A Muslim man who is deaf gave his life to Christ after a friend invited him to a Christian church where he was introduced to a sign language translation of the Scriptures for the first time.
According to Florida-based Wycliffe Associates, one of the world’s leading Bible translation organizations, a Muslim man referred to by the name Ayo recently left Islam and accepted Christianity after attending a Wycliffe outreach event hosted by one of their church partners in a country that hasn’t been named for security reasons.
“I know God used my friend to invite me to church today,” Ayo was quoted as saying, according to Wycliffe Associates’ online blog. “I have never been to a Christian church before. I have grown up as a Muslim. I mostly go to the mosque with my family; I have to, since my family expects me to. But, as you know, there is nothing that I gain by attending the prayers.”
Ayo, who is the only deaf member of his family, explained that the problem he encountered while attending services at a mosque was that nobody at his mosque could converse with him in sign language. He added that no one at the mosque “cares about teaching me.
Today I felt at home. I understood everything going on here,” Ayo added. “The approach to teaching God’s Word has touched my heart. I have clearly seen myself in the life of the prodigal son. God touched me. I feel very much at peace.”
Despite the fact that he can’t hear, Ayo now knows that God loves him no matter what his weaknesses are.
“I have made up my mind to follow Jesus Christ, as taught today from God’s Word,” Ayo said. “I know God accepts me just as the father accepted the prodigal son when he came back home. Please pray for me. I know there will be much opposition from my family and friends.”
According to the Deaf Bible Society, there are over 400 sign languages being used in the world today and over 70 million people use a form of sign language as their primary form of communication.
But only 5 percent of all sign languages have Bible translation programs in operation and only 2 percent of the global deaf population has been introduced to the Gospel.
According to Deaf Opportunity Outreach International, only one sign language (American Sign Language) has a complete New Testament translation and a vast majority of sign languages don’t even have a single Bible verse translated.
Wycliffe Associates is doing its part to bridge the gap as it operates studios in Africa and Latin America to help translate the Bible into unreached sign languages. The Deaf Bible Society also provides access to video translations of Scripture in over 20 sign languages.
DOOR International runs programs that help train deaf leaders to share the message of Christ with other deaf people and has been working in sign language translation since 2006.
“Each deaf community has a unique sign language and culture of their own,” the Wycliffe blog states. “It’s our vision to see God’s Word reach each of these languages for the sake of people like Ayo. Please pray with us that God would raise up deaf leaders to take on the challenge of translating the Scriptures for their communities.”