Burundi (MNN) — Burundi has seen its share of violence throughout the last few months, specifically a few weeks ago when 87 people were reportedly killed as an armed insurgency attacked three Burundian army bases.
One organization affected by the violence is DOOR International, a ministry to the Deaf community.
“We received a report from some workers we have in the field, Deaf Burundians there who are out working among the people. They are serving in a Deaf church near the capital, and just down the street there was a bombing of a police office,” says Rob Myers, CEO of DOOR. “They did tell us that everybody involved in their congregation is okay, but they certainly need prayer because of the instability there.”
The instability isn’t stopping the Gospel, however. DOOR missionaries continue to risk their lives to bring Christ to the Deaf community, and they’re seeing the fruit.
“DOOR has been involved in doing sign language translation in Burundi for about five years now,” says Myers. “We’ve produced a video translation that allows people to take the Gospel on their hands into the Deaf community and teach God’s Word.
“Worldwide, we’ve seen thousands of Deaf people come to Christ over the last 5-10 years. And what’s even more exciting than that is that we see those transformed lives cause those people to go out into the communities and share that same message with other people.”
One of those transformed lives was a former child soldier. Despite multiple traumatic events early on in his life, he eventually found healing in Christ.
“When he was 4, he became deaf through a sickness,” Myers says. “He grew up without much language at all. When he became 14, a rebel army invaded his village and slaughtered most of the people in the village; he and several family members took off running into the woods. He was actually shot in the back of the head while he was fleeing.
“He thought he would bleed to death on the ground, but he woke up later. Three of the people from the army took him and brought him to another village where they were holding a number of other young boys and forcing them to be child soldiers in the army.
“He served in that capacity for some indeterminate time. He doesn’t even really know how long. [He was] forced to kill others…. At one point, while he was in one of those villages, he spotted his uncle, and he just took off and fled. He was able to get a way, but for several years following that, he was haunted by that past and wondered if he could ever receive forgiveness.
“One day, he met the very first other Deaf person he had ever met before, and that was one of our workers there in Burundi…. [He] taught this man Burundi sign language because he had never gone to a Deaf school. He had never learned Burundi sign language before…. But through that means, he taught him God’s Word as well.
“Now, he’s going out into other villages and trying to find Deaf people who have never encountered the Gospel before, maybe even who don’t know Burundi sign language. [He] is going out and teaching those stories and teaching these people about the forgiveness that Christ can offer them.”
This is just one example of how God is radically working in the Deaf community. But though God’s power is evident, there are still, according to Myers, approximately 70 million Deaf people worldwide, making them one of the largest unreached groups in the world.
Can you help lower that statistic? Myers asks that you pray that God would continue to raise up leaders in the Deaf community. You can find other ways to get involved through DOOR’s website. Click here to get started.