Currently, the Abidjan Deaf Ministry has eighteen (18) deaf disciples (14 brothers and 4 sisters). Yanzeu Guy Merlin and his wife, Leonce led this group. Yanzeu felt that it was an honor in leading the Deaf Ministry in Abidjan. Tape Zagole & Lionel are interpreters for the Deaf Ministry. They have a Deaf Service on Sunday’s. Yanzeu speaks mostly French. Yanzeu’s English language speaking abilities are good enough to be understood by everybody. The average weekly attendance of the deaf is between forty-five to seventy people.
The Deaf Ministry started after a troublesome period theIvory Coastchurch had between 2007 and 2009. The church staff gave Mr. Yanzeu Merlin the opportunity to help the Deaf Ministry in January 2010. When Mr. Merlin started the Deaf Ministry, there were six (6) deaf disciples (4 brothers and 2 sisters). Some of them had left the church before not having any hope for the deaf ministry. However, later they realized there was some potential in that ministry. Mr. Merlin trained two deaf brothers, Alain and Romain. Alain and Romain became disciples seventeen years ago and they are still faithful in Christ. They lead with Mr. Merlin in the Deaf Ministry because they provide a strong spiritual support to him. Romain lives and works out of Abidjan and he sacrifices his time to commute a long distance in order to attend Sunday services in Abidjan. Alain is a teacher in the deaf school. Both him and Romain have made an impact in the Deaf Ministry. After the war, many deaf parents left their towns and villages. My deaf friends made a decision to not follow their parents. Now, they live far from Abidjan. Some of them attend Sunday service. Currently, there are 30 deaf people in bible studies. The Deaf Ministry team is excited to spend time with their deaf friends.
After several months, the Deaf Ministry has established strong communication within the team. They trust each other tremendously. They have come up with ideas on how to reach out and evangelize the Deaf and hard of hearing community. At first, it was difficult and challenging for this ministry because they are not well educated from the School for the Deaf. They needed to improve their skills. They learned to be patient and to persevere. The Deaf ministry has applied this scripture, Proverbs 4:23 “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it”. The Deaf Ministry shared this verse because they have realized how important it is to keep their heart pure for God. They continue to trust the Lord daily and they know that God will provide for all their needs.
In June 2011, glory was given to the Lord for the baptism of two, new deaf brothers. In 2012, it is going to be a wonderful year for the Deaf Ministry. The Lord is going to show Mr. Yanzeu Guy Merlin his splendor and majesty in this ministry. This last April, the deaf ministry baptized ten deaf disciples (8 brothers and 2 sisters). Their dream this year is to build solid relationships with each other and to share the good news to the ICOC Hot News website. They Deaf Ministry in Abidjan needs our prayers. To God be the Glory for all of the wonderful work being done in Abidjan!