them the creation story. We had youth retreats at the beach twice during the summer and dug into the Word about true love. We had CODA girl retreats and I had the opportunity to disciples these girls who have so much potential in reaching others for Christ.

Here is a story from one of my blogs this past year: 
Yesterday I was so exhausted and so anxious because I was going up to Orocovis, PR which is really high up in the mountains in a community filled with Deaf people. This is the community of Deaf who are poor that some do not even have beds to sleep on. I had the honor to go and actually teach these Deaf the Word of God. Being in Puerto Rico this was my first "organized" event to where I would actually get to teach them. Most of these Deaf have their own sign language and low language skills that I was praying that God would just make HIS word clear to them that night. I was so blessed because an amazing amiga of mine came along to be my "backbone" my support, my encourager while I was driving a group of Deaf to the service. She was the perfect person to come along and help because she is an interpreter here in Puerto Rico (and my age) and an incredible woman of God.
I taught from Genesis 22:1-19 about Abraham and Isaac. Que es obediencia? What is obedience? What does that look like in our lives? With these Deaf, I felt lead to do a drama from the story- so as you can see Valerie was Isaac and I was Abraham. After the teaching, everyone’s mouth dropped and said, "We understood everything so clearly, we GET IT." I was just so overwhelmed that these people got it- that when we obey God, He takes care of us, He never leaves us stranded, He provides, and all we have to do is follow and TRUST HIM. One man, was touched deeply by God that night, and decided to stop doing what he wants and to OBEY GOD because HIS way is the BEST way!!!

I was so blessed by everyone's encouragement and the responses that were given to me during the lesson. God, only YOU can make Your Word clear, I am simply a messenger. I felt like Moses, my hands get tied up and I am not a good speaker but God could even use me to bring His message. What an honor!
God did some big things last night up in those high mountains. It was pitch black that we had to use flashlights to find our way back to the vans, and you could see the stars. It was an incredible sight and these people are beautiful. It was such a blessing to be able to worship inside the house of the Deaf (it made me sad because the couple only had a pack of frozen chicken in their freezer and nothing in their refrigerator). A group of Deaf are going to take up a collection of food to donate to them. It was such a blessing to see these people pull together for their brothers and sisters in Christ. Pray for us as we continue to seek after CHRIST!”
The Lord did so much in Puerto Rico and He continues to want to do more there on the island. There are so many stories and pictures and if you would like to read more go visit


I have not been back to the island since April but I am planning to go back and serve for the summer. They will be having a Deaf camp in the last week of June. I need to find out more information about the camp so I am able to go and teach the CODAs again. I am so excited about this opportunity I may have this summer. I am not sure how long I will be there but I know that I long to be there. Be praying for me as the Lord leads and for money support to be able to go and disciples more of these CODAs and encourage their parents. I pray that we will be able to reach more Deaf and bring them to the camp to tell them about the only name that brings TRUE LIFE- JESUS CHRIST.

There is still more to be done! If you could please pray for the Deaf and their families in Puerto Rico right now, that their eyes would be open to the gospel and that they will be hungry for HIM.

If you are interested in donating to Puerto Rico Deaf Ministries and be a part of the ministry, here is the address (tax write offs are sent to you when you donate):
Puerto Rico Deaf Ministries
Po Box 7423
Ponce, PR 00732
Check made to: Puerto Rico Deaf Ministry
memo: CODA & Deaf Ministry

Be blessed and be a blessing.
Dios te bendiga!! Sonrisas y abrazos!
God bless you! Smiles and hugs!

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