Do Not Be Shy IV – Teaching Simply

One of the hardest things people can do is to teach simply. People find it very hard to teach nonverbal definitions for lie, bad, lazy, and many other words. Here are some methods that will help you to teach the deaf in an easy way.

1. Simple outlines. Do not use outlines that use fancy or rhymed titles. Keep the outlines to very simple and direct teaching. It is always better that you write or use outlines in a way that you do not have to explain. Keep it simple and easily understood.

2. Simple language. Keep the language simple. Forget English, idioms, and difficult words. (Anything can be explained with simple words. For example: Miracle. God can -You cannot.) Keeping the language simple and easily understood is the key for the deaf (or anyone) to understand.

3. Do not assume they know. Remember to ask questions to see where the students are in their understanding. I have seen many teachers assume the deaf understand everything. They just keep teaching despite the fact the deaf are asking, “What does that mean? I not understand!” Start where they do understand and teach them more. Remember, not everyone knows or understands what you know and understand. Do not treat them as dumb, but be a teacher who teaches the students from where they are and improves their knowledge and understanding.

4. Use any and all visual aids. There is absolutely no substitute for using pictures, PowerPoint presentations, skits, objects, and anything else that can be seen. Remember Sign Language is a visual (seen) language. Teach the lessons using any visual aids that will help to explain the lesson.

5. Use whiteboards and blackboards. Whiteboards and blackboards are a need for writing words, drawing pictures, and drawing maps. In fact, I do not know how to teach the deaf without a board to write on. (I have a virtual whiteboard on my computer that works great.). Write and draw so the deaf can learn.

Don’t forget – Teach simply!

Theological Books Needed for India!

SWMI is partnering with three other missions to collect theological books and materials for pastors, leaders, and theological students in three English-based Bible colleges in Northern India. Do you – or someone you know – have doctrinally-sound Bible study books, such as Bible commentaries, Bible dictionaries, missionary biographies, apologetics books, etc. that could be donated to the Northern India Missions Book Project? While most Bible students in the U.S.A. now use electronic Bible study programs for devotions and for study, that is not true among pastors and theological students in most Third-World countries. Many men in ministry in these places have only a handful of sound theological books at their disposal. In most other parts of the world, technological or electrical considerations make that impossible. Much of Northern India is such a place, but there are students anxious to take the Word of God to their own villages and to nearby countries. Our goal is to ship a full container in July or August.

How else can you help? 1) If you are in the Eastern US, perhaps your church could be a collection station for nearby book donors. We can arrange pick-up after June 15. 2) The container will be shipped from Bearing Precious Seed, Milford, Ohio. (Anyone in the Northeastern US, please DO NOT drop off any books to BPS before June 20th. Boxes NOT already clearly designated by name will be distributed equally.) 3) You may donate to help defray the estimated $9,000 cost of shipping and distribution. Send donations to IGM, designated for “North India Missions Book Project” C/O International Gospel Missions, (a Baptist Missions Agency). International Gospel Missions – 990 Calkins Road – Rochester, NY 14623. (For electronic contributions (ShortURL): Choose “Giving Type” Vision2020Asia and “Gift Description” North India Missions Book Project). 4) PRAY for the Lord to provide a full 20’ container.

Contact me to discuss what you can do to help or inform me of someone who could be of help. I am also collecting books in Trenton for this project. However, please contact me before sending anything to me. Thank you for considering this much-needed project to India. Contact David by clicking here.


In April I went to Kentucky for Deaf Christian Senior Fellowship. The fellowship planned a trip to the Creation Museum and Ark Encounter. I loved this because I learned more about Bible times. The first time I was at the Ark Encounter I saw the BIG ark. It was awesome. Then I went into the ark. I looked and stared around everything inside. There were three floors. As I walked I learned about what I saw. It took me three hours to see all three floors. Later I read the Bible in Genesis 6 to 9 about Noah and the Ark. I compared Noah’s FAITH to my life as his strong faith has influenced me. He worked hard and had faith in God for his family for 120 years. He did not give up or doubt about God’s Word and warning. He believed what God promised about the coming rain and flood. He was faithful to God and obeyed Him. I really need more strong faith. I want to be as Noah and obey God in all things. I thank God about the Creation Museum and the Ark Encounter. I want to encourage you go there. It will help you to learn and understand God’s Word. I want to also encourage you to be as Noah and stay faithful to God and keep serving Him. Don’t forget – Be Faithful.

