Nov 12, 2018
Yesenia was born Deaf to a low income family with addiction issues. Her parents treated her like she had a disease or an illness. They didn’t think it was acceptable to take her out in public, so she spent most of her days doing household chores while the rest of the family went out for errands or to have fun.
Yesenia’s parents never learned to communicate with her. A couple of her sisters used gestures, but she still missed out on most communication. She felt like they were disappointed in her because she was different. She was isolated, rejected, and broken.
Unfortunately, Deaf people in Mexico often have heartbreaking stories like Yesenia with physical, psychological, and sexual abuse. However, God is using Jesus and Michelle Zuniga through Con Mis Manos to give hope and a better way of life to Deaf people as these students integrate into society and the local church. They have worked with the hearing impaired for 15 years and have a house where deaf women and children live. More than 40 people currently attend their school.
In her 20s Yesenia began attending class at Con Mis Manos (With My Hands). Jesus and Michelle Zuniga started this Deaf ministry to teach sign language as well as other areas of basic education, trade skills, and the gospel. Less than 0.5 percent of Deaf people in Mexico know Christ. Con Mis Manos gave Yesenia valuable tools of communication, as well as a healthy view of herself. She now knows she is made in the image of God, and has accepted Christ as her savior and been baptized, despite the objections and mocking of her family.
Today, Yesenia is a strong woman and friend. In 2015, she married fellow Con Mis Manos student Daniel, and they have a 19-month-old boy who is learning both Spanish and sign language. Yesenia and her husband serve as dorm parents for the Con Mis Manos boys’ home, and Yesenia teaches in the school.
She is still fighting to be understood as she faces difficult issues in the community, including discrimination. Store security officers have forced her to leave because they don’t allow Deaf shoppers. During her pregnancy, some people even questioned her ability to be a good mom. Yesenia’s parents are trying to gain custody of their grandson. The state often sides with hearing grandparents over Deaf parents.
Yesenia is sharing her story in a new GNPI documentary, The Life of a Deaf Person, to help people better understand and relate to the struggles of being Deaf. Her goal is improved communication and opportunities for Deaf people throughout Latin America. Resources to share the gospel with hearing-impaired people in Latin America are scarce. When our GNPI team in Mexico met Jesus and Michelle a few years ago, they asked if GNPI had any programs for the Deaf. We didn’t have any at the time, so our team began working with Jesus, Michelle, and Yesenia to create The Global Gospel in Mexican sign language (LSM). She and Daniel have invested countless hours in their roles as the narrator and Jesus. Yesenia is thrilled to help with this special project because she wants the thousands of Deaf in Mexico to understand God’s love for them.