South Sudan (MNN) — A Deaf teenager named Kwahena was used to being ignored and isolated. But when she moved from her small village to South Sudan’s capital city, a handsome older man showed interest in her.
The fact that he, a Hearing person, wanted to spend time with her, a Deaf girl, quickly won Kwahena’s heart.
Kwahena recently shared her story with DOOR International:
My name is Kwahena. I became Deaf at 6 months old when I got meningitis. I learned to live in a world where being misunderstood, isolated, and sometimes mistreated was normal.
At 17 years old, I relocated to Juba to look for a job. I met a hearing man who made me feel special. He made efforts to understand me and showed a lot of interest in me. It was something I had never experienced growing up, and made me vulnerable to him. What I did not realize is that he was married and had children. After a few months of knowing the man I was pregnant, and that’s when my troubles started.
I would rarely see him. He stopped coming by my place just when I needed him most. With time I realized the man only wanted an affair with me, never intending to commit to me. I sank so low that I was ready for an abortion, then possibly commit suicide. How was I going to bring up a child without someone to support me? How was I going to explain to my parents that I was pregnant and not married? I sank into a deep depression.
Around the same time I met a Deaf man, Garang, who had worked on the South Sudanese Sign Language Bible translation. Meeting him during that time of depression and frustration was God’s way of restoring me and showing me His plan for my life. Garang told me about a Deaf church that met in Juba.
I knew I needed to be part of a community during that time, but I did not know God had a plan of healing my wounded heart, bringing together the broken pieces and showing me His love.
As I began going to the Deaf church, I began learning of God’s forgiveness. I learned the Lord’s prayer, and one part stood out to me: that I should forgive those who wronged me as I would want God to forgive me. This was the beginning of my healing process. It was hard to forgive the man who lied to me, and even harder to forgive myself for all the choices I had made. As I prayed to God to forgive me of my sins, He helped me understand how to forgive people who had wronged me.
Eventually, I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. Even though it is difficult to bring up a child as a single Deaf woman here in Juba, God helps me every single day. One of my greatest sources of strength is the Deaf fellowship I am involved with. Life here is hard, but with God’s Word and His promises in my heart, I can get through it.
Through its 2-by-2 program, DOOR aims to start four new Deaf believers’ fellowships in South Sudan this year, and train 10 Deaf leaders. “We have two churches in Juba led by the Deaf,” DOOR’s Translation Consultant and Scripture Engagement Coordinator Benard Thuku says.
“Pray for the leadership of those churches to be strong, and to continue touching Deaf people in that part of South Sudan.”
Header image depicts DOOR’s Deaf church planters working in South Sudan. (Photo courtesy of DOOR International)