Deaf need spiritual help… Contact Allen by clicking  here.

Don’t Faint or Give Up

I thought of this article while I was in Riverside hospital for five days. I was suffering from a bad case of asthma, and it was hard for me to breathe. I have had asthma since I was very young. I hate asthma. As I become older it becomes worse. Now I am older I have more physical problems. While in the hospital I felt like giving up. I thought I would stop traveling and preaching. I would stop meetings. They gave me IV shot in my arm, and it helped me breathe better. Now I am home, and as I look out my window, I see a beautiful day and the blue sky. I start to feel better. I read in my Bible, Galatians 6:9, “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” I read and decide I will not faint which means to stop, quit, or give up. God promises if I will not faint I will reap. So I want to please God, and I promise I will not faint. Also, 1 Corinthians 4:16 says, “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.” Wow! My physical (outward) man is becoming older and weaker, but my spiritual (inward) man is becoming stronger and stronger each day. The Lord has renewed my inward man, and I feel stronger each day. The Lord has renewed me, and I promise I will not faint.

Do you feel like giving up? Are there times you get tired of bad health and problems? Are you getting old and your body getting weaker? Do as I did and look up. Don’t be discouraged and give up. When your health becomes bad, do not faint. When you are discouraged, do not faint. “Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,” (2 Cor. 4:17). This teaches us that we need to keep going, and we will reap eternal glory in Heaven. So when you feel discouraged and think about quitting, learn what I have learned and do not faint or give up. In Heaven there will be no more deafness or asthma. “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things (asthma) are passed away,” (Rev. 21:4). – Don’t Forget – Don’t faint or give up!

Missionaries are also Common People

Many ask how they can pray for our ministry. Please pray for us about the same challenges that you are facing. We are just normal people with normal challenges. I must say thank you to all of you who faithfully pray for us as we travel. We know that many times Satan does not want us to go and serve the Lord. Recently in a missions conference we had dinner with a different family each night and were able to share our burden for the Deaf world. We would then go to the conference and interpret for the Deaf, give a testimony, or preach. We were very busy and trying to behave ourselves. We know many people are watching us as missionaries, but we are just “regular” people. On Sunday morning we were asked to sing special music. We had practiced singing, but had not had much time to practice our signing. Part of the song says, “Whatever it takes for my will to break, that’s what I’d be willing to do.” It was going well until the third verse. Jim turned the page (to the wrong page) – I turned it back – he turned it back – I turned it back and finally pointed that’s where we were supposed to be. We never stopped singing or smiling, but we did stop signing to turn the pages back and forth and back and forth. We felt bad for the Deaf and what they got during that time of confusion. The pastor came up after we finished and teased that he thought he might need to do “marriage counseling” during our song. We all got a good laugh. Satan would like us to fall, but God can win in spite of us. Your prayers keep us going, and we appreciate you. Whatever God calls us to do, we want to obey Him. Don’t forget that missionaries are also just regular common people called to do God’s work. We need prayer just like you. Thank you for being such a large part of what we are doing. We know we need God’s help! Don’t forget to pray for us.

A “Drone’s-Eye” View

For several years man has been amazed by the view of things from high places. Children climb trees to get a little higher and see a little more. Castles and fortresses were built on mountains so soldiers could easily see the approach of an enemy and prevent an attack. I have always enjoyed getting the window seat in an airplane so I could look down at what looked like Matchbox-size cars and miniature homes, roads, and businesses. But today, one of the most popular ways of getting a bird’s-eye view is with a drone. According to the CBS News website, drones have taken over. It is amazing to read some of the ways they have been used. A few of those uses include studying sick killer whales in Antarctica, improving maps, making Amazon deliveries, studying a volcano as it erupted, possibly increasing warning time for tornadoes, delivering needed blood to remote places in Rwanda, getting beautiful views of lands and countries, helping American (and other) troops in battle, locating victims after a natural disaster, wowing people watching the Super Bowl half-time show, and the list goes on. And for the many people who fly drones in their backyards, there is enjoyment in the hobby and a fascination in learning to control their flight and get pictures of their neighborhoods.

