International (MNN) — The Deaf are one of the world’s largest unreached and unengaged people groups. Fewer than 2% of the world’s 70 million Deaf people know of or follow Christ.
Through an interpreter, Deaf leader Tanya Polstra tells MNN that people who can hear often have a flawed view of the Deaf community. This misconception blocks attempts to reach the Deaf for Christ.
“The world sees Deaf individuals [as] something that needs to be fixed. We are not a complete or a whole human being in the eyes of many people.”
Why does Scripture engagement matter?
Deaf Bible Society holds Scripture engagement training in many countries. In essence, “Scripture engagement is how we see the world as a Deaf person, and that is through the use of sign language,” Polstra says.
“When we have sign language Scriptures in our language it helps us to see who the Lord is. We can dive into His Word… and we can see how He expects us to live as His light.”
The goal is for Deaf Christians to study God’s Word and then teach others how to do the same. This training is essential because “Deaf have a misconception of who they are,” Polstra explains.
“Society has already told them that they’re incapable; they have been told they have demon possession. So, [the training is] reframing their thinking of their identity and who they are.”
Through the training, Deaf believers learn how God values them and He doesn’t view their deafness as a flaw. In fact, He’s given them the same intelligence and abilities as the wider hearing community.
How to help
Your gifts to Scripture engagement are doubled today on #GivingTuesday. Find more details here. Whether you’re Deaf or not, Polstra says God can use you to further Deaf ministry.
“We need hearing individuals to ask us, ‘Hey, what do you need?’ And then we need…them [to] say, ‘Great, do it! How can I help you do this?’”
Prayer is an easy way to start, Polstra adds. Become a Deaf Bible Society prayer partner here.
“Please pray with us… that partnership in prayer helps us grow. The Lord answers and helps us to run hard and fast.”
Header image courtesy of Deaf Bible Society.