He was born perfectly healthy. At the age of five, his parents took him to the hospital for basic treatment for an illness, but the doctors gave him too much medicine and accidentally put Jonas into a coma. When he awoke, the world around him was silent.
The Togolese culture tends to view the deaf and blind as helpless and of little value. It is not uncommon for these children to be beaten or abandoned. Most receive no education.
However, Jonas’ parents were different. They sent him to one of ABWE’s Christian schools. But Jonas was learning little in classes that were not geared for deaf students. That is when Liz Ortiz, ABWE short-term missionary at the time, noticed him. Having studied sign language, Liz took it upon herself to teach Jonas. But when months had passed and Jonas did not show signs of progress, Liz contemplated moving on.
Then one day, something clicked for Jonas. Liz was quizzing Jonas by having him choose the crayon that matched the color she signed. At first, she thought it was just by coincidence that he had picked correctly. But one by one the crayon box emptied as Jonas successfully pulled out the right crayons.
The Togolese were overjoyed at Jonas’ success, and soon, local pastors and teachers wanted to know how they could teach and witness to the deaf. The population they had deemed as hopeless now had a way to receive the gospel.
Editor’s Note: Learn more about Liz’s ministry here.