How They Think – Language

It is important to know how people think differently than we may think. This is important, so we can adjust our teaching so they can better understand God’s Word. Nothing is more important in communicating with people than the language we use. This is especially true when teaching special needs Deaf people with little or no “normal” knowledge of Sign Language. Remember:

1. Pictures and actions. Limited language means you need to act out things. Think about how they see it. See the actions and pictures in your mind. Then do that picture. It is not necessary to have a “normal” sign for everything. Gestures, pictures, facial expressions, and actions can easily explain things. Think how they see the language – pictures and actions.

2. Know their level of language – Many minimal language deaf already have methods of communicating. This is especially true for adult minimal language people. Many common gestures are used everyday by these Deaf. Many times, they and their family invent “home signs” that are used for communicating. Home signs are signs and gestures invented by the family for talking with their Deaf family member. I have talked with many Deaf with no knowledge of sign language, but we were still able to communicate. You use whatever you need so they can understand. One time, I was asked by the sheriff’s department to help them with a Deaf lady who knew no “normal” sign language. We used pictures, pointing, gestures, and actions to communicate. After a while, we found the information the sheriff department needed. We talked to her in her way of thinking, and she understood. Learn and use what they already know. Once, I was inviting the Deaf to a new Deaf work. I met a Deaf person with no language. After talking to her for a while, we understood each other. I signed, Me write (on a blackboard); you pray there. I meant I am a teacher (one who writes on blackboard) at the church (where they pray). You come. She understood and came to the new class. Learn how they think of things and do it their way.

My Salvation Story

I want to tell you about my family who wanted me to be saved. I thank God for my mother. I believe she prayed for me to be saved. I thank God for my sister-in-law, Marjorie Snare. She went to Heaven on March 7, 2018. She was 85 years old. I remember after my graduation from the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf in June 1967 she asked me, “Do you want saved?” She did her best, but I did not understand what it meant to be saved. She did not know Sign Language so she talked and wrote the Gospel to me. I looked and nodded. She and family thought I was now saved, but I did not understand. I thank Marjorie for trying her best to help me be saved. In the fall, Pastor Leon Foote invited me to his revival meeting with Bill Rice III and his wife, Mary from The Bill Rice Ranch. Bill III preached. Mary interpreted for me. She asked me “Did you ask Jesus to come in your heart?” I shocked that Jesus come in my heart??? I answered “No.” Bill III explained me about sin and Jesus. I finally understood very clear. I got saved. I am thankful for a family that loved and prayed for me. I am happy that finally I got saved through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Deaf need spiritual help? Contact Allen by clicking here.


Today would be a good time for you to decide to do right for God. Be a better Christian, man, husband and father. Be a better Christian, woman, wife and mother. Be a better Christian single person or teenager. The Bible tells of a man who decided to do right no matter what happened. Daniel decided or purposed in his heart to do right (Daniel 1:8). The king changed Daniel’s home, name and way of life, but the king could not change Daniel’s heart. Daniel decided to do right and say “no” to sin and the world. He decided to follow God. You can be the same as Daniel and decide to do right. Say “no” to sin and “yes” to God. One Deaf man told me that he went to horse races every weekend. He became discouraged and unhappy because he lost money. He could not stop or break the habit of gambling. He hated his life but could not stop. Many Christians are as this deaf man. They are saved, but they stay in old ways and habits. Sin will always destroy your life. Let’s try to make the days ahead the best that we have ever known. Do right and pray, “Create (make) in me a clean heart, O God; and renew (make new) a right spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10). You can do right …You can …You Can – I know You Can!

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Recently my neighbor started to work in a small area of her yard. I watched as she dug up the ground. I watched her do it a second time. She then set up boundaries around the area. Seeds were then planted and watered. Today there is a beautiful vegetable garden growing where she first stood. I was reading in the book of Hosea this morning and came across this verse: “Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you” (Hosea 10:12).

God wants us to work in His garden, the garden of our own hearts. Sometimes the ground in our heart becomes hard, cold, or lazy to the things of God, church, and others. We must break up that ground – dig it up and get it ready for planting, so we can reap good things. If we want to reap the good fruit of mercy, kindness, and love, we must plant positive thoughts and attitudes. We also need to set up boundaries in our hearts and minds to guard them. Our responsibility is to seek the Lord now.

