Those who can’t speak may just have the most to say. For deaf Christians from Central Asia, communication is deep. Their hands fly like graceful birds and their faces express more emotion than seems possible. They could teach invaluable lessons about faith to anyone willing to listen.
Yusif saw Mehman’s changed life…
Yusif was never a religious man, one day he met some Christians. He was given a Bible but had difficulty understanding it. He learned about another deaf man who was a Christian, Mehman. He had known him before he became a Christian and knew what his life had been like. Yusif’s life was similar – he stole from people and used drugs. He saw Mehman’s changed life, it amazed and impressed him. His explanation of the Gospel caused Yusif to think, “This is what my heart is looking for, I was a really awful man; there was nothing good in me before Christ.”
Mehman had grown up in a remote village, muddling through the Quran and occasionally going to the mosque. He went to Russia to find work, where he found far more than employment. He found hope. He went to churches and saw paintings depicting Jesus crucified. He thought, “Why would they do this to such a kind-looking man? What wrong did he do?”
“Their faces were different; they seemed to shine” (speaking of a group of deaf Christians)
Mehman married and moved back home. A group of deaf Christians visited and he immediately noticed a difference in them. “Their faces were different; they seemed to shine,” he said. “Their signing was different – ours was rough and coarse, while theirs were smooth and nice.” The deaf visitors returned later and their explanation of the Gospel convinced his oldest daughter to follow Jesus. Her bold step of faith caused her parents to follow in her footsteps.
Mehman was like a sponge, absorbing everything he learned about Jesus. His faith was challenged when he became seriously ill. With little hope, he prayed, “God, if you really exist, help me.” He made a full recovery and followed Christ.
There is concern that the police will plant an informant in their meetings…
It is easy to imagine the difficulties of being a deaf Christian in a predominantly Muslim country. However Mehman says, “Our disability is actually an advantage because no one can hear what we’re saying or understand our signing.” Still he admits that there is concern that the police will plant an informant in their meetings.
They don’t ask for God’s protection from persecution but for His protection in it…
Believers sometimes see the freedoms afforded Christians in the West and wish they could live their faith without persecution. They ask believers living in freedom to pray for them, however they don’t ask for God’s protection from persecution but for His protection in it. They remain faithful despite the real threats. “We believe in the God who protects us, loves us and cares about us.”