Teaching About Sin

Teaching about sin can be hard for the deaf to understand. Over the years, we have developed several methods that will help with making sin understandable to all.

1. Make sure you explain the word sin. I usually use the signs, “bad” or “wrong.” Remember to give examples of sin. It is not enough to just say sin bad.

For example: “Sin bad.” “Sin angry.” “Sin fight.” “Sin hate.” “Sin steal.” “Sin bad.” Give more examples of the bad sin so they will understand.

2. Teach the deaf the sins they probably have done in their lives. It is a waste of time to teach someone a sign for a sin which he has never experienced or done. For example, a deaf person who has never been to school, cannot understand the term “cheat” because they have never been to school and have never seen anyone cheat.

3. Be sure to use the sign “before/in the past” when asking the deaf if they sin. For example, I remember teaching a group of deaf, and asking a girl, “You angry?” She said, “No.” She was not angry at the time, although I had seen her angry before. She thought I said, “Are you angry now?” I then said, “You angry before?” She signed, “Yes, me angry before.” Be sure to clearly add the sign “before” so it is clear you are asking about sins they have already done…. More next issue.

(Note: Articles will later be printed in a SWM booklet)

Reaching Deaf People Around the World

Highlighting SWMI in 2014 – In obedience to the Great Commission of Jesus Christ, an evangelist named Philip traveled to preach the Gospel. The Holy Spirit led him into the desert where he met a eunuch from Ethiopia. Ethiopian tradition asserts that he returned home and evangelized the people. This Biblical story shows us the importance of even reaching one person for Jesus Christ.

The same type of story is true of India, as well, because the apostle Thomas traveled to Southwest India, preached the message of salvation, and the Gospel spread to many on that subcontinent. Even today, in 2015, there are many families in India whose last name is Thomas because of Thomas’ ministry in India before he was martyred.

SWMI is having a huge effect in reaching deaf people for Jesus Christ around the world.

February 2014 – I traveled with a deaf man, Rocky Hall, to Ghana, West Africa, for a survey of the city of Kumasi, in the middle region of Ghana. Rocky and his wife, Melanie, are raising support with a sister mission agency to work with the Deaf in Kumasi. Survey ministries helping new missionaries, like this one, are an important part of the ministry of SWMI. It is important to survey cities and countries in order to evaluate the status of Christianity among the deaf, of deaf education, of the cost of living, and to give new missionaries a real taste of what they will be facing when returning for full-time service on the field. Rocky learned many things while on this missions survey trip, and he preached the Gospel and saw four deaf people make professions of faith in Jesus Christ!

2014 Highlights – SWMI has ministered in Accra, Ghana (to challenge African pastors to reach the deaf), Liberia (many deaf people did not know sign language of any kind), Ganta City (six men were trained to work with the Deaf), Puerto Rico (spoke and challenged many missionaries, national pastors, and students from two Bible colleges with the need to reach the Deaf throughout the Caribbean islands), India (four Indian men surrendered their lives to take the Gospel to the Deaf), Nepal (a church planter changed the direction of his ministry to begin reaching deaf people full time), Myanmar (I trained Pastor Samuel Thom, who has been teaching the Word of God to a group of deaf people for just over two years) and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (In the future I plan to preach at a special Deaf camp). While in Myanmar, I also challenged students of different Bible colleges with the need to reach the Deaf. God is blessing this type of ministry in Bible colleges, and calling young men into the deaf ministry on a regular basis around the world.

Multiplication of laborers is the goal of SWMI, whether that involves laborers from the USA who go to foreign fields to reach the Deaf, or involves laborers in other countries whom God chooses. SWMI is in the ministry of spiritual multiplication (Acts 12:24). SWMI and SWM are producing free evangelistic materials in other languages to help national pastors and churches. SWMI now has Drew & Melinda Wright going to England, Nicole Condra going to Romania, and Bruce & Amanda Stuart to Africa. SWM has Jeremy & Jenna Ring in Canada.

2015The doors of opportunity are still open to preach the Gospel in many countries around the world. We do not know when these doors may close. SWMI, by faith, is advancing in many areas to prepare laborers for reaching the Deaf within their own countries. If the doors close, we want to leave trained laborers in place to continue the ministry involved in the Great Commission.

PraySupport or Come and Join Us!

Christ or the Church?

I read the story of Nicodemus and Jesus from the Bible in John 3:1-21. Jesus witnessed to Nicodemus and told him, “Ye must be born again.” I remember when I was a deaf pastor at Faith Baptist Church in Fairless Hills, Pennsylvania. I visited some deaf people in Philadelphia every Saturday morning. They were an elderly deaf couple, and Catholic. I talked with them about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I did not talk about the church but I talked about Christ. I explained the Gospel very clear to them. I slowly saw their face to be delighted because they had never heard about Jesus Christ’s Gospel. I then showed them some verses. After three verses they stopped me and told me that they wanted Jesus. They prayed with me and accepted Jesus Christ as their Saviour. They both got saved. They smiled and were very happy. I could see on their face that they had the joy of the Lord in their heart. After that, I went out from them also rejoicing. As Jesus talked to Nicodemus, I also talked to them.

