East Asia (MNN) — As defined by WorldAtlas.com, East Asia holds approximately 22 percent of the world’s total population. King’s College instructors call it “one of the most economically dynamic regions in the world.”
A small group of Deaf Christians from the region believe it holds vast potential for Gospel growth. However, Deaf-led training and sign language resources are so rare globally that few Deaf believers know how to start a church, let alone multiply it.
That’s why the group reached out to DOOR International for help.
“Deaf leaders have said, ‘We would love to have something that’s Deaf-led and sustainable that we could replicate and teach to other Deaf people’,” explains Rob Myers, CEO and President of DOOR International.
In response, DOOR’s leaders met with the group to see what could be done. After assessing needs and available resources, local Deaf believers and DOOR leadership decided to start 2-by-2 work in East Asia.
“There are millions of Deaf people in this country, but the number of Deaf Christians doesn’t number over 4,000 and the number of Deaf churches numbers about 50.”
Starting Deaf churches in East Asia
As implied by the name, DOOR’s 2-by-2 program involves training and sending Deaf believers in teams of two to plant churches in Deaf communities.
“The point of all of this is never to set up ‘DOOR churches,’” Myers explains. “The point is to grow indigenous leaders who grow their own churches, or churches within an association that they form.”
Right now, “We’re working with those leaders to recruit somewhere between two and five initial teams” to begin work in East Asia.
Myers says, “We anticipate training beginning within the next couple of months, and actual on-ground work of evangelism and further training of leaders to begin possibly three months after that.”
It’s dangerous to be a Christian in the country where these Deaf believers live, he adds. Political and societal restrictions add to the spiritual battles DOOR regularly encounters when starting work in a new location.
“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,…there are a lot of barriers that come up.”
Ask the Lord to open doors of opportunity for these Deaf believers. Pray each believer will grow in their relationship with God as they learn how to reach Deaf communities for Christ.
“One of our deep prayers is that every single one of the leaders that we train would discover their place in God’s Kingdom that God has created them to serve in,” Myers says.
“Many of these Deaf leaders struggle because for years they’ve been told they can’t lead or they can’t do things, but they can.”
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“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.”