Different Types of Deaf People

Deaf people are different individuals with different needs. But there are several types of limited language deaf people (low-verbal or minimal language) which need different types of help because of their individual needs.

1. Non-verbals or Non-language – These deaf people have no language of any kind. In some cases, they have no schooling. In other cases, they just cannot or will not learn. They are not dumb, they just need to be taught a language.

2. Limited language – They may know some words and signs, but not enough to communicate freely. They need to be taught additional language ideas and concepts.

3. Developmentally-Challenged Deaf – These deaf people have severe mental limitations in learning. They will often need to be taught individually. You teach the same things but much slower using much repetition.

4. Slow Learners – They can learn, but at a much slower rate than normal deaf people. They can benefit from a class situation. Note: We are referring to deaf people who are slow in learning mentally and spiritually. I have met deaf who can understand other things well but have a difficult time understanding spiritual things.

5. Orals – Orals are those deaf people who are taught to use their voice and to lip read for communicating. High orals are those orals who know enough Sign Language to communicate with almost everyone freely. Low orals are those deaf people who can communicate only with oral methods. They use little or no sign language. The low orals will benefit from a special class. It is important to use very slow signs while speaking slowly at the same time.

6. Visually-Impaired Deaf – These deaf people are not blind, but have eyesight which is very limited. They need to be in a special class situation in order that they will be able to see everything up close. You will need to sign slowly and get as close as possible. Some visually-impaired deaf people do well in a class situation while others must be taught one-on-one.

7. Emotionally-Disturbed Deaf – This type of deaf will need individual attention. They have very short attention spans. Their actions are often unpredictable. You will need to have enough helpers available to help control them.

Feel free to email me your questions and thoughts!

World Expo Evangelism Team

2016 SWMI
World Expo Evangelism Team

The year 2016 is here, and it comes with incredible opportunities to reach more Deaf souls for our Lord Jesus Christ. Let me remind you of one of those great doors that is open to you. As many of you may already know, there will be a huge gathering of international Deaf people in Las Vegas in July 2016. Deaf people from almost every continent will be in attendance! That is why SWMI is interested in this event. Most of them still need the Gospel of salvation found only in Jesus Christ! Few of them will ever “hear” of Christ and His salvation while in their own country. God is bringing them to us!

An organization called “DeafNation” hosts this international Deaf expo event. This will only be the third international event of this type. There is an expectation of having 20,000+ Deaf from around the world. At the first DeafNation World Expo, there were 23,400 registered participants. Surely, that was one of the largest gatherings of Deaf people anywhere in the history of the world! As before, most will be unsaved Deaf, and we want to take advantage of the opportunity to give them the Gospel.

SWMI is planning an evangelistic missions outreach to this event. All the team members will be split up into groups, and each group will be responsible for a different area of the event. Gospel DVDs and tracts will be distributed freely. We will have two booths where we can talk to people about Christ. In 2010, there were 11 professions of faith recorded, and in 2012, there were  36 professions. YOU could be a part of another great harvest in 2016!

Due to the great number of Deaf expected, and due to the limited number of days of the event, we believe it would be wise to have a group of 36-40 people on the team. We now have about half the team signed up. Some places are still available. This is the opportunity of a life time for you to have a part in getting the Gospel to literally thousands of Deaf, and many hearing, who need Christ!

SWMI has an application process for you to be able to join this evangelistic missions team. Contact me, David Bennett, soon and let me know of your interest in joining our team. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask. I will be waiting to hear from many of you. To Contact David click here.

Be Praying! Be Writing! Be Going! Act now!

My Deaf World

When I was a pastor to the Deaf in Pennsylvania, the Lord opened my heart and doors to become a missionary with Silent Word Ministries. As a missionary, I needed a van for my family to travel with me on deputation. My wife needed our car to take children to school, go to food stores, and local needs. I needed a van for missionary deputation. I could not talk to hearing people, but I could talk to God. I prayed every day for the Lord to give me a van. I must have FAITH in God for my van. A few weeks passed as I prayed. One night a man with an interpreter came to my home. He wept as he told me the Lord had touched his heart to give me a van. He handed me the keys and papers. I was shocked and surprised that God did answer my prayers. I thanked the man and I thanked God for answering my prayers. I signed to the man with the interpreter, “I thank you and bless you.” I appreciated his kindness to me. After he left I was excited to tell my wife and children that God gave me a van. Since then I have learned that God does answer prayers. I thought if I had not prayed, I would not have a van. The Lord answered my prayers – Amen!

The Bible says, “Ask, and it (van) shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one (even Deaf) that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish (van), will he give him a serpent?” (Matthew 7:7-10). I want to encourage Deaf people to pray to God for your needs. God understands your signs, thoughts, and needs. Remember, “Ye have not, because ye ask not” (James 4:2). The Deaf can have faith in God!

