Sign Language Interpreter – Bridging the gap SELFLESSLY!

Continuing on with the Praying Pelican Missions’ blog series about everyday missionaries:

“We, who have accepted Jesus as Lord, are all missionaries! Each of us may not be living abroad or leading mission trips as a career, but the truth is, everyone can be a missionary.  This blog series will span across multiple blogs from our PPM Mission Coordinators and Advocates and will serve to showcase people who are living daily with a missional mindset. We will be giving a voice to a barista, who shares the love of Christ through espresso shots each morning. We will be the platform for a tired mom next door to share how she impacts her child’s friends when they come over for a sleepover. We will be the helping hand to a Pastor who wants to encourage his congregation to get involved. The school teacher who invests in his students and wants to see them succeed and know Christ. The janitor who humbly and lovingly listens to his co-workers as they vent and confess their sins to him. We pray these stories will encourage and challenge us all to live our lives as missionaries everyday, in our own unique mission fields!”

I asked my good buddy, Kira Lawson, to write about her mission mindset in being an American Sign Language interpreter… LIKE ME! Kira and I went to the University of Tennessee together – Go Vols! I have enjoyed her friendship so very very much.  Kira recently passed the big dog test of interpreting – the NIC (National Interpreting Certification)! Woot Woot.  

Praying Pelican is ALL about bridging cultures and people. Well… that’s exactly what sign language interpreters do… RIGHT IN OUR OWN BACKYARD! They bridge the gap between the hearing and Deaf world by facilitating communication between the two! It’s a beautiful thing! Deaf people then have access to the hearing world, and the hearing have the amazing opportunity to have a look into the Deaf culture… an amazing thing in itself! And… many people may not know, but the Deaf population, as a whole, is an unreached people group (less than 2% claim to be evangelical Christians).  So… interpreters who love Jesus are a treasure! 

With all the hype going on about fake interpreters and such and because I love her tons, I wanted to showcase Kira! Here’s what Kira says about her every missionary life:

My name is Kira Lawson and I am a certified sign language interpreter.  I have a husband and two dogs.  We live in Knoxville, Tennessee. Our life is always crazy and chaotic, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Kira and her husband on date night. 

I met Anna Morgan while in college and she’s one of the reasons that I chose the field that I’m in today.  During my career so far, I’ve seen a lot of different scenarios and had a lot of new experiences.  I’m an interpreter both in the community and video relay settings. So how am I a missionary daily?

Here are their 2 dogs – Coco Chanel (we call her a miniature black lab HA!) and Cheyenne (chocolate lab)

I think what I’ve learned to be one of the most beautiful things about a person is their attitude. Their heart. Their compassion. Everyday I encounter lots of people, both deaf and hearing. Co-workers, clients, people at Target, friends, family, and even the person at the gas station who needs money for milk.  I used to live a life where I thought, “well that’s their problem, not mine” or “that sucks for them…” I was prideful of the life I had built for myself. And then I realized how selfish I was being and what an ugly heart I had.

So I prayed. I prayed to have the desire to be compassionate. To be positive. To be the blessing to those who may just be having a crummy day.  Here’s where my heart has been dwelling lately.

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others.”  Philippians 2:3-4

I decided to be a blessing at all times. Am I perfect?  Of course not. But I decided to change my attitude. So how did I do this?  I took one day at a time.  It might be telling a sick client that I’m praying for them. Or remembering a client’s favorite drink and bringing it by the hospital. Or making a co-worker laugh when their day isn’t going so great. Maybe it’s volunteering in the Deaf community and building relationships. Or it’s talking about what God is doing in my life.  Perhaps it’s encouraging a young new interpreter in the field. Even something as simple as a compliment. We should build each other up instead of tearing one another down. As a daughter, I want to please my Heavenly Father and show his love to others. I want to BLESS others daily with His compassion.

It’s all about the attitude. In my daily mission field, my goal is to strive to be more like Christ. To bless others. To have a compassionate heart. A beautiful heart.

So thankful for Kira. Make sure to keep up with her on her blog

Check out the other blogs in this everyday mission series: 

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