One-on-one Teaching

Years ago, we met a deaf girl named Diana. She did not know Signs very well. We tried to teach her in a class with others, but she just could not understand. We separated her from the other students and taught her what she needed to know. Finally, 5 years later, she was saved. Sometimes, some deaf need to be taught one on one.

1. Some special needs deaf need special teaching. This includes visually-impaired deaf, other types of physically-impaired deaf, and deaf with behavior problems. You will need to physically help them in various ways. For example, visually-impaired deaf may need to hold the pictures and look at them very closely. Other deaf may not be able to sign well because of their physical limitations. Be patient and adapt your teaching so they can learn.

2. Non-educated deaf. These deaf have no education. They have little knowledge. They often do not know how to act in a group. They may know a few signs, but have little experience in learning.

3. Low or Non-Verbal deaf. These deaf do not know sign language. They need to be separate so you can teach them a language before you begin teaching them the Bible. You can get different flash cards that will teach different words. (NOTE: Do not teach the ABC’s first. Hearing children learn words long before they learn the ABC’s. Teach everyday signs so they can begin to communicate.) By one-on-one teaching, you can learn their individual learning levels and adjust your teaching to their needs.

Teach one on one those deaf who have special needs, so they can also learn God’s Word.

DO YOU HAVE A VISION?

What is the content of your vision? Have you ever written out your vision? Vision is important but so is your written statement of vision. Vision statements define your purpose of existence. Vision keeps you focused on the needs you see and helps you set your goals, objectives, and priorities. In 1993 we established the Bible Baptist Church for both deaf and hearing people in Sao Paulo, Brazil. We had 156 people in our first service. After that we dropped to average 44, 46, 52, 58, and 65 in the next five months. God was very good and we saw many deaf people saved in the first two years. Then I had to train these people in the Biblical purpose of the church. We wrote a vision statement for our church in order to keep the church people focused on our purpose for existence as a church. I will translate, from Portuguese, our vision statement for you.

The Bible Baptist Church exists……to glorify God; to create and provide opportunities for the deaf and hearing to worship God, to serve the body of Christ, and to fellowship with the brethren; and to edify the saints in order to preach the Gospel of Christ to the lost, make disciples of Jesus Christ through the Word of God, prepare and equip leaders in the local church, teach and train laborers for the ministry, and plant churches of like faith and practice, with the purpose of being obedient to the Great Commission of Christ.

In fewer than 100 words we stated our whole purpose, focus, and ministry. That is very concise, yet thorough. We then shortened it more to make it easier to remember.

The Bible Baptist Church exists……to glorify God, to win souls, to make disciples of Christ, to equip leaders, to train laborers, and to plant churches in obedience to the Great Commission.

In 32 words we defined our purpose which set the guidelines for the priorities of our ministry. Do you know the purpose of your church? Do the deaf know your church’s purpose? Many people know some of the activities you are involved in but do not realize the full scope of the ministry. Some probably do not understand why you do what you do as a church. And then some just trust you so much that they never question you on why you as a church do certain things. That can be a mistake. Your church people must know what the purpose of the church is, if they are to wholeheartedly and effectively serve and edify the church. Our people must be trained to do the work of the ministry. But to do that, the first step is to lay a foundation of purpose, stated in some sort of vision, or purpose, statement.

Deaf Need To Serve God

“(God) instruct (give lessons) thee (you) and teach thee in the way which thou (you) shalt (will) go: I will guide (lead) thee with mine (God’s) eye.” – Ps. 32:8

If you say, I cannot serve the Lord or I cannot teach the deaf class, or I cannot be a soul winner, then you need to learn the Bible and pay attention more to the Word of God from the preacher, interpreter and teacher. Study the Bible yourself. You can learn and improve. Desire to grow and learn. You should pray to God for His help. God will help you. He wants you to grow and learn. You need to trust the Lord at all times because the Bible says in Psalm 62:8, “Trust in him (God) at all times.” God CANNOT lie to you. He will help you trust Him. He loves you so much, and He desires for you to serve Him. God helped me to improve my life and serve Him because I began learning the Bible. I prayed for His help many times. I learned to trust Him at all times. Now I love to serve Him so much. I want to help Deaf people learn about the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. I want to teach Deaf people the Bible. I know you can do it. You need to pay attention to God’s way every day. I did it, and so can you.

