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The Deaf and COVID-19: A look at 2020 with DOOR

By January 18, 2021

Int’l (MNN) – The dissatisfaction, disease and unrest of 2020 are making headlines everywhere, even in the new year. However, that’s not the whole story.

Rob Myers with DOOR International says that while 2020 was a challenging year, many organizations have seen Gospel opportunities spring forward.

Underemployed: Hit Hard by COVID-19.

Workers with DOOR experienced occasions to share truth as they ministered among an increasingly isolated and hurting Deaf population.

(Image courtesy of DOOR International)

Myers says, “Many people may not be aware that people in Deaf communities tend to be either unemployed or underemployed. I believe that the statistics here in the US are that about 75% of Deaf people are either unemployed or underemployed. They’re not employed to the full aspect of the education that they’ve received.”

Globally, underemployed Deaf people often will have manual or day labor jobs because – especially in developing countries – they receive little to no government support.

When COVID-19 restrictions ramped up, these types of professions were the first ones to be hit. Deaf families around the world suddenly didn’t have income.

Indigenous Deaf Leaders Lead the Way.

Yet, God was at work through the Church. Two-by-two teams with DOOR began to plan how they could reach their Deaf neighbors.

“We have a number of different stories about how Deaf leaders have purchased groceries, purchased water or other things for Deaf families [and] brought those supplies to those families,” Myers says.

“And then that may have been the first time that they [Deaf people] actually had the opportunity to hear the Gospel. And because they were in such a desperate place, and in need of hope, the hope of the nation’s – Jesus Christ – was a welcome message for them.”

30 for 30

Inspired by the local Church and workers, DOOR started the 30 for 30 campaign. This campaign raised awareness of the increased plight for Deaf due to the pandemic. People were given the opportunity to donate $30 to help feed a Deaf family for 30 days. Families were provided basic supplies like rice, flour and milk as well as given a Gospel presentation.

(Image courtesy of DOOR International)

The program served over 500 families in several countries. Many of those reached had never heard the Gospel before.

Looking Forward to 2021.

Another unexpected result of the pandemic was that online Deaf fellowships began to gather. Myers says they saw new Deaf believers’ fellowships sprouting up with attendance in the 20s and 30s. “[They] were meeting regularly, meeting every week and allowed those evangelists and teachers to not have to travel so much. They could simply go online and then be able to mentor and encourage these new Deaf believers.”

As they look forward to the rest of 2021 Myers says that DOOR is focusing on two primary areas of work: Bible translation and training indigenous Deaf leaders. Several translation projects are ending which means more room is opening up for new ones.

Even more broadly Myers says that they are excited about additional areas to multiply ministry through new church plants and training on the ground.

Pray that DOOR leadership would use resources wisely as they seek to spread God’s Word in Deaf communities. Please also consider joining the 30 for 30 program to support Deaf families impacted by the pandemic.

 

Header Image Courtesy of DOOR International