Shandong Deaf Church Celebrates 15th Anniv. of Founding

By Josiah Li, October 28, 2017 05:10 AM

Group photo of the Huoshui (Living Water) Sign Language Church of Yantai(Jin Youwei)

On October 15, 2017, the Huoshui Sign Language Church of Yantai, Shandong, celebrated its 15th anniversary.

A cross stitch handmade by the congregation,

On October 15, 2017, the Huoshui Sign Language Church of Yantai, Shandong, celebrated its 15th anniversary.

On October 15, 2017, the Living Water Sign Language Church of Yantai, Shandong, celebrated its 15th anniversary at the new facility. More than 90 deaf Christians attended it.

Around the theme "Family, Banquet of Love", the celebration consisted of dances, praise in sign language, an interactive program, short plays, games, and a prize draw. Preacher Song Lei, the church leader, delivered a short sermon on "families" in sign language. Following the conductor and empty-handed, seven instrumentalists pretended to play instruments in a program named "Concert for the Deaf." After all the programs were performed, the congregation enjoyed snacks made by some deaf people and their families.

Song Lei shared the church's history, its difficulties and the next steps for sign language with China Christian Daily.

The church started as a house gathering in 1995 and was officially founded in 2002. It has been relocated four times and now gathers in a facility of 400 square meters. It has held several baptism services, weddings for the deaf, and training for deaf workers. Meanwhile, fellowships and gathering places for the deaf have been set up in other churches with its help.

He talked about two problems in deaf churches: insufficient theological education for deaf preachers and financial difficulty. Song said, "Deaf preachers are the best leaders of deaf churches.  The deaf hardly understand script and think differently from hearing people, but it's easy for the deaf to understand and communicate with each other. The urgent need for deaf preachers is theological education."

"Since the deaf are commonly poorer than hearing people, it's hard for them to give tithes and offerings. This results in financial difficulties for deaf churches and restricted development of church ministries. The deaf need material support. One may never forget a little help." He added.

Sister Zhang Qi converted to Christianity after two accidents in 2008 when Preacher Song and a church worker visited her at home. Mentioning the visit, she cried. "They not only visited me but also gave me a present," Zhang told CCD. A few months later, she recovered, came to the church, and joined it.

However, there were some cases where members left the church after receiving help from heresies. Song stated that the number of the congregation peaked at 120 or 130, but over the half quit the church after getting material support from the "Jehovah's Witnesses." Now the church has only 50 to 60 left.

Song said that it was hard for him to attend to each deaf member owing to his busy schedule filled with sermon preparation, studying theology, and dealing with church financial difficulties. He felt indebted them and feared that they might be confused by heresies.

Regarding the future, he said, "God was gracious to our church. We had to pay an annual rent of 30,000 yuan for the previous apartment with an area of 80 square meters. Now it only costs 40,000 yuan to rent a facility of 400 square meters in the same building."

First of all, Song wanted to offer theological training for deaf workers and then handiwork opportunities for deaf members. The new facility has two big rooms, one for services and the other for prayer and making handmade items such as cross stitch samplers and handmade beads. He expects to open a factory of handmade products to help deaf Christians as well as deaf non-Christians.

Deaf people account for a significant proportion in China. They want to integrate into society, but are marginalized. With the social development, deaf ministries have been launched in Harbin, Shenyang, Hefei, Yantai, etc. Compared to other ministries, deaf ministries face special challenges that need more attention and guidance from the church.  

- Translated by Karen Luo

Related Article

Must Read

comments powered by Disqus

More from CCD

Bible Verses to Keep your Mind Calm Down from Stress

Anxiety can kill us but the Lord has given us so much guidance through the Bible.

Believers Cut Wood and Burn Limestone to Build Famous Nu Church

Nu Christians in Yunnan built their church with their own hands.

Story of Church in Zhangjiajie’s Remote Mountainous Area, South-central China

Wangjiaping Church, the second oldest church in Zhangjiajie, has a history of about twenty years.

Pope Francis Encourages Parents to Baptize Their Babies ASAP

Should you baptize your child while their young or let them decide about it when they're adult already?

Chinese Authorities: "Bible Are Still Sold in Chinese Churches"

CCC&TSPM said that the Bible is still sold inside the church as normal.

Survey Shows Catholic Church Attendance in US Declines

Why are Catholics no longer going to church every Sunday in the US?

Pope Francis Denounces Violence in Syria and the Use of Chemical Weapons

The second Sunday mass at the Vatican is dedicated to those who are suffering and have perished in the ongoing violence in Syria.

St. Pope John Paul II Blood Relic Venerated in the Philippines

One of St. Pope John Paul II's relics is currently in the Philippines.

Lisu Church Holds Baptism in River

On April 1, 2018, Eduodi Yizu Church in Fugong County, Yunnan, held a baptism in the river.

Shanghai Church Holds Group Memorial Service on Tomb Sweeping Day

Hongkew Methodist Church in Shanghai held a group memorial service on April 5, 2018, the Chinese Qingming Festival or Tomb Sweeping Day.