I told the Lord, “I thank You for leading me to them.” I felt my heart burden for many deaf people who are in church, but not in Christ. I have learned that it is the Gospel that slowly opens eyes and hearts. I am thankful that the Lord has given me a burden to help deaf people know the Gospel. I feel I must let them know about Jesus! Please join with me and help the deaf be born again. They need Christ, not just a church. There are many churches, but only one Gospel. Do you know any deaf people, as Nicodemus, who need Christ? Give the Gospel! If I can be of spiritual help… contact: Allen by clicking here.

God Can Use The Deaf “More” in 2015

Not everyone is called to be a pastor, missionary or evangelist, but everyone, including the deaf, can do something for God. Deaf churches and ministries need deaf people who are faithful and loyal. Who can best reach the Deaf for Christ? The answer is another deaf person who understands the language and culture. This year the deaf need to volunteer and be used “more” for the Lord. Many deaf have become and are becoming deacons, teachers, van workers, singers, ushers and workers in the ministry. Deaf ladies are teaching other ladies to learn and also teach other ladies. Mature couples can teach young couples about marriage and children. There is a great need to teach deaf singles and single parents that they can also be used of the Lord. Deaf ministries need “more” godly examples for other deaf to follow. God can use you “more” this year if you will be faithful and grow spiritually and present yourself for service. “I beseech you therefore, brethren… that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God… And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:1-2). I challenge you to do more for the Lord this year. The deaf ministry, your friends, family, and the Lord need you! The Deaf can do more!

Introducing Larry and Diana Galyen

Larry and Diana Galyen, “Ministry of Helps” Missions, are a “retired” couple who assist SWM in swnp-117-04-02-atechnical areas such as our website and computer needs. Both graduated from Tennessee Temple University in 1970. Larry has pastored three mission churches, is late-deafened, and uses a Cochlear Implant for communication. The Galyens have participated in several SWMI Mission Trips, such as to the Deaflympics and Deaf Nation World Expo. Their ministry also includes Marketplace Evangelism, which involves evangelism at festivals and fairs for both Deaf and hearing people. To help them or schedule a meeting, contact the Galyens click here.

Thankfully, God uses many people in non-traditional roles to assist the spread of the Gospel. Ministry of Helps missions involves people who can give their time, part- or full-time to assist missionaries and mission efforts in their area of expertise. Often they have other means of support and only require supplemental support to meet their ministry needs.
For more information about the SWM Ministry of Helps, contact Jon Barr by clicking here

Teaching Deaf Children Who Taught Me

As I pastored a church in Rome, Georgia, the Lord opened a door at the Georgia School for the Deaf, which was only 20 miles from our church. Those school kids became some my most unforgettable deaf children. About 300 came to the Sunday morning services dressed in ties and nice dresses. They loved the services in sign language. As I preached, I was also able to improve my signs and knowledge of the deaf culture. There were two schools on campus, as it was not integrated at that time. We taught the second school which had the black children. What an experience! We learned as we taught. We tested two methods of teaching (1) Teaching only in signs, (2) Teaching with signs, visual aids and repetition. We learned that the deaf learned more with visual aids and signs. Also repetition helped them to remember and retain. Each service we would “repeat” and “review” the past lesson. The Deaf children loved it, and they were always excited to see us.

The principal told us that the services were also making a big difference in the children’s daily lives. Naturally, Bible principles help to build character. I still have good memories of those days. Recently, I met a deaf man, who was 54 years old. He smiled and signed TC (my sign name) and then hugged me. He said, “I remember you from Georgia School for the Deaf. I enjoyed your teaching. I was one of your students.” I still use the visual teaching and preaching methods I learned from the deaf children. I try to always remember that Deaf people listen with their eyes. As I look back, I really don’t know who taught whom as we both learned much together. Those deaf school children will always be some of my unforgettable deaf.

As a Missionary to the Deaf I Have Learned…

(Please keep an open mind and remember that these are my personal opinions about the Deaf in general, not all Deaf.)

I have learned that the Deaf can learn anything from the Bible if someone is willing to teach them in the way they understand. We

often say, “If they do not understand the way you teach, then teach the way they understand.” I visited a church one time and the pastor asked me if it were true that the Deaf could not learn the same things that hearing people can learn. I asked the pastor who told him that. He told me that his Deaf workers had told him. At that point, I became a little Deaf myself and bluntly told him that in my opinion, the reason he was given that information was because the Deaf workers did not want to put in the effort that it would take to teach the Deaf. Deaf people, just like hearing people, want to learn.

