When I was young, every summer our family vacationed for one week “back home” on the farm where my Dad grew up. I remember noon meals where the kitchen table was filled with all kinds of vegetables – green peas, butter beans, black eyed peas, corn on the cob, collard greens (yuck), and much more. Of course, there was ham, chicken, and beef. But I never wanted to eat broccoli. Those little green pieces hanging on thick stalks looked bad. I decided I would not like broccoli before I tasted it. I was prejudiced (decide before try). Later, as a poor college student, I learned to eat what was served. Now, broccoli is one of my favorite vegetables (also collard greens).
Preferences – Some people are open to learn new things, go new places, and eat new foods. Other people prefer to stay as they are – comfortable without change. Every person has preferences. We each can make our own decisions. But some decisions are not based on facts, but on misunderstandings.
Misunderstandings – One day a visitor to Silent Word Ministries said that a certain Deaf man sounded mad. I listened to his voice and replied, “That is his normal voice. He has never heard a mad, sad, or happy voice.” A bakery worker told a Deaf coworker, “Let me decorate the cake. You are Deaf. You cannot decorate cakes.” (Note: I have personally seen that Deaf coworker’s wonderfully decorated deserts!) Some people ask, “Can a Deaf person drive a car?” “Can a Deaf person manage a business?” “Can a Deaf person properly raise children?” The answers are Yes, Yes, and Yes. In each of these examples, decisions were made without full knowledge. Quick actions or speaking without considering all the facts shows ignorance and misunderstanding.
The “Great Commission” in Acts 1:8 mentions several locations… “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” Christians do have the responsibility to share the Gospel in our neighborhoods, in our states, throughout our countries, and around the world. But also consider the people involved. Jerusalem had people who were very much like most of the disciples. Judaeans identified themselves as loyal to the God of Israel. But Jesus’ disciples marveled that He would tell a Samaritan woman about Himself as Savior (John 4:27). Jews and Samaritans had strong negative feelings toward each other. It would have been awkward for Jesus’ disciples to take the Gospel to Samaria – to Samaritans – but they were commanded to do it. It is difficult to take the Gospel to some people. Some may strongly reject. Others may want to know more, but some will accept (AC 17:32-34).
The deaf ministry is one of the most misunderstood ministries. I notice that Bible colleges rarely teach about deaf ministry. Very few young pastors (or missionaries) are encouraged to consider the need to reach and teach Deaf people. One of the greatest needs in deaf missions is for men – pastors, missionaries, and qualified laymen – to give themselves to preach and teach to the Deaf who are isolated from the Gospel.
At SWM, the married men were called into this ministry first, and their wives followed. Sign language is not feminine. Men are needed to pastor deaf churches, disciple Deaf men, and teach deaf Bible classes.
Misunderstanding kept me from trying, and even from liking, broccoli and collard greens. Do not let misunderstanding keep you from a unique and needy ministry. The harvest truly is great! Laborers are needed. Consider the need. Lift up your eyes. Look on the fields. Come help us in this unique missionary ministry! For more information please contact Jon by clicking here.