International (MNN) — As a Deaf young boy in Mozambique, Pedro frequently got into trouble and acted out violently. Then one day a Deaf friend of Pedro’s invited him to attend a church.
Only it wasn’t a real church. It was a cult.
Since then, Pedro was conflicted. The so-called church forbade him from seeing his family, even for sicknesses or funerals. He felt very uncomfortable with their teachings and didn’t see them lining up with Scripture.
Pedro left the cult and started attending another hearing church. Then he was introduced to DOOR International and their Chronological Bible Storying translation for Deaf people.
“I finally knew how loving my God really was,” Pedro says. “This set me free.”
DOOR recruited Pedro to join their 2-by-2 Program which trains Deaf leaders in pairs of evangelists and teachers. DOOR celebrated Pedro’s 2-by-2 commissioning with several others in June.
From a violent kid to a confused cult follower to a redeemed Christian leader, Pedro’s life was forever changed.
“I felt that DOOR’s recruitment was truly a calling from God for me to help others who are bound by the same lies that bound me before. Knowing the truth will truly set you free. I want to carry on this good work.”
Pedro’s story is not uncommon in Deaf communities. Many Deaf individuals have never encountered the Gospel or have only been fed lies disguised as God’s truth.
In fact, of the 70 million Deaf people worldwide, it’s estimated less than two percent know Jesus.
Rob Myers with DOOR says reaching unreached Deaf communities isn’t always easy. “When you have a people group that’s been cut off from the Gospel for a long time, there’s a lot of spiritual resistance.
“We can face resistance from the government if it’s a closed country, or from attitudes within the community if people view Deaf people as curses or as demon-possessed. There are a lot of barriers that come up when you’re serving Deaf communities.”
Even when Deaf individuals do embrace a relationship with the Lord, it can take a while to raise up Christian leaders within a Deaf community.
Myers explains, “Many of these Deaf leaders actually struggle because for years they’ve been told they can’t lead and they can’t do things. But they can. God has gifted every single believer with spiritual gifts to be able to serve the Kingdom.”
The Deaf community and its Christian leaders need your prayers.
“Pray that those spiritual strongholds would be brought down,” Myers asks. “Pray that God would open up doors and opportunities for us to be able to serve these Deaf leaders and provide them the tools that they need to be able to reach their own communities. Pray that God would be raising up workers and that some of these Deaf leaders would truly catch the vision for who God has made them to be.”
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Finally, you can play a role in raising awareness for Gospel needs among the Deaf. “Many people just don’t know that Deaf communities are unreached by the Gospel. They don’t realize that there are still millions of people who don’t have access. And they don’t realize that Deaf communities play such a critical role in finishing the Great Commission,” Myers says.
“So as any listener learns about this deep need, as they share it, that is a critical step in the Church becoming aware of the need and then beginning to take steps toward meeting that need.”
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Header photo courtesy of Wycliffe Global Alliance via DOOR International.