Who will win the Middle East deaf?

By December 28, 2015

Middle East (MNN) — Heading into 2016, world leaders are STILL trying to figure out what to do about ISIS. At the same time, believers are taking action, and they need your help.

DBS_middle east deaf outreach

(Photo courtesy Deaf Bible Society via Facebook)

Deaf Bible Society is working with DOOR International, another ministry to the deaf, to counter Islamic State recruitment of Middle East deaf people.

“Right now, we’re developing resources,” shares J.R. Bucklew, President of Deaf Bible Society.

“Within this next year, we’ll be able to start doing training with people who are eager to share the Gospel with their deaf neighbors.”

The Middle East deaf population is, perhaps, an “unexpected” ISIS target. But after the release of a March recruitment video, there can be no doubt jihadists see potential.

Because of the deaf community’s isolation, Bucklew explains, they’re not aware of current events like the ISIS explosion. This makes the Middle East deaf especially vulnerable to Islamic State recruitment.



Soon after ISIS released their recruitment video, Deaf Bible Society sent an assessment team to the Middle East deaf community. What they found was a group oppressed in multiple spheres.

The deaf were “largely disconnected from their hearing neighbors. Their languages weren’t recognized by their government. They weren’t given a proper education,” Bucklew says.

“[Into this context] you have a video in their heart sign language, and they have not heard the news [about ISIS]…. So, their first feeling was, ‘Wow, these people must really care about us, because they’re reaching out to us in our language; they’re talking in our language.'”

Deaf Bible Society has an alternative message for the Middle East deaf population, and it stands in stark contrast to the Islamic State’s allurement.

“The Lord’s really given us an opportunity to make an impact with the Gospel among the deaf, today unlike any other time in history,” says Bucklew.

middle east deaf

(Photo by Albert Gonzalez Farran / UNAMID)

In partnership with Bible translation organizations under the “Common Framework for Bible Translation,” Deaf Bible Society is getting God’s Word into one of 20 Middle East sign languages.

After Scripture is translated into Middle East sign language, it will be recorded on video. Then, DOOR International teams will share the Gospel using a 2-by-2 Program.

“While the hearing community is pushing the deaf aside,” Bucklew says, “the deaf Church has an opportunity to grow exponentially.

“Because the [larger] community doesn’t speak sign language and can’t recognize sign language in this region, there’s an openness for the deaf Church to grow through this 2-by-2 Program.”

You can help reach the Middle East deaf for Christ. Connect with Deaf Bible Society to learn how.

“Reach out to us,” urges Bucklew. “Ask us how you can be more involved through prayer, through giving financially, even through going and being part of resource development.”

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