Dear SWM Friends,
I think we all would agree that we are living in different times! I have heard much complaining from people who are tired of being confined. I have complained myself a few times! As Silent Word Mission Team members, we have had to change many of the ways and methods of our ministries. It is common for many of us to spend a great deal of time traveling to churches, summer camps, weekend meetings, discipleship training, deputation, and even to our own local churches when we are home. That has all changed. If we are not careful, we will find ourselves joining in with others who love to complain when things don’t go the way they think they should. For a number of years, I have been praying through Isaiah 54:2-3. “Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes; For thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left; and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles, and make the desolate cities to be inhabited.” We have been praying diligently that God will continually enlarge our sphere of influence in the Deaf world, among Deaf workers, and in our ministry to the local church.
My Personal Devotional Thoughts – During the past three months, we have seen God do this with our ministry. While we thought that staying home would ruin our ministry, we have seen the exact opposite happen. This week I was reading in the book of Jeremiah. I read two verses that stopped me in my tracks! Jeremiah wrote, “Also I spake to the priests and to all this people, saying, Thus saith the LORD; Hearken not to the words of your prophets that prophesy unto you, saying, Behold, the vessels of the LORD’s house shall now shortly be brought again from Babylon: for they prophesy a lie unto you” (Jeremiah 27:16). Now, catch what verse 17 says: “Hearken not unto them; serve the king of Babylon, and live: wherefore should this city be laid waste?” I had to re-read this verse several times to be sure I had read it correctly. God instructed His people, through His prophet to serve a pagan king. Think about it for a moment. Captivity to Babylon seemed to be a horrible thing. And yet, God placed Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego there in Babylon as a witness for Him. All four of them had the opportunity to influence and impact the heart of the most influential king in the world at that time. All four of them rose to prominence in leadership during that time of captivity. King Darius would later declare that Daniel’s God should be worshiped because He was the only true God! While we might not enjoy the times of “captivity” that God places us, this is no time for retreat! We ought to serve those around us while submitting to the desires of our elected officials. In doing this in the right way – in the way God leads us
– we very well could see God’s hand opening doors for us that we never dreamed would be opened! Silent Word has seen a marked increase in our Deaf Bible Institute during this time. We have seen incredible growth in our on-line ministries. We have seen God sustain us financially during this time through the incredible faithfulness of our supporters. This has buoyed our spirits incredibly! We want to thank you for your faithfulness to our ministry, but we thank God even more for His incredible faithfulness to us! We stand with you, wherever God has placed us, to serve God with all our might. We are watching Him enlarge our tents, lengthen our cords, and strengthen our stakes! Praise God!
SWM Monthly Report – During this time, we also faced a tornado and flood waters. We had about $2,500+ in damages, some have responded, but we still need about $1,500 to cover the need. Ted Camp was saddened to see we lost our swing from his favorite spot the Campground (the one place that has his name). A new swing is now swinging and he is again at his favorite “sweet spot.” Also our on-line ministry has greatly flourished. We now have 1,625 Deaf enrolled in our Deaf Bible Institute. This is exciting! We also have had 66 reported salvations through our many ministry areas. We are now planning our first Fantastic Saturday on-line. We will advise you of the dates. It seems as we wait He works. Pray for these new outreaches that are reaching out to the unreached.
We are here to serve,
Director of SWM Outreach Ministries
Jon and Diane Barr are excited to report one lady saved when Diane taught for Ladies’ Chapel at the Chattanooga Rescue Mission last month! Please pray for Margaret.
David and Vicki Bennett recently welcomed two new granddaughters to the family – Everleigh Jo (Alfredo and Susanna [Bennett] Exposito) and Zoe Ruth (Joshua and Tabatha Bennett).
Jim and Terry Bracelin continue to be busy with online ministry. Jim posts weekly Deaf Bible studies, 3-minute Bible verses 4 days a week, and an SWM Deaf mid-week Bible study once a month. Terry posts enjoyable things on “Fun Friday.” They both interpret Sunday services for their home church and a church in Rhode Island. Also, Jim has used the “stay-at-home” time to complete another class for his Master’s degree.
Nicole Condra thanks all those who have prayed for her language studies. The classes are now online, and a local pastor’s wife is tutoring her. Nicole also met two more deaf people and was able to give them a DVD tract which contained a presentation of the Gospel in gestures, pictures, and American Sign Language. She reports that God has met all of her needs.
Reed and Donna Condra are excited to report that their second grandson, Wyatt, recently trusted Christ as his Savior. There were also 2 more saved through the Deaf Bible Institute. (Donna supervises the DBI.)
Bud and Jenna Ring started off the year with mission trips. Bud went to the Philippines to help preach a revival meeting and a pastors’ conference. He also preached in a Deaf school just outside of Manila. Jenna then went to Papua New Guinea where she taught sign language in a Christian school, and met two different Deaf men – one with language skills and the other with no knowledge of sign language. They continue to interpret for the Deaf of their home church while waiting for the Lord to re-open the door for ministry travel.
Paul and Rachel Strosnider have now resumed Sunday AM and Wed PM services in their church building. They use Livestream and Google Meet for other services. Their online services have been viewed by some foreign exchange students they ministered to from
2008 to 2014!
Bruce and Amanda Stuart praise the Lord they had a good meeting in Delaware. The church family there was very welcoming and a great blessing.
Jon and Diane Barr ask prayer for the ASL Institutes / Deaf Bible Conferences this summer. The Georgia meeting is in July, and the Pennsylvania meeting is in August. Please pray the Lord will use these to better equip Deaf ministry workers and Deaf people to reach more Deaf people for the Lord.
Tabitha Beam asks prayer for complete recovery for her dad, who recently had quadruple bypass surgery. The surgery went well and he is improving.
Nicole Condra asks prayer for her neighbor’s salvation. This young woman is interested in improving her English, so she and Nicole are helping each other learn their mother tongue.
Reed and Donna Condra appreciate your prayer as they continue to work with couples and to write materials for them. Pray also for Donna’s brother, Terry, as he recovers from being hit by a car while riding his bicycle.
Allen Snare requests prayer as he preaches and teaches for 4 weeks of Deaf camp at the Bill Rice Ranch in July.
Paul and Rachel Strosnider have had some recent opportunities to sow and water seeds with their neighbors. Please pray for that ministry to bring forth fruit. Pray also as they plan to take a group of people from their church to the Bill Rice Ranch for Deaf Adult / Family Camp week at the end of July.
Bruce and Amanda Stuart ask prayer for their expanded YouTube channel. They had their deputation videos there and are now planning to add to it videos concerning missions history, Bible lessons, hymn stories, and more. Please pray also as they begin re-booking meetings that were canceled due to COVID-19.
Rusty and Cassandra VanDonkelaar ask your prayer for the continued recovery of their daughter, Rebekah. She was recently in the hospital for an infection and spent several days in ICU. She is at home now and improving, but the cause for the infection is still unknown.
Please pray for Jon Barr and David Bennett as they continue working with Jonathan and Niall (animators) on the animated, signed, Gospel video that will be used as an evangelistic tool, especially in major Deaf events.
SWM asks prayer for more laborers, Deaf and hearing, in the home office (especially in technology and maintenance), as missionaries and regional directors, as missionaries on foreign fields, and as workers in Deaf ministries all across America.
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