A major purpose of drones is to help man see more from the heights than he can from the ground. But remember, there is One who can see more than man will ever see. II Chronicles 16:9 says, “The eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth.” Even though there are over 7 billion people in the world, it is amazing that the Lord sees you and me individually. And He does not just see how we look today and what we are wearing. He sees our joys and pains, our trials and victories, our actions and reactions. “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good” (Proverbs 15:3). He sees our hearts, what we are thinking and feeling. “The Lord seeth not as man seeth;… the Lord looketh on the heart (I Samuel 16:7).” In addition, He sees us now, He has seen us through all our lives, and He even sees our future! He is not limited by distance or time. Each day do not forget that “Thou God seest me” (Genesis 16:13)!

Pleasing the Father

I grew up in a Christian home. There were four of us kids, an older brother, Bob, older sister, Peggy, and a younger sister, Laura. My father, A. L. “Buck” Gifford, (we called him Daddy… common in the south) was a good, gentle and hard-working man. He was self-employed as a mechanic with a gas station and garage. Our town, Trenton, Georgia, was and still is small. In order to earn enough to support his family, Daddy had to work from 8:00 am ’til 9:00 pm six days a week. Our time with him was limited, but we dearly loved him and he loved us. Even as children we knew that his hard work to support his family was evidence of his love.

The discipline of the three of us girls rested with our mother. (Wow, she knew how to discipline.) Daddy took care of the discipline of our big brother. Usually when Bob was “out back” being disciplined, mother, my two sisters and I were inside crying together. Even though I did not fear the wrath of my father, in my heart I wanted to please him. I only remember one time that we three sisters experienced daddy’s wrath. Our mother was ill following a miscarriage and daddy had the responsibility to “take care” of us. He took us to grandma’s to stay a few hours. Grandma had some neighbors who were not a good influence. We wanted to go visit and play with their kids. Daddy said no. But while he was out taking care of things, we decided to sneak off and have fun. Well, our fun only lasted a short time. A narrow path led from grandma’s house up to the neighbor’s house. I looked up and coming up the path carrying a long, skinny, hickory tree limb was our daddy. I quickly alerted my sisters and we began to run towards grandma’s house. Wrong decision! Daddy chased us down the path wielding the hickory switch and getting in some pretty solid hits. Ouch, that hurt! We had displeased our father and that hurt the most. We had caused him grief in our disobedience. We had caused him sorrow in his responsibility to discipline us.

Lessons Learned

From that experience, I learned two lessons – avoid the wrath of my father and behave in such a way that he would be pleased. My father passed away in 1995 at the age of 82. The memory of his gentleness, goodness, meekness, work ethic, compassion for others, love for his Heavenly Father, family, and his church lives on in my heart. Just as I wanted to live to please my earthly father, from the depths of my heart, my desire is to please my Heavenly Father. As I grow older, the desire becomes greater, for I have learned that the most important thing in life is to please God. Regardless of the circumstances of my life, when He is pleased with me, my life is filled with peace and contentment. Every sincere Christian has this same desire. Jesus is our example. He said, “…the Father hath not left me alone: for I do always those things that please Him” (John 8:29). Let’s consider some ways that we can please our Father.

1. Have Faith in Him – “Without faith it is impossible to please Him” (Hebrews 11:6). Trust Him with your life, your circumstances, your possessions, your past, present and future. Have faith in His Word, the Bible. Take time to be with Him by reading and studying His Word, by talking to Him in prayer, by worshiping Him in your home and in your local church, and by singing His praises.

2. Keep His Commandments – “We keep His commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in His sight” (I John 3:22). Do right. God will be pleased.

3. Share What You Have With Others – “But to do good and to communicate (share with others) forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased” (Hebrews 13:16). Share your possessions, your salvation story, your time, your money, your talents and your faith. Let His love flow through you, by your words and by your actions, to others.

4. Endure Hardness – “Endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ… that he may please Him who hath chosen him to be a soldier” (II Timothy 2:3,4). Never give up. Never turn away from the Father. No matter what hard circumstances occur in your life keep your focus on the Heavenly Father. He is our hope, our help and our peace (John 6:68).

5. Present Your Body For His Service – “Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable (well pleasing) unto God…” (Romans 12:1). To please the Father, let Him use your hands, your feet, your mouth, your abilities, your body for His service.

