For the past two and one half weeks, Dewayne Liebrandt has been here in Colombia, spearheading our deaf outreach. We used the time for significant efforts in officially launching the first Christian church for the deaf. Other works have “translated services” in which the hearing service is translated into sign language for the deaf, but there is no actual church for the deaf here in Colombia; that is until this past Sunday.

This comes after nearly two years of planning and preparing the way for the launch of the deaf church here in Colombia. We began encouraging deaf to attend our hearing services earlier this year. Then two months ago, we began a deaf Sunday school class, where the class is taught in sign language. We were having between ten and twenty adults for that class every Sunday. As Dewayne arrived on the first of August, we picked up the intensity of the preparations for the official launch of the deaf church.

We spent the first ten days teaching intensive classes in Biblical doctrine and in technical skills. Dewayne had secured donations for a laptop computer, a high quality video camera to record the sermons and teachings, and a video projector to use in the deaf services. We worked all morning with members of the deaf church to fix up an unused space in the church building for a nice sanctuary for the deaf church. This area has its own entrance and can be separated from the rest of the church or can be opened up to create easy access to the rest of the church. It is an ideal situation.

We worked from eight to three each day building and setting up the deaf church worship center. It was fun and funny as we tried to work with the deaf in the building and wiring of the new location. They were excited with the idea of having something of their own. But at the same time, most had never used a saw or a drill, so it was a great time for fellowship and new experiences for them. At three in the afternoon we ended the work on the building.

We then shifted over to using the remaining time for teaching. We taught Biblical doctrine and had animated discussions on what the Bible says and teaches. This teaching time often continued till late in the evenings. After the Bible classes were finished, we began training them to use the essential equipment that Dewayne and Deaf Ministries International so generously provided. With the two programs, the deaf church is well established and has everything it needs to prosper. This was a very busy but thrilling time for the deaf Christians and for us as well.

Then last Saturday we held a “Pizza Party with Jesus” to present the new sanctuary and the vision for the work to the deaf community in Bogota. There were sixty one deaf present. That was about as many as we could fit in our facilities. It was a sufficient number to insure that the deaf communication networks would be buzzing for weeks to come with the news of what we are trying to do. Then yesterday, we inaugurated the new Christian Church for the Deaf here in Bogota. We will now be working to soon fill the new sanctuary and look towards rapidly expanding the deaf congregation and the space it needs for meeting.

Both Dewayne and I finished this two and one half very busy weeks in near total exhaustion. But it had been a great time and we have been thrilled to see what God is doing and the doors he is opening for this exciting new work. Rejoice with us in the accomplishments as the first church for the deaf has been established here in Bogota. This will open to doors to salvation for a community that probably numbers several hundred thousand here in the city of Bogota.