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Deaf in Africa find hope in the Gospel

By August 24, 2015
(Photo courtesy Faith Comes By Hearing)

(Photo courtesy Deaf Bible Society)

Africa (MNN) — For many who can’t hear, simple tasks like communicating one’s feelings and understanding spoken language can be nearly impossible.

But what about the eternal ramifications? Only 2% of Deaf people have ever read or seen God’s Word, making them one of the most unreached and unengaged people groups on earth.

That’s why Deaf Bible and DOOR International, both ministries to the unhearing, have partnered to share Christ with the deaf in Africa. Their goal is to create a self-sustaining evangelism process in Deaf communities by bringing them the Gospel and training villagers for continued outreach.

“What DOOR International has done, is they have taken [it upon] themselves to use a brilliant idea by following Scripture, where Jesus sends the disciples out in pairs of two,” says JR Bucklew of Deaf Bible. “They said that even among the Deaf community, there’s sometimes such a low self-view because ‘We’re deaf, we haven’t been respected in the past by our communities or in our cultures.’

“But when you have them in teams, there’s teamwork that happens, there’s collaboration…there’s admonishing each other, exhorting each other, encouraging each other in the Scripture. And so they’ve trained several key leaders in each country where there’s a Bible translation project. And these leaders will then bring on board what we might consider a ‘Timothy.’ And so these two guys will go out into the field, and they act as evangelists, pastors, church planters. They start bringing Deaf people together on a weekly basis to just engage with the Scripture.”

(Photo courtesy of Deaf Bible)

(Photo courtesy of Deaf Bible)

But this can’t be done without the proper tools and resources. That’s where Deaf Bible comes in.

“We’ve begun development of solar-powered tablets that can be used in the field. We’ve just done a huge distribution in East Africa of Bible content on micro SD cards, where the content is accessible on smart phones and dumb phones,” Bucklew says. “We’re working…to do everything we can to make Scripture accessible so that these 2×2 teams 2 can engage the community.”

Though all unreached groups equally need salvation, Africa’s Deaf children are especially at risk. They endure horror because of deeply-ingrained cultural myths.

“In Western Kenya, there were several villages where there were fabled rumors that if you wanted to rid yourself of HIV and AIDS, the way you do that is you have sex with a deaf child,” Bucklew says. “And so we were seeing lots of deaf children raped. They end up in prostitution, trafficking, with HIV and STD’s.

“They begin to truly believe that their sole purpose, the reason they are deaf, the reason that they’re here, is to rid people of their HIV and AIDS.”

But hope isn’t lost. Through the work of Deaf Bible and DOOR International, villagers are finding hope in salvation, and children are discovering their value in Christ.

“What happens when the Gospel comes into these communities, and they can sit down and they’re engaging with these 2×2 teams, and they’re seeing the Gospel message, God’s Word in their heart language…: their lives are totally changed because now they’re told, “No, your purpose is in the Gospel,” Bucklew says.

(Photo courtesy of Deaf Bible)

(Photo courtesy of Deaf Bible)

Can you help the Deaf in Africa continue to discover their purpose? One simple way you can help is by prayer. Bucklew asks that you pray for both organizations as they bring God’s Word to the Deaf. You can learn more about Deaf Bible’s work and find ways to support it by clicking here. Click here to learn more about DOOR International and how you can help it continue reaching the Deaf for Christ.

 

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