(Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Ashley Francis. Ashley and her team are on the World Race, currently serving in India. You can follow Ashley on her blog.)
One hundred and thirty deaf kids, kids who can’t hear the sound of laughter, or language, or the complexity of music.
This is where AIM places the team created for worship, with three guitarists and outstanding vocalists, making music for God is what we are good at.
The problem is that no one will be able to hear it.
How do we worship now?
I remember driving up to this boarding school and being completely clueless on how basic communication would look. We would teach devotionals every morning and evening. In-between we taught classes. Class ranged from art, PE, English, science, math, computer, pretty much anything and everything you did in school back home.
The kids know sign language, but it’s in an Indian dialect, so even if we knew American Sign Language it’s useless.
The kids were beyond amazing, I’ve never seen children SO patient and kind with helping teach us their language.
Onto devotionals, here goes nothin’. Between the twelve of us, we really had no clue what to do. We walked into the first day where Ms. Tara leads out in devo to give us an idea of how she does it and the kids began to do their daily prayers.
It’s earth shattering.
When the kids sign they will try to “talk” out loud which is just kind of like a groan or a noise. They don’t know what words sound like so it just comes out like whatever they think it should sound like. So here we are, watching 130 kids sign their prayers, eyes closed, and moaning to their Dad. I can’t even place into words what that is like for your heart. I remember the twelve of us got together afterwards (some of us crying) and just knowing we witnessed a piece of heaven on earth. I saw a place where God hung out, His place of retreat in good ol’ Pune, India. Ms. Tara then passed the responsibility onto us for evening devo’s and tells us we’d start that night. We just looked at one another and thought we’d try out worship.
Whoever is reading this, my life changed that night.
God came down and wrecked the snot out of me (and I’m pretty sure the other 11 racers I was with). See, God has been pursuing me with worship since month one of this race. He then decided to call me to a more quiet place of worship in Kenya when I recognized that I was no longer leading worship for Him, but myself. God blessed me with a guitar and the quick ability to learn, but I lost the heart for Him. I started becoming more concerned with how worship “sounded”, how it “looked”, and all the other crap that comes with it. For a solid four months I quit playing guitar because I wasn’t exactly sure how to get past caring about the flesh of it all.
Back to that night in India…
We decided to give it a shot. Bryan picked up the guitar and started playing our default of ‘Set a Fire’, Matt began to play his drum, and a few of us girls then picked up the worship flags and started swinging those bad boys around. All of a sudden we noticed they were swaying back in forth. We stopped worship and signed to them. We asked if they could hear us.
They could feel the vibrations.
I really shouldn’t say anything more, because I feel like that’s enough of a “drop the mic” moment. They felt the freaking vibrations. They started signing the lyrics to “Set a Fire” and began to groan for Him. They began to pray in sign along with their moans for Him. They began to clap and sway. One took Matt’s drum and began beating away. The others would watch Bryan stomp his foot to the beat of the song. We began passing out worship flags and let them wave them with all the freedom God gave them. I told you this was where God would hang out at.
I kid you not y’all, I have never seen the Holy Spirit fall so quickly and hard in my life…as I looked around I literally saw just about all of us crying. My life changed that night.
Children who can’t hear. Children who don’t know if you play the right chords or not. Children who don’t care if you hit the right key or not.
Who’s to say they needed healing of their deafness, because they were hearing God more clearly than I have my whole life. These are the same children who are worshiping to God with the most pure hearts I’ve ever seen…with the most beautiful music I’ve ever heard. Their heart song for Him.
Here I am. The end of month 9 in India and God has called me out of my quiet place.
He gave me a reason to sing.