I have learned that the Deaf may understand your signs, but not your words. A few years ago at our SWM annual missionary retreat, a list of theological terms were handed out to all our missionaries. At that time, we had two Deaf families in that group. We reviewed the list very quickly, with one sentence definitions given for each term. We were encouraged to know these terms because we would be faced with conversations in local churches that would be referring to these concepts. As we were asked if we understood each term, I watched our Deaf families give the old “Deaf nod.” That “nod” means, I don’t understand, but I don’t want to look foolish in front of all these Hearing/Deaf people. By the way, there is also a “Hearing nod” that we use when we don’t have a clue what someone is signing to us, but we don’t want to look foolish in front of all those Deaf/Hearing people. I followed the Deaf men to their cabin and stepped inside their door and closed it. I looked them in the eye and held up the list. I asked, “Do you really understand these words?” Finally, they looked at each other and then emphatically said, “NO.” I then spent that afternoon teaching them the meanings of those difficult theological terms. And they learned them!

Making Movies

The famous Deaf performer, writer, director, poet, artist, and founder of The National Theater of the Deaf, Bernard Bragg, is credited with being the first person to compare the way ASL is used with the way movies are made. He created a technique called “Visual Vernacular,” which uses words from movie production to describe ASL.

Have you noticed how some ASL stories are very exciting and visually interesting? Storytelling in ASL is not just signing “words,” or even signs. To make stories come alive, the signer can use the five visual vernacular techniques briefly described here.

1. Panoramic view – Set the scene. Describe significant or interesting features of the location. This is often done at the beginning of a story.

2. Long Shot/Close Up – Alternately shows “big picture” then close up of action or scene. A long shot may be the visual description of a group in motion; a close up may show an individual in that group and his specific actions.

3. Fast/Slow Motion – Very fast or very slow signing to visually enhance and describe an action in a story. This adds visual appeal, interest, and clarity. Fast motion is often used for sports; slow motion is used sparingly and can emphasize how something is done or how it happened.

4. Role Shifting – Using Constructed Action/Dialogue (the way signers use their bodies, heads, & expressions within a story). It shows relationships and conversation such as Person to Person, Person to Animal, Person to Object, etc.

5. Zoom – Uses the “Zoom” sign to show object/person leaving or coming.
Can you find examples of some of the techniques in this cute Christmas story? http://aslnook.com/2013/12/the-night-before-christmas-story-in-asl/
Also, Google for other “visual vernacular examples.” –jb

Book of Amos

When you think of the book Amos, think about the country preacher Amos.


Amos did not grow up in the home of a prophet. He grew up gathering “sycomore fruit” and following flocks. It was God who called Amos away from farming and shepherding. He became a prophet who warned other nations, but he did not stop with that. He preached strongly against Judah and Israel. Amos was from the southern kingdom of Judah, but he went north to preach against government and religious leaders, headquartered in Bethel. The proud Jews of Bethel told Amos to go home and preach to his own people. Amos said that it was God who called him. It was God who gave Amos his message of judgment. It was God who warned the leaders through this country preacher from down south (7:10-16).

Think About: “Willingness”
willingness (noun) – a readiness or contentment to obey

“Willingness” in Amos
Amos could have stayed in his “comfort zone.” It would have seemed much easier for him to stay on the farm back home than to preach against important leaders who were doing wrong.

God’s blessings and peace do not come to us just because we do what is easy. God gives his peace in our hearts when we do what is right. What is right in your life?

Find what’s right…and do it!

(Highlights of The OT Available SWM)

Wise Women

“Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.” – Proverbs 14:1

As we begin a new year, I want to try to be a help and encouragement to mothers – young and old. We need to help each other to be all that the Lord wants us to be. God has been so good to me! He blessed me with a godly husband and four wonderful children. All four of our children are now married and have their own homes. Often they call home and ask for advice. I can share with them my thoughts, but they must make the final decision and choices. My girls call about different recipes or how to cook meats – how long and what seasonings to use. They call when there is sickness in the family, and they think I have all the answers and know what to do. I listen to them and tell them how I cared for them, and the different kinds of medicine I used. But if none of that works, then I tell them to call a real doctor. It is a joy to be able to mentor and be “there” for our own children in different ways.

A recent call was, “How do you know when a child truly understands about Heaven, Hell, and salvation?” Oh, what a joy to hear that question! It is very important for us mothers to long for that day. As a mother, you need to take every opportunity to point your child to the cross. While you are doing daily chores, you can tell them about the Lord. When they need discipline, do it with a loving heart. While they are playing, teach them Bible principles. They need to see and know that you are leading them in that direction. That’s why it is so very important for them to see us reading our Bibles, and having prayer time. We need to teach them to memorize verses and to sing songs. They will copy what they see us do more than they will what we say.

Recently we were baby-sitting four of our grandchildren. The oldest, Rylie, asked many questions about Heaven and Hell and Jesus. Poppy and I both knew her little heart was tender and ready. What a joy and blessing to pray with her to receive Jesus. This was possible because her dad and mom were faithful in planting the seeds of the Gospel in her heart. Just last week another one of our daughters, Jamie, called and told how their daughter Cailyn prayed to receive Jesus. There is nothing greater than seeing your children teaching their children about Jesus! “…that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children” (Deuteronomy 4:10b). Let’s seek to be wise women that build up our houses, not tear them down. … These are Thoughts from Terry!

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