Not knowing a single letter of the alphabet. Not understanding any sign language. This was V* when FEBC Vietnam found him. He was 21.
But V’s situation isn’t uncommon. The deaf in Vietnam are intentionally hidden. Most Vietnamese think deafness is a curse. Parents are ashamed of their deaf children. In order to hide them, they are not sent to schools. Each family communicates to their deaf child in their own ways, so the children do not learn standard sign language. These children grow up rejected and isolated, their silent world deafeningly devoid of love. Without education, they are unable to get jobs and integrate into society as adults. Dreams and hopes for the future are brutally silenced.
“It’s a lifetime of baggage,” FEBC Vietnam’s Director Tri Dang shared. “Many start off very angry, because of years of hurt and suppressed emotions. It is not the kind of ministry you want to start if you want quick results.”
But God isn’t interested in quick superficial fixes or growth in ministry numbers just for the sake of growth. His focus is on each person. Whether deaf, blind, lame or leprous, Jesus reached out to each and all. And He specialised in those shunned by society. So, it is the ministry that FEBC Vietnam has chosen to take on.
The ministry also reaches out to ethnic groups through Bible translations, broadcasts on radio and speaker boxes, and partnering with churches to raise up leaders. “Leaders who can face persecution,” Tri adds. Communist Vienam ranks as the 25th most dangerous country in the world in which to be a Christian.
For the deaf, FEBC Vietnam produces visual Biblical content to share on TV boxes and mobile apps. The team also conducts sign language classes and vocational training to help the deaf get work and integrate into society. Some learn to make furniture or sew. Others learn 3-D animation, which is used to tell Bible stories for the deaf. This unconditional love and the concept of grace is something very foreign to newcomers.
That was what S* experienced when he first came to FEBC Vietnam. He had been selling lottery tickets on the streets and barely surviving. Self-preservation in a tough world was all S* knew. But the love of God through His people slowly broke down S*’s wall. Still, he took two to three years to receive Jesus. Today, S* is a regular in church and a volunteer leader in 3-D animation with FEBC Vietnam. His heart is no longer silenced but shouts of hope and is cradled in love.
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