Most of the approximately 70 million Deaf people around the world have never seen Jesus’ name signed in their language. Often ignored and oppressed, the Deaf are some of the least evangelized people on earth.
However, those serving with the International Mission Board (IMB), including Oklahoma Baptists—their names and numbers withheld for security reasons—in 2019 gave a Gospel witness to 8,356 of the global Deaf people group; 193 became believers; 138 were baptized and 15 churches were planted.
Early in 2019, Deaf Southeast Asians in one major city pooled their monthly income to rent an inexpensive store-front building where they could worship together, set up a studio for Scripture translation and provide a guest room for other partners.
This Deaf church is now reaching out to multiple Deaf communities in their country to evangelize, plant churches, work on the Bible translation process with other new believers and assist their IMB colleagues in completing Bible story translation in all the neighboring countries of Southeast Asia.
In Sub-Saharan Africa, two Deaf men from another faith background committed their lives to Christ and were baptized. In 2019, they came to the Deaf Theological Training Center in Tennessee where they received training in Old Testament, New Testament and church planting.
These two young men have returned to West Africa and led other Deaf to faith, baptized them and started planting churches in several towns.
Globally, 55 Deaf received pastoral training in 2019, and 48 received church planting training. Last year, an additional 113 Deaf received other forms of training.
In September 2019, a group of 40 Deaf gathered outside a city in Europe for training in church planting and partnership. Deaf national partners working in West Africa, Southeast Asia, Central Asia, Eastern Europe, Central America and East Asia gathered for this training.
This new network of Deaf evangelicals is now making plans to work together in the months to come for global outreach in places where Deaf communities have no Gospel witness.
Because of the generous giving of Oklahoma Baptists through the Cooperative Program, an amazing array of ministries are supported. This unified giving encourages fellowship with other believers all over the world. Collectively, Oklahoma Baptists are advancing the Gospel together.
Global deaf peoples were featured in the 2021 Missionary Prayer Guide for Oklahoma Baptists. To see more information about Southern Baptist work globally, visit oklahomabaptists.org/cp.