International (MNN) — Life is moving closer to normal in some countries as COVID-19 restrictions ease and businesses reopen. In others, the struggle to survive continues. More coronavirus coverage here.
Global Deaf ministry DOOR International is adapting once again to meet unique needs triggered by the pandemic. As described here, DOOR teams shifted focus a few months ago to make vital COVID-19 information accessible to Deaf communities. Now, they’re adjusting to meet critical physical needs.
“We launched the 30 for 30 campaign recognizing that, in some of the countries where we serve, $30 can actually feed a Deaf family for 30 days,” DOOR International CEO/President Rob Myers says.
“DOOR’s main mission is doing Bible translation in sign language and doing evangelism and church planting. But you can’t do those things within communities where people are starving.”
Pandemic creates urgent needs
DOOR’s Deaf church planters and evangelists have an active presence in Deaf communities throughout East Africa and parts of Asia. More about DOOR’s 2-by-2 ministry here. Typically, these teams focus on reaching Deaf people for Christ and starting healthy, reproducing churches.
The pandemic quickly added another priority: filling hungry bellies.
“Our church planters in various countries began to have Deaf families reaching out to them, letting them know the situation, and that information came back to our office here in the Grand Rapids, [Michigan] area. We talked among our international leadership, and really felt like this was a priority,” Myers recalls.
In the developing world, limited access to education means Deaf people often have fewer job options, Myers explains. Manual labor is a common occupation, but “in the midst of this crisis and the pandemic, manual labor jobs tended to be cut first so many Deaf people suddenly found themselves out of work,” he says.
No work means no money to buy food. Lockdowns and social distancing cut off community support.
DOOR’s 2-by-2 teams in one country organized a food distribution at a Deaf school. They spread the word throughout the Deaf community, eager to see starving people fed. “They had planned on maybe 30 families showing up. And because of the deep, deep need within these communities, I think around 400 individuals showed up asking for food,” Myers says.
“This is a great opportunity for people who may find themselves with fewer costs during the stay at home order,” Myers observes. “Those savings could help families who right now don’t have a source of income at all.”
Header image is a representative stock photo courtesy of Pixabay.