Consider these facts:
- Over 27-32 million Americans have significant hearing loss
- About one in four families have at least one member who is deaf or hard-of-hearing
- The number of severely to profoundly deaf people in the US is estimated at 1 million
- Only 2% to 4% of deaf people claim to know Christ as Savior
When I first read these statistics, I honestly skimmed over them as if they were another pile of information to wade through on the internet. It is so hard not to. There is so much information out there that would have startled a person years ago, and we have become so jaded as a culture when it comes to new information of this kind. The stats above came from their website.
Last week, I had the awesome privilege of working, for 5 days, for a ministry called “Silent Blessings Deaf Ministries“. The purpose of my time there was to help the organization develop a fundraising strategy for a campaign they have coming up in the near future. So, my time that week largely consisted of getting to know the ins and outs of the mission, vision, and values of this ministry. Silent Blessings is an organization that desires to bring people, both deaf and hearing, into a profound encounter with the reconciling love of God through Jesus Christ. I would say that is a worthy goal. They also produce a TV show for deaf (and hearing) children that is broadcasted all over the world. It is called Dr. Wonder’s Workshop. All of the actors are deaf and the voice-overs cater to the hearing population.
I know very little sign language and I only personally know a couple deaf people. For a while, for some reason, I have felt like our church has had some sort of call by God to reach out specifically to this people group. I am still not sure how that is going to look structurally, but we have already started dabbling in sign language as a church to prepare for what God has for us.
My week there was exciting, and I felt like I was at home with my temporary co-workers. I felt like we had the same mission in ministry even though I did not have much connection with the deaf commnunity I know God was nudging me. God broke my heart that week, more deeply, for the deaf community. In many surveys, this people group is called the largest unreached people group in America. To hear stories of how the deaf are marginalized, abused, and ignored entirely made me leave my temporary office shaking my head and desiring more of a connection. One stat that really shook me to the core involved the fathers of deaf children. Less than one percent of fathers who have deaf children are engaged with their child to help them grow spiritually, emotionally, or mentally. Not good.
So, as I reflect on last week, I have fond memories, and I look forward to my continued connection with this organization. My heart is filled…but it is also broken. Jesus loves everyone…even those who can’t hear.
Take a look at the video above and catch the passion for why this ministry began. Go to their website and donate!