Ma’am Aimee Coryell, an American Christian with a caring heart for the Filipino Deaf

maam coryell flowers

Three weeks ago, December 27 to be exact, her Master told this lovely “DEAF” lady, “Well done, my good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of the Lord!” At 96, Rev. Aimee Ada Coryell went home to her Master…

I still remember how she proudly told me that she walks seven kilometers uphill to Deaf Evangelistic Alliance Foundation School (DEAF) in Cavinti, Laguna almost twice a month! These past years, advanced age has caught up with her. She can hardly even stand during her 93rd birthday. She was on and off the hospital while staying at a halfway house in Caloocan and attended by one of her deaf wards.

From Left: Ma’am Sarah Santa Ana of DEAF School in Palawan, me, Sir Cecilio Pedro of Lamoiyan Corporation (makers of Hapee Toothpaste) and Sir Salvador Cuare of DEAF School in Laguna

During her wake at Sanctuarium in Quezon City, I was blessed to fellowship with the man who took loving care of her legacy, Sir Salvador Cuare, the principal of DEAF School in Laguna. He still remembered me when we visited the school so many years ago. I confessed to him that I was there to honor and pay dear respect to a very wonderful Christian woman who has faithfully devoted her entire life preaching the gospel to those who cannot hear. A strong “Amen” was his thankful reply.

The Philippines, although Catholicism is the majority faith, has a significant number of other Christian denominations and groups. This also holds true with the circle of deaf groups. Many Catholic parishes as well as schools and laymen’s organizations embrace and support the deaf community. I have many friends who belong to these groups and I attended and fellowshipped with them at times although I don’t participate in their church activities. I am personally involved with non-Catholic Christian groups, specifically the Baptists and Evangelical churches. Ma’am Coryell belongs to this family.

Almost sixty years ago, or in 1961, a mother-daughter American missionary team (the late Ada Mable Corryell and her daughter Aimee Ada Coryell, staying in the Philippines and still serving the Lord through DEAF, Inc.) arrived from Japan and saw the urgent need in our country to help our hearing-impaired Filipinos and to share with them the Gospel. And so DEAF, Inc. was organized and registered as a non-profit organization in 1969 to formally educate the Filipino deaf.  (from Manila Bulletin column)

I made a few Facebook posts during her birthdays although I never attended in any of it. But I made it a point to be there in spirit and in prayers. I was one of the many many deaf and hearing people whom she has touched and have been influenced by her Godly words and actions.

Manila Christian Computer Institute for the Deaf was one of the schools that Ma’am Coryell has graciously collaborated with. Among the many wonderful activities we shared was assisting her in the publishing and promoting of her four books, “The Basic Way to English for the Deaf” in 1996. We continue to use this as our guide book in our English and Sign Language classes.

The Basic Way to English for the Deaf

She even expressed her gratitude by adding this on the acknowledgement page:

Thanks goes to Remberto “Jojo” I. Esposa Jr. and family of the Manila Christian Computer Institute for the Deaf Foundation, Inc. for the instructions and help they gave on putting the first book into the computer. 

Acknowledgement
Acknowledgement Page where Ma’am Coryell mentioned my name…

Although I was not able to spend a longer time with her unlike many of her deaf students in Laguna, those times I had with her were very fruitful and very humbling. Did you know that despite of staying here for many decades, she still cannot speak clear Tagalog? She can only utter perfect “PARA” to tell the jeepney driver to stop. I politely asked her why she never became fluent in Filipino. She confessed that she too has a problem with her ears. She is having difficulty hearing Tagalog pronunciations and diphthongs (sound formed by the combination of two vowels in a single syllable). But what she lacked in learning the local language, she compensated it with her love to the visual language of the Filipino Deaf.

I was blessed to personally experience how she has dedicated her life not just in educating the Filipino deaf, but also taking care of their physical well being. One time, I was with her in going to a government hospital in Quezon City to check up on a poor deaf girl who was confined there. She explained that there were no big hospitals in the province that are willing to accept her. That is why she took time to bring her all the way to the city. Ma’am Coryell also has no money during that time so she persuaded hospital officials by pledging herself as security for payment of bills so that they can attend to the deaf girl.

Alumni of DEAF School in Laguna who attended the wake
Alumni of DEAF School in Laguna who attended the wake

In behalf of the Board of Trustees of Manila Christian Computer Institute for the Deaf, we humbly salute this wonderful woman of faith and courage serving Christ by giving education to the Filipino deaf. Thank you very much for offering your entire life evangelizing the Filipino deaf and making MCCID as one of your partners in bringing hope to them. We will continue to freely host the unofficial website of DEAF Inc. which was designed by our deaf students in 2006 as our own small way of saving her legacy for future generations who would like to search online about her wonderful works.

Deaf Evangelistic Alliance Foundation, Inc. Unofficial Website designed by MCCID Students

Link: http://www.mccidonline.net/deafinc/welcome.htm

 

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