"Are you open to accepting a person with disabilities as a member of your family? Specifically, would you consider having a deaf-mute individual as a partner who would stand by your side and pray with you?"
During a recent sharing session, a deaf pastor named Tang (pseudonym) posed this question. The disabled community is a significant part of our society, facing challenges in receiving equal treatment and struggling to integrate into the mainstream world. Blind individuals navigate with canes, while those with physical disabilities rely on crutches and wheelchairs for their daily lives.
In China, the disabled population exceeds 80 million people, with the deaf community alone comprising over 20 million individuals, accounting for one-fourth of the total disabled population.
According to Tang, "The deaf community differs from other disabled groups. People with physical or intellectual disabilities can communicate with the general population to some extent. However, the deaf community remains isolated from society to such an extent that even close family members struggle to understand their thoughts."
Furthermore, not only do they face personal vulnerabilities due to their disabilities, but they also endure scrutiny and discrimination from society. These concerns deeply moved Tang to establish a deaf church that communicates through sign language.
Despite the numerous inconveniences faced by deaf believers, many of whom live tens of kilometers away from the church, they wholeheartedly attend Sunday services and willingly participate in worship.
The deaf community faces various challenges in society, including difficulties finding employment, starting businesses, accessing healthcare, and receiving education. Tang, being deaf himself and having grown up in such an environment, has firsthand experience of these struggles.
"What can be done to support these individuals?" a voice asked Tang. Consequently, in the initial stages of establishing the sign language church, he made the decision to create a ministry dedicated to serving the deaf community. This ministry focuses on understanding deaf culture, developing deaf education, and promoting self-improvement within the community.
After years of development, this ministry now provides a range of tailored services for the deaf community. These include employment and entrepreneurship assistance, healthcare and medical support, and legal aid.
- Translated by Abigail Wu