A Missionary‘s 8-Year Experience on Ministry for the Deaf and Mute
By Li Mubo, November 13, 2015 07:11 AM
On Nov. 1, the deaf and mute fellowship of Xiangyang Church of Hubei celebrated its 9th anniversary. Nearly twenty deaf and mute believers attended this activity. Their fellowship leader Song Xin, who has spent eight years with them, shared her stories with CCD.
Song Xin's Journey of Faith
As the third generation of Christian family, Song Xin's mother and grandfather were believers when she was born. But she failed to become a Christian naturally. When young as a little child, she didn't believe God. Every time her grandfather didn't feel well, her mother would ask her to accompany her grandfather to the local church. She still didn't believe God then, but she began to ask herself why her grandfather believed in God so firmly. With this question, she went to church.
Starting Ministry for Deaf and Mute
Half a year later, Reverend Tan Yu'e at Xiangyang Church asked her if she could be the leader of about twenty deaf and mute believers in church. Song Xin thought she took up this position because the pastor was too busy to care for those believers and she was eager to join a ministry in church.
After staying with deaf and mute believers for some time, Song Xin concluded characteristics the of these believers. They were innocent, honest and they preserved what they truly believed. They even had more advantages than healthy people in religion. They had a fantastic life. They had many hobbies, such as travelling. Their characteristics were a little different from healthy people because they had their own social circle and didn't communicate with healthy people very much.
As for her ministry for deaf and mute believers, Song Xin thought that preaching should be clear, vivid, dynamic, and should involve her own personal experience.
An Episode at the Beginning of Ministry
At first, Song Xin was not very skilled at using sign language when preaching to the deaf and mute believers and sometimes even caused misunderstandings. One day, while she was preaching with sign language, suddenly, a deaf brother stood up and rushed to strike her. He was quickly stopped by several brothers. The reason for this accident turned out to be a wrong gesture which was rude and insulting. All old believers knew it must be a misunderstanding, but as a new believer, the brother thought she did it intentionally. Song Xin hastened to explain and apologize to that deaf brother and he felt quite sorry after learning about that. Song Xin didn't think he would come to church any more. Unexpectedly, the next day, he came and even demanded to sit next to Song Xin.
Interesting Reasons for the Deaf and Mute Coming to Church
Some deaf and mute people are not very good at sign language and they wanted to make some improvements in church. Others wished to find a spouse in church. No matter what purposes they had, Song Xin warmly welcomed all deaf and mute people whoever entered the church because she believed that despite any interesting reasons, going to church was good for them. Most of them would stay in church and a few would leave if they didn't find what they want.
A Conflict Faced by Song Xin
Song Xin preached to deaf and mute believers only during weekends since she had to work on weekdays. She thought she was far from being well equipped with God's Word. She also wanted to listen to sermons. However, these deaf and mute believers neede her ministry. They might feel hurt if she didn't preach to them on weekends.
Due to her work, she was not able to take part in training programs offered by church or worship on Sunday. She had to gain Biblical knowledge through the Internet and tried to comprehend the Bible by herself. When she was not sure about her learnings, she would discuss with Rev. Tan and get help from her. She felt very thankful for the pastor's help. Every time she talked with Rev. Tan she could acquired lots of new knowledge.
Now she preaches to deaf and mute believers mainly based on her own Bible study. Sometimes she could grasp an opportunity of listening to sermons for a while on Sunday. When she felt she was "fed well," she shares what she learned with the deaf and mute believers. She is very grateful for her ministry from God. But sometimes she feels a little unworthy of such a valuable mission.
Current Situation of the Deaf and Mute Fellowship
During the past nine years, three members of the fellowship passed away and some members were not able to be present often due to their busy work. Now there were over twenty members in total in the Deaf and Mute Fellowship. Every year, there were two or three members of the fellowship who were baptized. The number has increased to five this year.
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