Helping the Deaf in the “Emerald of the Equator”

Helping the Deaf in the “Emerald of the Equator”

Millions of deaf people live in Indonesia, sometimes called the Emerald of the Equator. To assist these people, Jehovah’s Witnesses arrange a wide range of Bible-based material and educational programs in Indonesian Sign Language. These efforts have not gone unnoticed.

A Sign-Language Convention

In 2016, in Medan, North Sumatra, Jehovah’s Witnesses held a convention in Indonesian Sign Language. A key security official in the region visited the event and praised the Witnesses for offering the educational program without charge. He was so moved by what he saw that he even attempted to join the audience in song by imitating their signs.

The convention “took place safely and successfully,” said the facility manager. “I hope the Witnesses continue to arrange such benevolent activities to help our deaf neighbors.” He added that when the owner of the facility learned that the convention was for deaf people, “he wanted to do something good for the Witnesses. So he instructed me to provide lunch for [all 300] in attendance.”

Appreciation for Sign-Language Videos

Jehovah’s Witnesses also visit deaf people personally to share the Bible’s message. The Witnesses often use videos in Indonesian Sign Language that are designed to help people enjoy productive and satisfying lives.

“The work that you do to care for the deaf and their needs is praiseworthy,” stated Mahendra Teguh Priswanto, regional deputy director of the Indonesian Association for the Welfare of the Deaf in Semarang City, Central Java. “For example, the video Your Family Can Be Happy is very helpful. We would appreciate it if this work is continued.”

They “Show Love”

Yanti, a deaf woman, has been profoundly affected by the Witnesses’ efforts. She explains: “People often mock the deaf, but Jehovah’s Witnesses show love. Many hearing Witnesses learn sign language to help deaf people get to know the Creator and improve the quality of their lives. I was touched by their sincere efforts.”

Yanti eventually became one of Jehovah’s Witnesses and is now part of a translation team that produces sign-language videos in Indonesian Sign Language. She says: “The materials we produce help some who are limited in sign language to improve their signing skills. But they also teach people how to have happy and meaningful lives.”