Prayer Letter – June 2015
God has “truly blessed” with an exciting spring!
Meetings – I was thrilled to be involved with some of our Fantastic Saturday meetings in South Carolina and Georgia. It was so exciting to see God work (and to hear reports from other meetings that I could not attend). At several of the meetings, a greater number of people attended this year than in the past. In February, 76 people attended the Fantastic Saturday here in Trenton, and three people were saved. In March, a group of our missionaries and deaf drove down to Snellville, Georgia, for another Fantastic Saturday. In the morning, attendance seemed a little low. It continued to increase, however, and by the end of the day, we were all rejoicing over 152 people in attendance, including 66 deaf, plus 9 PEOPLE SAVED (5 children and 4 adults)! God is so good!
I have also been thankful for the opportunity to interpret several times recently at Piney Grove Baptist Church here in Trenton, as well as one Sunday in my home church, Franklin Road Baptist, in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
Finances – In the past few months, God has given me four new supporters and one church has increased my support. He has continually provided for my needs in many different ways.
Home Office – SWM continues to move forward with our websites. Since the redesigning of our online catalog, I have been excited to see a greater number of orders come in for ministry materials. Our purpose in sales is not to make money, although that is certainly helpful in printing more materials. But our desire is for those books, tracts, and videos to train and encourage churches and individuals, helping them to improve in their outreach to deaf people.
I want to say that I am very thankful for our many volunteers here at the office. Vicki Shiffer, a deaf lady that often volunteers here, has been a tremendous help. She has accepted the responsibility for the duplication of DVDs and re-mastering/updating our old videos, and she is doing a great job. Vicki and I also meet regularly to watch an ASL video program and to practice signing. Recently, one of our missionaries, Mrs. Eleanor Towner (director of our Deaf Bible Institute – DBI) fell and broke her ankle. Since she has been unable to come to the office for several weeks, the responsibility for DBI would have fallen to me. However, Vicki’s husband, Jeremy, stepped in to help with the grading and mailing. Jeremy, along with Ray Short (one of our deaf volunteers) and others, help with stuffing and sealing letters and receipts, cleaning, and other tasks. Their help enables me to focus on proofreading, editing, working on the websites, and other projects. God has truly blessed SWM with a good team that works together.
Looking to the Future – A few months ago, I was talking with one of our ladies at the office about ministry and reaching deaf people. I began to realize that young people are often missing in Deaf ministry. We need young missionaries who are teachable and willing to “stand in the gap” when the time comes. And we also need to reach deaf young people. The next generation is very much involved in social media, videos, and the Internet, and I believe God is opening doors in these areas to help us reach people we might never be able to reach otherwise.
It will be exciting to see how God is going to work in the near future. I am making plans now to spend more time around young people, both deaf and hearing, in the days ahead, in order to better understand how to reach out to them. God has given me an opportunity to teach 7th and 8th grade girls through the summer at my church here in Trenton. I would appreciate your prayers as we learn together how to better “Connect with God and Others.”
Exciting Things Are Happening at SWM!
Rejoice and Pray With Us
Praise the Lord!
- Deaf Bible Institute – Now 1,040 students enrolled in the DBI.
- Increased orders for Deaf and Bible study materials.
- Two new missionary families joined SWM International last year. They are now raising support to reach Deaf people in England and Gabon.
- Philippine Mission Trip – Bro. Jon and Mrs. Diane Barr, along with two young ladies from Harvest Deaf Ministries, spent several weeks in the Philippines helping veteran missionaries, Bro. Bob and Mrs. Brenda Himes, with deaf camp. During the two weeks, there were 365 campers, 79 salvation decisions, and 233 other decisions.
- New Deaf Video Series – Bro. David Bennett (director of SWM International) is creating a series of 50-75 lessons showing “Creation to Christ” with simple gestures so that deaf people with limited or no language or education, and who live in any country, can understand. As sign language is not universal, this project will communicate the Gospel without a formal language.
- Missionaries Paul and Rachel Strosnider are seeing people saved and baptized at Ephraim Baptist Church of the Deaf, Florissant, Missouri.
- DeafVitalSigns.com – Bro. Jim Bracelin (Vice President of SWM) is moving forward with ministry in the Northeast. He is adding online videos each week – daily devotions, Bible studies, and Deaf Leadership training.
- More volunteers needed! – Help is needed in filming, video editing, proofreading, and many other areas. You do not need to know sign language to help!
- More missionaries to the Deaf needed!
- Deaf Olympics – SWM International mission trip planned to Turkey for the summer of 2017. Again, please contact SWM if you are interested.
- DeafNation World Expo – SWM International mission trip is planned for the summer of 2016. Please contact SWM if you are interested in joining the team.
- Continued improvement with my sign language skills.
- Wisdom in knowing how to reach the “next generation.”
- Increased support. My current monthly support needed is $1,800. I am now receiving $850 (this includes $500 supplemental income from SWM). My remaining support need is $950. Thank you so much to all who have helped.