According to persecution watchdog Open Doors USA, North Africa is home to two of the world’s worst persecutors of Christians: Libya and Sudan. Finding and graduating from a Christian seminary in this region; add persecution and the physical inability to hear, and the task seems unconquerable.
A Deaf believer named Chris* successfully navigated these challenges to become an ordained minister in North Africa. However, his trials didn’t end; they just took a new form. For example, one seminary classmate told Chris he shouldn’t be a church leader because he’s Deaf.
“Chris, obviously, was taken aback and said, ‘Help me understand… why is that?’ He (the classmate) said, ‘Well, you remember these Old Testament passages where…the high priest can’t have any defects?,” DOOR International’s Rob Myers describes.
“’In the same way, our denomination [believes] ordained ministers in the Church need to not have physical defects. So, they can’t be Deaf’.”
Deaf leadership barriers
This is just one of the many barriers Deaf leaders face around the world. Read another example from the DOOR blog.
“Many times over the years they’ve been told, ‘You can’t lead. You can’t do things.’ But, Deaf people can do anything that hearing people do can do; they have been created in the image of God just like hearing people have,” Myers says.
“The only thing they can’t do is physically hear.”
DOOR’s Deaf leaders helped Chris understand the true meaning of God’s Word. “The point of the priest not having defects is that it was a picture of Jesus coming,” Myers recalls.
“Since Jesus has come and He’s the perfect High Priest, He makes us right with God. Now, any of us have the opportunity to be ministers of the Gospel.”
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SOURCE: Mission Network News, Katey Hearth