Bishop Sampoti James Mpondo presided in an ordination ceremony with a difference when he put his hands on Frank Sifuba during the Passover service at The New Gospel Church of Power in Khayelitsha.
Bishop Mpondo said Pastor Sifuba, who is deaf, literally grew up in church and was never discouraged to serve God.
“He has been a member since the days of the late Bishop Dapula who served the Gugulethu congregation in the turbulent 1980s. Then it was even difficult for him because Sign Language was know by a few people,” said Bishop Mpondo.
The service was conducted in Sign Language by a pastor who works directly with Noluthando School for the Deaf, a special school catering for deaf, hard of hearing and autistic learners, in Khayelitsha.
Pastor Seb Munya said even in Biblical times God chose people he wanted to spread his word.
“Even Moses had a speech problem but it didn’t prevent God from using him and we are pleased that Bishop Mpondo was enlightened to annoint Pastor Sifuba. It’s an important work because now he will be able to offer lessons to the deaf society,” said Pastor Munya.
Pastor Sifuba is not the only to be recognised by the church, Thozama Zothe a totally blind woman is a moderator and lead singer at the same congregation.
Bishop Mpondo said it was the work of faith that made Pastor Sifuba and Ms Zonde standout.
“Despite their challenges they are always availabe to serve and share the joys of being in the church,” said Bishop Mpondo.
Pastor Sifuba, speaking through a translator, said he was moved by the ceremony and hoped that he would carry the message to the deaf community.
“Most of the deaf people feel left out but now they see a lot of pastors like them and they start identifying with the Lord and his mercies,” said Pastor Sifuba.
A visiting pastor from Bellville, Hansie Louw, said he was blown away by the service.
“God works in mysterious ways, here this man cannot speak but he can sing. I wish him well in his ministry,” he said.