Deaf Ukrainians seek Jesus amid war

By September 5, 2022

Ukraine (MNN) — Uncertainty remains as Russia’s war in Ukraine churns on. The February invasion triggered the largest refugee crisis in Europe since World War II.

Nearly 6.7 million refugees from Ukraine are scattered across Europe. Meanwhile, another 6.6 million people are on the run within Ukraine.

God is moving too, but not in the ways you might expect. Before the war, conflict among Deaf churches repelled nonbelievers in Ukraine.

“There was a lot of opposition amongst Deaf churches in Ukraine. Non-believers would see [the opposition] and think, ‘we don’t want to be a part of this because these churches have so much discord,’” Deaf leader Julia Bange with DOOR International says.

“When the war broke out, many of the Deaf people [who] hadn’t received salvation saw Deaf Christians were uniting, and they wanted a part of that,” she continues.

“They wanted to know who Jesus was.”

God’s timing is perfect

Elena, a Deaf refugee from Ukraine, recently reconnected with Bange in Romania. Elena received training from DOOR International in the early 2000s.

Elena received training from DOOR International in the early 2000s. A red arrow points to Elena in this photo of DOOR graduates.
(Photo courtesy of DOOR International)

“We trained them (Deaf leaders like Elena) for one year. We taught them about Chronological Bible Storying or Chronological Bible Translation. Once they learned those 110 passages, they could become Deaf leaders, Deaf evangelists, or church planters,” Bange says, describing the program.

“Then, they would leave the training and take that information back to plant a Deaf Church in their own home country.”

Elena received all the tools and training she needed from DOOR, but only the Holy Spirit could change Deaf hearts. And, God’s timing is not often like ours.

“She tried to work with Deaf and the local Deaf churches for years. Unfortunately, Deaf individuals were not receptive,” Bange says.

“They weren’t accepting the messages that she shared. But after the war broke out, many Deaf people [began] reaching out, asking her to explain the Gospel.”

Ask the Lord to reveal His will to Elena so she can make informed decisions about her future. Whether she returns to Ukraine or stays in Greece, Elena is equipped to lead other Deaf people to Christ. Learn why the Deaf are one of the world’s largest unreached people groups.

“Elena is not sure what will happen next. She’s just waiting to see what happens with the war,” Bange says.

“Right now, she’s on the island of Crete. If she stays in Greece, she’ll find Deaf contacts locally to share the Gospel with because they don’t have a lot of Deaf Christians there; very few Deaf believers.”




Header image courtesy of Deaf Bridge.