I Understand (not)

One day I was teaching a deaf class. We were teaching the book of John. As I was teaching, one deaf man said, “Me know finished.” However, I could see he did NOT understand. I answered, ok please explain other deaf. He hesitated. “Sorry. Me not understand.” That is fine. That way we can teach them, so they CAN understand.

If someone says they understand but they do not understand, how do you know?

1. Facial expressions. Expressions will quickly tell you they do not understand. An expression of hesitation, doubt, confusion, or even surprise will help you know they do not know.

2. Eyes. I learned long ago to watch the eyes of people I teach. The eyes will help you know if they understand.

3. Ask them to explain. If someone says they know, I ask them to explain more. This is not to embarrass anyone. This is to see what they do understand. It also helps you to know what to teach. It also exposes wrong understanding or beliefs. I remember seeing the confusion on the faces of the deaf, when I signed, “God Mercy.” I stopped and asked the deaf what mercy meant. “Mercy means beg.” I had said God begged. They misunderstood the right meaning for mercy. (Here in the Philippines, beggars ask for money by saying, “mercy.”)

4. Help them to understand. It is important to see if people understand, SO WE CAN TEACH THEM TO UNDERSTAND RIGHT. Learn to know when they do or do not understand, SO YOU CAN TEACH THEM GOD’S TRUE AND RIGHT WORD.

You need to know what they know so they can grow.

If they do not understand the way you teach,
Then teach the way they understand.


Wordless Washcloth Evangelism

(Special Extended Article) The body of Christ is an amazing organism. It is incredible how God has gifted the members and orchestrated the body so that it functions to edify itself as well as to reach out to a lost world. Years ago, I was contacted by a deaf man named Bryan Palumbo. That led Bryan to travel with SWMI on a couple of missions trips. Eventually, he began his own ministry entitled Romans Road for the Deaf. In 2016, SWMI and Romans Road for the Deaf worked side-by-side at the DeafNation World Expo in Las Vegas where we saw over 140 decisions for Jesus Christ. Bryan also spoke to our 38 SWMI team members in the area of evangelism. One thing that Bryan taught was how to use different colored washcloths as a visual for evangelism. Basically, it works the same way as the wordless book, except that one uses colored washcloths instead. One of our team members was Marie Lea-Wilson, a BIMI missionary. Later, Marie Lea-Wilson spoke at a supporting church and mentioned “washcloth evangelism.” The pastor requested a video of the Gospel presentation. Receiving the video presentation, the pastor forwarded it to Dr. Nancy Shields who has a ministry entitled Tool Kit Ministries, Inc. Later, Dr. Shields wrote to Marie Lea-Wilson, thanking her for sharing that Gospel tool through the video. In her letter she writes: “I was so impressed, I wrote it up and tried it out in Junior Church… Several children came to Christ, some the day they saw it… and some later on as God worked on their hearts. I have incorporated this lesson into my class on ‘5-minute Gospel Object Lessons’ that I do in workshops and conventions. Thank you for sharing.”
Dr. Shields now shares the WASHCLOTH GOSPEL with teachers around the country. How many of them are now using it, we do not know. But what a thrill to know that the Holy Spirit is spreading this visual Gospel presentation, and some are already being saved because of it.

How did that happen? SWMI was used of God to impact the life of Bryan Palumbo. Bryan started Romans Road for the Deaf (RRD), which impacted our SWMI missions team at the DeafNation World Expo. This then impacted the life of a BIMI missionary who was able to share it through a video with a church in Maryland. Now that presentation has been written up and is being spread by Tool Kit Ministries, Inc. This is how it happened! And now you know about it!

My Mission Report

In February I helped Jon Barr in the Fantastic Saturday at Tabernacle Baptist Church in Orlando, Florida. There were 215 in attendance with 130 deaf. We had a wonderful meeting. I did teach to the deaf for two times and preached the gospel of our Lord. Praise the Lord three deaf got saved. It is my heart’s desire to see deaf saved!

My Mission Trip To Peru

Recently, I was with Missionary Joseph Kotvas Jr in Lima, Peru. I preached in two churches (1) Iglesia EFATA Baptist Church in the morning and (2) EFATA Baptist Church in the afternoon. Praise the Lord one deaf man got saved. I enjoyed the deaf churches in Peru.

