The word assume means to take for granted or to accept something as true without proof. Examples: A friend tells you something, but the friend could be wrong. – You see a person with a tattoo and assume that he would encourage other people to get a tattoo. Maybe now he wears it with regret. – Even news articles may assume certain facts without proof.
Often older generations become frustrated with today’s new technology and different culture. You cannot always assume things are the same as in the past.
The Creation Museum and Ark Encounter (AnswersInGenesis.org) recently invited many interpreters to volunteer for their annual Deaf Days. It was a joy to help with the special weekend. Many Deaf people said they learned something new. Both events seemed to challenge what people assume.
It is easy to assume without knowing all the facts. You may know a Deaf person, but not all Deaf people are the same. Each person is an individual. A Deaf person may use American Sign Language (ASL) or read lips. He may know English very well or struggle with English as a second language.
Those who do not know sign language may assume that interpreting is easy. One could assume that signing each English word is interpreting. But, in the same way that a duck appears to swim effortlessly, there is much going on below the surface. Interpreters tease about needing to know everything about everything, being able to read the speaker’s mind, and being able to clearly communicate all of that in the language the Deaf person uses. A good interpreter makes it look easy and effortless.
Many pastors and leaders assume that because an interpreter knows sign language he also knows how to build a deaf ministry and lead the Deaf. Many signers are willing, but lack training and leadership. Some also assume that every Deaf Christian knows how to pray, teach the Deaf class, and lead.
Many people assume that Deaf people in other countries have the same opportunities as here in America. It is worth repeating that, according to the World Federation of the Deaf, “approximately 80% of the world’s 70 million Deaf people do not have any access to education.” Several foreign missionaries have verified that, in larger cities, deaf education may even be limited to those who can afford it. Outlying areas often have limited or no deaf education. Many of these Deaf people do not have a language – not even sign language. In the United States, a basic education is required for all children, including deaf children. Not every country has that standard. These facts challenge what people assume to be true about Deaf people. There is a great need for deaf missions! If education is lacking, so is their knowledge of the Bible and the Gospel.
Many years ago, a man told me that he thought God would have pity on Deaf people and let all Deaf people into Heaven. He assumed that to be true, but did not know the facts presented in Romans 1. The Bible says God only has one plan for salvation. All must come to God through His Son, Jesus Christ.
It is easy to assume that missionaries can minister the same way as in America. Recently a missionary told how he was awakened each morning by loudspeakers from a nearby worship center. The sound was a daily reminder that he was surrounded by opposition to the Gospel. He had to creatively use social media and the Internet to open hearts to God’s Word. He laid aside his assumptions and God opened people’s eyes.
A Deaf friend of mine was ordained and took his family as missionaries to a country which is not friendly to the Gospel. Naturally, their names cannot be printed in this article. They will need to share the Gospel slowly and carefully to the Deaf, but also to the hearing in that country. It is easy to incorrectly assume that sharing the Gospel will be the same as in our country. This type of ministry is a slow process. Pray for missionaries.
What do you assume? Did you know that God has greatly blessed Silent Word Ministries with many outreaches into the Deaf world? Some SWM ministries include:
God has called us to “Go into all the Deaf world.” Please do not assume the writing, traveling, publishing, teaching, preaching, maintaining websites, and daily tasks are a burden. It is our great joy to serve God in this unique ministry.