Following the recent Home-going of my father-in-law, my wife was in the States, and I was in Brazil on Thanksgiving day. Our field director, Sean (and Stephanie) Lunday, graciously invited me over for Thanksgiving dinner, along with Lee and Eva Johnson, missionaries to the Deaf in Peru.
A few months ago, a Christian man was looking for a church in São Paulo, and he found the name of Sean Lunday and contacted him. This Brazilian man, Alex, is single, and since he was in São Paulo, Brother Lunday also invited him over for Thanksgiving dinner.
As we talked, Alex listened intently as Lee Johnson told him about the deaf works in Peru, and also as I talked about the deaf works in São Paulo. Alex had never heard of a deaf church, and as Lee Johnson was explaining about the deaf ministry, Alex said, “You’re filling a void.” With that being said, my ears perked up and I asked Alex to repeat what he had just said. When he again said that we are filling a void, I had to tell him that, in fact, we are not filling a void, because the deaf works in Peru and Brazil are just a “drop in the bucket” in relation to the millions of Deaf that are unreached around the world. With more than 70 million deaf people worldwide, we’re just barely scratching the surface of the spiritual needs of the world deaf population.
In his book, “Into the Silence,” missionary Joe Kotvas says, “there is only one foreign Independent Baptist missionary to the Deaf for every 8,000,000 deaf people.” Brother Kotvas goes on to say that “there is only one North American independent Baptist missionary to the Deaf for every four countries.” ¹
I wish that we were “filling the void,” but we still have a long way to go. It’s overwhelming to even try to grasp the magnitude of those statistics in the aforementioned book. We are just barely reaching a small percentage of the more than 270,000 Deaf in São Paulo, much less than reaching three other countries. Those figures are staggering!
The Great Commission says, “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). While the majority of the 8 billion people who inhabit the earth are hearing, there are still more than 70 million people of the world population who are deaf, most of whom have never learned about salvation through Jesus Christ. The vast majority of deaf people are unsaved, and according to John 3:18, they are “condemned already,” and on their way to the Lake of Fire for all eternity. That ought to stir your heart. There’s only a handful of missionaries to the Deaf around the world who are trying to pull them out of Satan’s grasp.
Millions of Deaf worldwide don’t even have a language, no one with whom they can communicate, and no one to explain God’s love for them. They know nothing of Jesus, the Cross, the empty tomb, and Heaven. Many Deaf sit in silence, alone, unreached, forgotten, and without hope.
Christian friend, this needs to change. Churches across America and around the globe need to wake up and see this immense “void” that is not being filled. The time is now to make a concentrated effort to send forth more laborers into God’s harvest field to reap the souls of lost Deaf.
In Matthew 9:37 and 38, Jesus said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth labourers into His harvest.” As missionaries to the Deaf, we are praying that God would send forth more laborers among the deaf in São Paulo, and around the world. Would you please make this a matter of prayer in your home and in your church?
“Lift up your eyes and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.” (John 4:35)
¹ Kotvas, J. (2006). Into the Silence: A Biblical Perspective and Plan for Reaching the Deaf Around the World, Efata, page 28.