When Tom first got here to Tigak, one of the first people he met was a very special little boy named Po. When you meet Po he runs up to you and enthusiastically offers his hand with a big smile. When you shake his hand he makes a series of loud sounds that sound like a mixture of chirps and high pitched squeaks. With very enthusiastic hand motions, head nods and facial expressions he does his best to talk. Po cannot hear and this is how he communicates. (The word “Po” in Tigak means “mute person”- because he can’t hear, he also can’t speak)
When Po was very young he got malaria; a very bad case of malaria. Often when children here get very sick their parents do not try and get them medical attention. As far as we understand Po’s parents waited too long to take him to the Haus Sik (Hospital) and because of it, he lost his hearing.
These days Po is a regular on our porch and absolutely adores Tom and Jude. Tom even taught Po our secret hand shake (the first person Tom has EVER revealed our secret hand shake too-but I was ok with it :D). Po does his best to show us things, once digging up and crab and then cracking it’s shell open and showing us it’s body-not exactly what I would have wanted him to do, but I appreciated his desire to interest us. 🙂 Po will make faces at Jude and can tell when Jude crack up from it! Yesterday I gave two mangoes to Po and he proceeded to run around the yard holding the mangoes above his head like trophies and squealing with delight! So funny. He is just a sweet little boy and always seems to have a reason to smile.
As we get to know Po to the limited extent that we can, we cannot help but wonder how he will ever be able to hear the gospel. Though there are missionaries here among his people, he neither speaks this language or has the ability to read. Some of the few things he can effectively communicate is that he is hungry or wants a drink of water.
There are four deaf people who live here that we know of so far and my heart just goes out to them. This is a whole new level of difficulty to sharing the good news with some one. Of course we do not know yet if the Lord wants us to have a long term ministry here in Tigak but if the Lord did send us here, I would have an immediate interest in learning to speak and teach sign language!
If you think too, please pray for Po and the other deaf kids and adults here, that they will someday be able to “hear” the good news in some way. I have no idea what will happen with Po but if you think to pray for him and the other deaf people on the island.