Daily I need to go to the garden of my heart and pull out the weeds of bitterness, unforgiveness, lying, and many others. How often do I need to do this? Everyday. Sometimes several times throughout the day. I want God to rain righteousness upon me. I desire God’s blessing on my life. It will only happen when I do my part and humble myself before the Lord and seek His face. God wants the same for you. Work hard at keeping your heart right with Him. Dig up the hard areas in our heart. Pull out those weeds of sin. Don’t allow those weeds to choke out the good fruit. Let God rain down His blessings of mercy, peace, joy, hope, and many more. Just as my neighbor will have a great salad to enjoy, God has a wonderful meal ready for you, too. “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not” (Galatians 6:9). I ask you, “How does your garden grow?

Move Your Mouth When You Sign

There are several methods of signing. SEE (Signing Exact English) and similar methods produce English on the hands. CASE (Conceptually Accurate Signed English, sometimes called Pidgin Signed English, or PSE) uses ASL signs in English word order. However, ASL uses it’s own grammar and signing system, different from English.

ASL mouth movements (mouth morphemes) usually do not match English words, but are used to show emotion, intensity, and variations in sign meaning. For example, speak the word “successful.” Notice the way your mouth moves with each syllable. However, with the ASL sign “successful,” the mouth might move as if to say “PAH” or “MMM,” depending on whether the meaning were “very successful” or “moderately successful.” (Several other mouth inflections could also be used.) Mouth movements, head tilt, eyebrow raise, and eye gaze are non-manual signals (NMS) which make signs clear and exact.

When Deaf people say about a signer, “Word, word, word,” they often mean the signer does not use his face properly. Lack of non-manual signals makes sign language boring and difficult to understand. Signs without mouth morphemes are like sentences without vowels. Notice the example of John 3:16, “Fr Gd s lvd th wrld, tht h gv hs nl bgttn Sn, tht whsvr blvth n hm shld nt prsh, bt hv vrlstng lfe.” Context helps you make sense of the verse, but language should not be a puzzle to be figured out.

Watch Deaf people move their mouths when they use ASL. Study the ways they use their face for different signs and ideas. Sign and move your mouth in similar ways. When you move your mouth the right way, and your face matches your signs, a Deaf person may ask you, a hearing person, “Are you Deaf?”
(Adapted from workshop at SWM’s 2018 ASL Institute)

Unnamed Men in the Bible (3)

Many times men try to impress other people with how good they are at something. When I was a boy, I tried to run faster, to jump higher, and to be better than my friends. I started early comparing my father with others. I always told my neighbor friends that my father was stronger than their fathers. In the Bible there is a story of two men whose names we do not know. They faced this same problem. In Luke 18, Jesus told the story of two men who went to the temple to pray. The first man was a Pharisee – a religious leader of the Jews. The second man is described as a publican – a man who collected taxes from people and often cheated people. These two men were totally different. They both prayed in the temple. The Pharisee prayed first. He prayed a fancy prayer so that everyone in the room could hear his voice. He told God that he was better than other people. He told Him that he fasted (did not eat) twice a week and that he gave money to the temple. The Pharisee made sure everyone in the temple knew what he thought he did for God. The publican prayed, but his prayer was very different. He was so ashamed of himself that he couldn’t even look toward Heaven. His prayer was short, and clear. He said, “God be merciful to me a sinner” (Luke 18:13). He did not brag about what he had done, how good he was, or the things he had done. He admitted his sin and asked for God’s mercy. The Pharisee’s fancy prayer did not reach God. The Bible said, “The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself” (Luke 18:11).

Sometimes when we are trying hard to impress God, we do the opposite. The publican went home forgiven! He came to the temple ashamed of his sin, and left forgiven. Which man are you most like today? Don’t try to tell God all you have done or how good you think you have been. Come to God for His mercy, and you will leave a happy person!

The Blessing of Obedience

“He’s crazy! He’s insane!” That was what one wife told me about her husband. They had been married a short time, and both had children from other relationships. She went on to say, “He stays awake all night to eat junk food. He plays computer games for hours. He’s a hoarder. He buys cases and cases of bottled water, cases of toothpaste, and cases of toothbrushes. There is no room in our house. He has piles of junk everywhere. The house is filthy. There’s no room to walk! He is a Doomsday Man. He goes around hunting little birds with his blowgun and darts. He also hunts ghosts at night with his flashlight. He does not give to our family. He has no time for me or for the children. He does not love us!”

Soon, that couple divorced! Was he really crazy, or was he just disobedient? God’s “blessed way” for families is taught in Genesis chapters one and two. Adam and Eve were to Worship, Work, Walk, Eat, Rest, Dress the Garden (Organize), Keep the Garden (Clean), Resist temptation (at the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil), and they were to Love each other.