(My Deaf World continued next issue)

Deaf need spiritual help… To contact Allen click here.

The Deaf Can Have True Love

“But I say unto you, (1) Love your enemies, (2) bless them that curse you, (3) do good to them that hate you, And (4) pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.”– Matthew 5:44

Are there some foods that you do not like to eat? Some are sour and some are spicy hot. I do not like spicy chicken or hot sauces. I like to eat sweet juicy slices of peaches. I do not like sour tart candy, but I do like yummy chocolate. Some Christians are spicy hot (temper) and some are sweet. I learned a lesson from my monkeys. Some monkeys are nice to me and some are mean to me. Some monkeys even make loud strange noises (my wife tells me) and jump at me. It seems all the monkeys love my wife, but not me. One rhesus monkey is always mean to me, but some monkeys really love me. Which monkeys do you think I love the most? Sometimes Christians act the same as my monkeys. They do not like one another, but fuss and make strife. As Christians we should love one another no matter if deaf or hearing, or even if they do not love us. The Bible says we are to love, bless, do good, and pray for them who are our enemies, who curse and hate us, and despitefully persecute us. This is true love, that does not pretend. When the world sees this kind of love they will know that we are disciples of the Lord. “By this (love) shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13:35). Deaf people can have true love toward others. It has been said, “We need to love those who are unlovable.” Do not pretend with false love but have true love one for another. Do not be like the “rhesus” monkey!

Wait – Don’t Wait – DO IT!

Many new signers are afraid to begin using their new language with others. Naturally, sign language students should not interpret professionally until they are qualified. However, it is good to begin using what you learn. Many years ago I tried to get my wife, Diane, a relatively new signer, to interpret songs in church. At that time she feared making a mistake, so she refused. Many new signers seem to want to become very skilled and be able to sign everything right before they start communicating with Deaf people. The fear of the unknown is real! Many questions come to mind, “Will the person understand me?, What if I use a wrong sign?, Maybe I will forget a sign; What do I do then?” Some say, “I don’t want anyone to watch me sign.”

Remember by Doing – Think of learning sign language in the same way as learning to ride a bicycle. You cannot watch someone ride and then understand all about riding a bike. You must get on the bike. Sign language requires the use of your hands, face, and body. The only way to remember the signs is by doing them.

Practice by Doing – Someone has said, “Practice doesn’t make perfect. Practice makes permanent.” Doing signs correctly requires practicing them correctly.

Improve by Doing – As you sign to Deaf people, they will correct your signs. You cannot avoid this process. Deaf people will help you learn. Forget your pride. Be willing to accept correction. As you sign, you will improve.
Succeed by Doing – Each step of learning sign language is important. No person was born with knowledge of sign language. Every great interpreter (with the exception of those who had Deaf parents) started as a beginner. Keep learning, practicing and improving, so you can succeed.

The Rest of the Story – To finish the story above, Diane has been a competent, qualified signer for many years now. She continues to improve all the time. I may be a little bit biased, but I think she is a good example!

Things I Want To Learn From The Deaf

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

I Want to Learn: How I can better show and teach the Bible to the Deaf. You see, when teaching Hearing people, it is enough to use a descriptive word. We are famous for saying, “This word means …” or, “This word can mean …” when we are teaching a Hearing group. When working with Deaf people, we ought to be thinking, “This word can be seen with a visual picture.” This is a constant challenge to me and something that I am still learning. I have found that the best teachers in this area are accomplished Deaf communicators. There is incredible creativity among Deaf teachers/preachers! I have found them to have a very “artistic” way about them when telling a story. I try to watch them when they are telling a simple story about something that has happened to them, just to pick up different ways of looking at the same things I am looking at. I have learned an incredible number of things from simple observation. Of course, I don’t eavesdrop on personal conversations, but I glean all I can from their open conversations.

I Want to Learn: To better understand Deaf Culture. I have heard experts say that a culture is determined by the language it uses. That makes sense to me. I have traveled to different countries and realized the language separation between me and those of that country. We were separated because of our different languages. We were very limited in communications, and a detailed conversation did not happen without a translator. Because of this language barrier, I was limited in fully understanding the people I was trying to communicate with in that country. For this reason, I believe that it is almost impossible for a Hearing person to fully understand Deaf Culture. I believe this is an area in which we will continue to be handicapped. I must accept the fact that I am hearing. I am not deaf. They are deaf and cannot be hearing. We live in two different worlds!

As I learn more, I realize there is more to learn.


When you think of the book Habakkuk, think about questions that the prophet Habakkuk asked God.

