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A Heart for the Deaf: Olivia's Story

A Heart for the Deaf: Olivia's Story

For Olivia,* it all started with a book.

As a child, she and her older sister shared an American Sign Language (ASL) book and enjoyed having secret conversations with each other.

Then in high school, Olivia found another ASL instructional book at a thrift store, and she asked her mom if she could use it for the foreign language study requirement of her homeschooling program. “I did it for half a semester, and then my mom had to tell me to stop because I wasn’t doing anything else!” Olivia recalls.

Cross-cultural service had always been part of Olivia’s desired story for her life. But when she read about how the Deaf were among the least-reached people groups, her enjoyment of sign language caused her to quickly latch on to the idea of serving among them.

This desire prompted Olivia to complete courses to become a licensed interpreter for the Deaf. Her heart for the least-reached Deaf also led her to attend the CROSS conference in 2019, looking for any organization that worked with them. Toward the end of this event, Olivia finally found the Christar booth, with a big banner about the Deaf. She talked with Neil, a Christar mobilizer, straight through the last session!

Though Christar didn’t offer an opportunity to serve among the Deaf in South Asia, where Olivia really wanted to go, she stayed in touch with Neil over the next couple years. During that time, Neil regularly checked in with her, and he and others serving in the Christar Mobilization Center U.S. prayed that God would guide Olivia to an opportunity to use her gifts and skills among the least-reached Deaf.

Since CROSS, Olivia has worked for two years interpreting in public schools using signed English. After a year with three middle schoolers and a challenging COVID-19 year with a second grader, she is looking forward to working with a kindergartener from South Asia this coming school year. And, though she is considered fluent in ASL, in preparation for future ministry she is working on learning more spiritual vocabulary by watching videos of the recently completed ASL Bible.

By God’s grace, Olivia is now a step closer to serving among the Deaf overseas: She recently attended Christar’s New Personnel Orientation, which helped her get to know Christar better and equipped her to begin building a team of prayer and financial supporters. Along with two couples who are also pursing ministry among the Deaf, she is an answer to years of fervent prayers that God would raise up members of His Body to take the gospel to the Deaf as Christar workers.

Once Olivia and the two couples have grown their support teams, they plan to move to the Middle East, where a Christar worker has existing connections with a Deaf community, and begin ministry there. “God cares about the Deaf, and He wants to give them His Word in their cherished language,” Olivia explains.

“I’m so excited for the Deaf to be in eternity,” she emphasizes. “Their languages will be included among the tongues in heaven in Revelation 7:9. I want them to experience the same grace and freedom that we do as believers in Christ!”

Participate by Praying

  • Praise God for beginning to raise up members of His Body to serve among the Deaf!
  • Ask the Lord to provide full teams of prayer and financial supporters for Olivia and the two couples preparing to minister in Deaf communities.
  • Pray for wisdom for Faith, the Deaf Initiative project coordinator, as she seeks to involve Deaf churches in mobilizing Deaf American believers to help take the gospel to the Deaf around the world.
  • Join Olivia in her prayer that the Deaf from many least-reached communities will be among the great multitude in white robes, standing before the Lamb in heaven!

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