Adeniji Richard Olugbenga was not born deaf and dumb. But according to him, a strange sickness struck him and brought him to his present condition when he was barely two years old. His condition has not in anyway affected his worship and service to God. He attends Christian Mission for the Deaf Church in Ilaro where he resides. He got married sometimes last year to Ruth who is also deaf and dumb and has since been living happily.
Recently, Church Times engaged him in an interview which lasted for about 30 minutes. The interview was conducted through exchange of notes. His wife, Ruth who is also deaf and dumb was present at the interview. Below are excerpts:
How old are you and where are you from?
I’m 28 years old and I’m from Aiyetoro in Yewa North Local Government area in Ogun State .
Were you born deaf and dumb?
I was born like any other normal child. I did not have any complication. But two years after my birth according to what my parents told me, I became deaf through a sickness. I then went to a deaf and dumb school from there I improved myself and worked on my speech. That is why I could still manage to mutter some words.
How has it been growing up?
It has been quite interesting and challenging. I thank God for seeing me through the challenges of life. There are some of my colleagues who could not improve on themselves that is why I’m grateful to God for giving me grace and making all things work for my good. I’m eternally grateful to God who made all things possible for me today.
Are you saying you don’t have any regret in life?
No. I don’t have any regret in life because I have Jesus. That is the only person that can turn your sorrow to joy. Jesus is the source of my happiness coupled with the fact that
I’m well educated. I give glory to God for making me what I and.
What makes you happy? What makes you sad?
On what makes me sad? Honestly I would have loved to hear and speak fluently especially when I want to communicate to those who don’t understand sign language. But that does not mean I regret my life. Jesus makes me happy always despite the challenges of life.
What do you understand by God and what are the things he has done for you?
I have a great understanding of God through the reading of the scriptures. I understand that He is our source and without him life will be meaningless. God is the one who created us and we were created for His pleasure. The main thing God has done for me is that he has changed my life for good. He has taken me from grass to grace and has made all things beautiful for me. There are a lot of other things He has done which I cannot narrate. God has made me to achieve a number of things I could not have achieved on my own. I give all thanks and glory to Him.
When did you give your life to Christ and what led to your salvation?
To God is the glory. I gave my life to Jesus in 1996 when I was in my secondary school. What motivated me to surrender to Him was the fear of hell. I don’t want to end up in hell with the devil and his angels so I decided to surrender to God. Also because Jesus died for me so I could be with Him in heaven when I die. That is why I surrendered to Him.
How do you pray?
We pray the way any normal person prays to God. The only difference is that we use sign language to talk to God. That is a marvel. God understands all forms of communication.
How did you meet your wife? How did you know she is your wife and how did you approach her?
I met her in a deaf and dumb church. God led me to her and after I had observed her for sometime I made the move. But I did not approach her until God gave me the go ahead and that is why I think we had a successful wedding ceremony. I also believe we are having a wonderful time together as husband and wife.
What kind of sign did God show you that made you believe she is your wife?
I had a dream. In the dream I saw her at a particular place and went to meet her. In real life that is what happened. That gave me the confidence that it was God that was directing me. But I must also say beyond the dream. I had peace within me about her.
What are your vision and plan as a family?
My vision is to help improve the lives of those in the deaf community and also to become a role model to people in the deaf and dumb world. As a family I want to be able to take good care of my wife and children when they start coming and send them to good schools and also to live a poverty free life.
People say deaf and dumb people easily get annoyed. Is this true or it’s just a myth?
You are right. The deaf and dumb could easily get annoyed this is because they are always ridiculed by those who have the ability to hear and talk well. But to be honest with you not all deaf and dumb get annoyed easily. Most of those who display undue anger are those who have not been well brought up or those who are innately bad.
What do you like about your wife?
I like the fact that she is obedient and lovely. She is really very nice
Do you preach in church? What do you like most about church service? What is your favorite Bible passage?
I do preach when I’m given the opportunity in the deaf church where I worship. I like the Sunday school lesson so much. I don’t like missing Sunday school. My favorite Bible passages are: John 3v16, Rev. 20v5 and John 14v1-14 and a lot more.
What do you do for a living?
I use my time to serve God by having time for God and also use the opportunity that God has given me to serve the deaf and dumb community in the area of employment, education and social life. But for my own upkeep, I work at the School for Children with Special Needs as a special education teacher. I hold an NCE in education a the Federal College of Education, Oyo and Bachelor of Arts degree in Education at the University of Ado-Ekiti now known as Ekiti State University.