“O LORD, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear!… why dost thou shew me iniquity, and cause me to behold grievance?… art thou not from everlasting?… wherefore lookest thou upon them that deal treacherously, and holdest thy tongue when the wicked devoureth the man that is more righteous than he?” (1:2-13). Habakkuk knew about the Chaldean (Babylonian) people. At that time, God said they were a “bitter and hasty nation… terrible and dreadful… their horses also are swifter than the leopards, and are more fierce than the evening wolves… they shall come all for violence… and they shall scoff at the kings” (1:7-10). This troubled Habakkuk. He wondered why God allowed Chaldeans to fight against and defeat Israel. Habakkuk said that Israel was “more righteous” than the Chaldeans. God, however, would not let Israel continue in sin (1:13). Finally, Habakkuk understood that God raised up the Chaldeans for a purpose (1:6). God “ordained them for judgment… and established them for correction.” Habakkuk saw iniquity, grievance, spoiling, violence, strife, and contention. God’s law was slacked and judgment did not go forth. God raised up the Chaldeans to chasten the seemingly “more righteous” Israel.

Think About: “Insight”
insight (noun) – ability to understand why things happen

“Insight” in Habakkuk

Habakkuk wondered why God dealt with Israel strictly and used Chaldeans to do so. He received insight from God who weighs the hearts of all men… all nations.

Application: It is not ours to fully understand God’s plan for others, but to fully obey his plan for us.

What could you understand better – with God’s insight?

Seven-day Love Project

There are only a few ways to spell love, but there are many ways to show it. With Valentine’s Day coming up, I would like to give you a seven- day challenge to show love to your husband.

Day 1 – AWARENESS – Notice something positive about your husband. Notice how he is dressed, his cologne, if he shaved or not, or simply his smile. Start the day by praying for him. Be aware of who he is for you – your provider and protector.

Day 2 – TIME – Give your husband time to relax (about 30 minutes) when he gets home from work, then share what has happened at home. Give of your time to welcome him home with a cold/hot drink. Allow him to have time to get refocused from the pressures of the world.

Day 3 – TALK – Do It! Let him tell you about his favorite thing, even if you may not like it. Let him talk about sports, hunting, his devotions, work, or whatever may have happened to him that day. Talking is both of you sharing what is on your heart.

Day 4 – PRAISE – Start the day by praising him! Write a note of encouragement about a personal character trait you love about him. Slip it into his briefcase or Bible or shirt pocket as he leaves so he can read it later in the day.

Day 5 – LISTEN – How are your listening skills? Can you sit and listen without talking and giving your opinion, or being distracted by doing work while he is talking? Let him share with you while you are looking at him and listening.

Day 6 – CONSIDERATION – Think of something that would help him. Wash his clothes. Make his favorite meal or dessert. Try to have the house straightened up from toys, dirty dishes and clothing. Think about what he sees when he first walks into the house.

Day 7 – TOUCH – Hug him and kiss him as he leaves and when he comes home from work. Give him a back rub or scratch his back or arm. Hold hands when you pray before you eat. Touch him as you walk past him.

These are just a few suggestions. You can add to it yourself. These were shared with me, and you would be amazed the difference it can make in your marriage and your home. If these few things work and make a difference in 7 days, keep it up! Do it again and again! God has blessed me with a godly man that I don’t want to take for granted. Marriages take work every day. It is worth it! Keep on working!


It has become a tradition in our family that every year between Christmas and New Year’s Day we put together a jigsaw puzzle. Jon and I (mostly I) always start by finding the outside edge pieces and putting them together. Then we find pieces of similar color and each person works his little section – sky, rocks, water, flowers, or other. Some of the parts have such beautiful, bright colors, while other parts seem dull or dark. But we are excited when we find a connection where one section joins with another and the picture starts coming together. The bright parts seem to stand out even more when there are dark or dull sections around them. Of course, the most exciting part is when the last piece of the puzzle is put in place and the whole picture is clearly seen.

This past Christmas, I enjoyed one puzzle so much I decided to start a second one! The first one had quite a variety of colors and designs. The pieces were of many different shapes. So, even in the areas where the whole section was one color, it was fairly easy to find the piece because I could look for a specific shape. However, the second one is more challenging. (I’m still working on it from time to time!) Every piece of the puzzle (except the edge) is basically the same shape, having two “outies” (tabs) and two “innies” (the holes in which the tabs fit). When the colors are almost the same and the shapes are so similar, it becomes mostly just trial and error – trying every “innie” in every “outie” until I finally find a match. This puzzle just does not seem quite as fun.

