|Members of Christ the King Death Church. Source: Living Lutheran|
Growing up deaf in the Philippines, Mary Grace Asuncion felt unsupported in church. Her family didn’t speak sign language and were not willing to learn. She said, “I wasn’t able to talk to anybody. My mind was dead. It was extremely frustrating.”
Upon moving to the United States in 2013, Asuncion suffered through an abusive marriage that culminated in separation following the intervention of law enforcement in a domestic violence suit.
This was when she found Christ the King Deaf Church in West Chester and Philadelphia. Led by Beth Lockard – the first deaf female pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) – the church is designed to cater to an audience of deaf worshipers and their families.
Getting involved in the congregation, Asuncion started taking classes to improve her English and her American Sign Language (ASL). The classes were a Godsend. With enhanced English and ASL skills she was able to complete driver’s education classes and U.S. citizenship classes.
Being accepted at Christ the King not only boosted Asuncion’s confidence but also helped her to understand her value as a child of God.
Now an American citizen, Asuncion has her own apartment and works at a county hospital. She said, “I’m happy. Before, when I was alone, nothing made sense. So now, the Bible, church, working with people, history, communities, it all makes sense. … [I have] a community, and the sermons make sense, and that’s what is most important.”
Source: Living Lutheran