The Adventist Church has organized a workshop to prepare ambassadors to reach people with special needs (deaf) at Valley View University, Accra.
The four day workshop was organized on June 16-19, 2016 on the theme ‘equipping the church to reach people with special needs.’’
The workshop was organized for representatives from seven fields within the Southern Ghana Union Conference (SGUC) comprising the Volta, South-East, Diamond Field, Eastern View, Pioneers, East and South Ghana Conferences with a total of twenty nine (29).
The President of the Southern Ghana Union Conference, Pastor Thomas Techie Ocran, officially opened the workshop with these words ‘many years ago we had the challenge of bringing people with special needs into God’s vineyard, but I am happy this dream is becoming a reality’’.
Pastor T.T added that, the purpose for the workshop was to equip participants to reach the world especially the hearing-impaired people and to ultimately establish churches for the hearing impaired within the Union.
A resource person from Ghana Association for Deaf Mr. George Pinto was the main speaker who took participants through the following:
1. Introduction of Sign Language
2. Categories of Deaf People
3. Myths & Facts about deafness
4. Manual Alphabets
5. Finger spelling and practice
6. Deaf Culture and History
7. Manual Communication Aids
8. Activity/Vocabulary (Pronounce & Question Words)
At the end of the workshop participants were able to sign their names, numerals, alphabets and knew the Dos and Don’ts in Deaf culture.
Mr. Pinto advised participants to fasten their belt to be able to meet the challenge that comes their way as beginners.
“Don not go and make fun of a deaf person with these few signs, also do not approach them with gifts it may drive them away from you, but when you meet, just feel like meeting a hearing person then they can be free with you to bring them closer’’.
Mr. Pinto commend the Church for such an initiative and encouraged participants to continue their good work by reaching out to people with hearing problem.
In an interview with some of the participants, Josephine Turkson from Pioneers Ghana Administrative Unit said she was already was in school taking a course on communicating with the hearing impaired.
“I am glad to be elected to be part of this workshop, though I am above the basics as taught here but it has made me more efficient with what I have already been taught. I also now realize I can reach those with special needs with the good messages that Jesus loves them, am glad I can be part of this ministry,’’ she said.
‘I never knew deaf language is so interesting, from here I will know how to deal with them having known their likes and dislikes so I can bring them to God,’ said Emmanuel Akrofi Yeboah from Eastern View Ghana Administrative Unit.
The Coordinator for Special needs, Pastor Alfred Asiem happy because though the time for the training was not adequate, the interest in the deaf ministry has been established. Beyond the workshop, Pastor Asiem said each field would be encouraged to organise training session for those interested in learning sign language.