Overcoming Deafness by Listening to God - Part 3

Posted by Gayle Raif on

My son and daughter-in-law, Doug and Pam, lived on acreage southeast of Austin.  They borrowed a large travel trailer from friends and set it up for Mark and me in a spot through the woods from their own mobile home.  I already was getting disability payments and now got them for Mark because he was my minor child. 


Doug and Pam wanted to raise crops for the produce market and asked me to help.  At a conference, Pam and I met Ernesto, who was the State agricultural director for the southwest region.  He knew farmers who needed a market for their crops and I knew how to find the market.


Ernesto and Pam began urging me to go back to college.  I protested vehemently, “Why?  I’m deaf now.  What good is it going to do me?”  They both replied, “A lot.”  One day Ernesto made me promise at least to talk with a counselor at what is now DARS.  The first thing he said was that I needed to go to Gallaudet…in Washington, DC.  No way!  It was 1500 miles away, I didn’t know anyone there, there was no way for me to get a job, I had no support system, I didn’t even have any money for a move, and I didn’t have a car. Finally he said they would pay my tuition and for a note taker in class if I went to a local university. I agreed, but it was too late to register for the fall semester.


God had other plans and gave me the desire to go to Gallaudet.  After all, I was deaf and that was a university for people who are deaf.  I made the application and then tried to get a job somewhere to make the money to move.   Despite applying several places where I knew I could work, nothing happened.   I even applied at the State School for the Deaf in Austin, but they repeatedly told me they couldn’t find my application.  God has a way of firmly slamming doors in my face.


After I left Art, we had put our farm up for sale but the buyer who put down a deposit backed out.  In November we had another buyer.  My share was enough for the move, but not enough to live on until I found work in Washington.  I went to the church where I was food service director after I closed down the bakery and asked if they wanted to buy the equipment I had left there and named a price.  They accepted, so now I had enough money.


In December I flew to Washington to visit the campus and find a place to live.  I was sitting in the Administration Office, surrounded by three women who were encouraging me to wait until fall when I could take an intensive course in American Sign Language before the semester started.  All the classes are signed and I didn’t know any sign language.  Finally I said, “God wants me to come now.”  They said, “If that’s what God is saying, then you are officially admitted to Gallaudet.”  Six weeks after the semester began, I saw one of the women in the elevator and she asked how I was doing.  I replied, “I’m doing fine, Rosa.  God didn’t bring me here to fail.”


Back home I began packing a 15 foot rental truck.  The morning we were to leave, I discovered Mark was not there and had not slept in his bed.  Doug found fresh tire tracks outside and we knew Art had taken him.  Doug called the sheriff where Art lived, explained the situation, and they picked him up and put him in jail.  That night I pulled up to the sheriff’s office to pick up Mark.  The deputy said maybe I ought to stay the night because it was so late.  I told him, “We need to go now because God will protect us.”  He said that we should go.  At 10:30 that night I headed east, never having driven a truck that size, not knowing what lay ahead, but only with the assurance God was leading me and smoothing my path.


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