"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress..." James 1:27a
At Sam's Place, Deaf orphans are given hope and a future through a Christian-based program in an environment that is conducive to spiritual and academic growth. Instruction is provided using Kenyan Sign Language (KSL), a visual language easily accessible to Deaf students. The program emphasizes stewardship, emotional stability, spiritual maturity, integrity, honesty, self-control, compassion and respect. Students are equipped with the tools they will need to make their way in life and make a difference for God wherever they may go.
The students at Sam's Place all experienced significant loss and hardship at a very early age. Because of the way their culture views disabilities, these children were hidden away, shunned or abandoned. With no access to education and no one to teach them a language they could understand, these children were isolated and defenseless. Most had few, if any, belongings. Some didn't even have a name. Few had any language at all. Their future was bleak.
When the children arrived at Sam's Place, they could not imagine how their lives were about to change. Without language, there was no way to explain to them what was about to happen. With no language, they could not ask questions or express concerns.
The day they arrived, the children were given food and medical care. They were shown to a bed - their very own bed - with a mattress, clean sheets, a handmade quilt and a mosquito net. They were given clothes, school uniforms and shoes. For many of the children, this was their very first pair of shoes.
The children probably noticed the people around them understood what it meant to be DEAF! They used gestures and facial expression to communicate instead of just talking and giving up when not understood. Eventually, the children learned to recognize these gestures as signs and became proficient in expressing their wants, needs and emotions.
God knows the plans he has for these precious children - plans to give them hope and a future!
Sam's Place functions under the oversight of the South 11th and Willis Church of Christ in Abilene, Texas. The Willis Missions Committee, with input from an Advisory Board, works with the Executive Director of Sam's Place to make decisions regarding the day-to-day running of Sam's Place.
South 11th and Willis Church of Christ also oversees the funds used to run Sam's Place. Sponsorship funds, donations and endowments are used to cover operating expenses and special construction projects. In addition to these funds, other congregations and individual donors have partnered with Willis to cover the cost of specific needs. Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas has provided support for one of our team members for several years and CrossPoint Church of Christ in Grand Prairie, Texas has joined forces with Willis to provide support for Sam's Place.