Does it seem strange to have a church choir made up entirely of people who are deaf? There is such a choir in ‘The Ark’ church in Novosibirsk, and they perform very beautifully and creatively in Russian sign language.
Last year Igor and Tanya were sent from ‘The Ark’ to study at the OM Discipleship Center in Novosibirsk. It was more challenging for them than for the other students, as Igor has about 25% hearing and can communicate very simply, and Tanya has about 75% hearing. Helping each other in sign language, they were able to take part in most of the Discipleship Center program and graduated in April 2010. The staff and other students ended up knowing quite a bit of sign language as well!
The deaf and dumb are very marginalized and experience severe discrimination in Russia. Often they have very little education and are given few opportunities for employment. There are well over 5,000 people with hearing disorders in the city of Novosibirsk, and many more in the towns and villages in the area and throughout the country.
On 12 December 2010, Igor and Tanya were blessed by their church, ‘The Ark’ and sent out from Novosibirsk to a neighboring city called Kemerovo as Christian workers to start a new church among the deaf and dumb in partnership with OM Russia. They will be based in Kemerovo until a church fellowship is established.
Igor and Tanya hope to open a Discipleship Center for deaf and dumb Christians one day, and to send them as Christian workers to other areas of Russia to reach out to the deaf and dumb communities where there are neither Christians nor churches yet. For more information, contact OM Russia.