How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? – Romans 10:14
When I learned my first 600 signs, I had no idea that the Lord would put me into this unique missionary ministry with Deaf people. When my wife, Diane, and I began dating, she did not view Deaf people as a culture group in need of spiritual help. But, as we became involved with Deaf people, that greatly changed.
For Hearing People Only – Imagine growing up without being able to clearly talk with your own parents. Imagine having good language skills, but needing to pantomime your ideas for others (non-signers) to understand you. Imagine having to learn a spoken language you have never heard. Imagine wondering, “Why is Jesus so important? Why do churches have crosses? Why do people give up their Sundays (days off work or school) to go to church?” Imagine thinking that people who do not know sign language are weird.
Reality Check – These questions are real for many people – many Deaf people. I am always amazed at the large amount of information a hearing person learns while listening to other people, the radio, or public announcements. Some of the information seems unimportant at first. But later, it could become very useful. Deaf people must learn with their eyes, not their ears. Ears hear from all directions, but eyes focus only in a narrow area. Much information is missed.
Not Pity, but Compassion! – Many Deaf people say they do not want you to feel sorry for them. In the USA they can get a good education, have a good job, get married, raise a family, participate in sports, and much more. (In other countries some of these may be limited by law or culture.) Spiritually, Deaf people do not need pity, but they do need concern from others. How shall they “hear” the Bible and Gospel with their eyes?
How Will They Call? – Call means to cry out, to contact, or to ask for help. Christians realize that salvation comes only when we cry out to the Lord, asking Him to save us from eternal separation from God. It is impossible to teach someone unless they first want to learn. Said another way, you cannot teach someone who thinks they know everything. It is impossible to call on, cry out to, or ask the Lord Jesus Christ for help if you do not believe He can help you.
How Will They Believe? – Believe means accept as true, to have faith, or to trust. You believe you will not have a car accident, so you get in a car to travel. You trust the other drivers to pay attention and do right. You drive because of your knowledge about the car, your belief that the car will work well, and your trust in other drivers. (No jokes here!) Christians call on the Lord because they believe in Him.
How Will They Hear? – Hear means to be told or informed. A person can hear with his ears, but not hear with his mind or heart. You cannot believe in someone or trust that person if you do not know about them. For example one of my teachers made up the name, “Modine Gunch.” If that is your name, I’m sorry – I’m sorry to pick on you. If you do not believe Modine Gunch is a real person, you will not try to find her phone number to call her. First you must be informed, then believe, then call.
Who Will Be the Announcer? – Romans 10:14 uses the word preacher. A preacher is one who announces, declares, proclaims, or publishes something. Advertisers announce their good product. Sports teams publish their names on hats, jerseys, and more. Christians publish the good news of Jesus Christ. Consider this important question:
Should we ignore Deaf people? How will they believe? How will they call? How will they have the same blessings as you? The need is for someone to tell, to announce, to interpret, to learn sign language, to give their life to a mission–-to help Deaf people “hear” the Gospel. Consider the question:
How Shall They Hear?
The need is great and the laborers are few! To learn more or help SWM, contact me by clicking here.