Deaf need spiritual help? Contact Allen by clicking here.

Empty The Trash Can

I love my new office. When I sit down to study, I always write many notes. When I am finished, I empty the trash can. Then I look around the office and see things that need to also be thrown away. So, I recently decided to have a special clean-up day. I worked hard and long. There were lots of things that I needed to throw away. Why? I needed more space in my office for my new books and materials. After I was finished cleaning my office, I thought, “Christians also need a special clean-up day to get rid of all the things of trash in their lives. They should clean up their lives, put all the trash into a can, and then empty the trash can.

We need a special cleaning day to throw away sin, pride, greed, moods, and bitterness. We need to throw them away to make room in our minds for good and better things. “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report…think on these things.  Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you” (Philippians 4:8-9).

There are times that you need a clean-up day in your spiritual lives. Get rid of sin and trash that controls your life. Stop sin! Break bad habits! As trucks come by and pick up the trash at your home, the Lord will take away and remove the trash of sin in your life (I John 1:9). Do you need a clean-up in your life? Maybe you need to empty your trash can. Have a special clean-up day. Then the Scriptures promise that the God of peace shall be with you.

 

From My Home to Your Home

One of the greatest blessings of being a mother/ grandmother is having your children/grandchildren ask you questions, want your opinions or seek your advice. When they are teenagers, they normally do not want your opinions. Then when they become adults they understand that Mom and Dad are not that bad! There was a reason for the rules at home. Recently, two of our daughters called and both asked for advice. Sometimes we don’t have the answers, but it is amazing how God’s Word does! During my quiet time, God spoke to my heart. I was able to share with them what God had shared with me. It is so important for me to read my Bible daily. This is what God shared with me: “Thus the children of Israel were brought under at that time, and the children of Judah prevailed, because they relied upon the LORD God of their fathers” (II Chron. 13:18). Rely means to lean on, trust, rest upon, stay. There is much to learn from this 4-letter word! RELY:

R = Rest. “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him” (Psa. 37:7). Don’t rush – rest – rely!

E = Eternal/ Everything/ Everywhere. God Is eternal. He knows everything. He is everywhere! “Ah, Lord God! Behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee” (Jeremiah 32:17).

L = Let it go and Let God! As mothers, we want to fix everything, but we can’t. We must let it go—stop trying to help, and rest in our eternal God to do the work. “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts” (Zech. 4:6)!

Y = Yield. “Yield yourselves unto God” (Rom. 6:13). Let Him do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think (Eph. 3:20). Let Go – Let God!

My motherly/grandmotherly duty is to “Rely on the Lord.”

Why?… Maybe Because…

In 2016, Jon and I went to Israel. What a blessing it was to walk where Jesus walked, see the places where He taught, view where different Bible events occurred, take a boat trip across the Sea of Galilee, see the empty tomb, and so much more! However, our trip home brought a different kind of “blessing” as weather caused delays, and we missed our connecting flight in Istanbul, Turkey. The “Why?” question was heard many times as we stood about 12 hours in lines for new tickets, visas, passport check, and the shuttle to the hotel. It was in the second shuttle that we discovered the possible reason for all these delays. There was a Deaf man… from Bahrain (an Arabic country). Time was very limited, but Jon was able to give him a card for the “SigntheBible.com” website. Maybe all the waiting in lines was so that Deaf man could go to a website where he could see the Gospel presented in both gestures and sign language!

