THIS IS ELNURA from Central Asia. She’s deaf which means that SADLY, in her community, she’s faced a lot of isolation and rejection. There are not the same opportunities for her to be able to go to school, have friends or join in with activities in her community, as there would be for her in the UK.
But a community of deaf Christians, supported by Open Doors local partners, is showing deaf children how much they’re loved by God. It’s where Elnura has spent time learning sign language – and where she received a Christmas gift that meant so much to her. “The Christmas gift really gave her the feeling that she is seen and loved, not only by us, but also by God,” says Naira*, an Open Doors local partner. “I really see Elnura being more open because she received love and attention from the deaf Christian community.”
Amazingly, the deaf community is home to one of the fastest growing group of believers in Central Asia. Some interpretations of Islam believe that deaf people cannot go to heaven, meaning there is a greater openness to the hope and light of Jesus.
Since many deaf Christians are isolated and cannot fully integrate into society, local Open Doors partners like Naira also come alongside the community to provide trauma counselling, as well as training in vocational skills such as computing, beauty therapy and phone repair for those struggling to find work because of their disability.
The community is one of several ways through which local partners in Central Asia distribute gifts to people during the festive season. Others include hospitals, orphanages and house visits to local families – many of whom are very poor. Not all are Christians, making it a wonderful way to introduce people to the love of Jesus, and in some cases, it’s the first Christmas present people have ever been given.
You can write to Elnura to encourage her and to let her know she is part of a Christian family who love and care for her. Here are some things to bear in mind:
*Names changed for security reasons