Central Asia (MNN) — A young Deaf girl in Central Asia whom we’ll call Saida was recently hospitalized after her family learned about her Christian faith and beat her.
Rob Myers with DOOR International shares what happened: “The screams she emitted caused the neighbors to call the police. When the police came, the police saw it was her family beating her and they said, ‘Well, this is a family issue, so we won’t get involved.’ The family then realized they kind of had immunity to continue to beat her, so they continued to do so to the point where she had to be brought eventually to the hospital in intensive care.”
The latest report from Open Doors USA is that Saida’s family threatened to beat her again once she’s released from the hospital. But members of the local church were hoping to intercept her before family members could.
DOOR International is a Deaf-led ministry that focuses on sign language Bible translation and leadership training. Their ministry includes work with the Deaf in hostile countries.
“Many times our staff are able to intervene in some of these situations, either to help move the believers to a different place where the family doesn’t know where they are and they don’t then experience that type of persecution. Or they’re able to intervene with the police, or they’re able to negotiate with the family and calm them down.”
Myers says Deaf believers like Saida are targets of persecution like any other Christians in hostile areas, but they face different barriers and situations.
“What’s different for Deaf believers is many times parents are unaware of what’s going on in their child’s life. They may be meeting with people, they may even be signing with friends about Scripture, and their parents have no idea because most parents of Deaf children don’t actually sign,” he says.
“What usually prompts persecution would be something like when Scripture is found in the home, when a child is asked to marry someone from the parents’ faith and the child refuses because they then put forward that they’re a believer. Many times those types of situations then cause a situation in a family to escalate.”
Myers also explains, “If a Deaf person who is being beaten is brought to the police by Hearing family, many times the Deaf person can’t communicate with the police, so the only side of the story the police hear is the side of the story that comes from the family.”
The first thing you can do to encourage Saida and other Deaf believers is to pray. Myers asks, “Pray that God would open the eyes of the people who are performing these beatings. We obviously want to pray for safety for many of these missionaries, and we work toward that. But many of them…when we ask them, ‘What should we pray for you for?’, they don’t say, ‘Pray for my safety.’ Many of them will say, ‘Please pray for boldness.’”
Another thing he says you can do is “make the Church aware this is happening. I think there’s a sense many times in the Church that, because we don’t see this type of persecution happen in the United States, it’s not out there. But it’s very strong and it’s very active. The more exposure, the more people understand this is happening, I think the more it will wake us up to the fact that we need to be strong, we need to be bold in our own faith as well.”