COLOMBIA—Hearing is Believing
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Hearing is Believing
Imagine for a moment your world without sound. Silence—often a much sought-after refuge from our busy society—is anything but peaceful for those born or rendered deaf. Imagine not being able to communicate with loved ones, hear words of affirmation or enter into society due to significant limitations. Simple tasks become challenging: traveling on public transit, attending school, seeking employment, the list is endless. Such is life for the deaf.
An estimated 20,000 deaf people live in Medellin and the surrounding area. The vast majority stay at home, cut off from education or the opportunity to socialize and grow. Many are rejected even by their families because of the challenges associated with learning how to communicate with them. In their own homes the deaf become invisible. In addition, they are often physically, emotionally and sexually abused, or exploited at work.
Hearing the Gospel in One's Own Language
Ephraim and Eliana Gallego, leaders in one of the churches where Fellowship International personnel have worked, are teachers specializing in the field of educating the deaf. They have supported this strategic population for over ten years. Thanks to this effort, a group of 40 deaf has been formed meeting weekly in different parts of the city and function as a church. Oscar Jimenez, and his wife Cristina, are well trained and connected pastoral leaders within the speaking population of the city. For the deaf, their deaf friends are the most important people in their lives. Their “church” community is where they are loved and understood. Above all, the church is the place where they can "hear" the gospel in their own language.
FAIR is seeking to raise $60,000 to assist this people-group in a number of key areas:
1. Biblical and Pastoral Training
FAIR funds will be used for the theological formation of deaf community leaders through the seminary in Medellin. Also, Christian audio-visual materials will be translated into sign language.
2. Pastoral support
Because this congregation is small and unable to provide financially for a pastoral couple, FAIR will assist in providing funds to assist with a salary for Oscar enabling him to devote more time to the ministry.
3. A place to gather as a church
A stable meeting location is key to the growth of this ministry. FAIR will provide funds to help cover rental costs for one year.
4. Self-sustaining production and management projects
FAIR’s launch of micro-finance projects will help participants in that community to start small businesses, earn an income, improve their standard of living and be in a position to financially contribute to the ministry.
Will you prayerfully consider partnering with FAIR in extending the love of Christ through this unique ministry opportunity?