For you and me, to hear the Word of God is a simple task. We can easily read the Bible for ourselves as well. But for a person who has been born deaf, these are two nearly impossible tasks. To be born deaf means being isolated from much of society; even from oneâ€™s own family. That isolation from the rest of society has made something so simple such as hearing the Word of God or reading the Bible to be monumental tasks. The tragic nature of life for a deaf child born to a poor family is heart breaking.
That is why I had been pestering Dewayne Liebrandt for years now to come down and help us with the establishment of a deaf church here in Colombia. Two years ago, he began to make trips down here. We first began to research what types of deaf ministries were available. We checked out what others were doing. No one was preaching to the deaf in their own language and culture. So for the most part, they had few opportunities to hear or learn of Godâ€™s love for them.
We began to develop a model for evangelizing the deaf in their own language and culture. We made plans to begin a deaf church, where the preaching and teaching would be in Colombian sign language. For the last few months, we have been working towards that end. We have been teaching sign language classes in the church here in Normandia and preparing people to aid in this ministry.
Then, three weeks ago, Dewayne arrived for his first visit of this year. We made the final preparations and launched the Christian Church for the Deaf. The services are held with the church in Normandia but the services for the deaf church are held in sign language while the service for the hearing is conducted in Spanish. We have no chairs or equipment, but the Normandia Church has generously agreed to share facilities until the deaf church can purchase chairs, blackboards, and other needed equipment.
So based on that cooperative effort, we launched the deaf church last week. So far we have had four different deaf individuals show up for services. While that is a modest beginning, considering that there was no money for advance publicity, we were pleased with the results.
We now expect the natural diffusion of information within the deaf community to spread the word. We are hoping that attendance will begin to climb and we are hoping that soon we will be forced to purchase things like chairs and other equipment to meet the growing needs of the deaf who are coming to hear about Godâ€™s love for them.
Dewayne left to return to the States this past Monday. Now I am here with the deaf preacher to carry on with this new church plant. We appreciate his help and without him, this would have been impossible. Please pray with us that this effort will be successful in establishing an indigenous church among the deaf, where they will be able to evangelize their own community and preach the Gospel in a language and culture meaningful to them.