COMMISSION ON COMPASSION
Among the different people groups in our world today, the deaf-blind are virtually an unreached people with very little being done to evangelize them. The world of the deaf-blind is often isolated, lonely, and frightening. They experience this isolation in their own families with people that love them, but who don't understand them, how to deal with them or sometimes even how to communicate with them. They are isolated from people in the community in which they live, who often don't even know that they are around. They are afraid because they are surrounded by dangers that are completely hidden to them. It is estimated that there are approximately one million in the US that are legally deaf-blind. The major cause for this condition is Usher's Syndrome that often leaves the individual completely deaf and blind by their late 20's or early 30's. Sixteen different forms of tactil (hands on) communication are used by the deaf-blind. The 2 languages used with these forms of communication are most often English or American Sign Language.
Some of the deaf-blind have known abuse and many have experienced ostracism from the hearing and deaf community. For those that are fully deaf-blind - having no hearing and no sight - their world exists only of those things they can reach out and touch. This means that without someone willing to communicate personally with them by the means of touch there is no opportunity for many of them to learn about God, the salvation that is offered to them through His Son, Jesus Christ, or to grow spiritually in relationship with Him.
The nature of BMW's ministry to the deaf-blind in Los Angeles, California, is to reach them with the gospel of Jesus Christ by establishing relationships where trust is built; personal needs are met; and relationships are established. This is done by providing them a place to live independently in their own apartment at Commission On Compassion. Commission On Compassion is a 33-unit apartment complex established for the independent living of deaf-blind. Due to the nature of their physical limitations, many of them have learned to be very cautious and strong-willed people. However, the constant display of Jesus' love by gracious and committed believers has been and is being used by the Holy Spirit to break down the barriers that they have established for self-protection. This has opened the opportunity for Christ to be presented as the answer to their spiritual need. Through more than three decades of faithful ministry at Commission on Compassion many of these individuals have come to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
FIELD HISTORY IN LOS ANGELES, CA
In the fall of 1963, Muriel Hersom began a pioneering work among the deaf-blind. As she worked with them, she was burdened with the need of a place for the deaf-blind to live independently. Thirteen years later an apartment complex was purchased in Los Angeles by United Missionary Fellowship and it came to be known as Commission On Compassion. This facility is located in northern Los Angeles in the Highland Park area.
After much help from a local church, the first tenants took up their residency in this 22-unit complex in January 1977. In 1985 some neighboring property was purchased and another 13 units were added, making the facility a total of 35 apartments. About that same time the corner property was purchased and a chapel was added, as well as a full-service kitchen which serves daily meals to the residents who wish to partake of it.
There has been some renovation for staff need that has changed the facility, as well as using one of the apartments for an office. The facility now consists of 32 units for full-time residents and 1 unit used for visitors. The units are currently being renovated. To learn more about these renovation projects and to see how you can help, please click on the link and download the COC Renovation Project Brochure.
NATURE OF CURRENT OUTREACH
Commission on Compassion is a 24-hour facility that provides a safe atmosphere where the deaf-blind can experience independent living. The BMW personnel carry on the work of managing this facility as well as being good neighbors and friends to their fellow deaf-blind residents. As friends and neighbors they often help with shopping, cleaning, and doctor's appointments. By being friends and neighbors that can be trusted they are often provided the opportunity to share the wonderful good news about Jesus Christ and to disciple those that have put their trust and faith in Him. Grace Bible Deaf Church is located on the campus, and it has a special ministry to the deaf-blind residents. This makes Bible teaching available in a church setting and provides an opportunity for believing deaf and deaf-blind to use their Spirit-given gifts to serve Him.
GOALS FOR THE FUTURE
For more information on the Commission On Compassion, email Jim Hansen, BMW's Team Leader in L.A., or contact Dominic Gonino, BMW's U.S. Area Director. Also visit the website for Grace Bible Deaf Church.