USA (MNN) — Ninety-percent of Deaf children are born to parents who can hear. Most of those parents – 85-percent – never learn sign language. As a result, many Deaf kids are cut off from the world around them. More about that here.
Not so for two-year-old Sam Savitz. Her neighbors – all hearing people – learned American Sign Language because that’s the heart language of Deaf individuals like Sam. Sam is naturally a “people person,” and her neighbors wanted desperately to join her in conversation.
“These neighbors really wanted to do more than just say ‘hi’ to her, so they brought in a Deaf person to teach all of them some basic signs so they could start to communicate with Sam,” Rob Myers explains.
Myers is the President and CEO of DOOR International, a global Deaf-to-Deaf ministry. Sam’s story is extraordinary because “many (Deaf) kids grow up without language until the age of four or five,” he explains. It’s rare for the parents of Deaf children to learn sign language, let alone an entire neighborhood.
“Deafness is a disability… but deafness is a unique disability in that it’s the only disability that causes children… who are born Deaf to be part of a totally different language group.”
How to reach Deaf for Christ
On the mission field, Deaf are one of the world’s largest unreached and unengaged people groups. Nearly all – 98-percent – of the global Deaf population has no access to God’s Word, and there are no concentrated efforts to reach them for Christ. Learn more here.
Reaching Deaf for Christ requires a paradigm shift for most of the Christian community. “Most people assume… if there’s a hearing believer near [a] Deaf person that the hearing person is going to be the best access point for the Gospel for that Deaf person,” Myers says.
“That turns out generally not to be the case.”
Led by a senior team of Deaf believers, DOOR International empowers and equips Deaf Christians to translate the Bible into sign languages and start Deaf-led church planting movements. Visit DOOR’s website to learn more about their work.
Now that you know, what will you do? Myers outlines three ongoing support needs in DOOR’s ministry.
There are over 350 Deaf communities worldwide, each with its own unique sign language. Myers says each one represents a significant spiritual stronghold, and winning those communities for Christ requires the ongoing prayers of God’s people.
“Even if you don’t know sign language, even if you don’t know a Deaf person, you can pray. Please pray for the ongoing work.”
You can also help by “spreading the word” and making other believers aware of Deaf needs. Start by sharing this article on social media using the buttons at the bottom of this page.
“One of the first things we ask hearing people to do when they first learn [about Deaf needs] is to inform other people,” states Myers.
“Help your pastor understand that this is a very necessary part of the Great Commission.”
When you donate to DOOR International, you help Deaf leaders receive the tools and training they need to fulfill the Great Commission. Contact DOOR to find out their biggest ministry needs, or give immediately by clicking here.
“Deaf communities really are one of the ‘final frontiers’ of the Great Commission.”
Header image is a graphic obtained via Wikimedia Commons.