Monica Somlea- DeafBridge Missionary Partner in Romania

My name is Monica Somlea, but my friends call me EMMA. I am native deaf (my parents and sister are deaf) and was born and raised in Cluj-Napoca. I am studying in the third year of my bachelor’s degree in anthropology at UBB Cluj-Napoca. Cluj-Napoca is a well-known city for the best studies, jobs, and living conditions. 

NOTE: Emma is currently working with DeafBridge on the border of Romania and Ukraine to help meet the needs of the thousands of Deaf refugees fleeing the war.

Read More About Monica

In Cluj, there are schools for deaf

  • 2 schools for the Deaf – Romanian and Magyar. 
  • High School for deaf
  • School of arts and crafts for inclusion.

In my hometown, many Deaf youths who don’t know Jesus. Even now at my Deaf church -Emanuel, there are only 4 deaf young Christian (me, my sister and a couple). Looking back to 10 years ago, many deaf students went to Deaf Baptist Church, the room was always full. Half of them became Christians and moved on and they live in many other cities now. Deaf Baptist Church Emanuel is one place that taught deaf youth.

By 26 march 2016, I decided to accept Jesus is my One True Friend in my life.  When I told my mom I decided to follow Jesus, she was really happy then she wanted to follow Jesus too. We were baptized together on the same day. (My mom became deafblind in 2007, she was Deaf before then.) 

Five months later, I joined bible translation for the Deaf community because I wanted the Deaf community to have full access in their sign language. During those three years, I learned a lot about the bible and this was one of the best experiences to help me grow spiritually and it prepared me for any challenge. Upon the completion of this project, I felt called to take a different path.

In February 2019, I’ve attended at Youth leadership training in London. This training changed me a lot. It gave me the motivation to honor more for God. Actually I always wanted to have Deaf youth Christians here in Romania but no one young is leading the youth. A few weeks later, I asked myself, “Why don’t I organize training for Romania?”. Then one month later, to my surprise,  13 deaf young Christians said yes. So in my hometown, I organized leadership training. Mary-Jayne and I presented a workshop about leadership from Matthew 28:18-20. While presenting, we used two languages – LSR (Romanian sign language) and International Sign. They really loved this training, it was the first time to have training for youth. Now I need prayers for the first establishment of Deaf Christian youth in Romania, to motivate deaf youth, and to find people suitable for Deaf Christian leaders in Romania.

My Goals:

  • Bring back Deaf Christian Youth and lead new Deaf Youth to Christ in Cluj-Napoca and grow the Church.
  • Establish Deaf Christian youth Groups throughout Romania and in every country of Europe. 
  • Organize Christian camps for Deaf youth.
  • Evangelism –  among youth and deaf people who don’t know Jesus.
  • Teach them that they can organize the camp, preach, workshop, worship, trauma healing, and others. 
  • Encourage them to grow spiritually: more strength, trust, and courage, faith, freedom,  deeper relationship with Jesus and God, and to become more active in ministry.
  • To continue being trained by mentors in order to better train others.

Sponsor this Missionary

To sponsor Emma and the work among the Deaf in Romania, please visit the link below. Your monthly sponsorship is essential in reaching the Deaf of Romania and planting churches.

Oleg Stralkovskij – DeafBridge Missionary Trainer in Ukraine

My name is Oleg Stralvovskij. I was born in Vinnitsa region in 1974 to a family of Orthodox peasants.  In 1980, due to meningitis, I lost my hearing when I was 6 years old. I then studied at a special boarding school in Yogurt, Gaysinsky district in the Vinnitsa region.  There I first believed in Christ through Christians that taught at a Sunday school.  By that time I was already 18 years old. 

NOTE: Oleg is now working with Deafbridge to help the displaced Deaf throughout Ukraine as he delivers food, medicine, hygiene products, and other necessities to those that no longer have access or those that cannot leave, such as the elderly and disabled Deaf people. Please pray for his safety as he is in the midst of the warzone serving his flock on a daily basis.

Read More About Oleg

After graduation, I planned to enter the Kherson Medical School as a dental technician, but it so happened that God had a different plan and I did not go to a medical school, but got a job at the Drogobych Furniture Factory for the Deaf, in the city of Drohobych. That same year I was also baptized.  I prayed to God to use my spiritual gifts to serve Him and the Lord pointed me to the factory dormitory and the Deaf living and working there  This is where my ministry began for people with hearing impairments.  I dreamed of studying to be a lawyer, but God leads in his own way and pointed me to the Irpen Bible Seminary where I received an invitation to study with the pastoral faculty. 

In 1997 I entered the Irpen seminary.  When the regional pastor in the Lviv region, Romaniuk Ivan Nikolaevich gave me a recommendation for admission to IHD, then he wrote in it: “After the seminary, go back to the Lviv region.”  But it so happened that from the seminary, by the will of God, I began to preach the Gospel to Deaf people throughout Ukraine, as well as in Moldova and Uzbekistan, and I participated in various conferences and camps.  After graduating from the Irpen Bible Seminary, the Christian Missionary Society for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, “Light of Hope”, was formed and I was invited to be the leader.   

In 2001, the Lord gave me a beautiful wife (hearing, a sign language translator) and we serve the Lord together.  The Lord also gave us two children, a daughter, and a son. In 2003  I started a  Bible school for the Deaf at the Mission, Boyarka Bible School for the Deaf, and is where I continue to serve the Lord now.  In 2008, I was ordained to the pastoral service among the Deaf at the Awakening Church and attended the first Baptist World Deaf Conference which took place in Ukraine. I now continue to serve as Pastor of the sister Deaf Church “Sign Gospel”. 

Fruits of the Bible School

80 students have completed Boyarka Bible School for the Deaf, including:

  • 24 Church Leaders
  • 4 Missionaries
  • 4 Deacons
  • 4 Camp Directors

My Goals:

  • To train many more Deaf people to do the work of the Lord not only in Ukraine but in many other Eastern European and former Soviet countries.
  • To see many new Deaf churches planted throughout Ukraine.
  • To send evangelists and missionaries to the villages where so many Deaf are unreached.
  • To see the work of translating the Bible completed and a Bible dictionary made available in Ukrainian Sign Language. 

Sponsor this Missionary Trainer

To sponsor Oleg and the work among the Deaf in Ukraine, please visit the link below. Your monthly sponsorship is essential in reaching the Deaf of Ukraine and planting churches.