Kenyan Deaf Rejoice at Ministry Visit, Baptisms
Dozens of deaf people in Kenya were baptized in mid-February, during a visit by denominational leaders who specialize in reaching this population group. The visit and the baptisms were a welcome sign of recognition for a community that is not always well supported in the church (see “Do We Hear Them?” February 2012).
DEAF BAPTISM: Baptismal scene as deaf individuals in Kenya are welcomed into the Seventh-day Adventist Church. A total of 38 deaf converts were baptized during a recent visit by deaf ministry leaders.Larry Evans, International Deaf Ministries liaison at the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, organized a visit featuring several deaf ministry leaders, John Blake of Gospel Outreach Deaf Ministry from Canada; David Trexler of Three Angels’ Deaf Ministries; and Thompson Kay, a director of Team Education Centre. With Paul Muasya, East African Union president, the group spent 11 days visiting deaf ministries throughout Kenya. First stop was the DOOR (Deaf Opportunity OutReach) International regional headquarters in Ongata Rongai, near Nairobi. The ministry, which is connected with Wycliffe Bible Translators, translates sections of the Bible into sign language for Africa and Asia.
Next, the group traveled to Mombasa for the wedding of two deaf Seventh-day Adventists, groom Dickens Otieno and bride Lydia Khakay. In attendance were many deaf people from Mombasa, Nairobi, Kisumu, and Nakuru.
In a Sabbath morning message, Evans urged the congregation to support the work to reach deaf individuals, as well as deaf members. On Sabbath afternoon deaf Adventists made several presentations including songs and testimonies in sign language. Deaf church members participated during the divine service—the children’s story was given by a deaf woman, and during Sabbath school deaf members conducted their own lesson discussions.
Over the next two days the group visited several schools for deaf people and observed the two baptismal ceremonies performed by local pastors.
—with information from Catherine Nyameino-Ontita, East African Union