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Deaf man who murdered his brother turns to Godcomment (0)

November 15, 2012


Deaf man who murdered his brother turns to God

We were tightly packed into a bus heading out of the city on our way to train deaf nationals to craft Bible stories in their own sign language.

Our training team consisted of International Mission Board (IMB) workers, deaf European workers and deaf nationals — a total of 49. The bus could seat only 40. It was hot, it was crowded and there were many unfamiliar faces — deaf people who had not come to last year’s training. 

A man and a woman sat in front of me. He looked too young to be her husband, yet they seemed protective and caring of one another. I wondered who they were.

Shereen, a deaf national, told me (by signs), “Those two are brother and sister. ... He stabbed their brother in the heart, killing him last year.

“Don’t ask them any questions,” Shereen continued. “They do not want to talk about it and, oh, by the way ... they are people from the Garbage City.”

These are people who live in the city dump and sift through the refuse and recycling to earn a meager living. 

After we passed all the security checks, the sister actually came to me and told me what had happened. She was eager to tell the story.

She and her brother lived among garbage. While their hearing brother had found some kind of escape, they had not. He was always at peace, comfortable and involved with a church — a hearing church.

Her deaf brother joined a gang and used drugs. He envied his hearing brother for the things he had — money, significance, comfort and peace. One night, in a fit of fury, rage and confusion, he stabbed his hearing brother in the heart.  

He was immediately locked away in prison for a crime he never denied and for which he thought he could never find forgiveness. He tried to hang himself in his cell, but he survived the attempted suicide. 

Someone begged that he be shown mercy, and he was released from prison. Not long after that the brother and sister learned about a group of Deaf believers meeting together in the city. They began to attend the deaf church there.

She closed her story by taking my hand, kissing it and thanking me for the opportunity to join in this pilgrimage to learn about Jesus. 

We arrived at the retreat center and gathered together to begin the training, focusing on crafting Bible stories in sign language for use in evangelism, discipleship and church planting. As the group was divided into small groups, I made sure these two were placed with leaders who would love them and lead them to understand the saving power of Jesus.

I was pleased at the end of each day’s training to see the siblings standing with the others, rendering Bible stories and understanding Bible truths. I prayed that any judgments others had harbored in their hearts against them would be dispelled. It brought me great joy to see our deaf workers being Christ’s heart, hands and voice and loving them as He loves them. 

In one of our group meetings at the end of the week, the “murderer” dropped his head in despair, looked at his group leader and slowly raised his hand. His intent was not to be recognized or gain permission to speak. He meant it as a gesture of surrender.

Then he signed, “Me. I do.” Curling his big hands into fists, he gently pounded his head (the Arabic sign for “sorrow plus repentance”). Then his hands straightened and he lifted them from earth to heaven, signaling a turning of ways. “I want to turn,” he signed. “I want to follow Jesus in baptism.”

The next afternoon more than 40 of us walked into the sea to witness this new brother symbolically “buried” in the sea and brought up to “walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:4).

A murderer redeemed.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Names have been changed for security reasons.

(BP)

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