My life verse says “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might” (Ecclesiastes 9:10).
There are so many things in ministry to do! And many hands are needed. I am thankful for the various volunteers who have helped with hanging pictures, fixing lights, proofreading event fliers, stuffing letters and receipts, cleaning, weeding, and more. (Some of these volunteers knew little or no sign language.) Much is accomplished when God’s people work together!
At the end of April, Toni, a Deaf SWM volunteer, and I set up a table at a local venue to raise awareness of Deaf people and of SWM. It was a blessing to hand out SWM sign language brochures and tracts and talk with people.
In May, I was thrilled to share about Deaf ministry at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Milledgeville, Georgia. Pastor Philip Rogers and his wife, Rachel, were members of my home church in Tennessee years ago. It was such a joy to reconnect with old friends and make new ones. Several people remarked that they had not thought about the needs of Deaf people, especially the need of reaching them with the Gospel.
Surprise! Several SWM missionaries surprised me with a party for my 10-year anniversary serving with SWM! My parents were there and several Deaf and hearing friends, including a couple I had not seen in a long time. I am so blessed to have such a great team to serve with. I am looking forward to many more years here!
In June, I was involved with two evening Vacation Bible Schools – interpreting at one and assisting with classes and crafts at another. It is a blessing to see churches using their hands and hearts for children…and Deaf children!
SWM International director, David Bennett, conducted the annual SWMI appointee seminar. That week, we had missionaries and board members visiting or staying in guest rooms. Allison, the sister of one of our missionaries, came to keep the children. Although schedules did not give us much time to visit, it was a joy hosting her at my house each night.
As I write this letter, SWM has just finished conducting the annual ASL Institute & Deaf Bible Conference in Trenton. There were 69 people in attendance. I taught the Beginning Signers class. I had 6 students with a couple more who came in occasionally. Only 3 of these students were under the age of 40! One older lady has been in the class for 3 years in a row. Still she struggles a lot with forming and recognizing the signs. It would have been easy to become discouraged and think, “She will never learn sign language.” Then I realized that she is a perfect example of the kind of person God can use – not easily discouraged and refusing to quit. She is cheerful and doesn’t let pride or frustration stop her from improving. She keeps coming back, keeps trying, and keeps learning a little bit more. Another man from the host church attended the class for the second year. He said he doesn’t want to be an interpreter. He just wants to communicate with and befriend a Deaf man in the church. These people have found something new for their hands to do, and they are working to accomplish it. God can use people who are faithful.
A Bit of History – Many years ago, God used a Deaf man named William, who faithfully attended my church, to open my eyes to sign language and Deaf people. William was the only Deaf person I knew, and I only saw him at church. I became interested in sign language, and the church interpreter taught me signs. Life became busy however, and I forgot many of the signs. Later, I took classes at the Bill Rice Ranch and again in college – twice! But it started with one Deaf man. William still attends that church 25+ years later. I look forward to seeing him when I visit. If he had not been faithful, I might never have learned sign language or been called into Deaf ministry.
This fall, I am planning to assist with a couple of Fantastic Saturdays in the Northeast, attend the Deaf Baptist Ladies Retreat in Dayton, TN, and create some new Deaf awareness videos for the next season of SWM’s online “Eagle Soar” (“Eagle Soar” is a series of videos encouraging Deaf people and teaching hearing people.)
God recently gave me a new supporter!
- Wisdom for juggling current responsibilities and accepting new opportunities.
- For God to send an office assistant, willing to take charge of answering phones, preparing mailings, and sending orders, enabling me to do more with our website and online outreach.
- Missions Retreat in August – refreshment and learning
- Support – I am currently receiving 69% of my needed support. Please pray that I will raise the additional amount.
Thank you so much for your faithful prayers and support. You are a blessing. God is still changing lives in the Deaf world!