My verse of the day is Romans 10:9-10 which says “…because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.”
This verse was very timely for me as this week our team begun work on a very exciting project that has the potential to share the Gospel with hundreds of thousands of Deaf in the Middle East. I have been truly overwhelmed at the thought of how good God is and how He truly is the master architect of reaching the nations.
However it has been verses like this that have been tremendous stumbling blocks in the Deaf coming to know Christ. Not because of the scripture itself, but because of serious misinterpretations by ministry leaders and pastors. I can’t tell you how many times I have counseled with a Deaf person that was truly distraught and heartbroken by the thought that they couldn’t experience salvation in Christ. When I would gain understand of their reasoning for this it always came back to something they were told by a pastor. That usually something goes something like this, “Well the Bible says faith comes by hearing, and you can’t hear so therefore you can’t be saved”. Or “The scripture says you must confess with your MOUTH and you can’t speak well enough to confess it verbally so you can’t have life everlasting”.
Each time I see my friends signing these misconceptions it breaks my heart…. To see their true desire to know Christ but to then be damned by the minister because of ‘mis-interpretation’. This very experience is one that not only I, but many of my colleagues have faced in the mission field, and let me add this has not only happened abroad but many times in the U.S. as well.
We face the task of trying to penetrate one of the worlds LARGEST unreached people groups with the Gospel. Where more than 98% of the Deaf in the world have never even been told of Christ. We are then faced with the reality that today there is not one complete Bible in any sign language in the world. How will they ‘hear’ (know) unless there is a Bible in their language. How can one be truly effective at evangelism and discipleship unless he/she has the pure Word of God to follow? How will the Deaf come to know Him?
Today we provide access to Bible content in over 15 sign languages. Deaf people are able to see in their heart language that indeed, they can come to know Him and that they too can have a relationship with Christ. The Bible in their native sign language has often been so overwhelming as many Deaf thought they were worthless and that their languages were not on par with spoken languages. But now they see that God would have His message delivered to them in sign language! That they CAN look to heaven and boldly sign “I confess that Jesus is Lord and I believe in my heart that God raised Him from the dead!”
This week we had a team of people began working on the very first evangelistic resource in a middle eastern sign language! This resource will have the potential to reach many with the Gospel and be a stepping stone towards sign language Bible translation projects in that region.
Would you join me in prayer for the millions of Deaf in the world who have not encountered the message of Christ. Pray that we would find the workers to go out into the fields and labor. Pray that God would send the financial resources needed to complete this task.
And boldly confess with your mouths and with your hands that Jesus is Lord!
Until all the Deaf have seen,