Throughout the years, I could see how God was developing valuable connections between different Deaf leaders and people, making His way into the hearts of many. Looking back, I remember a trip that was formed from one valuable connection to another.
I traveled to Kenya, Africa, to meet Simon, my friend, and colleague. Simon is a wonderful, godly man who loves to evangelize and share the Gospel as he meets new Deaf people (Simon’s life story is shared in a previous story). For years, he was involved in Bible translation. When Scripture portions were ready, he would actively pursue Deaf communities to help distribute God’s Word in their sign language. This time was no different. Simon was eager to distribute God’s Word on micro-SD cards to Deaf people in Kenya’s surrounding areas.
Our plan was for the two of us to visit different Deaf schools where Deaf children would have the opportunity to see Scripture in their sign language and experience the love of God.
We also planned to fly into Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Our group was prepared to tell Tanzania Deaf about Christ! It would be an arduous journey, as we traveled by bus for about 10 hours, making our way to the remote Deaf village of Ifakara. We were warned of the thunderous rough terrain, which had often proved overwhelming for foreigners. We prepared ourselves for the difficulties ahead.
Because Ifakara is located in an isolated area, visitors are unexpected and scarce. Yet, even miles of unpaved road that present an almost impossible terrain to navigate become possible through God!
The joy on their faces said it all to us. Welcome to the Deaf community of Ifakara!
In the morning, we gathered together in a makeshift outdoor arena. The Deaf community was hungry and eager to learn about the Gospel message in Tanzania Sign Language as we handed out on microSD cards. The women would huddle together to discuss what they were watching while the men sought answers to their questions among themselves.
I witnessed God’s Word becoming alive among the Deaf community of Ifakara!
As God’s Word in their sign language grew in their hearts, I remember the same thing happening to me many years ago. I had difficulty understanding the written Bible, but when I saw Scripture in my sign language, it drew me closer to wanting to know God more.
We said goodbye to our friends in Ifakara and headed back to Dar es Salaam. I visited a Deaf church there and saw many people trying to watch and take in the Word of God on one small phone. As this large group of people gathered around this one small electric device, I thought, “we can do better!” I told the pastor that we wanted to purchase a large TV for the community. He was thrilled! We had to install electricity to the wall and mount a TV with a readily available port to read the micro-SD card. Our new Deaf friends were beyond excited to be able to come together as a community to see God’s Word in their sign language unfold on the big screen! A discussion broke out and became a Bible study.
God’s Word is alive among the Deaf community in Dar es Salaam!
It was His work planted among the people which was growing into something beautiful.
A year later, I went back to visit my friends in the town of Ifakara. What I saw was an incredible growth and spiritual mindset to glorify God in everything they did. It was an indescribable transformation, and I was stunned! God is so good.
Later, I reflected on all that God had arranged to reach these precious communities. Valuable connections and relationships were made, ones that will prove useful to the Lord and His kingdom to come.
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.– Acts 1:8