Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Deaf to the Word ?


If God's promise is music to Christians' ears, what is it to dozens of Christians across West Michigan who cannot hear?

17-year-old Laura Sanchez will show you.  Laura has been standing in the front, right section of Grand Rapids First for a year now. This is the church's Deaf Ministry, and she says, her first real experience learning who Jesus is.

"In the old church, I didn't understand the Bible. I didn't even know what it was for," she said.  Jo DiShaw is her interpreter.

"It was quite a bit of suffering. We stayed in that church about 5 to 6 years. It was really tough for me."  Sanchez is among the 17 percent of West Michigan residents who are deaf or hard of hearing and finding a church isn't exactly easy for many.  A large majority are Christians and while many churches offer accommodations for the deaf and hard of hearing, very few offer them a real spiritual connection - a deaf ministry.

Katie Prins, executive director of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services of Michigan, just started going to Genesis United Methodist Church in Cascade Township because it recently started the Hands of Faith Ministry.  She says most of the deaf in West Michigan have had experience with Christianity, but says most are unchurched or non-practicing.

Beverly Chesebro, who started the ministry says the main reason is that there is no access to church interpreters in the rural areas.


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