Aware means to have knowledge, to be informed or to be alert. Children must be trained to be aware of what is around them. This situational awareness is important, but there is also a great need for spiritual awareness. If you are not aware of situations and needs around you, you should become aware.
“I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” – 1 Corinthians 9:22
Nowadays there are city-wide deaf awareness conferences sponsored by businesses or secular deaf agencies. More businesses are trying to include Deaf people as customers. American Sign Language has been seen on the news and even in advertisements. But also the need for Deaf Spiritual Awareness is great. The need may be unseen and unheard, but it is there. Are you aware?
Who Needs To Be Aware?
Mission Boards and Missionaries – Gospel-preaching missionaries are scattered all around the world. Though it would be impossible for every missionary to learn sign language, many could learn deaf ministry and help their church members to reach Deaf people for Jesus Christ on their fields. Mission boards can partner with SWM to help spread the Gospel to one of the most un-reached people groups in the world! Several years ago, Dr. Curtis Young, then Vice President of Field Ministries for International Partnership Ministries (IPM), became burdened for the spiritual needs of Deaf people. IPM and SWM agreed to work together to reach the Deaf world for Christ. SWM gladly provided DVDs and other materials. IPM opened their foreign mission fields. SWM missionaries helped IPM missionaries learn deaf ministry. Foreign nationals were trained. Today there are deaf ministries, and Deaf churches, on many foreign fields, in places where Deaf people previously had no chance of receiving the Gospel. SWM International director, David Bennett, invests weeks at a time training foreign nationals (pastors and laymen) how to reach Deaf people in their countries. He does not teach sign language, but deaf ministry. One goal of SWM is to assist mission boards and missionaries to reach Deaf people as they plant churches around the world.
Christian Colleges – Christian colleges can greatly impact future generations for Christ by exposing their students to the Biblical need for deaf ministry. Some students will learn sign language or go on to answer God’s call and give their lives to this great mission field. SWM can present this Biblical need to a specific class, the ministerial class or to the entire student body. The need is great, but the (Deaf) laborers are few. One reason could be the lack of exposure to this great, worldwide need.
All Christians – Last year SWM created and published 3 new Gospel QR “business cards.” How exciting! Almost 20,000 cards were sent “free” to churches and individuals who agreed to distribute them. One of the cards was specifically designed to show Deaf people Gospel videos in their language, ASL, at SilentWord.org/DeafHeaven (also view and order cards). Now is a good time for Christians to become more aware of the spiritual needs of the Deaf World.
How To Become Aware
Look around you. See the need. The Deaf World can be very lonely. Language differences and misunderstanding isolate many Deaf from their families, neighbors, and the Gospel. Consider the need for deaf ministry in your area. SWM can help your church plan a Deaf Awareness Sunday to present the spiritual needs of the Deaf World – Pray, Give, Go. “Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest” (John 4:35).
Those who were NOT aware are NOW aware!
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