Ministries like Open Doors, Voice of the Martyrs, and Middle East Concern monitor and describe persecution around the world. Read some of those reports here.
But persecution is also prevalent in the Deaf world; it simply looks a little different. Nonetheless, Deaf believers in South Asia are taking a bold stand for Jesus.
Persecution in a Deaf context
Deaf people communicate in a completely different way than the general populace; in other words, Deaf people sign rather than speak. This unifying factor gives Deaf Christians a distinct advantage in countries hostile to the Gospel. However, there’s also a downside to Deaf unity.
“Because they (Deaf people) have their own language… many hearing people around them have no idea what they’re talking about when they’re having a conversation on the street,” DOOR International‘s Rob Myers says.
“There’s a natural barrier that helps provide security to some Deaf workers, especially in areas that have high rates of persecution.”
However, the tightly-knit bond of Deaf communities can also present a challenge to Gospel work.
“Deaf people, because they grow up without a lot of relationship with their parents, many times they get involved in gangs,” Myers explains.
To some Deaf individuals, gangs are appealing because it’s a group “that at least knows their language and provides some sort of community, which maybe they’ve never experienced before.”
In South Asia, Deaf gangs usually associate themselves with whatever religion their country follows.
“For example, you might have a gang of Deaf people who strongly feel that Buddhism is correct. They may not necessarily understand why, but they are going to come against any other Deaf people who are speaking out against that or saying something different,” Myers says.
“They feel, culturally, ‘we belong to this particular religion. Therefore, anything different needs to be done away with’.”
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SOURCE: Mission Network News, Katey Hearth
CALL TO ACTION
- Praise the Lord for the newly-baptized believers!
- Pray for strength and courage as these believers start living out their faith.
- Pray for DOOR’s 2-by-2 teams as they face increased oppression in South Asia.