Mike and Martha devote their lives to helping Deaf children and adults understand who God is, and how much He loves them.
Throughout the past 14 years, their 5 children have been involved in their efforts but now all are adults and living in the United States. Many Honduran volunteers have stepped up and taken on responsibilities in the ministry's activities.
Currently the Rudds are working in 5 cities in Honduras – Siguatepeque (where they live), La Esperanza, Jesus de Otoro, La Paz and Las Vegas.
In Siguatepeque they hold weekly sign language classes, with hearing and Deaf students in this class. They also teach the Bible in a school (Escuela Especial) for special needs children, which has 16 deaf students and 50 more with other disabilities.
The Rudds also lead in a church for Deaf, cooperatively with a hearing local church. They enjoy a service dedicated to the Deaf as well as participate in the hearing worship service, which they interpret into LESHO (Honduran Sign Language).
In La Esperanza, students include deaf and non-verbal children as well as 2 women who have never learned language as they grew up. Even as old as age 38, students blossom as they have gone from learning their own names to communicating with each other and their families.
In Jesus de Otoro, Las Vegas and San Buenaventura classes for LESHO and the Bible are held for Deaf children and their families as well as teachers and other interested hearing folks.
La Paz began with many Deaf children and young adults attending along their families, school teachers and church leaders. This has grown as the Department of Education asked the Rudds to train their public school teachers in sign language. Over the past 2 years, over 100 teachers have attended their Saturday afternoon classes in order to learn how to communicate with the Deaf students in their schools and communities. Most of these teachers are Christians, which opens the door for so much more Christian influence with the Deaf community. We praise God for this awesome multiplication of efforts now and in the future.
There has never been any significant teaching of sign language in these towns. The classes have a wide range of ages, abilities and learning levels which requires a variety of and teaching approaches. Most classes are divided for a portion of the time to attend to the needs of everybody and teach them at the level and method best for each student. Personal attention is something we strive for, building relationships and helping the Deaf feel accepted and loved. Always, the overall goal is to teach the God's Word and share His great love.
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