Scripture gives us many examples of things that happened and people could say “Why?” Sometimes the answers are given, and sometimes they are not. Why would Jesus go through Samaria to Galilee (John 4)? Of course, He knew the Samaritan woman would come there to the well, and she would be saved when He explained to her the “true gift of God… living water (everlasting life).” But maybe the reason also was because a testimony from her was the only one that would draw men of the city to Christ. Why did Philip leave a major preaching meeting where men and women were being saved and baptized, to go into the desert to explain salvation to one Ethiopian man (Acts 8)? Obviously, that one man needed to be saved. But maybe the reason was also because many in Ethiopia would become Christians through that one man’s testimony. Why did Jesus linger when He heard the news that His friend Lazarus was sick (John 11)? Jesus knew that Lazarus would die and Jesus would raise him from the dead, but that was not the only purpose. The purpose was for the glory of God and that His disciples might believe.

When we see hurricanes, fires, floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, wars, bomb testing, car accidents, sickness, death and suffering, our natural tendency is to question, “Why?” God knows the reasons. Whether we understand or not, our spiritual response must be faith. Trust the One who knows the “because.”

 

“The Amazing Eclipse”

On Monday, August 21, 2017, all of North America was treated to an amazing event, the eclipse of the sun. Many in specific areas were able to see the total eclipse. Naturally, it was the hot topic throughout all the news media. The last time the U. S. saw a total eclipse was in 1979. A solar eclipse is when the moon passes between the sun and Earth and blocks all or part of the sun. It was interesting to read that students at the Oregon School for the Deaf gathered on the football field to view a total eclipse. The SWM Missions team was in Newport, Tennessee, for our annual working retreat on August 21. We always have a full meeting schedule, but Jon Barr, mission director, learned the exact time the eclipse would happen. It was on the schedule. At 2:35 we went outdoors with our eclipse glasses and viewed with awe a partial eclipse. As the moon partially blocked  the sun, the temperature dropped about 10 degrees, a light wind arose, and a slight darkening was felt. It was an amazing experience. As the event passed, and the warmth of the sun was felt again, and the brightness of the sun reappeared, I was reminded of the awesomeness of our Creator God. “For by him were all things created that are in heaven and that are in the earth… all things were created by him and for him” (Colossians 1:17). God made everything just right and it was very good. “And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good” (Genesis 1:31). He is the ruler of the universe. The solar eclipse is His doing and His responsibility. What a mighty God we serve! “They were all amazed at the mighty power of God” (Luke 9:43). “Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen” (I Timothy 1:17).

Good Health Eclipse

Later in the week, I had a doctor’s (Dr. Chad McDill) appointment. In his office he had a chart playing off the eclipse event. It read, “What is eclipsing (blocking) your good health?” That gave me the idea for this article. Just as the universe is a gift from God and is His responsibility, our physical life is an amazing gift, and its good health is our responsibility. (I am fully aware that some things about our health are completely out of our control. I am talking about the things we can control.) Our lives are valuable. We should look after our body and mind so that we can live life to the fullest. It is our choice. What is eclipsing (blocking) your good health?  Begin today to make some changes.  It is your choice. It is your responsibility.

Spiritual Health Eclipse

This thought process led me to spiritual health. What is eclipsing (blocking) your spiritual health? Probably the path to lasting satisfaction and contentment is centered around our spiritual health, which is a devoted relationship with our Heavenly Father, the Creator God. Just as our physical health is our responsibility, so is our spiritual health. If we neglect our physical health, our body and mind will become weak, and we will be hindered in our daily living. If we neglect our spiritual health, our soul will become weak. We will lose joy, hope, peace, and influence. Our sins and neglect will cause our Heavenly Father to hide His face from us, thus causing a spiritual eclipse. “But your iniquities (sins) have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear” (Isaiah 59:2). What is eclipsing (blocking) your spiritual health? Do you have a devoted relationship with your Heavenly Father? Recognize your need today and begin to make some changes. You will be glad you did. It is your choice. It is your responsibility. This is written because I care… Carlene

 

Learn to Sign From Deaf People

Have you ever wondered how Deaf people learn sign language? Hearing people must take English classes through all of their schooling, but most Deaf people may never have taken a class in ASL. Historically, in residential schools for the Deaf, it has been said that students taught students to sign. Some deaf students in oralist schools learned sign language in secret, as it was forbidden. They probably did not sit in a class as hearing ASL students do today. Nor would they have said, “This is hard.” They simply imitated the language they saw, much as a person moving to a foreign country would do. Most ASL Interpreter Training Programs (ITPs) require a certain number of hours of interaction with Deaf people. The reason is clear – it is best to learn ASL from a person who uses it well.

