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Cultural Relevancy among the Deaf

Mike Schrage, Executive Director

The team gathered for delicious pork sandwiches, jalapeños, pork rinds, and jowls. The conversation was lively and spirited with the history, outcomes, and dreams of our team at GNPI-Piedras Negras, Mexico.

You have built this team over the last 40 years when a Bible college student who was born in Mexico became intrigued with the vision of cultural relevancy in media to make an impact in Latin America. This was the beginning of the friendship of Robert Gurwell and GNPI Founder Ziden Nutt. They had no idea how the Lord would build on the foundation of their relationship for years to come.

Of all the projects the team discussed, the one that stood out was recording The Global Gospel (TGG) with deaf people. The biggest challenge was in coaching a deaf person to actually sign the 107 TGG stories. Yet the ministry partners insisted on doing so because a hearing person signing was not the same as one of their own. The decision included many more hours of preparation, work, and expense to make the production. However, the impact has already been felt as people who viewed themselves as rejected and unimportant realized they were valued and esteemed.

Tom Nutt, director of operations, complimented these coworkers on their ingenuity and relayed how he’d recently met another deaf person visiting Joplin from Ghana. The visitor discovered the same truth when stories about Jesus were recorded and shown to deaf people in Ghana. With tears streaming down his cheeks the visitor said, “Now our people can really understand the Good News.”

Media processes were shared, and a common theme emerged in Mexico. Cultural relevance is not just about the food, culture, or speech of any country. It is all of this and more residing deeply in the soul. The results are best revealed when a person is able to internalize the powerful words of Jesus.

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