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How Orphan Voice Partners Stopped a Downward Slide of One Young Boy

Gang Leader in the Making 

As a young child, Phu was growing up wild. Born deaf to hearing parents in a rural district of Vietnam, no one in his life knew any sign language. Pointing, grunting, and rudimentary family “signs” were his only voice. Phu was just a toddler when his parents, whose main income comes from selling rice and watermelon, scraped together the money to seek help for his hearing at a hospital in Hanoi. Their disappointment during that trip was multiplied when young Phu fell at the hospital and seriously injured his cheek. Turned away from the local school, Phu and a few other deaf children were fast becoming a very young “street gang”—involved in petty theft and destructive behavior. A natural-born leader, Phu's life was going nowhere fast and other children were following his downward spiral.

And then, when Phu was eight, a miracle happened. Your gifts and prayers enabled Orphan Voice to provide hope for Phu, other deaf children, and their families through New Beginnings School for the Deaf.

 

Sign language classes for the whole family and community!

 

Phu’s life took a dramatic turn. Through the loving teachers at New Beginnings, in short order Phu had a name that he could sign and spell; a growing vocabulary to express his ideas, feelings, and questions; basic math, reading, and writing skills; friends to share with; and, for the first time, a way to talk to his mother and father as Orphan Voice staff taught sign language to family and community members on the weekends.

Seven years after those early milestones, Phu wonders what his future holds. Predominantly, Vietnamese society spurns any type of difference or disability as weakness and inability. Entry-level jobs, made scarce by the Covid virus lockdowns, are even more scant for the deaf. But you have stepped in again!

Seeing Beyond the Here and Now

Because of your generosity, recently Orphan Voice purchased the machinery necessary to produce die-cut, beautifully intricate pop-up greeting cards. The cards are very popular in Vietnam and around the world. Working with a design from our creative office staff, the students at New Beginnings began to learn the production process under teacher Mai’s watchful eye.

The first attempts were frustrating. Smudges and mistakes sent many trial pieces to the trash can.

Phu despaired of the careful detailed work required to assemble the card. Requests for breaks became more frequent, as did long yawns and stretches. His dismal attitude and frequent complaints were becoming contagious. Phu wanted to give up and accept failure; others were following his lead.

 

Mai communicates an important truth to the students: "...things which are seen are temporary; things which are not seen are eternal."

 

In the midst of the difficulty, Mai remembered a truth from the Bible that she shared with the students:

"Our temporary minor problems are producing an eternal stockpile of glory for us that is beyond all comparison. We don't focus on the things that can be seen. The things that can be seen don't last, but the things that can't be seen are eternal."

2 Corinthians 4:17-18

Mai explained to the students that the visible cards in front of them were only a promise of what they could become: opportunities to overcome obstacles and master a difficult task even in the face of discouragement; to prove to themselves and others their abilities and skill; and maybe even make a way to an independent, financially productive life—or a personal business venture. Even more, their handiwork today would bring delight to people around the world in weeks to come, testifying of Jesus’ birth!


Phu took these words to heart. He returned to his worktable and Mai saw an immediate transformation in his attitude. He applied himself to the task with new determination and focus. Carefully, he perfectly completed several of the delicate designs. Mai praised his work and he returned a huge smile—happy and proud of his achievement. Phu’s example was as infectious as his earlier gloom. Two other students who had left the workspace returned with new enthusiasm and energy as well.

 

Thanks to you, Phu is off the streets, receiving an education and job training. You provided for a school, loving teachers, and modern equipment.

As a deaf person in a rural village in Vietnam, Phu will undoubtedly face many obstacles, prejudice, and difficulties. Your prayers and gifts have helped to make some of those “rough places plain”—in caring for the hurting, the discouraged, the disadvantaged, you have prepared the way of the Lord (see Isaiah 40:3-5).

Orphan Voice
P.O. Box 910410
Lexington, KY 40591
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