I just have a lot to say.
June 5th, 2014 by

Coran’s Ears

This story is not about Celeste. It has words in it like I, me, and my, but only because it is told from my perspective. (See, there’s one of those words again!) The story is about a little deaf boy and a mighty God. Please, just hear that.

Sister Betty placed the children in two straight lines out the door and down the steps in the front of Hamilton Mountain Baptist Church in St. Mary Parish, Jamaica. The older girls helped organize. They put the littlest ones first. The older boys slunk to the back like they were too cool to be there. But they were there.


At Sister Viney’s direction, the children marched two by two into the church singing, “We are ma-arching in the light of God. We are marching in the light of God.” They pledged allegiance to the Jamaican flag, the Christian flag, and the Bible. They sang the Jamaican national anthem. By the end of the week, the American kids knew every word: Jamaica! (boom!) Jamaica! (boom!) Jamaica, land we love!

It was 2010. My twin daughters were 16 years old and had just finished the 10th grade. We went with our church youth group to Ocho Rios, Jamaica, to lead Vacation Bible School at a couple of local churches. (I know. American students are lazy . . .


. . . and only use Vacation Bible School as a way to get to Jamaica . . .


. . . but just for the “vacation” part . . .


. . . I know . . .


. . . I’ve heard.)


On Monday, we had about 50 children show up. By Friday, as word spread among the Jamaican children, there were over 200. Cory was there on the first day.  I don’t remember the first time I saw him. I don’t remember when I realized that he couldn’t hear or speak or sign. Most likely, he could not read either. But he could dance. And had a smile that lit up the church. He was flanked by two friends. They looked after him and spoke for him. The three of them came every day.


Cory is on the left.

My girls and I left Jamaica thinking of ways we could have sneaked him out of the country. For two years, my girls talked about him and prayed for him.  Had he been born in the USA, he would have had access to top-of-the-line medical care as a baby and extra assistance in school. In Jamaica, he no longer attended school. The teachers did not know how to help him. What kind of future could he have? What kind of job could he ever hold?

We put his picture up as our screen saver.

In 2012, our youth group returned to Jamaica. Abby, Emma, and I returned to Hamilton Mountain Baptist Church. Would he come to VBS? Would we ever see him again? We couldn’t wait to get to church on Monday morning.

“Mama! He’s here!!!”

He was again flanked by his friends, who insisted that his name was Coran. Evidently, he was now much too mature for a nickname.


Coran is on the right.

I spoke to Viney about him. I said basically, “I’m not anybody. I don’t know a thing about hearing impairment, but I know we serve an awesome God, and we live in friendly countries with helpful people. I am just a plain ole mama, but I would like to try to get help for him. What do you think? Would you help me?”


She agreed, but neither of us knew what that looked like. I imagine we both thought that was the end of that.

Fast forward to spring 2013. I was googling late one Friday night. I was not thinking about Coran. I was thinking about summer opportunities for my girls, when I stumbled upon a missions organization that supports a deaf school in Montego Bay, Jamaica!! They send teams there to play with the kids and do construction. THEY SEND MEDICAL TEAMS FROM VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY TO TEST FOR COCHLEAR IMPLANTS!!!

I emailed the website that night and heard back from the director first thing the following Monday morning. He said they could test Coran, if he could get to the school, about 3 hours from his home. I contacted Viney and asked her if she could get in touch with his mother. She did, and Coran’s mom got excited.

For various reasons, the trip kept getting postponed. I emailed back and forth all year with two new friends, Kim (from Vanderbilt) and Jaime (whose non-profit organization is funding the testing). I was so fretful. I was fearful of letting his mama down. How dare I interfere and give her hope and then crash it?! Who do I think I am, messing in people’s lives and emotions?

Finally, it appeared the kinks had been worked out, the wrinkles had been smoothed, the way had been prepared.

I emailed the parents of the kids in my church youth group, whom I had accompanied to Jamaica on the two trips. I asked for prayer and donations. I told them I wanted to wire money to Viney to pay for any expenses she would incur getting Coran to the school. That afternoon, I held a check 10 times larger than I anticipated any one person to give.

Our communication is comical. I cannot call Jamaica from my cell phone, but I can text there. Viney’s calling plan allows her to call the States, but her internet connection is unreliable. So, I email Kim, Jaime, and Dian (the principal at the Jamaican Christian School for the Deaf, which is run solely on contributions). I text Viney with the info that they give me, then she calls me and Coran’s mom to update the other. Sometimes, Viney gets so excited and talks so fast that I thinks she lapses into patios (a blended version of several languages that the Jamaicans use to speak to each other). Occasionally, I have no idea what she is saying. She will ask, “You know?” And I say, “Yes.”


On next Thursday, June 12, 2014, Viney, Coran, and his mom are going to the deaf school, so the 13-year-old boy can meet with the audiologists from Nashville, Tennessee, TO TEST FOR COCHLEAR IMPLANTS!!

Isn’t that crazy?

I have lived on the verge of tears for a week.

I am telling you all of this, just because. Because it’s a good story, and I like to tell good stories. Because you might want to pray. Because I want you to be encouraged. Because I get so downhearted sometimes because life is so stinking hard and scary and and then God answers a prayer that I didn’t even believe when I prayed it. Because I struggle to believe and the cute little deaf boy whom I met 4 years ago at VBS in a foreign country is getting tested for cochlear implants next week.


After that, I’m back to not knowing. What does it mean if he’s a candidate? What does it mean if he’s not? Would he come to the United States for implants? Could he attend the deaf school? What difference will all this make in his life?

I don’t know.

But I believe.

Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Isaiah 35:5







One Response to “Coran’s Ears”
  1. Praying and waiting for the next chapter, my friend. There is nothing like having a front row seat for a miracle. love you, Laurel

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.