Recently I heard a message titled, “We Have Such An High Priest.” The pastor read a fictional conversation between a Moabite and an Israelite, discussing what they wanted in a priest – someone who was holy (didn’t need to sacrifice for his own sin), human (had experienced pain & sorrow), but also helpful. The pastor used the story to remind us how wonderful it is that we have “such An High Priest” in Jesus. He is perfect and understands us. When we fail or become weak, He remembers that we are dust. And, unlike idols who cannot see or hear, He is able and willing to help in our daily lives.
Ladies’ Retreat in Ohio– This spring provided some exciting opportunities. In April, Mrs. Carlene Camp and I flew to Columbus, Ohio, for a Deaf ladies’ retreat. Mrs. Carlene taught on the theme “Seasons of Life.” I assisted her with games and taught the ladies a craft. The host church was wonderful, providing for our meals and hotel. Crystal White, the Deaf lady who conducted the conference, took us to the Chocolate Factory (local restaurant) on Sunday before our flight home! It was a blessing to see how God is using her to encourage the sweet ladies in her area.
Community Sign Language Class – On April 15-19, SWM conducted the annual Community Sign Language class. Bro. Jon Barr taught the class while Mrs. Diane Barr and I assisted. Two of the students were a mother and daughter, interested in ministering to Deaf people. They, along with the rest of their family, lived in Peru as missionaries for many years. They now live in the States, and the husband travels to Peru and other countries. What a joy it is to see missionaries desiring to include the Deaf in their ministries
One of the things I love is to talk with other missionaries that I meet on deputation. SWM has many resources available for them to use in ministry. One of those resources is a free USB with many of our books and materials in PDF form. Deaf people live in every country, so it is a blessing for SWM to partner with missionaries in reaching them.
DBLR Board Meeting – Also in April, Mrs. Carlene and I hosted the Deaf Baptist Ladies Retreat board members. Plans were made for the 2019 conference in October – “Give Thanks!” in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Afterwards, we drove them around Chattanooga for lunch and shopping.
Interpreting – I drove up to Middle Tennessee to visit my parents for Mother’s Day. While there, I had the privilege of filling in for an interpreter at my home church, Franklin Road Baptist. I was thrilled that there were 5 Deaf people attending that day! One was a Deaf lady from Texas whom I met on a mission trip several years before. She brought her Deaf daughter, hearing son, and two hearing daughters.
I also filled in for another interpreter recently for one night of Vacation Bible School at a local church.
SWM Welcomes a Student Intern – On May 13, I picked up Anna Brooks, a studio arts major attending Pensacola Christian College (PCC). She stayed at the SWM Office for 5 weeks to fulfill her necessary internship for school. Anna knew no signs, but she was a big help to the ministry. While here, she redesigned the graphics for a flipchart called “You Can Go to Heaven,” available from SWM. This $1 booklet has been used to explain the Gospel clearly to Deaf people in many countries, on mission trips, and at events. Anna also helped with several other projects.
Anna’s visit was a blessing for me as well. She started learning signs and often asked, “How do you sign _____?” I LOVE talking about sign language and Deaf culture, so I was more than happy to show her. It was exciting to watch her eager attempts to communicate with Deaf people at the office and at church. Anna and I spent a lot of time together. We visited a few churches, went to see a friend of mine in an assisted living facility, and went shopping together in Chattanooga, once with Mrs. Carlene. On Memorial Day, Anna visited my apartment where we baked cookies, then shared dinner and fellowship.
One Sunday, we attended Harvest Deaf Ministries in Ringgold, Georgia, where we received an invitation to lunch and later to join the singles group for a great time of fellowship and games. While there, we were surprised to meet J.T., one of Anna’s friends from college. J.T. interprets at PCC and is visiting churches to learn more about Deaf ministry before working at the Bill Rice Ranch this summer. I encouraged him to stop by SWM before leaving the area. So he spent a day at the office, talking with some of the missionaries. It is so exciting to see young people serving God, especially those interested in Deaf ministry. Across America we hear the question from Deaf ministry workers, “Who will take our place in the future? Where are the young people?” I hope that God will send more interns to SWM who can help and who we can influence regarding the needs of sharing the Gospel with Deaf people around the world.
Summer & Fall Schedule – In July and August, SWM will be conducting the annual ASL Institute and Deaf Bible Conference in Trenton, Georgia; Holt, Michigan; and Collegeville, Pennsylvania. I am looking forward to teaching the Beginner Sign Language Class this year at the conferences in Georgia and Michigan. Please pray that many people will come and be encouraged in ministry.
In the month of August, SWM will conduct the annual Missions Retreat, a time of teaching, training, and fellowshipping for all SWM missionaries.
After this retreat, I will attend an 8-day Deliberate Discipleship Retreat (DDR) with SWM International Director, Bro. David Bennett. The focus of this retreat will be learning how to disciple others. I am very excited about this retreat because I believe that discipleship is a critical part of any ministry if we want to train the next generation of Christians to serve the Lord.
It has recently been necessary to increase the amount of my support needed. This means that I currently have 48% of my support. The need is for an additional $1,160 per month. Please continue to pray that I will raise my support. I praise the Lord for two new couples that recently began supporting me.
Sometimes people ask what exactly I do as a Home Office Missionary. Following this letter is a poem God allowed me to write that outlines, from my perspective, what a “Home Office Missionary” is. I hope it will make a little clearer the ministry to which God has called me. Blessings!
“The Home Office Missionary”
By Tabitha Beam
Her position she should not take lightly.
It is her job to shine most brightly. (Mt. 5:16)
She ought to share a bright, warm smile,
Bearing others’ burdens the extra mile. (Gal. 6:2; Mt. 5:41)
To paperwork she’s not confined,
Her job may yet be undefined.
She answers phones and sends out orders,
But should expand beyond these borders. (1Chron. 4:10)
To make the coffee fresh each morn
Is something she should never scorn. (Lk. 16:10)
If she can keep it brewing snappy,
She might just keep the men folks happy.
Though scrubbing floors and cleaning doors
May not be quite her favorite chores,
Yet things her hands may find to finish,
Should then with all her might diminish. (Ecc. 9:10)
She shares events on Social spots,
Of sites and tech she’s learned just lots.
Whether posting, mailing, or pulling weeds,
She eagerly strives to meet the needs.
She isn’t perfect, this she knows,
Sometimes it seems her ignorance grows.
So also should her heart’s surrender. (Prov. 23:26)
May day by day her heart grow tender.
Mistakes, for sure, are quite expected,
But improvement ought not be neglected.
So please be patient week by week,
As she attempts God’s face to seek.
If she be helping overmuch, (Prov. 27:14)
Attempting things she should not touch,
She ought not think that you’re a snob
If you tell her that it’s not her job. (Smile)
But if you have a request or need,
This job description please take heed.
If it helps someone, or lifts a load,
Please let her walk with you that road.
Please don’t assume she’d not be willing
To do the job God has her filling.
Let her be blessed through helping you.
(You may receive a blessing too!)