Then I went to their Deaf Camp about three hour drive. There I saw the area of the deaf camp. It was very beautiful place near ocean. I preached eight times in the one week of deaf camp. There were 47 deaf campers. Praise the Lord another deaf man got saved, and many came to dedicate their lives to the Lord. I enjoyed being together with the deaf and hearing campers.

I thank God that He did give me wisdom and power for my preaching to them.

Deaf need spiritual help? Contact: Allen by clicking here.

Deaf Can Have Deaf Friends

Ronnie Rice and Earl Brigham have been good deaf friends for over 40 years. Ronnie preaches and Earl is a pastor and barber who owns his own barber shop (above) in Winter Garden, FL. Both recently had surgery – Ronnie on his right shoulder, and Earl on his left knee. One now has a talking (signing) problem and the other has a walking problem, and both are improving (FaceBook: earlbrighamsbarbershop). They are thankful for their friendship and also their many friends who are “there” when needed. To have a friend you must be a friend. “A man that hath friends must shew (be) himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh (stays) closer than a brother” (Prov.18:24). Be thankful for godly friends!

Unnamed Women in the Bible

(First Article) Have you ever been so thirsty that your tongue is sticky, your mouth dry, and you cannot swallow? You want water to satisfy your thirst. In John 4 there is a story of an unnamed woman who went to the well for water. It was her daily chore because she had to have water. In her heart was a spiritual longing and thirst that she thought would never be satisfied. She is known as “The Woman at the Well.” I love this story for many reasons. First I like her because she was unnamed. This means I can put my name in this story. I do daily physical things that need to be done, but I also have spiritual needs. On that day at the well, this woman met the one person who could satisfy all her needs.

Next, I like her because she really didn’t want to talk to anyone because of her past. That was the reason she went to the well alone in the hot middle of the day. In life we have choices, and sometimes we may not make the wise choice. Daily temptations face us, and we fail. No one wants to talk about the wrong choices they made. Jesus knows everything about us and He still loves us. He wants to satisfy the longing in our heart so we will not thirst again.

The last reason I like her is that I also get stuck in my daily routines and forget the needs of others. As the unnamed woman, I also try to avoid others. We need to know that only Jesus can satisfy the longing and thirsty soul (Psa. 107:9). As the unnamed woman, we need to share with others what Jesus has done for us . “The woman left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men, Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ? Then they went out of the city, and came unto him” (John 4:28-30). They came to Him because of an unnamed woman. The Lord used her and He can use us to satisfy their thirst. We need to give a cool satisfying drink to someone who is thirsty and longing to be satisfied. The unnamed woman came to the well physically and spiritually thirsty. She received forgiveness from Jesus and was satisfied … never to thirst again. After her thirst was satisfied, she thought of others. So should we! We may not know her name, but God does!

A Small Crack – A Major Collapse!

As I heard of the recent pedestrian bridge collapse in Florida and the loss of several people’s lives, I was reminded of another bridge collapse during my childhood. I grew up in West Virginia about 30 miles from Point Pleasant, where on December 15, 1967, at around 5:00 PM, a bridge connecting West Virginia and Ohio collapsed. I remember hearing the news and wondering about my mom and her travels. She had been to Gallipolis, Ohio, that day, requiring her to cross that bridge, and had not arrived home yet. Thankfully, we later found that she had crossed the bridge during the morning, and she was fine! However, 46 people died and many others were injured that day as the bridge collapsed into the Ohio River. After much inspection and study as to what could have caused the collapse, it was found that one small crack in one part of an “eye-bar” (maybe only engineers will understand that) had grown because of corrosion and pressure. These small factors, along with the additional weight on the bridge (cars and trucks had tripled in weight since the bridge was built), caused a major tragedy (http://www.corrosion-doctors.org/Bridges/Silver-Bridge.htm).

In the same way, sometimes a seemingly small thing can cause relationships to fail or collapse. It starts with a small crack, something a person says or does that hurts or offends the other person. Perhaps it is only a “little thing,” and the person overlooks it. Then another little thing is said. It does not seem that important, but it hurts the person just a little more. Over time the little things start growing and the relationship starts corroding. The pressure of the hurts, and the weight of the growing bitterness affect the relationship more and more. Finally, one more negative thing happens. It is not big. It is not of great importance. But this last “little thing” causes the collapse of the relationship. The Bible gives us the answer for these problems – forgiveness! It restores relationships. It heals broken hearts. It gives peace and joy. Ephesians 4:32 says, “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you,” (See also Matthew 18:22; Proverbs 28:13; Hebrews 12:14-15; Ephesians 4:31.) Don’ let small problems (cracks) and the resulting bitterness (corrosion) grow. Don’t let your relationships collapse.
Take care of the “little things” before they grow. Prevent this tragedy. Forgive!


