In 1976, when I learned sign language, it seems that deaf ministry was popular for churches. In Florida there were several deaf ministries who got together for special annual Deaf events. Kissimmee hosted an annual picnic, Tampa hosted the Valentine Banquet, and Orlando (our church) hosted the Deaf Olympics (which was nothing like the real Deaf Olympics). Jacksonville and others attended the events. All ministries went to the Bill Rice Ranch Summer Deaf Camp. The fellowship with other Deaf people was great – and God richly blessed those ministries. Several Deaf people learned to teach Sunday School in their churches. God called others to serve Him as pastors, pastors’ wives, and missionaries. I say, “Do it again, Lord!”
Too Hard – Over the years many churches realized that Deaf ministry is not easy. Slowly, church interpreters quit the ministry. Others became professional interpreters and became too busy to interpret in church. Hearing people got busy with other things or ministries and churches had less and less interest in teaching God’s Word to Deaf people. Many Deaf people left church. Does this sound discouraging? Read more….
Increased Ministry – In recent years there seems to have been a renewed and increased interest in deaf ministry. More Deaf people are becoming leaders, preachers and teachers. There are Bible resources and videos available for Deaf people to see and understand God’s Word. Hearing people are learning that Deaf people are real people. Church interpreters are improving their sign language skills to better communicate the Word of God to Deaf people.
Worldwide Need – The World Federation of the Deaf states that approximately 80% of deaf people worldwide “receive no education at all.”* That means these people probably do not know sign language. They probably have never been told about Jesus Christ. Someone must tell them. Even in the USA, Deaf people tend to grow up without knowing the simple Gospel. The need is great! Who will give their lives to tell Deaf people about Jesus Christ?
New Foreign Missionaries – This year three new SWM International missionaries were approved and joined our mission team. (1) Monique Lindsey and (2) Carrie Whaley, are raising support to teach and train Deaf and special needs people for Christ in Liberia. After the 2018 SWMI mission team trip to Liberia, team leader David Bennett, SWMI Director, reported that many Liberian Deaf people have little or no education. These new missionaries will be working under a local Baptist church in Liberia to help meet this need – to educate and win young Deaf people to Jesus Christ.
(3) SWMI missionaries Ben and Marie Muldoon are raising support to start a deaf church and Bible training center in Romania. Romania is centrally located and will be a great location to teach and train Deaf people from all over Europe. The vision is great!
New SWM Missionary – This month Joshua T. Gorham was also approved as a missionary and joined our mission team. J.T. is an energetic young man with a burden for reaching and teaching “the next generation” of Deaf people for Christ. Even before he became a missionary, he had been teaching and training individual Deaf young people and producing teaching and preaching videos for Deaf people. His plans also include assisting local church deaf ministries, conducting youth training, and producing more helpful videos for Deaf young people. Please pray.
You Can Help Us! – These missionaries are now raising support for their ministries. Please visit SilentWord.org/Team to learn more or donate to any on our mission team.
SWM Can Help You! – The need is great. Qualified Deaf and hearing Christians are needed! Has God burdened your heart for Deaf people? Has God called you to become a missionary to the Deaf? Do you have special skills you want to use for the Lord? Let SWM help you. Contact me for more information.