So many people were crowding against me on the busy San Francisco street corner that I almost didn’t feel the gentle tapping on my shoulder . When I turned around, a woman asked me for a broadside, but not in the usual way. Rather, she asked me in sign language. She also used sign language to say that her name was Miriam, and that she had been raised in a synagogue with special services for the deaf.
I have only a limited knowledge of sign language, so I silently prayed for God’s help in our attempt to communicate. Miriam told me that she had many questions and would write them down. She asked serious questions and I wrote answers back to her, knowing that my sign vocabulary would not be sufficient to answer her questions.
One question stumped me, though. Miriam wanted to know why no one had ever explained to her that Jesus was the salvation for the Jews as well as the Gentiles. I wondered if her heart was open to receiving Jesus. I asked her if she would like to personally know the Messiah of Israel. Yes,” she said, both with a nod and in sign language. So on that street corner, we prayed together; not with our heads bowed and our eyes closed, but with our eyes on each other and our hands in motion.
Miriam understood that sharing her faith with her family and her rabbi was going to be difficult, but she asked for prayers on her behalf. I wondered what it would be like for her in a silent world as a new believer. Well, that was in the summer of 1978, and although she can’t call me on the phone with her questions, we do write and encourage one another.
Miriam has had a difficult time telling her family about her faith, but she has continued to grow . A church near where she lives has a ministry to the deaf and has given her many opportunities for involvement. It may be true that the Jews require a sign as Scripture says, so I praise God for His gift of sign language so that all may hear that Jews can be for Jesus.”