This is the story ...
"One Sunday last month, I went to visit and worship at a hearing church in Africa. It had a few Deaf members who worship among the hearing.
When the worship service began, I thought the church would have a skilled interpreter to sign all that was being said by the hearing people. However, to my rude shock, two young boys stepped forward.
One boy had an exercise book and a pen, and was constantly writing as the Pastor passionately delivered the sermon.
The other young man was constantly glued to what this other man was writing, and tried his best to make sense of it and sign what he could read and understand.
I later came to understand that the boy who was writing was hearing, and the other one was hard of hearing.
So the hard of hearing guy depended on everything the hearing boy could write, and then signed that to the Deaf. Because of his limited English, sometimes the boy could not write well or complete information, and as the hard of hearing guy signed and passed along the same information, the dissatisfaction and frustration was evident on the faces of the Deaf.
Most of the Deaf could hardly understand, or make sense of the unnatural and unclear signing, and hardly paid any attention. Actually, most of them dozed during the worship service.
When the hearing in the church sang songs for worship, they gave the Deaf a song book. Somehow they assumed that they could sing as well. For most of the Deaf, this was actually funny. The Deaf made jokes of how the hearing people could not understand them very well.
Having seen the overwhelming challenge of the Deaf, I decided to think of ways I could help them start a Deaf worship that is appropriate to Deaf way. I immediately met with some of the Deaf. They were excited about the idea.
We have begun a Deaf worship service where we use the DOOR Chronological Bible Stories (CBS) DVD in sign language. The excitement in the eyes of the Deaf as they watch the stories says it all! God's Word is finally making sense to them.
Many Deaf, who have never had an interest in the church, have started coming to watch the stories. As they learn the stories, they compose songs from what they have learned; they clap, dance and jump as they worship in a context that is appropriate to them.
WHAT WAS ONCE IMPOSSIBLE, HAS HAPPENED. DEAF HAVE FINALLY CONNECTED WITH GOD IN A WAY THEY HAVE NEVER KNOWN BEFORE!"
Written by a DOOR Deaf "Scripture-In-Use" or "2-by-2" team member as he came face to face with the reality of the challenges Deaf people often encounter during worship in a hearing church.
Hearing the Word of God in a language we as hearing people can understand, is something we have often taken for granted, but this is not so for many Deaf.
Deaf have grown up and lived among the hearing, who have often failed to understand them. For many hearing, the approach has always been making the Deaf just like them by either forcing them to read or shout loud so that they can somehow fit into their hearing context.
DOOR encourages indigenous Deaf churches or believers' fellowships, where Deaf are free to worship in a Deaf-friendly, culturally sensitive and meaningful way using their heart language, sign language.