“Do you have time for a deaf* man?” a church member asked me after I preached about reaching every person with the Gospel. I smiled and became excited. My first thought was Mark 7:32, “And THEY bring unto him ONE that was deaf.” Jesus was busy teaching a multitude of people around him. He answered their many questions. He healed people. He cast out devils. But, Jesus had time for one deaf man. “He took him aside from the multitude” and dealt with him privately, as an individual. My time in the area was limited, but I thought, if Jesus had time for one deaf person, so do I. Yes, I have time for a deaf man!
The church member called the deaf man’s neighbor and fellow Christian to set up a meeting with the deaf man the next afternoon. I went to his back door, where he could see me from his couch. Immediately he came outside to talk. I learned that he did not know sign language, and could only read lips if speech was slow. But he had good speech and was a “talker,” so I listened. He told me detailed stories about his parents, his brothers, his nephews, and several tragic events that happened to his family. He had no family in the area and had lived alone in his apartment for 20 years. His car was totaled, so he walked everywhere he went. Most days he walked 1.5 miles to the public library, buying groceries on his way back home.
I asked my new deaf friend spiritual questions about salvation, God, Jesus, and church. Each time he gave a brief answer, then returned to his family history stories. Finally, I learned his mother tried to tell him about God. It became clear that it would take a long time to learn how to help this man spiritually, but his heart was open to learning more.
After two hours of conversation, I told my new friend that someone could pick him up for church Sunday morning. He was excited and told me that he had not been to church in many years.
When the church members learned that the deaf man would come, they were excited. But then they asked, “How will we communicate? We don’t know sign language. He barely reads lips. How will this work? Can we do this?”
It was exciting to show them the Live Transcribe & Sound Notifications app (Android). The app types words for conversations and sounds for people who are deaf and hard of hearing. Sunday, the deaf man was in church, the app typed the sermon, and the church members had a ministry to the deaf man. Later that week I received a text saying the church members plan to visit him and teach him the Bible individually. I’m very glad I had time for one deaf man!
Now, let me ask you. Do you have time for one Deaf person? Deaf people live in every country, state, county, and most every community. SWM can help your church reach Deaf and Hearing people for Christ. SWM helps missionaries from many mission boards reach Deaf people in their countries. Do you have a…
● Burden to reach Deaf for Christ?
● Call to Deaf missions?
● Desire to help SWM with your skills?
*Some have asked why the word deaf is sometimes capitalized. Big-D Deaf refers to someone who is culturally Deaf, knows ASL, and functions well in the Deaf community. Small-d deaf refers to the fact that someone cannot hear.
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