While sitting in class in his Papua New Guinea high school, young Willie Siso noticed that he was having difficulty hearing. A doctor told him he had an inflammation in his ear. But Willie’s hearing continued to fail.
Why is God allowing this? he wondered. As his hearing deteriorated, Willie began learning sign language. He graduated from a teacher’s college and took a job teaching in a middle school. In addition to his regular class, he taught five hearing-impaired students of various ages.
In 2011 Willie enrolled at Pacific Adventist University to study theology. While teaching hearing-impaired children in a nearby school, he met Noah, an assistant teacher who was an Adventist. Noah told Willie that he didn’t attend church. “I can’t understand what is being said, and there’s no one to interpret for me,” he said. Then Noah’s face lit up. “Since you can still hear some, and you know sign language, let’s form a ministry for the hearing impaired.”
Willie and Noah began visiting hearing-impaired Adventists and inviting them to meet for worship on the university campus. Willie can still hear enough to interpret for the group of grateful believers.
The members welcomed the hearing-impaired believers and are helping with transportation to and from the campus outside the city. The group is growing and now includes 10 regular members plus visitors.
When the church pastor invited Willie to preach for church, he agreed, signing his own sermon for his hearing-impaired friends who attended. The next month Willie invited Noah to preach and the hearing-impaired group to lead out in Sabbath School. Willie interpreted for the hearing congregation.
“I have a burden for the hearing impaired,” Willie says. “I’d like to upload sermons in Pidgin sign language so that the hearing impaired can watch and be blessed.”
Willie is teaching sign language to other students on the Pacific Adventist University campus so that they can help reach out to the hearing impaired. “Almost every pastor and most other workers come across hearing-impaired people in their ministries,” he says. “If they can sign, they can minister to these people.”
Willie’s ministry continues to grow as the hearing-impaired members visit different churches each Sabbath. “Now I realize that God is using my hearing disability to open a new ministry for others in southern Papua New Guinea. Jesus said, ‘And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations’ (Matthew 24:14, NIV). The hearing impaired are part of our world; they need to hear too.
Our mission offerings support Pacific Adventist University, which serves students from Papua New Guinea and across the South Pacific Division. Thank you.
Willie Siso is a student at Pacific Adventist University in Papua New Guinea. He is preparing to serve God and the hearing impaired as a pastor.