Introduction / History
The combination of decades of Communism plus emphasis for almost a century on oralism has prevented many Deaf from understanding the Gospel. The Deaf Community is still living with the belief that it is better to speak than to sign. Because of this there is a heavy emphasis on Hungarian lip reading. This is further complicated by the fact that Hungary has 7 main Deaf Schools, each with its own sign language dialect.
Hungarian Sign Language is not an officially recognized language, nor is it used in public or business functions. This limits the educational and vocational opportunities available to many Hungarian Deaf. There are, however, quite a few Deaf Associations and Clubs within Hungary. This is where the Deaf go for socialization and friendships. Because of the outright rejection that many Deaf have experienced from the hearing community it is hard for most Deaf to trust hearing people. This results in many barriers to reaching this community. Missionaries who have gone to Hungary have been welcomed when they used Hungarian Sign Language. Most of the Deaf in Hungary are not opposed to Christianity they just haven't had the opportunity to understand it in their own language. Once they understand it they are eager to share it with their friends and family.
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