It’s a common misconception that Deaf people can easily relate to the culture in which they live. However, even though Deaf might share religious traditions, clothing styles, and cultural tendencies with people in their communities, they find more common ground with other Deaf people—even with those not from their home culture.
Around the globe, Deaf communities have distinct cultures and sign languages, but they share one great need: they need the gospel. Historically, there weren’t many opportunities to meet that need.
One worker remembers driving home from church with her father a number of years ago—both heartbroken after learning there weren’t options for her father, who is Deaf, to be involved in international missions.
We’re happy to say this is no longer the case. The opportunities are limitless for Deaf and hearing men and women to bring the gospel to Deaf who have never seen the name of Jesus signed in their language.
The gospel is for all people, and the Great Commission is for every believer, both hearing and Deaf.
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor. If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 NIV
The IMB’s heart is set on sending missionaries to serve among the Deaf.
“I can’t do this. This is out of reach for me to do this. I am not skillful. Why did you choose me to be part of this team and to have a burden for Central Asia?” This is what Gretchen Snow* thought, but she was wrong, very wrong. (*name changed)
God revealed to her a simple fact: “He has a plan, without mistake, for her to be part of this journey.” He placed wonderful people on the team that she works with. They are like family, and it is a huge blessing, more than what she imagined. It is his. They are helping each other in his kingdom, and they are ready to harvest Deaf Central Asians for his kingdom. Gretchen is looking forward to what he has in store for the Deaf people of Central Asia.
A Central Asian friend invited Gretchen Snow to travel to her hometown in Central Asia and meet with Deaf for a weekend. It was a very fast trip, and they had a good time. Several Deaf are interested in learning more about the Savior and the Good News, and it’s possible for Gretchen to make future trips to that city.
She spent time sharing God’s stories with Deaf until late into the night, and she attended tea/coffee socials. Gretchen shares: “Their culture loves to have quality time with each other and to have a tea/coffee social with sweets for four to six hours. I sat on the circle bench, watching the Deaf converse in their beautiful sign language. This was a wonderful opportunity. There is a large Deaf population in this small city, and a lot of needs exist there. I already witnessed that they are full of loss and anger or shame.”
A Deaf women’s group that she met provide a strong Deaf core, and they have generations of Deaf families. They taught her the local sign language very well, and she is beginning to understand it and use it effectively.
Her friends are excited about it as well! Gretchen truly cares for and loves them and wants to spend time with them to show them God’s love and light. Please pray for the Deaf of this city and elsewhere in Central Asia to be open and fruitful and to have access to God’s stories in their language.
Praise God for this team that is serving the Deaf in Central Asia!
Pray that they will be a light in the darkness and that many will come to faith because of their witness among them.
A Deaf mother and daughter in Central Asia are interested in spending more time with Gretchen Snow in the future. Praise God for this opportunity for Gretchen! Pray for wisdom, and ask that she will be bold and courageous as she shares God’s stories with them. Pray that nothing will hinder their times of meeting together, and ask that this mother and daughter will be open to the love of the Father.
Praise God for the work he is doing among the Deaf in Southeast Asia! Pray for the two Deaf churches in major cities in a Southeast Asian country. Ask that they will continue to be faithful evangelists in their communities, trust the Lord for their needs, and hold fast to his Word. Pray for the 200-300 Deaf people who have been invited to an evangelistic Christmas event this month. Pray that as they see the Good News, a spiritual fire will start and spread among the Deaf in Southeast Asia!