Madagascar – Deaf Malagasy
Develop and refine a strategy for reaching the Deaf Malagasy of Madagascar with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Invest in and equip local Deaf Christian leaders to take ownership of the strategy and spread the Good News to other Deaf throughout their country and disciple them to greater spiritual maturity. (“Make disciples and multiply disciple makers” among the Deaf Malagasy.)
Partnering with IMB missionaries and pastors of local Baptist churches for logistic support, we teach the Deaf basic Bible stories through the “storying” process…translating Bible stories into Malagasy sign language to bring a visual representation of God’s Word to this visual culture. We notify in-country Deaf leader’s months in advance of our training dates and depend on them to spead the word to the Deaf in the communities we will visit. We transport the Deaf to and from the training sessions and provide food and drinks at the sessions.
It is estimated that there are approximately 200,000 Deaf in Madagascar. Precise estimates are not possible because Deaf are generally outcasts in their society, seen as mentally disabled or “cursed” by their ancestors or God, so most don’t attend schools, and many are hidden by their families. While Christianity is prevalent throughout Madagascar, it is often mixed with the belief in the power of departed ancestors (“Razana”) to control their destiny. Written language is not the “heart language” of the Deaf, so most evangelical efforts to reach the Deaf through God’s written Word are ineffective…many Deaf can’t even read. The storying process, developed by the IMB Deaf Affinity, allows the Deaf to “see” who Jesus is and what He has done for them.