“Okay, which street should we do next?” I asked my partner, Miriam.

“Let’s do this one,” Miriam said, pointing to the next block.

As Miriam and I turned the street, we immediately saw an old lady sitting on her porch steps on the left side of the street. We approached her and asked if she wanted a health screening but she didn’t answer so we asked again. As she turned towards us, she told us that she couldn’t hear us but she could read lips. My first thought was ‘Oh great—this is going to be rough.

Well, it was very difficult to communicate with her since she didn’t always look at us or read our lips correctly. We tried to write out questions on a piece of paper for her, but she also couldn’t find her glasses, so she wasn’t able to read the words very well.

As we began to ask questions about her health history, something popped into my head. I took a class last semester on communication disorders and for a project, I had to simulate a communication disorder. Remembering this helped me communicate with this lady better because I was able to understand a small snippet of her ability to communicate. I also remembered that some people’s lips are easier to read. As Miriam and I talked to her more, it was clear that she understood Miriam better so I was able to let Miriam take the lead.

It’s really amazing how God was able to show me how to integrate and bring in knowledge from school work into doing His work and helping other people. It has been really hard for me to see how to apply what I am learning in class into my faith and also my future, but God really showed me through this encounter. Through the past two weeks, He has also been able to show me how beautiful all His creation is; it became so much more clear through this woman how God showed Himself to me and changed my attitude. Unfortunately, we weren’t able engage with her about her faith or pray with her, but she seemed glad that we were there to talk to her. 

—Joanne Tan
SMI 2018