*(name changed for privacy)
Mattie’s grandparents were both Deaf. Her grandfather was born deaf and used sign language loosely as a child. Mattie’s grandmother was born hearing, and was well on her way to acquiring spoken language until age three when she acquired scarlet fever which caused profound hearing loss.
Mattie’s grandparents met at a Deaf school and later married. They went to live on the family farm and her grandfather worked various jobs with his father; general store, sawmill, farming and odd jobs that became available.
Their first child, a son, was hearing and was sent to live with an aunt and uncle to learn to speak as well as sign. The second child, Mattie’s mother, arrived 7 years later and was bilingual in English and American Sign Language.
As a young girl, Mattie’s grandfather came to visit her and spent time in the home. She recalls a precious time when her grandfather sat on the swing on the front porch, clutching his Bible next to his heart. She could see that he loved “that Book.”
Mattie often heard stories of Deaf children who were treated poorly as if they had a defect, a curse, or were just forgotten.
As you would expect, these experiences were formative for Mattie. She has developed a heart for the Deaf who’ve been neglected and she desires to reach them for Christ. The Deaf have become her focus for generous giving.