Sign language outreach planned for the Netherlands

By February 6, 2007

Netherlands (MNN) — "No matter what country you look
at in the world, the deaf population is less reached with the Gospel than their
hearing counterparts," says Terri Chapman, missionary with Greater Europe
Mission
. That's why Chapman is determined to reach out to the deaf in the
Netherlands.

Chapman was a sign language interpreter in the United States
for 23 years before moving with her husband to the Netherlands as a full-time missionary.
She thought her ministry was over. After meeting two deaf people two years ago,
"I started taking some basic Dutch sign language classes. Then in the fall
I became enrolled in the sign language interpreter training program."

Chapman isn't aware of any deaf outreach where the couple is
working. "In our particular are of Holland, we live northwest of
Amsterdam, there is nothing that I'm aware of at all reaching into the deaf
community with the Gospel. So, I'm definitely looking to try to get something
started up there."

She was asked if the deaf community would be more apt to
respond to the Gospel compared to their hearing counterparts. Chapman says,
"I don't know if they're necessarily more apt to respond, but if you don't
have access to it you can't respond."

Sign language is not universal.  Chapman says she needs prayer because
sometimes she confuses Dutch Sign Language with American Sign Language.
"It's definitely not universal. A lot of people think sign language is
universal. And, there are some signs that are the same, but there are a lot
that are different — more different than the same. So, I'm learning a whole
new language."

Already, God's given Chapman opportunities, "to share
with classmates, with people around me in the school. One of the incredible
thing's He's done is He put me in a student group, five of us are strong
biblical believers that are interested in reaching out."

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