I've come to view the Deaf, not as physically and socially disabled, but as their own distinct cultural minority, with their own unique and wonderful language (ASL) and the need to be understood, rather than pitied, and PRAYED for by the hearing Church, rather than medically "fixed" by the hearing community.
And because, contrary to popular perception, English is NOT the language of their hearts (nor should "oralism" EVER be forced upon them), I've come to regard them as, to an alarming extent, a MAJOR "unreached people group."
I just had to share these lines of verse written by deaf poet James Nack in the 1820s. At the time he wrote them, he was 16.
(Remember, please, this was written in the 1820s. The term, "Deaf and Dumb," is no longer considered culturally sensitive or appropriate)
[BTW: The heart expressed here reminds me very much of some other very well-written, poignant lines penned in the 1980's. Cue "Asleep in the Light," by the late, great Keith Green.]
"Friends of misfortune's race, whose heart and hand Are never clos'd against affliction's prayer, To heathens can your charity expand! Will you to them the gospel tidings bear? And yet neglect your own, your native land? O shall the gospel be a stranger THERE? Behold the Deaf and Dumb! What heathens need More eloquently for your aid can plead?
Strangers to God! -- And shall they still be so? Will you not lift a hand the veil to rend -- Their intellectual eyes to heaven throw, And lead them to a Father and a Friend? Will you not snatch them from the gulfs of woe, To which they else unreached must descend? O save them! Save them! that the Deaf and Dumb May bless you in this world, and in the world to come!"
-- Can I prevail upon you to please pray that God will raise up laborers for his harvest? And that God's Word will grow MIGHTILY, even exponentially, among the Deaf?? (Matthew 9:37-38; John 4:35)