The definition of “Mother” as a noun: A female parent. The definition of “Mother” as a verb: nurturing, protecting, giving, caring, hoping, hugging, encouraging, believing, listening, learning, teaching, trusting, forgiving, accepting, loving, loving, loving. I am the definition of “mother” as a noun, a female parent. My desire is to have been and continue to be the definition of “mother” as a verb.

Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day in the United States is annually held on the second Sunday of May. This year, 2018, it is May 13. It celebrates motherhood and it is a time to appreciate mothers and mother figures. Many people give gifts, cards, flowers, candy, a meal in a restaurant or other treats to their mother and mother figures, including grandmothers. It was created by Anna Jarvis in 1908 and became an official US holiday in 1914 by President Woodrow Wilson. (Google Search) As we look to celebrate Mother’s Day 2018, I want to share some things I have learned about being a mother.

I Have Learned

I have learned that being a mother is one of the most exhausting, time consuming, nerve wracking, heart breaking, sleep depriving, never ending, most rewarding, most joyful, would – not – trade – it – for – anything jobs in the world. From the first quickening of the baby in the womb, life is changed forever.

Hearts are Joined

I have learned that at birth, even though the cord is cut and the baby is freed from the mother’s body, the child is never cut from the mother’s heart. My babies are ages 56 and 52, and our hearts are still joined. My heart still skips a beat when my phone rings and I see their names as the callers or the text beeps with a message from them. Our hearts are joined.

Rejoicing and Weeping

I have learned that when our children are sad and hurt, I am sad and hurt. When they are happy and excited, I am happy and excited. When they are struggling, I struggle. When they are content, I am content. When they rejoice, I rejoice with them. When they weep, I weep with them. “Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep” (Romans 12:15).

Godly Mom

I have learned that God does not expect me to be a perfect mom, but He does expect me to be a godly mom. Mistakes my mother made I was determined not to make myself. I have made my own set of mistakes. I am sure our daughter will not emulate my mistakes. She will make her own. Even though I have tried to do my best as a mom and have followed the Scriptures as I understood them, our children still have the right to choose their own way. Many children can say, “My mom raised me right—I did wrong on my own.” Others can say, “My mom did not raise me right, I did right on my own.”

Never Give Up

I have learned to never give up. During a time when Isaiah Thomas (famous basketball player) continued to struggle with life, his mother said, “I give up.” He responded, “No, mothers can’t give up.” I agree. If mothers give up, there is not much hope for that child. I received a message from a dear friend today. She said, “My heart is full and happy today with praise for our Gracious God. This mother has cried out to Him so many, many times for her children. In His time and in His wisdom he has answered her prayers.” Here is an example of a mother who would not give up. Someone has said, “God can use our deepest disappointments to nurture our faith in Him—if we don’t give up.”

Love Unconditionally

I have learned that God is love. Although I do not always please Him or do what is right, He loves me. He loves me because I am His. I am His child. He loves unconditionally. That is the way I as a mother should love. I have heard mothers quote, III John 4, relating it to their children, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” Truly it is a great joy when children live right and follow Bible principles, but if not, what? Love them unconditionally as God loves us. Recently, we watched the funeral service of the famous Dr. Billy Graham. Each of his children had a part in the service. One daughter, who had not lived as she should and had gone against her parents’ advice and wishes, told about going home feeling utter defeat. She was anxious and fearful about seeing her father. When she neared the home, she saw him standing on the porch waiting for her. He met her with a strong embrace and unconditional love, just like our Heavenly Father. I have learned to love unconditionally.

Greatest Gift

I have learned that the greatest gift we can give our children is prayer and an utter dependence on El Shaddai, Almighty God. He is in control and we can trust Him (Proverbs 3:5). This is a scary time to be a parent. I received this message this week from a mother, “Please pray for my kids today. I am so burdened for my child but I know God loves her more than me.” This is the message of many, many mothers. God is on our side and He cares. This should be added to the verb definition of mother, praying, praying, praying. Mothers, yes, prayer is the greatest gift for our children.

