As one of our favorite missiology professors, Dr. Eitle, used to say, “It’s okay to think outside the box, just not outside the Book!”. This has rung very true for us over this past year. 2020 closed down borders and flights, making it nearly impossible to “Go.” Closed businesses and laid-off workers made it difficult for potential donors to “Send.” Thankfully, technology was available so we could still teach, train, encourage, and pray with our partners and continue to financially support various activities in Eastern Europe and parts of Asia. In fact, we were excited and blessed to see these partners think outside the box and begin doing ministry as they never had before!
Our Ukrainian partners took to the road and began a new ministry that included visiting Deaf families that had never met previously. They provided food and an invitation to join online worship. The response was overwhelming, and the current technology couldn’t handle the new demand for online and live-streamed viewing of the worship services and midweek teachings. Thankfully donors stepped in to supply upgraded technology to meet this need. They have also continued in the annual winter clothes distribution and plan to reopen the Deaf camps this summer!
Our Romanian partner was able to travel to Texas during Christmas break to share with local donors, strategize plans for the new year, pray with us, and receive some in-person training. While technology has been a blessing during this time, the Deaf are typically very visual and hands-on learners. It was nice to be able to offer that over the holidays. Our focus for Romania has been on making the ministry reproducible and sustainable. Emma has been offered a place to meet for weekly Bible study at the offices of a national interpreter association, This is usually a very secular environment so it is a huge praise that she was invited to use the facility for Bible study! However, this quickly reminded Emma how very few scripture resources she has available. Very little scripture has been translated and produced in Romanian Sign Language. Emma, who has a background in Bible translation, is eager to produce more in her heart language to use to teach and disciple the Romanian Deaf. Through generous donations to DeafBridge, we were able to provide some of the equipment and technology needed for Bible translation into video Romanian Sign Language resources.
Travel has still not opened up to us in the way we would have liked. And struggles from 2020 have lingered into 2021. But we are continuing to think outside the box as we are working with several partners on and off the field to develop lasting ways to support these international ministries. Please pray for these endeavors as we look into supporting the work through business start-ups both here and in Eastern Europe/ Eurasia. We will be sharing more about Business as Missions (BAM) in future blogs and newsletters. Until then, please pray. And if you or someone you know has an interest in supporting Missions through business, contact us. We would love to talk with you further!