Youth for Christ, a Christian movement centered around teenagers, has provided a safe space for deaf and hard-of-hearing youth to encounter God and His love.
Youth For Christ
“Does God know sign language?” This was the question of a deaf kid towards Matthew Belwood, National Director of YFC’s Deaf Teen Quest. It broke his heart hearing him ask this as it posed uncertainty for deaf children.
But Matthew replied, “God has complete knowledge of everything about you — your heart, your soul, your mind, your spirit. He purposely designed you just the way you are. Deafness is not an accident or disability.”
He added, “Deaf people experience the world in an entirely different way than hearing people. On a biological level, deaf people use different parts of their brain to communicate than hearing people.”
The national director believes that “deaf people are a very specifically designed people group that have a very specific way of processing the world.”
Deaf Teen Quest
The YFC’s Deaf Teen Quest aims to communicate the Gospel in the language of the deaf and hard-of-hearing teens. They have trained Christian adults who are fluent in the American Sign Language to deliver the grace and truth of Jesus Christ.
Matthew explained that deaf teens have problems communicating not because of their deafness but because the world they live in doesn’t speak their language. “The problem is the disconnect from the world,” he said. “The majority of the world doesn’t speak their language. So many deaf or hard of hearing kids live in a family with hearing parents or siblings. Imagine living in a house with people who speak an entirely different language most of the time.”
As a result, the DTQ has held an annual week-long summer camp since 2001. During the camp, teens and facilitators, who know sign language, interact without limits.
“It’s the one week a year that communication barriers don’t exist. By providing a safe space that celebrates exactly how God made them, many deaf kids feel more comfortable to open up and seek Christ,” Matthew shared.
“By providing a place for deaf and hard of hearing kids to come and be surrounded by other people just like them, they feel seen and understood at a deeper level.”
Today, they have expanded its mission to other countries. Recently, they launched the Deaf Teen Quest in Egypt.
Reference: CBN News
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