When Erik confessed his faith on the festival of Pentecost, the entire family of believers watched and strained to hear his confession. His chubby fingers were surprisingly dexterous as he signed the words, and he also spoke, as if what he was signing was bursting through the silence of his deafness. This is what he said on the day of his confirmation: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not die but have life forever.”
He paused, fished a card from the pocket beneath his robe, glanced at it and put it back. Then he continued in his combination of sign language and garbled verbal speech: “What does this mean to me? It means that Jesus died for my sins. It means God loves me. It means when I die I will go to heaven.”
Stephen Paul Bouman is executive director of Evangelical Outreach and Congregational Mission for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and author of Grace All Around Us: Embracing God's Promise in Tragedy and Loss.