How can I help de- isolate the deaf Community from attending Church?
So there I was in a Chemist (Pharmacist) in England. I had recently commenced learning British Sign Language, but knew very little. The Pharmacist looked flustered and was waving her arms wildly at a customer in front of her…I don’t know why I stopped to take more notice but, as I heard her say “no! no! go away!” I realised the distressed customer was deaf.
I ran after her,and desperately tried to communicate with my beginners ability….”me just started to learn sign language…not good…but help can I?” She breathed a sigh of relief and then started hanging out her tongue…holding up two fingers on each hand like claws dangling down……..got it!!! “Dog?? something about your dog “(whom she held in her arms) Ok, I can do this…..um ….dog???. She began grooming her hair, then pointing to her dog! I ran into The Pharmacist’s again and asked if there was a dog groomers in the area? She said “Oh yes, just drive round the back of this shop and you will find it!” “Thankyou!” I said “That’s all the deaf lady was trying to ask you just now. I will tell her.”
I felt cross, and relieved all at the same time. I went back outside and directed the deaf lady, who broke out into a huge smile, and gave me a big hug. (Score one for Jesus!)
I walked home thinking….”Don’t we do this to deaf people too? By not making it possible for them to go to a church and get good communication, translation, and fellowship with Holy Spirit?” As a result, I began a coffee morning for the deaf at my Church, and offered Interpretation of worship songs at least, and fellowship, until I was competent enough to Interpret a sermon.
The deaf cope in a grossly ignorant world to their needs. I heard it said “Blindness cuts you off from the world, but deafness cuts you off from people.” Both are horrible, yet the deaf and blind learn to cope magnificently….let’s help a bit. Most of our problem is embarrassment, like the Pharmacist…but if you can play charades or mime a bit, YOU CAN DO IT!
No one should be isolated or cut off from hearing the Gospel and just how much God loves them. Most deaf people attend a fellowship or Christian Service at their Deaf Club, but this is still isolating them from the rest of the Body of Christ. Let’s get out there and integrate with them, and bring them back into our midst…I know Jesus would.
Linda Wells – Deaf Signing Network Coordinator
Cartoon reference: Daigle, M. (2010, April 6) That Deaf Guy. [Cartoon] Retrieved from http://www.thatdeafguy.com/?p=118