God called Terry and me to full-time Deaf ministry in 1999. We have been pursuing ministry to the Deaf ever since. However, along the path of working to reach as many Deaf as possible, God has opened some unique doors of ministry opportunities to the hearing world that I would like to share with you in coming articles. The first ministry God opened to me was opportunities to preach in prisons. It started when I began to preach in our county prison once a month on a Sunday afternoon. An assistant pastor in our local church asked me to go. He had a burden because he was saved while in prison as a young man. His dedication to Christ and passion to give the Gospel to prisoners inspires me to also give the Gospel and hope to those in prisons. That small beginning has increased with open opportunities for a small group from our church to preach not only in county but also in state prisons. The very first time I preached in the largest state prison in Pennsylvania, I was amazed! We had four services that day, and I had the opportunity to preach in two of the services. Each service averaged about 300 men. As I greeted the men coming into the last service, to my surprise, a Deaf man walked up to me and signed, “You J-I-M B-R-A-C-E-L-I-N?” I signed, “How you know my name?” We had never met. He signed, “I read “Silent Word” Newspaper and I saw your picture and read your articles. I was amazed! I preached that last service in Sign and Voice so the Deaf man could see through his eyes what others heard through their ears. This opened another door for me to teach Sign Language and have a personal Bible study with the Deaf man once a month. For about a year and a half, I was able to minister monthly in this prison. I still return to preach there about four times a year. I love the opportunity that God opened for me to regularly preach in these prisons. I love the opportunity to share the Word with people who cannot give me anything in return. I love serving the Deaf, and I also am thankful for the open doors to preach in prisons! Many have been saved, and many lives have been changed. If you will use your gifts, God may also open doors of opportunities to you (1 Corinthians 16:9).
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