The Psalmist proclaims "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth."

Genesis says, "So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them."

We are created in the image of God! For young Deaf young people to really make sense out of life, they must avoid seeing themselves as "broken" hearing people but come to the realization that they are, in fact "Created Deaf in the Image of God." This is a powerful and transformational perspective! In God's image, ALL people, are created for God's purposes and glory and God's fulfillment of His calling in their lives. Our mission is to help non-Christians respond to the One who created them through relationships that reflect the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

When people understand this concept, whether they are hearing or deaf, there is a whole new understanding of the meaning of life and perspective of self. We begin to realize that our body is the temple of God and to be cared for. We respect and honor others more because of an appreciation for the Sacred in them. This is the only way we can truly love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us, as Christ commands us to. Realizing we are created in God's image heals our hearts and renews our hope for a life full of meaning and purpose.

Our theological basis for mission (the Bible) leads us to approach this ministry to deaf and hard of hearing teenagers from cultural perspective. Growing up deaf is defined by learning primarily through your eyes instead of your ears. Deaf people process information through the visual centers of their brain whether they read lips or they read hands. There creates a shared experience of deafness with a common language and as a result, develops an identifiable culture.

The "problems faced" are not really about deafness; the problems faced are barriers in communication. Effective communication is vital part of building and maintaining healthy relationships. It is an essential part of fully understanding the gospel and maturing in faith. Signing creates a clarity for communication that reading lips alone cannot give.

As Isaiah writes, "In that day, the deaf will hear the words of the scroll, and out of gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind will see. Once more the humble will rejoice in the LORD; the needy will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel." (29:18)

I believe that the day Isaiah writes about is here and now. "TODAY" is "THAT" day. God is moving in powerful ways to bring young Deaf people into a real and lifelong devotion to our Lord. There is much work to do but we are seeing a new generation of young Deaf people turn their hearts towards God and experience changed lives, full of meaning and purpose. They are discovering that they are truly Created Deaf in God's Image and called according to His purposes.

Here are some thoughts to consider as you begin your week:

1) We are created with the image of God imprinted in us. We are called and gifted for His purposes. Our attitude about life and relationships change when we live this way.

2) God brings us together for this powerful, life-changing mission. Christ makes us "One" as we pursue lost deaf and hard of hearing young people. It is in our oneness that we discover our uniqueness.

3) As we disciple young people, we serve them best when we show them that following Christ is not only "what God can do FOR me" but "what God can do THROUGH me". This is an essential part of developing fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ.

I am honored to serve Christ with you. I am so grateful for you. AMEN

Bob Ayres
National Director
YFC Deaf Teen Quest

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