“Yes. Reach deaf people, who are a special culture of their own.”
During my years of study, I met a man who was totally deaf and relied only on sign language. After getting to know him and getting involved in the South African Deaf Christian community, I began to accept my own deafness as well as learn the importance of sign language. I now realize that this is a special culture all its own.
When I completed my studies and started working as a draftsman, I met a number of believers who were mission-minded, and through them I heard about opportunities to serve. For years I had supported missionaries but never considered going myself. I never wanted to leave my job, which I enjoyed, nor my fellowship, my family, and, particularly, my friends. When people asked me to consider serving on a short-term mission trip, my deafness provided a really good excuse. But then the Lord used Exodus 4:10-12 to touch me deeply.
An area of need became a real burden on my heart during that year. I struggled with this, not knowing what I would do there. Being deaf and relying totally on lip-reading when I did not know the language was a big step to take. I joined the outreach team and noticed deaf people walking about during the outreaches. One day I asked where all the deaf people get together. This was the start of our “deaf ministry,” developing contacts and identifying with this tight community. Since then we have been researching, reaching out, and discovering that there are a surprising number of deaf people in this land (more than 10,000 people).
The Lord has also brought me into contact with other believers who share the same vision. We have been attending deaf clubs in various cities to befriend and build relationships. There has already been fruit from our labor, and several friends have accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior. A Bible study for the deaf has been established, and we are developing this ministry further. We began the Deaf Project, a vision the Lord gave me for an activity center for the deaf.
Answer from Terri, in South Africa.
Excerpted from pp. 162ff in the book Scaling the Wall: Overcoming Obstacles to Missions Involvement by Kathy Hicks.
“Deaf are needed on the mission field.”
The only things you have to consider are, what are your skills, and what do you like to do? There is a ministry that needs you! Can you teach? There are dozens of Christian deaf schools around the world needing teachers. Do you have video production skills? Many ministries need those skills to be able to translate the scriptures into their country’s sign language. Do you just like to sit and chat with deaf people you’ve never met before? Many ministries need deaf who are willing to go visit new areas and meet new people.
Our website lists several hundred deaf ministries, many of which have connections or are located in other countries. Visit Deaf Ministries Connection.
Answer from Shirley, from Deaf Ministries Connection.