Why We Do What We Do...
Jesus taught that we are to do more than meet needs- we must lead people to God's kingdom and demonstrate how to live out our beliefs and bring good news to those who feel hopeless.
Deaf 2 Sordos is an answer to prayer from a Cuban Pastor and Deaf Ministry leaders that a Deaf Christian from outside Cuba be called by God to collaborate with them in helping the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Cuba learn more about and grow in Christ. Also to help demonstrate how we can effectively live out our christian beliefs as deaf people living in a predominantly hearing society.
When God placed their prayer in my heart to serve them, I quickly thought “Ahhh, wait a second, Lord, about this whole missionary-to-the-Cuban-deaf thing . . . It doesn’t sound like that great an idea. Spanish or Cuban Sign Language is not one of my talents."
Literally, as if on cue, my Cuban friend- a Spanish-English translator, who has a strong heart for serving God, said... "You know, I think I'm supposed to learn American Sign Language and interpret for you!" How was I supposed to say "NO" now?
Cuba has the highest literacy rate in the Americas (98%) and their churches have done very well in sharing the Gospel among their people. However, the country’s education system has its challenges. Lack of resources has meant that outside of most major cities, sign language interpreters or teachers for the deaf are not available to a majority of deaf youth in regular schools.
Deaf children who don’t attend special schools for the deaf- being too far from home, learn how to read and write at a certain level in regular schools but do not have the opportunity to learn Cuban Sign Language. That limits who they can communicate with. Many older deaf people are illiterate and have limited language skills. Those living in rural communities are often isolated and alone. That leaves a good portion of Cuba’s deaf and hard of hearing population with almost no meaningful social access to the world around them compared to their hearing peers due to economic, language and educational barriers. You can probably guess they don’t know much about Jesus either.
Cuban churches with deaf ministries have taken it upon themselves to reach out and provide sign language education for the deaf who need it. They introduce them into their church’s deaf community where they have a chance to learn to express themselves in Cuban Sign Language and become part of a community they fit in. As they learn how to communicate, they have the opportunity to learn the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Herein lies the challenge. Most of us live in a hearing centered culture characterized by sound, music, voices and auditory stimulations. Often the Gospel is presented this way. The “hearing way” of presenting the good news does not always translate well for deaf people to understand, so the message needs to be presented in a slightly revised way for the deaf to fully grasp the story of Christ and what he has done for us. The way the gospel is typically presented leaves some deaf people wondering if God is intended for hearing people, not them?
The lack of appropriate ministry training materials specific to the deaf and resources; Christian Deaf role models from outside Cuba who can provide encouragement and guidance has been identified by these pastors and deaf ministry leaders as where they really needed help.
Deaf 2 Sordos collaboration with the churches of these deaf ministries is an opportunity for the Cuban Deaf to be exposed to Deaf Christians from outside of Cuba, who also follow Christ and live with hope in their hearts. D2S will help these churches obtain & develop ministry materials and resources that benefit the deaf and hard of hearing in learning that Jesus message of love and salvation applies to everyone, whether they can hear or not. D2S will also help with financial aid that would allow them to participate in ministry activities that helps the Cuban Deaf and Hard of Hearing grow in their faith.
Please join Deaf 2 Sordos in making a difference in the lives of these Cuban Deaf.