Sunday I spent a couple of hours with the deaf Christians after church. The work among the deaf population has gone well. We have been averaging twenty or more for regular church services and 35 and 40 for special events. The new Christians are enthusiastic and are anxious to be doing more and more. Already, they have been suggesting we take evangelistic trips to other cities where the different deaf Christians have relatives. They are excited by what Christ as done for them and they want to share this rich gift of salvation with friends and relatives. This week Dewayne Liebrandt arrives to help with this work. He is the expert in deaf culture and I help with the Colombian cultural aspects. Together we have been working to develop the very first deaf church here in Colombia.
As is to be expected, there have been some problems. The deaf have almost no Biblical knowledge and are very hungry for teaching. Their requests often surpass the time I have available to dedicate to this effort. That also means they are susceptible to non-Biblical ideologies that masquerade for Christian teaching. As a result, we must continually be correcting and explaining something that one of them heard or was told by someone they know.
There have also been some difficulties in relating the deaf church to the hearing church with which they function and meet. Due to economic and educational realities, it is convenient for the deaf church to function in conjunction with a hearing church. They can share facilities and teachers and the deaf can benefit from the spiritual maturity of the elders of the long-established hearing church.
So while we work through what are relatively minor problems we are thrilled by the success of the deaf work so far as we strive to establish this new church. We have seen greater progress than many other deaf ministries that function with much greater funding and a longer history. God has blessed this effort as we work to establish a truly indigenous deaf church here in Colombia.