Deaf Awareness Month: a clarion call for the church

By September 14, 2016
deaf awareness graphic

USA (MNN) — In the U.S., an “invisible issue” is coming to the forefront, both in culture and the church.

“Out of the 70 million Deaf worldwide, less than two-percent of them have really embraced the Gospel,” shares DOOR International President, Rob Myers.

A member of DOOR's ASL translation team signs on-camera. (Photo, caption courtesy DOOR)

A member of DOOR’s ASL translation team signs on-camera. (Photo, caption courtesy of DOOR)

“Deaf communities, even here in the United States, are unreached because we’re not providing them the Gospel in their heart language.”

Sign language is the heart language of the Deaf, and there are over 400 sign languages in use by Deaf communities around the world. Although sign language is a legitimate language — just like English, Mandarin, or Farsi – it’s only officially recognized by 35 nations.

“If the message that we communicate to Deaf people is that we don’t value their language…then we’re undervaluing them as people,” notes Myers.

September is National Deaf Awareness Month, and DOOR’s asking you to help them advocate for the Deaf.

“Advocacy is going to be a huge piece for the church to help spread the information here, so the Gospel can reach the Deaf community.”

Advocacy isn’t just needed in the church. This message is needed in our culture, too.

Deaf awareness and culture

#DeafLivesMatter is gaining ground on social media following the police shooting of a Deaf man in North Carolina, and high school bullying of a Deaf student in Nebraska.



“Deaf awareness is critical,” says Myers. “A lot of this comes down to valuing Deaf people.”

Many times, Deaf people are treated as “Other” because they don’t speak our heart language. Or, as Myers describes, Deaf people are ignored completely.

“Deafness is not a very visual issue,” Myers observes.

“When you see a Deaf person walking down the street, you can’t identify them as Deaf unless you see them start signing.”

Deaf awareness and you

When Christ told His followers to “go and make disciples of all nations” in Matthew 28, the Deaf were included in that calling.

“There could be Deaf people even within your own community who are totally unaware of the Gospel,” shares Myers. While technology is increasing Deaf access to things like sign language Scripture, there is still not a complete Bible in any sign language.

Learn how DOOR addresses this need.

deaf awareness

A Deaf conversation. (Graphic courtesy DOOR)

Today and throughout National Deaf Awareness Month, you can help DOOR advocate for the Deaf in 3 critical ways:

  • Pray – On their website, DOOR shares daily prayer needs from Deaf Gospel workers around the world.
  • Share — “Share this story on social media. Get on MNN and forward this information to other people you think may be unaware,” requests Myers.
  • Give – The first phase of four sign language Bible translations has almost been completed. With your help, DOOR’s translation teams can finish phase one and get evangelistic materials into Deaf groups that use these sign languages.

“Deaf communities are unreached, but there are so many opportunities for us to now engage with them,” says Myers. “This is an exciting time for us to see the Deaf community reached with the Gospel in many different and innovative ways.”


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