Chicken Soup for the Deaf – A Smile is Understood

A Smile Is Understood In All Languages

We thought we were prepared for our first Ukrainian Deaf Camp. We had worked for hours on learning Ukrainian Signs, and were as ready as we could be. We boarded the plane and flew for almost one day to get to Zhytomyr, Ukraine. We picked up the campers from the local Deaf School and headed to the camp. We got the kids settled and were standing at the dining hall when a group of Deaf boys in a straight line came running up to us. They were bouncing a “U” hand on the side of the temple on their head.

We knew they were eager to know something, but we could not remember what that Sign meant. Terry and I looked at each other trying to remember what that Sign was. In their frustration, they began to spell the Ukrainian word. I tried to explain that we did not speak that language. They then began to “mouth” the word for us and to say it the best they could. Finally they ran away. They ran to a small spring-house, and opened the door. I realized they were looking for the bathroom. Finally I showed them where it was. They signed excitedly, “Thank you.”

By the end of that week, I was able to Sign one message. I’m thankful for God’s grace to help us where we are not able. He is faithful and will use us in spite of our weaknesses if we are willing to allow Him. Don’t hesitate, jump in and serve God!

We learned that a smile and thank you can be understood in all languages.

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