Note: Not all Deaf people use ASL. Beware of “code switching,” a cultural adaptation in which Deaf people use more English when communicating with a non-ASL user.

One helpful rule which I have used successfully is the 3-person & 3-location rule. When I see a new sign or grammar structure, I try not to use it until having seen it in 3 different situations, preferably by 3 different signers.

Become a language detective. Use your ASL with an ASL-using Deaf person. Be willing to learn from your mistakes. Accept constructive criticism, especially when learning new signs. Ask questions. Be willing to accept regional sign variations. For example, a sign that is appropriate in Georgia may be offensive in Arizona (which actually happened to me). Finally, show interest in Deaf people, not just their language.

ASL cannot be learned fully from a book or video. Personal communication is required. Use the signs and language you learn. You will learn faster and better.

Where It All Began

As I began writing this article today, I was thinking about where it all began. I was a pastor in a local church that had just hosted a Fantastic Saturday meeting. The theme for that meeting was “Come Help Us!” It was taken from the book of Acts where the “Man of Macedonia” was inviting Paul to come over to help them. Ted Camp had shared lessons all day about the need for workers with the Deaf. I was pretty comfortable and not feeling a great deal of conviction, because I was the pastor of the church. Surely God would call someone else to go to help the Deaf … I was already too busy! On Sunday afternoon, Ted and Carlene left our home to head back down south again. When we went into the room they had been staying in that weekend, I saw a hand-written note from Miss Carlene that simply said, “Come, Help Us!” I remember standing there in that place, with that note in my hand, thinking … “God, do you want me to go with Silent Word Ministries to work with the Deaf?” As I look back over the years, I realized that it was that simple note on the floor of our room that started me thinking about fully surrendering my heart, hands and head to work with the Deaf. In all these years, I have not felt qualified very often. I have not felt able very often. I have not felt worthy very often. But, in all these years, I have not regretted coming with SWM to help the Deaf “see” the Word of God using my hands. I have rejoiced in seeing many Deaf come to know Jesus’ saving power. What a joy it has been to explain the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ to Deaf people all around the world! There is nothing better! Perhaps today you would consider a simple question. Does God want you to “Come Help Us?” I believe someone reading this article today will feel the tug of God on their heart to surrender to help us in the work of reaching the Deaf for Christ all around the world. Come, Help Us!

Choosing the Blessed Way

Young people usually accept their parents’ way of life as “normal.” Boys in our neighborhood copied their fathers when bragging about “best” cars. Dave liked Pontiacs. Kenneth and Alan talked about Oldsmobiles. My brother and I liked Plymouths. That was because our fathers owned those type cars. Later, in high school, we did buy cars similar to our fathers’ (and then most of us changed to buying ’55, ’56, and ’57 Chevrolets). It is easy to “default to” or “choose-first” one certain car. Young people often “default” to the foods or eating habits of their parents. Most of us love the way our mothers cooked (healthy or not). We may say, “Well, I remember we always… (cooked this) (ate that) (liked this) (hated that) (froze this) (kept that)!” If your family ate healthy food, worked hard, exercised, rested, worshiped, loved, communicated, cared, gave, served, honored, helped, forgave, and avoided strife, then you probably find it easy to “default” into living well in your own life and marriage. If, however, your family ate old, artificial, colored, preserved and sweetened “foods,” you will probably eat those things yourself. Some people also “default” to arguing, yelling, holding grudges, keeping hurt feelings, and having to “win” arguments if that was “normal” when they grew up. You cannot change your past, but you can change your “defaults” (first-choices) to a new way of living. It is not as important for a husband to “win his way” or a wife to “win her way” as it is to have “their” ways become “the right way.” God can change your mate’s “way” and your “way” to be like “His Blessed Way” in life and marriage. His way is good… very good!

Application: God’s Blessed Way is a “choice” for all to decide to follow. Decide now to follow God’s Way!