The “Crazy Husband” was not really insane, but he had totally ignored God’s plan for family life. He disobeyed about God, Work, Exercise, Nutrition, Rest, Organization, Cleanliness, and Love. Instead, he followed after ghosts, games, junk food, clutter, and selfishness.

It is God who leads people to know what is right, to want what is right, and to do what is right (John 7:17; Philippians 2:13). Obedience leads to success in life and family. This is the Blessed Way!
God’s plan is best… He expects you to obey!

Application: God’s way looks great to an
obedient person, but looks bad to the
disobedient. Be sure that you obey!

God’s Plan and Time

Have you ever been in a hurry, gotten to your car, and realized you did not have your keys? Have you run to an appointment that you thought did not accept credit cards, realized you did not have enough cash to pay, and found you left your checkbook at home? That happened to me this morning. And, of course, I needed to do everything quickly so I could get back home and write an article. Frustration set in, but the story did not end there. I found the keys, was able to get the cash from an ATM and arrive at the appointment – at the perfect time to meet a Deaf friend who just happened to be going to the same place and needed an interpreter. When the Driver Services did not have change for her cash, I could exchange with her the cash I had just gotten, and use a credit card for my payment. (They did accept cards.) And I had the topic for this article! I had thought things were out of control, and they were – out of MY control, but God had a plan and perfect timing. Now, admittedly, lost keys and lack of planning all necessary details are not to be blamed on God, and yet God uses even our oversights to bring about circumstances that He can use for His glory and for opportunities to help others (Romans 8:28).

The Bible gives many examples of people who had circumstances that were out of their control. Noah could not control the worldwide flood that came and destroyed all except what was on the ark. Joseph had no control over his brothers selling him as a slave. Esther could not change the decree the king made for a day to kill all Jews. Daniel spent a night in the lion’s den because even the king could not change his decree that no one could pray to a god other than him. Mary and Joseph could not control Caesar’s decree to go to Bethlehem to pay their taxes. But in all of these situations, as each person obeyed, God worked it out for good. God’s will was done, and we still read the stories today and learn from them.

My example is so small compared to the Bible examples. But God works in both the little, daily things and the big, once-in-a-lifetime events. Frustration will change to joy when we see that God is in control. Let Him work His plan, in His time, in your life.

“Thunder Anxiety”

Our daughter, Karla, and son-in-law, Scott, after years of saying we will never have a dog, finally gave in and adopted Quavo from a local shelter. He is a large dog, part pit-bull, and looks very menacing.

However, he is a “gentle giant.” He loves people and is a great pet companion. Even I, though having a fear of most dogs, love him and enjoy being with him when we go for a visit.

Recently, while visiting, I learned of Quavo’s thunder anxiety. When a storm is brewing and the thunder begins to roll, he immediately looks for and finds someone for comfort and protection. He gets as close as he can and leans heavy against the person. Although, it cannot be seen on the outside, he is quivering on the inside. Ted calls him, “Quivering Quavo.” His tremors can be felt, and his heart begins to race. But as his back and head are continually rubbed and he hears the comforting voice of his protector, the tremors lessen and his heart rate slows. He is comforted and protected.

He sleeps at night on the floor next to Scott and Karla’s bed. If a storm comes up in the night, guess what? That’s right! He jumps up in their bed and finds his safety and comfort lying between them. It seems he knows they are there for him. They become his protection from the storm.

No One To Comfort

One day while Scott and Karla were at work, a fierce storm arose. No one was there for Quavo. Later, when they arrived home, he was frantic beyond consolation. They took him to his veterinarian, and he prescribed an anti-anxiety medication. (By the way, it was the same medication prescribed for humans.) It helped and Quavo soon relaxed. Now, if the forecast calls for storms, before they leave for work, they give him the medication. It is hard for Quavo if there is no one to comfort him.

I Understand

When I was a child at home, I had similar anxiety and fear of storms. I remember when a storm came up, Dad and Mother would call us together in one room to wait until the storm passed. We would not sit near an outside wall for fear of a lightning strike. If we were wearing anything metal, we would remove it. At night, if a storm came, we would go to our parents’ bedroom and sit on the floor next to their bed until the storm passed. Dad and Mother were our protectors, our comforters. Like Quavo, our fears were quieted when we were near them. I was thankful they were there for us.

Storms in Our Lives

Everyone experiences storms which cause fear and anxiety. Some storms are fierce like hurricanes or tornadoes. Others are a brief thunderstorm that passes quickly. And it seems some people are in a continual storm, finding no relief. