Different

As I sit here today, I ponder the question of what to write about in the blog. The heat and humidity? The innumerable amount of varying bug bites, bruises, and scratches scattered across my body? The exhaustion that is taking over my entire body and mind?Or maybe the bible story that I need to teach for VBS tomorrow? These things are all on my mind today as I get ready to embark on a new day. But, none of these are the most important things about this journey to Puerto Rico.
Last night at our devotional, we discussed trials. And as I look back on my previous trip to Puerto Rico, I do not remember this immense amount of trials and stretching that the Lord allowed me to endure throughout the course of just two weeks. That being said, it is of course a good and satisfying feeling to see the growth in some of my fellow team members and myself in such a short period of time. Many of the more reserved members have really opened up and stronger bonds are being formed. Many of the bonds being formed however, are not just between the team.
My ability to so easily connect with many of the students is unbelievable. Although our lives are completely different, we are still able to communicate, laugh, play, and have an amazing time. Two of the girls that have been staying on campus have really connected with the “under twenty”(not really teen) women on our team. I had the ability to go shopping with these two girls and spend some time with them by myself. Although this was a bit intimidating and scary, we had an amazing time. (I am really learning how to get around using large or hard to sign words.) These girls are so silly and loud just like any other hearing girl in the U.S. So many times we/I forget that deaf people are no different than hearing people, we just need to make an effort to get to know them and communicate. All of the kids are so willing to assist any team member that is in need, because they so much desire someone with whom they can talk. They want to know who we are; our likes and dislikes, our families, favorite colors, and so much more. These students inspire me, and they seem to be teaching me just as much as I am teaching them.
Although I have been to Puerto Rico once before, I can honestly say that this experience is much different. Just as the deaf culture is both similar and different to the hearing culture. Many people get the wrong idea when the word different is used, so here are some words that I believe can be synonymous with the word different.
Different ≠ Good
Different ≠ Bad
Different ≠ Like
Different ≠ Dislike
Different ≠ Scary
Different = New
Different = Exciting
Different = Interesting
Different = Unknown
Different = Different
I am truly enjoying my new, exciting, interesting, unknown, and DIFFERENT trip to Puerto Rico.
Thank you so much for your continuous support and prayers.

Hayley

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