- Liz Ortiz
The Light Shines in the Darkness
It was beginning to get dark. I was in the car with a few friends. We were driving along the bumpy African road to get into town. We needed to pick up a couple of things for the next day. There aren’t any street lights so everything is dark except for the few small store fronts. There's not much of a night life here. The most exciting thing to do at night is to watch the TV in the store front.
I walked past a crowd of Togolese gathered around the TV. They were watching some type of soap opera from Nigeria. I continued on and bought what I needed. As we left the store and were getting ready to head home, I asked my colleague about what they watching.
She explained, “It doesn’t matter what is playing on the TV. They will watch it.” She paused. “They don’t monitor what their kids watch. I’ve seen kids watching graphic and violent content. I say something to the parents, but there's not a better option in their language. As soon as I turn away, they go back to watching it.”
I started to think about the videos that I watched as kid like Veggie Tales and Adventures in Odyssey. They were fun to watch, taught biblical truths, and were in my language. I did not fully appreciate the value of these resources until now, and my heart became sad and burdened knowing that the Togolese did not have anything like this in their tribal language.
We were almost home when my colleague turned to me. “Liz! You could make Christian soap operas!” We both laughed at the idea. However, this conversation sparked what we hope will be a wonderful thing: a Christian video series called Heroes of the Bible.
We've decided that the show will be scripted, and Togolese kids will be the actors. Each episode will tell a different Bible story in their native language. Our first story will be on Daniel in the Lions den. We are currently working on a script and figuring out filming locations. I’m excited about this project coming together and having another way of sharing Biblical truths into the Togolese’ homes.
Another exciting growing ministry is Deaf Ministry. One of the career missionaries, Stephanie, knows sign language. This month we began co-teaching Jonas’ class on some basic ASL. The kids are enjoying it. We also learned of a Deaf school in a city 45 minutes away from us. When we visited this school a couple of weeks ago, we were excited to learn that they use American Sign Language! There are 42 students at the Deaf school. They were excited to see that we knew sign. Although they are not a Christian school, they are open to us coming back and possibly starting a Bible study. I’m excited about the possibilities!
There are a lot of needs here in Togo. Everyday I am praying for wisdom on how I respond. My schedule is getting full, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve. I can’t believe how close I am to the half way point of my time here. Time is flying! I’m finding that priotizing and time management are key here. Please pray that I will stay focused and stay on track so that I can finish well. It feels funny saying “finishing well,” but I know that October will be here before I know it!
Discovering the Deaf school and learning that they use American Sign Language!
Wisdom on how to reach the 42 Deaf students
A full time ASL Interpreter missionary – such a huge opportunity for one!
Wisdom on creating the kids Bible video series
Wisdom in time management