Our lives are sometimes a puzzle, too. We don’t understand how all the pieces fit together. We love the bright (happy) parts, but dislike the dull (uninteresting) or dark (sad, confused) parts. We may question why all these parts are necessary. Some years of our lives easily connect, and we see the pattern. We like the picture that forms. But other years just do not seem to fit. It may seem that we are trying, failing, and trying again, but we still do not know the purpose of those parts. We may even question God as to what He is doing or why He is including that part in our lives. It is important in these times to keep moving forward, continuing to trust God that He is in control and has a perfect plan (Proverbs 3:5-6). We must not give up. One day the final piece will be in place, and we will arrive in Heaven and look back and see how it all went together and what a beautiful picture it made. We will also see how our “puzzle” fit together with other Christians’ “puzzles” to make the big picture that God had designed.

Who Me?

Wow! Fifty years, 1966 – 2016, and counting. Silent Word Ministries celebrating our 50th year serving Deaf people causes me to reflect on my involvement through these years.

Learning Sign Language

In 1966, I was a dutiful pastor’s wife, homemaker, mother of a four-year-old daughter, and expecting our second child. A one week sign language class was scheduled for our church, Beulah Chapel Baptist, and the majority of swnp-123-3-1the members signed up. Thinking I would never need sign language and being very pregnant, shy and awkward, I had no interest. However, being a dutiful pastor’s wife and feeling the need to be an example, I gave in and signed up. The class was three hours each evening, Monday through Friday. Whew! I made it and found sign language very interesting. I took it seriously and learned a few signs. A short time afterward, our baby boy was born and my time and attention was taken with him. Most of what I had learned was soon forgotten. A dedicated couple, Hugh and Edna Earnest, felt the Deaf ministry was God’s calling for them, and they became the leaders of the ministry. Deaf people (whom I thought were a little weird and strange) began attending our services, and it was thrilling. Being shy and not able to communicate, I felt awkward and nervous. Actually, I worked hard to avoid Deaf people. I even made it a point to sit on the opposite side of the church auditorium. Hugh taught the deaf Sunday school class, and Edna did the interpreting. The deaf ministry was a wonderful blessing to our church as well as to the Deaf people.

Who Me?

One Sunday night, as I watched Deaf people assemble and begin to communicate, I saw them use my “sign name.” I thought, “They are talking about me. What are they saying? What have I done?” I felt panic as I looked around for the interpreter. She wasn’t there! “Where is she? Oh no!” The Deaf group saw me watching, and I looked away. I took another look and they motioned for me to come over. (Remember I sat on the opposite side.) Slowly I walked over and with my body language asked, “What?” They signed to me, “You interpret!” I almost fainted and said, “Who me?” They answered, “Yes, you!” I lamely said, “I’ll try.” I was so shaky and weak in the knees I had to get a chair. I remembered a few signs such as church, love, Bible, Jesus, etc. I finger-spelled a few words and someone showed me the sign. Very little was interpreted that night and I am sure the Deaf people learned very little, but something wonderful happened to me that changed my life. That night I fell in love with the Deaf people and I have been in love with them ever since. I learned that they were not strange or weird, but kind and sweet and eager to live life just like everyone else. They have their own beautiful language and are willing to share it. That night I began a journey that continues today. By the way, I began learning their language that night and fifty years later I am still learning.

Exciting Journey

Being involved these fifty years in the deaf ministry has been exciting. It has taken me to places I never imagined I would go. Ted and I have ministered in every state except North Dakota and Mississippi. Plus I have had the privilege to be a part of deaf ministry in Mexico, the Bahamas, Belize, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Canada, the Philippines, Guam, China, and England. On this journey we have been foster parents to three Deaf children, ministered in two state deaf schools, served twenty years at the Bill Rice Ranch, and have made friends with thousands of Deaf people and hearing people who have a heart for deaf ministry. The most exciting part is that God has led us all the way. He has provided all the needs and blessed us beyond measure. We are deeply grateful.

Joys and Sorrows

Among the joys, of course, is seeing thousands of Deaf people receive Christ as Savior and seeing many of them go on to full-time Christian work; being the interpreter at beautiful weddings and at the birth of their babies; being a friend and mentor; and opening opportunities that Deaf people thought were impossible for them. With the joys come sorrows: telling a Deaf father that his baby was born dead; watching a Deaf father and mother hold their lifeless baby after only living a few hours; sitting in an ambulance with a Deaf lady who tried suicide; interpreting marriage counseling sessions which still ended in divorce; watching a dear Deaf friend as she battled cancer and then lost the battle; watching grief stricken husbands as they buried they Deaf wives. Looking back, I know that I have been exactly where the Lord wanted me. I know that a fulfilling life is one that makes a difference in another person’s life. For these 50 years, I am thankful that the Lord has privileged me by putting me in the Deaf ministry.

Who Me?

SWM’s ministry verse … “Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform (complete) it until the day of Jesus Christ.”– Philippians 1:6

Fifty years ago God began a good work in us. I am thankful for the night I said, “Who me?” and the answer was, “Yes, you!”  This is written because I care… Carlene

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