Port Elizabeth is the next target for a ministry that aims to make the Gospel accessible to every deaf person in South Africa, says Deaf Friendly CEO, Pastor Dirk Venter.
During a recent visit to PE, Venter said he received “not one, but four, clear confirmations” that the city would be the next focal point in Deaf Friendly’s mission to address the “completely inadequate” ministry to deaf people in South Africa, where less than 3 000 (0.5%) of the 400 000 deaf people were able to attend a Sunday sermon that they actually understood.
Venter, who is the hearing child of deaf parents, said he established Deaf Friendly after he received a clear call from God in 2006 to start a non-profit organisation to facilitate deaf-to-deaf ministry all over South Africa.
He was one of the founding members of Deo Gloria Fellowship for the Deaf in Pretoria — a success story that has attracted the attention of the church world. It is a fellowship where deaf people are ministered to by a deaf pastor.
“This is an ideal situation which should be duplicated nationally,” said Venter.
In the Southern and Western Cape, Deaf Friendly is making progress under the leadership of Pastor Rensburg Aggenbach, a qualified, deaf pastor who has compiled a song book for the deaf in sign language.
Venter said that during 2012 Deaf Friendly planned to liaise with role-players in PE with the goal of deploying a fulltime, qualified deaf minister in the city before the end of the year.
He said the strategy of Deaf Friendly was to discover deaf individuals, or groups of deaf people, and visit them with the message of the Gospel. In practice this meant organising deaf friendly sermons in collaboration with existing church bodies. In this way deaf people were exposed to ideal deaf friendly environments, gatherings and groups. Local deaf people were also trained and mobilized to bring the Gospel to other deaf individuals or groups in the wider area.
February 9 meeting
He extended an invitation to every deaf person, or person who has a deaf family member or friend, to attend a breakfast meeting in PE on Friday February 9. All other interested parties were also welcome to attend. He said anybody wanting further information, or to confirm attendance at the PE breakfast, could contact him on 082 880 2060 or firstname.lastname@example.org.