Andrew Lunau Smith (MTS, 2005)
Distinguished Alumni National Impact Award, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly altered life and the way churches approach ministry, but one unreached group has benefitted from advances in technology and video conferencing.
Prior to the pandemic, Andrew Lunau Smith (MTS 2005) had been leading an in-person Saturday morning Bible study for men who are deaf, with average attendance being one or two people.
“It was a struggle because of time and location,” he says. “But since the pandemic, we’re getting, on average, 20 people a week, and it’s been amazing to see.”
Andrew is passionate about sharing the Good News with the deaf community because it is where he first came to know Christ. Both his parents were deaf and were believers, an uncommon trait. “Globally, less than two percent of deaf people have access to, or have committed themselves to, following Christ ,” he says. “In a lot of families where there are deaf parents and hearing kids, the hearing kids tend to leave the [deaf] church once they grow up, which is what happened with me.”
While he was working in the technology sector and serving with his wife, Tonya, at their church, he felt God calling him to Tyndale Seminary to become more equipped.
“Through Tyndale, I was challenged to read widely, reflect on what I was reading and develop critical analysis skills,” he says. “It was a significant time in developing and pointing me toward ministry.”
Andrew serves as a missionary with SIM Canada and regularly preaches in a weekly Zoom church service for people who are deaf, in addition to leading the men’s Bible study. He also supports a mid-week Bible study, provides interpretative services for appointments and continues to encourage deaf-led churches to carry on.
“If you don’t have young deaf people in the church and the deaf people who are there are aging out, it will take people outside the deaf community to support and keep the church moving,” he says. “There are opportunities for hearing believers who are interested to be allies and advocates for the deaf community. Learning sign language is a critical first step.”