Over 70 million Deaf people are unreached (they don’t know Christ) and unengaged (no one is trying to reach them). Worse yet, says Rob Myers of DOOR International, there are only a handful of global ministries focused exclusively on reaching the Deaf.
“In the same way that you would try to reach an unreached people group, say, in Papua New Guinea – by giving them Scripture translation, by training leaders within the community to do evangelism and church planting, by beginning youth programs – those same types of outreaches are needed in Deaf communities worldwide,” Myers explains.
“All of these areas…[are] lagging behind because there either aren’t organizations working in these areas, or there may be only one or two organizations [with that expertise].”
This reality is bleak, but DOOR and others are taking action to change it.
Ministries start Deaf alliance
Based in West Michigan, DOOR invited 12 other international Deaf ministries to Grand Rapids for a Deaf Strategic Alliance meeting last week. Seven groups met to kick off the Deaf alliance: DOOR, Deaf Bible Society, the Association for the Development of Sign Languages in the Americas (ADSLA), Pioneer Bible Translators, Silent Blessings, Deaf Missions, and SIL’s Global Sign Languages Team (SIL-GSLT).
Travel and scheduling restrictions kept five groups from physically attending the meeting. However, each organization’s leader communicated their support and willingness to participate in future events and efforts.
“This type of meeting has never happened before,” Myers explains. “Not a lot of ministry has been done outside of the last 30 years or so to reach Deaf for Christ.”
Sign language Bible translation work has picked up in the past decade, he adds, but other areas are severely lacking.
“We’d like to see that change. We’d like to see more and more organizations become aware of this need, and begin to strategize and work together to see these various parts come together.”
By identifying gaps and working together to cover them, DOOR and others hope to reach more Deaf people in a faster and effective way. Would you keep this Deaf alliance in your prayers?
“We believe that this really is the time for Deaf people worldwide to have access to the Gospel, so pray to that end,” says Myers.
“Pray that God would raise up workers for the harvest. The harvest is obviously plentiful when we’re talking about millions of people in need, but the workers are few.”