USA (MNN) — Why should you pray about missions? If God’s going to grow His Kingdom, won’t He do that whether we pray or not? These questions have multiple answers, but only one response matters to an international Deaf ministry.
According to Andriea Vigil, prayer is critical to the work of Deaf Bible Society – a ministry seeking to provide God’s Word in every sign language. “Prayer is an act of faith and it’s effective,” she says.
“Prayer really does affect the people that you’re praying for and helps people get what they need… in this case, it’s the Gospel in their heart language.”
You can become a Deaf Bible Society prayer partner by texting the word “pray” to 444999. Learn more here.
Andriea’s story: an “unexpected” calling
Vigil is a sign language interpreter who lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico – the former home of Deaf Bible Society’s headquarters. Her passion for and connection to the U.S. Deaf community began in college.
At first, Vigil hadn’t planned on becoming an interpreter, but it’s exactly what God intended. “I just wanted to become fluent in a second language, and sign language was appealing to me,” she says.
“As I met people in the Deaf community, it really was God saying, ‘This is a place that I want you to be involved in, a people that I want you to be involved with.’ So, I ended up becoming a sign language interpreter.”
God affirmed this calling several times along the way. Once, “I was…finger-spelling at the bus stop because I had a final exam. And, this guy standing there – a sweet, sweet older man – signed to me. He happened to be Deaf,” she recalls. “We just had such a wonderful conversation on the bus; it was so unexpected. That was the point where God really opened my eyes to this community of people.
“They’re made in His image…and they have the right to feel connected to God and to other people.”
Roughly five years ago, she crossed paths with Deaf Bible Society. “There’s a lot of communication with hearing partners, so he [DBS President J.R. Bucklew] was searching for interpreters for the Deaf Bible organization,” Vigil recalls.
Everything else, as they say, is history. Vigil received an invitation to serve alongside Deaf Bible Society as an interpreter, and she continues in this role today.
How to pray for the Deaf
You may not know American Sign Language. You may not even know a single Deaf person. However, praying for the Deaf community builds a connection unlike any other.
“Praying specifically for the Deaf [cultivates] a personal love for Deaf people that may have not been noticed or acknowledged before,” Vigil explains.
“The more we pray, the more our heart is connected to something.”
Begin by asking God to stir your heart for unreached Deaf people. Less than two-percent of the world’s 70 million Deaf people know God. Additionally, while Deaf worldwide use more than 400 sign languages, no sign language has a complete Bible.
“For the situation to change…there needs to be a heart change for the greater community,” Vigil notes.
Header image courtesy of Deaf Bible Society.