- Ernest Richards
A Deafening Silence
Updated: Feb 26, 2020
Everyone I talk to is shocked by that figure.
98% unreached with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Even deaf members of our Deaf Church can’t believe it.
“Not here in America! Not when we have advanced so much in technology in the past 20, or even 10, years! Now we have Facebook, and Twitter, and VideoPhones, and the Deaf Bible in ASL!”
But the number still stands. True in America. True across the globe. Some estimate as many as 300 million “functionally deaf” people in the world, and no more than 2% of them know or have heard of Christ.
The International Mission Board classifies them as “the most unreached people in the world.”
HOW CAN IT POSSIBLY BE?
Without doubt, it is a matter of communication breakdown.
The Deaf don’t generally become avid readers of English.
The hearing don’t take necessary lengths to learn to sign.
On the list of “Most Heartbreaking Statistics,” I’d call this one number 2:
80% of the parents of deaf children never learn enough sign language to carry on a conversation with their deaf child.
There are tales abounding of deaf kids growing up in households where there was plenty of conversation – just not with THEM.
Countless deaf individuals lived with the heartbreak of being left out of daily family discourse – the family news, humor, helpful information, etc.
The child would customarily ask, “what is everyone laughing at?”
“Oh, it’s not important,” they’d be told; “I’ll tell you later.”
Consistently in so many homes, “later” never came.
But, something was communicated with crystal clarity, again and again.
What these kids caught from this was: “I am not worthy of the time and effort it would take to bring me in on this family bonding”
“I am not important enough to be included. It’s too much effort to bridge the communication gap.”
In just a couple years seeing into the Deaf community, I have met too many who were taken to church regularly all through their growing up years. However, they never became Christians, or they came to know the Lord after they left home, because they could not understand a single thing that was being said.
And they were never told.
For far too many, “later” never came.