Happy Mother’s Day

I have learned, with few exceptions, your mother is the one person in all the world who loves you the most. Honor her all the days of your life. “Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise” (Ephesians 6:2). You will be glad you did.

This is written because I care – Carlene

Should You Sign ASL or English?

The average person may not realize that the term Sign Language refers not to American Sign Language (ASL), but to the many different signing systems. On one side there is pure English signing, which uses a sign or fingerspelling to represent English words. On the opposite side is American Sign Language, which is not word-based, but is visual, gestural, and spatial. In the middle are various signing systems including Pidgin Signed English (PSE) and Manually Coded English (MCE). Often when signing to hearing people, Deaf signers use PSE, which blends ASL and English. What are some of the differences?

Gramatically, ASL most often states the topic first. The pattern is Topic, Comment. English users can place the subject later in the sentence or even later in the conversation. ASL uses space to describe, clarify, list, and much more. ASL conversations may appear to be fast pantomime. However, the meaning goes well beyond the signs formed by the hands. ASL uses the face as part of the grammar, so facial expressions may seem to be exaggerated. English uses voice inflections instead.

Transliterated Examples (limited by trying to write them):

English: I bought a car three days ago.
 ASL: Three-days-ago (one sign), me buy car me.

English: In the Bible, Joshua led the Jewish people around the city of Jericho for seven days. They blew the trumpets and the walls fell down flat.
ASL: Story Bible; J-O-S-H-U-A (spell); City J-E-R-I-C-H-O (plus “claw hand” placement; Wall-around; army people walk-around, walk-around, walk-around (using space); Day one, day two… Day seven; Trumpet (with mime); Collapse (same location as city was placed).

Use the language of the people in front of you. – jb

Unnamed Men in the Bible

Have you ever felt like you were unimportant? As I was reading my Bible, I noticed that there were many unnamed, unknown people Jesus touched and used. There are many unnamed but not unimportant people in the Bible. There have been times in my life that I have felt frustrated because people did not congratulate or recognize me for things I had done. No awards with my name on it. Maybe you have felt the same way. I can understand how a Deaf person can feel this way. Many times hearing people make decisions for the Deaf without asking the Deaf what they thought. In the past the Deaf were ignored concerning their education and even their worship experience in church. No one asked for their opinions. My wife and I will be writing a new series about unnamed men and unnamed women in the Bible. We hope you will enjoy and collect these articles. The story will inspire and challenge you. We hope they will also touch your heart to do more for the Lord. These people did not have their names mentioned in the Bible, but they were very important people. Others may not know your name, but God does. He knows who you are and what you do. God knows you. God loves you. God wants to use your life to bring glory to Him. We do not who they are but we do know what they did. We hope this new series on the unnamed men and unnamed women of the Bible will be a blessing to you.

Always Agree With Jesus

Recently, my friend traveled back to his home state to visit relatives. While there, he preached in a local church. Cousins, nephews, and nieces came to hear him. In his sermon, he said that Jesus died on the cross for our sins, that he was buried, and that he rose again from the dead. My friend said that all people everywhere need to repent and believe on Jesus so they can be born again. Later, one young nephew asked, “When you talked about being born again, did you mean reincarnation?” (The boy had never heard the gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ.) Other family members started to argue against my friend’s sermon. He answered them, “You know that I will always agree with what Jesus said. So, why are you upset with me when I tell you truth?”

People do well to agree with Jesus… to accept him… to be born again (John 3:7). Jesus followed God’s example; we should also follow Jesus! He said, “I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things” (John 8:28). Following Jesus builds life, love, marriage, and ministry.

The Apostle Paul taught that husbands should love their wives as Jesus Christ loves his bride, the Church. Paul also taught that wives should follow and respect their husbands as the Church follows and respects Jesus (Ephesians 5).

Married couples should not be quick to break up because of hard times. One evangelist used to say, “Be kind to everybody; everybody is having a hard time!” Be kind to your wife. Be kind to your husband. Everybody has hard times, but Jesus does not break up with them. He faithfully loves you and your mate (Hebrews 13:5). You can be a strong couple. You can be a strong family. Love as Jesus loves!

Application: Always Agree With Jesus…Follow Him… Even in Hard Times. This is the Blessed Way – RC

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