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Seeing a Deep Hunger for Truth: Mobilized to Reach the Persian Deaf

Seeing a Deep Hunger for Truth: Mobilized to Reach the Persian Deaf

“There's no one here to teach us about Jesus.”

Olivia,* a member of the first Christar Deaf Initiative short-term team, recalls these heartbreaking words communicated by one of the few believers among the Persian Deaf. But even as she lamented the lack of workers serving among this least-reached people group, she rejoiced: “It was such a painful statement, but I am praising God that He's given them the desire to learn, and that He's raising up people to go!”

Over the course of a 10-day trip to the Middle East, a small group of believers exploring opportunities for ministry among the Deaf partnered with long-term workers and a believing Persian Deaf couple, Austin and Jolie, to hold outreach events for the Persian Deaf community. As they did, this team witnessed a deep hunger for truth among this people group despite the lack of Christian resources in their heart language.

They also saw God give Persian Deaf believers passion and courage to proclaim the gospel. Olivia recalls one evening when 12 Persian Deaf showed up at a church service after Austin challenged the small core group of believers to be bold in sharing their faith. “Austin gave his testimony at church, and seeing his passion and devotion to God was inspiring!” she shares, adding, “Jolie came up after the service to ask for prayer that God would strengthen her and create opportunities for her to share the love of Jesus with more Deaf.”

The team also got a glimpse of what they’re praying God will accomplish among the Persian Deaf as they visited a church of believers from another Deaf people group. “It was amazing to see what a Deaf church looks like and how they function because our end goal as a team is to establish a healthy Deaf-led church among the Persian refugees,” Olivia says.

By God’s grace this short-term trip was a significant step toward that goal. By encouraging and equipping Persian Deaf believers to be bold in sharing their faith, training some to convey the gospel through story and reaching out to those who are seeking the hope found only in Christ, the team laid significant groundwork. Their service provided a foundation for future short-term outreach and long-term ministry among this people group that, until now, has been cut off from the good news of Jesus.

God has continued to build on this foundation, bringing together Deaf Persians who are eager to know truth and experience the joy of knowing Jesus. The week after the short team’s departure eight new people came to the church, and the Christar workers living in the community eagerly await the arrival of long-term teammates who are fluent in Persian Sign Language.

As Olivia, one of those who is preparing to return to serve long term among the Persian Deaf, shares, “I am thrilled by the prospects of ministry among this group! … Matthew 9:37-38 (NIV) tells us ‘The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.’ These people, and this work, is a clear example of this truth.”

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