Samuel and Bridget’s Story
A Deaf marriage rooted in God’s plans and purposes
My name is Bridget, and I am 24 years old. Both my husband, Samuel, and I were born hearing. He went Deaf at the age of 4 from a malaria fever, and I lost my hearing at the age of 16. It was so difficult. My teachers would speak, and over time I couldn’t understand what they were saying.
Growing up in Burundi, I wasn’t a committed Christian. I knew Scripture, but I wasn’t serving the Lord. When I lost my hearing, I thought God was punishing me. Jeremiah 29:11 kept me going. Even before I was born, Jesus knew me and had a plan. Another Scripture that helped me was Matthew 7:7. I kept asking the Lord, “Why? Why me, Lord?” I kept asking knowing full well that He would answer.
I began learning Burundian Sign Language, and a friend of mine invited me to a Deaf church. I started going but wasn’t sure about staying because I didn’t know the people in the community. I also knew I couldn’t keep going to my parent’s church because there was no interpreter. I eventually stayed at the Deaf church because they used sign language.
Through my church, I was sponsored to attend a Deaf Camp in Uganda. It was there that I met Samuel. He is such a faithful man, Oh, how he loves God! He encourages me in my walk with Christ, and to pray and serve. Samuel is an associate pastor at our Deaf church here in Uganda, and I help to minister to the women. So many people do not have peace in their marriages. Samuel and I get asked a lot of questions about our marriage, and we keep pointing people to Christ.
God has greatly blessed me with a godly husband, a child, and a church where I can help other women.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”– Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
Rooted in God by seeing the Gospel
My name is Brenda and I was not raised in a Christian home. Being the only Deaf person in my family, I attended a Christian vocational school for the Deaf. There are very few schools for the Deaf in Uganda. The few schools we do have are primarily run by Christians.
Growing up it was difficult for me to understand the religious book my family used. My family didn’t know sign language, so they could not communicate with me about what they believed. It was at this vocational school that I first saw the Gospel message in my sign language. It was then that God’s Word took root in my heart and I learned about Jesus and understood why He came to save us.
A small group began meeting at the school to learn more about God in our Ugandan Sign Language. As the group continued to grow, we launched a Deaf church in our local community. Our original pastor recently passed away, but our church continues to grow, and the school group continues to meet and grow as well. God is so faithful!
I have tried to read the Bible, but it is very difficult and I understand very little. When I see Scripture in my Ugandan Sign Language, see my pastor teach us in Ugandan Sign Language, and see my brothers and sisters in Christ discuss it in Ugandan Sign Language, I know this is best. I understand God’s love for me. Others can see and understand it as well…I can see it in their eyes!
Deaf people who are not Christians come to church because they want to be around others in the Deaf community. They are exposed to Jesus and see the changes in people’s lives. They are drawn to the goodness Jesus is growing within us.
Jesus touches my heart and gives me so much joy! I am so happy and thankful that my children are the first in my family to be raised in a Christian home.
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”– Colossians 2:6-7 (NIV)
God’s Word hidden in hearts through different languages
My name is Deborah. It is signed by cupping your hand over your mouth. I got this sign name due to a burn I received when I was a child. Growing up, my family worked on a rural farm, so we only went to church a few times. They were always churches for hearing people, so I didn’t know what was going on. My family couldn’t explain it to me because, being the oldest of eight siblings, I am the only one who is Deaf.
Today, I have a little boy and girl who are hearing. We attend a hearing church because I want my children to be able to know God’s Word in their spoken language. They know sign language too because that’s my language and we need to be able to communicate with each other. I understand some Scripture, but I want to ensure that my children know God’s Word for themselves. I started going to a Deaf church earlier this year. It was the first time I saw Scripture in my sign language. I want to be able to watch Scripture in my home, in my sign language. I want to teach my children more about the Bible and God’s ways, but for me to be able to train my children to have a greater interest and trust in Jesus, I need to know more about Him myself.
We recently moved into a new home this past Easter. Our prior home was broken into and all of our possessions were stolen. I need God’s Word in my sign language so I can understand it more. I need to teach my children about God’s Truth so they can have it in their hearts where it cannot be stolen.
I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”– Psalm 119:11 (NIV)
Judith and Joy’s Story
Deaf sisters in Christ worshiping the one true God
My name is Judith. I am the only Deaf person in my family. Some friends had invited me to a church for Deaf people, and I’m so thankful I went. I can see Scripture in sign language and meet other Deaf Christians. This is also where I met Joy.
Joy started a roadside business nine years ago when she was 15. I needed work to help support my family, so I’ve been working with Joy for three years now. We peel bananas for local restaurants and then recycle the peels by selling them to businesses that raise cattle and pigs. The business is growing, praise God, and some of my family members have joined us.
Both Joy and I were born into hearing Christian families, but reading the Bible is very hard to understand. The written language is not my language. Uganda is my country, and Ugandan Sign Language is my language. Being able to see videos of Scripture in my sign language at church is wonderful, but so much more is needed. We don’t have all of the Bible in our language.
I know that my church has Fellowship Nights during the week, and I would love to go to them, but I am working to support my family. It’s hard sometimes, but I don’t work on Sundays so that I can go to church. It is so wonderful to be with other Deaf people to learn about God in our language and worship Him together.
Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.”– John 4:23 (NIV)
Signed Scripture needed to grow holy lives
My name is Andrew, and I am 28 years old. I first saw Scripture in Ugandan Sign Language during my third year of secondary school. I was 14 years old. It was so wonderful! The stories and pictures made God’s Word so clear. The questions posed after each story helped my class further discuss what we saw.
I was raised in a hearing Christian family. We went to church together but didn’t have conversations about what they heard or experienced. They have only learned basic signs, and we don’t discuss things related to Scripture. My favorite Bible story is Daniel in the lions’ den. It has taught me so much about trusting God and remaining faithful to Him no matter what I’m going through. I only want to worship the one true God. How I would love to discuss Daniel with my family.
I am a member of a Deaf church and also attend the Fellowship Nights during the week. These Fellowship Nights allow us to ask questions and learn more about Scripture together. A young Deaf mother came one evening. Her child was sick with diarrhea for three months, and she wanted to know what God’s Word says about using herbal medicines. Her grandmother wanted to give the child an herbal tea, but the mother refused because she thought it might be witchcraft. Through our discussion, we learned how God made all of creation and that it is good. He gives us plants for our benefit. It is whether or not we use them for His good and glory. It is a matter of the condition of our heart. We want to live holy lives. We need more of God’s Word in our sign language to learn and grow in Christ together.
…that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God…”- Colossians 1:10 (NIV)