Deaf Teen Quest (DTQ) brought 6 students and 3 volunteers to a week of Youth for Christ Camp designed specifically for the Deaf and hard of hearing. These students were able to spend an entire week in an environment where their language was the primary form of communication. Many deaf youth are isolated and lonely. Some even live in homes where not everyone in their family speaks ASL. DTQ camp offers these youth an opportunity for connection, acceptance, normalcy, understanding, and-of course- opportunities to hear the Gospel.
DTQ Cleveland has an average of 17 students who come to club. Paul, DTQ Ministry Director, dreams of bringing all 17 to camp. However, he simply doesn’t have the number of volunteers necessary to hit the right adult to student ratio. Realistically, with his current volunteers, he plans to bring 3 volunteers, 8 youth, and 2 deaf-blind interpreters to camp. (If you are reading this, please pray God will send more workers to the harvest.) The total cost for this group to attend DTQ camp will be about $6,900.In order to off-set the cost of camp, Paul, Heather (Paul’s Wife and DTQ volunteer), and their students have scheduled a series of fundraisers at Grace Church in Middleburg Heights.
For their first fundraiser, the students made macrame decorations, key chains, and bookmarks as well as reusable wax covers for food. Students met together for weeks and learned a new skill while building relationship with the DTQ team. Then, they sold these items at Grace’s Christmas Craft fair. Heather had to fight back tears as she watched a whole stream of Christ followers visit their table placing their hands on the students and tangibly showing them that God the Father cares and provides. This fundraiser made $1,200! Enough money to send 3 students to camp for free.
For their second fundraiser, a few girls met with Heather and made chocolates! One of the students, Heather had been trying to reconnect with for awhile. The student slowly warmed back up, but as they tied ribbons on the chocolate packages, the girl asked “How can I forgive someone who is still around me and hasn’t changed?” Heather shared what the Bible says about forgiveness and how to love our enemies, while discussing what healthy boundaries look like. She especially encouraged the student to meditate on Psalm 5.
The chocolates were then sold on a Sunday in February at Grace Church. This fundraiser made $2,000 enough to send nearly 5 more youth to Camp! It is amazing how much God has provided through these fundraisers both financially and in relationship building.
More to Come
Heather and Paul are working on developing a few more fundraisers before camp (7/25/23-7/29/23) in hopes of being able to send Volunteers for free and hire a few deaf-blind interpreters to help the deaf-blind youth navigate camp well. Last year, at camp they learned how a Deafblind student would really benefit from additional interpreters. The volunteers were physically and mentally taxed from the constant interpreting. Fortunately, some of the campers stepped in to help. Paul would like to relieve some of this burden from both the volunteers and the campers by hiring a Deafblind interpreter for camp this year. Please pray for Deaf Teen Quest as they continue to prepare for camp!
Would you like to help them meet their goal? Click here to give!
(In the fund field, choose DTQ Scholarship.)
Paul left today with 3 other adult volunteers and 6 students for Eagle Rock Camp in Tennessee! This is an amazing opportunity where our Cleveland Deaf teens will get to spend a week immersed in creation, friendship and the Gospel message ALL IN THEIR LANGUAGE and culture! They will be surrounded by Christ-loving ASL fluent adults and 75 other Deaf youth, just like them.
Today was a successful day of canoeing, hiking, swimming in a hidden waterfall up in the mountains with all the boys. The girls went innertubing. Our Deaf Blind student had a blast. Our volunteers and the camp staff went above and beyond to make sure she had a fun and safe time on the river. At night we had a great discussion with the boys about devotion to God. One young man opened up about his desire to do what God called him to do. He said the thought sparked in his head as they were canoeing down the river (in asl he signed) "If God tell me to do something what I do it"
The leaders devotion this morning was about the resurrection. That is the theme for today. Pray that we are able to have fun with the students today, build relationships with them and memories so we can earn the right to share the hope of the resurrection with them tonight. All the girls had a blast canoeing and hiking to a waterfall. Including our Deaf/Blind student. Paul was reluctant to take her on this difficult trip and wasn't sure what would be best. But the volunteers form Cleveland and the staff from Eagle Rock again went above and beyond to make sure she had a safe and fun time. He got some great footage of her going down the rock waterslide!
The boys went inner-tubing and all had a great time. The water was very busy with many people tubing and at times our group had to be split up and we all made it back safely. Later, Paul had a powerful discussion time with our Cleveland boys after club. 2 hours of guy talk, how to live into our calling as men and what the resurrection means for our lives today. "I wish I could stay here. I'm safe here" was the response of one of the boys. He was referring to their conversation about temptation (the camp confiscated all the kids phones upon arrival. That is their way and the parents were informed ahead of time.) At home he is surrounded with opportunities to sin and temptations. They talked about how to steady your mind and trust God to avoid destructive living. Paul got to pray a fatherly prayer over the boys asking God to bless them and protect them.