Deaf Churches: A Three-Country Africa Visit

During the months of August and September I had the privilege of visiting three different African countries as BIO’s Director of Deaf Ministries. These were Ethiopia, Tanzania and Zambia. In each of the places I visited I spent time with BIO missionaries working with the Deaf.


Photo of conference crowd.The late pastor Bizuayehu Assefa started an annual conference in Addis Ababa in which he invited the deaf churches in Ethiopia to come together for a time of learning and encouragement. This year was the 28th year for the conference. Ebenezer Baptist Church for the Deaf invited me to be one of the speakers for the conference. I preached four times and enjoyed the preaching of several deaf pastors in Ethiopia.

There were 18 different churches represented in the three day event with over 250 people attending. It was a great time of Christian fellowship for these deaf saints. Many of the attendees came from smaller villages and would not normally have as much opportunity to fellowship with other believers back in their home town.

During the conference there were 2 Deaf saved and many came forward in the invitation with a desire to be a greater witness for the Lord. I recently wrote about this trip in my personal prayer letter.


Photo of Deaf kneeling at the alter.Pastor Frank Laurent has been doing a wonderful work in his home country of Tanzania. The Bethel Baptist Church of the Deaf in Dodoma, Tanzania was in great need of a larger place to meet. I was privileged to preach the first service they held in their new building. On that special Sunday morning 13 Deaf came forward in the invitation to accept the Lord as their Savior!

The building is far from complete, but they are able to use the space. Their old meeting location was large enough for about 40 people to sit, yet they regularly had 60 coming to church. Now they have plenty of room with room to grow.

Bro. Frank is doing a wonderful job in training young men to do the work of the ministry. His one request for me was to return home and tell others to take time to visit the work in Tanzania. He wants you to have a burden for the need of more workers so that you will pray for their ministry effectively.


Photo of Sunday School classMy purpose for going to Zambia on this trip was as much personal as it was ministry related. Bro. Yohannes Getaneh has become a good friend through the years as we have worked together through BIO. I was deeply curious to go see the ministry God has him doing among the Deaf. God has used Bro. Yohannes to train and help start 25 churches for the Deaf in Zambia.

I preached both Saturday and Sunday to the deaf church in Lusaka. After the Saturday service we all went out in front of the church and handed out tracts to people passing by. After a short time Bro. Yohannes and I sat down in the shade while the church members continued to pass out tracts. We were not sitting there just to rest out of the sun. No, we were there so that the Deaf could invite the hearing people passing by to come chat with us about the Lord. The Deaf kept us supplied with people to talk with. I prayed with about 8 people concerning spiritual needs. None that I talked with accepted the Lord, but Bro. Yohannes was able to pray with 3 hearing people who put their faith in Jesus Christ. It was a wonderful team effort on the part of the deaf congregation and two hearing preachers.

Your Involvement

Most missionaries would love to have a visit from a supporting church or individual. Don’t hesitate to contact a missionary and see if you can work out a time to visit them on the field. If you need help connecting with one of our BIO missionaries please contact us and we will help in any way we can.

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