I can enter the Presence of the Lord in noisy places. A loud coffee shop can suddenly become silent as I take out hearing aids. I can sit and listen, be still without the noise of the world swarming around me. Jesus’ voice meets me in the silence. In some countries, deafness is viewed as a curse and those who are deaf are ostracized.
After Miss Texas, I felt pulled in a million different directions, some opportunities came about for me to just keep pursuing the next thing, the next chance in the spotlight. I battled it out in my heart for a month, asking the Lord for a definite answer on my next season. I heard clearly in my heart “stay grounded.” As I sat with Him more, I learned that this meant He was asking me to do the hard nitty-gritty work, the stuff that no ones sees in the spotlight. I have been a part of planting a lot of beautiful ministries these past two and a half years, but the time has come to sit on the ground and tend to what I have started. He hit me with the fact that a truly healthy ministry can operate without me and that I needed to invest in and raise up a team of people. The work I am doing has to have a lasting Kingdom legacy, it needs to continue long after I am out of the picture. He has asked me to bring three boxes of my life to the forefront… Aid the Silent, finishing school and Deaf Young Life (DYL). After a semester of doing the hard work, especially the late nights that no one sees on social media, I’m beginning to see the fruitfulness of how relational connections change everything. Another program does not change lives, but relationships and people knowing that they belong, does. It is a joy to share the good news of witnessing deaf people take radical steps into truly living.
In Deaf Young Life, all of our leaders have completed training and are officially reaching into the lives of deaf teenagers. A lot of deaf children who sign, do not always have parents who can communicate in their own language. I think a lot about that dinner table time and how lonely that can feel. Every Thursday morning, the DYL team goes on campus to serve tacos to create a “dinner table” space. Recently, we had a Friendsgiving and I was floored as they helped me in the kitchen and as we shared in sign what we were thankful for. Many of them shared being thankful for DYL and the leaders coming into their lives. As we share lives and shed tears over our deaf friends, we are seeing hearts soften and open up. Crazily enough, many leaders have run into their students all over the city. Now San Antonio is massive and the deaf teenage population is tiny in comparison, yet God crosses our paths with them in the most unlikely of places. It seems to me that God cannot help but bring the deaf to Himself.
I attended a seminar hosted by Pioneer Bible Translator and their partner, Deaf Missions, as they shared the news of the Good News reaching the deaf all across the world. Isaiah 29:18 says, “the deaf will hear the words of the book.” I am sure the prophet Isaiah never would’ve imagined the deaf would “hear” the Gospel through ASL video translation and the Deaf Bible app. Historical and Biblical prophecy is taking place in our lifetime as the first ever fully-translated Bible for the deaf will be released in 2020. Only 50 percent of the Old Testament is left. Can you imagine a walk with Jesus without the Word of Jesus in tangible form? My heart aches.
There is a stirring in our world as more and more people groups that have long been ignored are finally being brought into the light to experience the Light of the World. Reaching the deaf is a part of a larger Gospel movement and I am honored that our work through Aid the Silent is on this battleground.
Every day we learn about new challenges our deaf and hard-of-hearing children face in their everyday lives. We work tirelessly with parents, teachers, school nurses, speech therapists, interpreters, doctors and audiologists to help in any way we can. Every one of these kids wants to be accepted, appreciated, loved and understood. Our organization strives to provide ways to offer all those things to them.
We humbly ask you to consider making year-end gift to Aid the Silent while you are planning your tax deductible, end-of-year giving so we can help the hundreds of deaf and hard-of-hearing children in need.
Thank you so much for your prayers, generosity and being a part of Isaiah 29:18.
With much love,
Emma Faye Rudkin
Founder of Aid the Silent
Miss San Antonio 2017 and 2015