About three years ago I visited Russia and met with some Christians from the “stans” of Central Asia. One of them, Brother B, was a deaf man who told us his story. Disabled people are considered as a punishment on the family in his culture, and a source of shame, so he was hidden then shipped off to an institution at the age of 6 and abandoned there. He was deeply miserable and after leaving the Institution at 18 turned heavily to alcohol and petty crime and was violent to his wife. At his lowest point another deaf person told him about Jesus and that transformed his life. A bear of a man, he made it his mission to bring change to deaf people around his country. He was a dynamic person who has travelled out of his way, sometimes to very dangerous places, to bring the hope of Jesus to deaf people. I found him truly inspirational.
60@60 helps Open Doors support the work of men like Brother B and bring hope to people like Aisha whom society turns their back on.
Saida*, another believer from this area, described the situation of some deaf Christians from a country in Central Asia, when the Covid lockdown was at its peak.
“We had a report from the countryside about some deaf people who had to take the grass in their gardens and eat it because they had no food. They were ignored by the community and did not receive any support or food packages, simply because they are Christians. This does not happen across the entire region, but in many parts, especially in remote areas.
“It’s a really awful situation. Our church partners visited them as soon as they had the smallest opportunity and provided them with some groceries. But before then, they only had grass to eat”.
A deaf woman, named Aisha*, was neglected and did not have access to any food or practical support. She had no contact with other deaf people and was feeling lonely and very depressed. Because this situation went on for so long, she considered committing suicide. She felt completely forgotten and without hope, and did not see a way forward. Nobody visited her, nobody paid any attention to her. And she was very, very hungry.
Finally, she couldn’t take it anymore and decide to end her life. She took a can of gasoline and poured it over herself. She was about to light the match when she saw a person walking towards her house. This person was a deaf believer.
He came into her house and asked what she was doing. She replied that she could not live like this any longer. The deaf believer was standing in her room, with a big food package in his hands. This food package was for her.
The deaf believer shared how he tried to find other deaf people to see how he could help them. He shared about why he was doing this and told her about God’s love and care. After a long conversation she realised that there is a God who sees her struggle, pain, loneliness and hunger. After several hours she accepted Christ as her Saviour, and her stomach was also filled with the food she had received. She was saved twice that day!
The deaf believer connected her with a deaf community of believers. Now Aisha feels part of this community and receives practical help and enough food.
What’s inside the food packages? Oil, sugar, noodles, rice, and some sweets. Saida says the teams have done a lot of distribution work since April 2020 and are still continuing to do so.
Every life matters. Your donations help bring hope in the darkness to people like Aisha. Thank you.