The Gospel Without Sound

Sarah’s bold prayer was to be able to share the gospel with a deaf person.

  • by Amber Wiley
Sarah and Kwame at his village in Ghana. Photo courtesy Sarah Kunz.

God had already put Ghana on her mind.

“I really wanted to go to Ghana but knew God would have to raise the funds and thought maybe I could go later,” Sarah Kunz recalls.

A sophomore at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, Sarah studies American Sign Language as her foreign language. When she heard about the Ghana summer project with Cru, she got excited.

“I knew that the man who brought sign language to Ghana spoke English,” Sarah says, “and knew I wanted to go to Ghana, meet someone who was deaf and share the gospel with them.”

During the 5-week summer project, Sarah’s entire team of 33 knew that she was praying God would put a deaf person in her path.

Sarah remembers thinking, I’m not fluent yet, but if God wants me to find someone, He will help me communicate.

During the second week, the group visited a small village to talk with people about the gospel and show the JESUS Film.

Sarah remembers one of her teammates running through the village. “[She] was looking for me,” Sarah says. “The team had met a tailor on the other side of the village who was deaf and wanted to talk with me.”

When Sarah met the man and signed, “Hi, my name is Sarah,” a look of pure joy appeared on his face. “It was so cool,” Sarah recalls. “He signed his name – which was his name sign ‘K,’ mixed with the sign for ‘deaf.’ People who are deaf or grow up in a deaf community, create a name sign instead of spelling out their name every time. It’s usually the first letter of their name mixed with another sign.”

Then the man took out his notebook and showed Sarah his phone number, full name and other information. His name was Kwame Amoako.

People working with Kwame or visiting him saw Sarah talking with him and told her she couldn’t talk to him because he couldn’t hear her. But then they saw her sign something to Kwame and understood: Sarah was talking to him.

The team’s bus was leaving, but Sarah told Kwame she would come back and talk to him. “I left a gospel picture booklet with him,” she says, “wrote my name down on it. Told him I looked forward to talking to him more.”

On their third day in the village, Sarah grabbed one of her friends and rushed off to speak with Kwame.

“I brought the booklet with me again,” she explains, “the name ‘Yesu Kristo’ was written on the booklet – I asked him if he knew who Jesus was.”

They flipped through the booklet together, using signs for “God,” “Jesus” and “love.” If their signs were different or weren’t making sense, they would write things down. “I knew he was understanding the things I was saying,” Sarah says.

A friend of Kwame’s was there who appeared to know some sign language. He was communicating with Kwame and hearing what Sarah said.

“Then, I asked him if he wanted to have that personal relationship with Jesus,” Sarah says. Emphasizing that Kwame could make that decision right then and there. “And when you do [decide], you will have that relationship with Him and you will be with him when you die,” Sarah explained. “You will spend eternity with Him.”

Then, Sarah prayed for Kwame, spoke it and signed it so he could understand. “We wrote some of it down, too,” she says.

After that, it was time to leave but the next day Sarah invited Kwame to watch the JESUS Film with the other people in the village.

“Throughout the film, we were able to talk and discuss things through sign language,” Sarah remembers. “It was really cool to see what a change had happened in him. We were able to understand each other through barriers – not sharing the gospel in the normal way.”

“Kwame’s joy was obvious. It was something I saw a lot that summer,” Sarah says. “When people understood, you could just see it in their eyes. It just clicked. It happened with Kwame too. The joy I saw in him after the spiritual conversation and after we prayed together.”

“Before I left for Ghana, I started praying that God would provide an opportunity for me to use my knowledge of American Sign Language to share the gospel with a deaf Ghanaian. I even told multiple people that it was my not-so-secret hope for the project. At the end of our first day in the village, God provided that opportunity.”

“Throughout this whole experience, God really blew my mind,” Sarah says. “Even though I had been bold in telling people that I wanted this to happen, I had never imagined that God would bring me to an unmapped village in the middle of an African country to share His love with a man that I had been praying for, but didn't even know existed.”

“God showed me that His word is more powerful than anything else, that even someone without ears can hear it. Some people may have had doubts that he could understand, but I know that I’ll see Kwame in heaven someday.”