a town south east of Mbeya so that they can reach the Deaf population in the surrounding areas and start a Deaf ministry there. This is true to DOOR’s 2-by-2 vision: to raise up local Deaf leaders who will continue the ministry while the teams move elsewhere to start anew in other places that have unreached Deaf populations.
Oscar, the leader of our Tanzanian 2-by-2 team, shared the following with our 2-by-2 leadership while reflecting on his time in Mbeya and what God has done among the Deaf community.
“I was profoundly moved by how God has used our presence in the city of Mbeya to strengthen the few believers we found, to bring more Deaf people to Christ, and to help empower some Deaf leaders to take on leadership roles within the church. Eliatosha and I planted a church here, and we are amazed at how the local leaders have invested in the church. I know that the church is in good hands now that we’re moving away from this region.
“In the short year we were here, I saw Deaf people change their view of themselves with the help of God. They became empowered to take on responsibilities that historically they never thought they could take on. I am seeing Deaf Tanzanians lead fellow Deaf people to faith, encouraging each other to follow the Lord and learning God’s Word through the Tanzanian Sign Language Bible translation. I am utterly amazed by what God has done.”
When Oscar and Eliatosha told the Deaf community in the city of Mbeya that they were moving to another town, one of the Deaf leaders stood up and shared this:
“When you came here, we didn’t have a Deaf church. We were part of the hearing church and depended on sign language interpreters to get access to the service. We had no opportunities to use the spiritual gifts the Lord has given us. Now that we have a Deaf church, I now understand that being part of the hearing church wasn’t the obstacle to our growth. The biggest obstacle to our growth was that we didn’t believe it was our job to evangelize and disciple our fellow Deaf people. We sat back, thinking the hearing church would take care of it.
“Now I know that is not the case. Now I know that God wants me to take on the responsibility of reaching other Deaf. I see how unbelievers have responded, with joy and amazement, as we Deaf believers bring the Gospel to them. Please pray for me and my fellow believers to continue to take this immense responsibility seriously.”