All this, along with many other scripture verses, teaches us that in order to please our Father, we must totally serve Him. We must be good managers of our possessions and our time. “For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable (well pleasing) to God…” (Romans 14:18). We live to please Him so we can hear His words, “Well done, good and faithful servant…” (Matthew 25:21). My heart’s desire is to please my Father. How about you?

This is written because I care…

Don’t forget to say, Happy Father’s Day!


Don’t Forget Interpreters Are Needed

American Sign Language (ASL) is a visual language. ASL cannot be written as spoken languages. In school there are English classes for hearing people, but most Deaf people never take a class in how to properly use ASL. They learn ASL by watching others – signing right or wrong.

There is wide variety in the way Deaf people use language. One person may sign “perfect ASL,” while another’s signs may be difficult to understand. One Deaf person may rely totally on Sign Language to communicate, while another would prefer to see English words on the signer’s lips.

It is interesting to watch Deaf people “code switch.” They may use ASL with other Deaf people or with skilled ASL users. When hearing people or less skilled signers are present, they switch to simple signs or an English signing system. Actually, this is a positive habit. They adapt to the “hearing world,” help less-skilled signers, and make them feel more comfortable. But, when they code switch, hearing people often misunderstand the need for ASL signers. Truly, interpreters ARE needed!

Interpreting is the process of transferring a message from one language into another language. Interpreting is much more complicated than simply choosing a sign or a word. Interpreters must paraphrase, or change the FORM of the mesage, without changing the message. Example: (English) “For God so loved the world” (Becomes ASL) “Point what (eyebrow down)? (Eyebrows up, eyes gaze up right to Heaven) God (eyes gaze down to left) // World // He (point to God, eyes up) ‘I-love-you’ (sign from up-right to down-left, eyes follow sign) Much.” You must understand ASL to accurately sign this example. Deaf people can understand in a hearing church because of skilled interpreters. Yes… Interpreters ARE needed!

Don’t Forget The Deaf in the Northeast

What do you do to remember things today? In the old days, people tied a string around their finger to remember to do something. I had a friend who wore a rubber band around his wrist to remind him to pray for missionaries. I have reminders that I program in my phone to remind me to pray for friends each day. Today I want to ask you not to forget the Northeast! Both my wife and I were raised here in the Northeast. We love it here! We love the change of seasons here. We love the colder weather in the winter and the changing color of the leaves and the crisp fall air. We love the rolling hills and the wonderful food in our area. More than all those things, we love the people who live here. Other people from other parts of our country complain about people from the Northeast, but, we love the people here. We especially love the Deaf who live in the Northeast. They are precious to us. I want to remember to pray for the Deaf in the northeast! It is estimated that there are 1.9 million Deaf / Hard of Hearing people living in the Northeastern states. I want to encourage you to pray for your part of the country! Don’t complain about the things you don’t like, but ask God to use the Word of God to change the hearts of the people where you live! We are asking God to save more Deaf in the Northeast; Will you pray for the salvation of the Deaf in your area? We are praying that God will give us more Deaf Ministries in the Northeast; Will you pray for more in your area? We are praying for revival to come to the Northeast; Will you pray for revival in your area? We are asking you not to forget the Northeast. We ask you to pray that God will increase our influence in the Northeast, and that more Deaf will be able to touch Heaven as a result. Please ask God to help us remain faithful here in the Northeast … for the glory of God, and the salvation of souls!

Don’t Forget Couples

God doesn’t! God created the earth and everything in it. Then, God made the first “single.” God called him “Man.” God made the second “single” as the perfect “Help” for “Man.” God called the man and the helper “Adam” in the day when they were created. “Man” said that his helper would be called “Woman” because she was taken out of “Man.” Later, he named her “Eve” because she was “the mother of all living” (Gen. 2:7, 2:18, 2:21, 2:23, 3:20, 5:2). So, God started with a single “him,” added a single “her,” joined them together as a married couple, and commanded them to multiply as a family (Genesis 1:27-28).

The Bible teaches how to succeed in life, marriage, and home. Whether you are a single, a couple, or a family, the Bible is for you. My goal for The Blessed Way column is to teach lessons specific enough for couples, but general enough for anyone who wants to follow God’s way in his home. So, I say, “In your busy life (work-life, school-life, social-life, and church-life), don’t forget your home-life. God doesn’t!” “A Blessed Life is The Best Life”

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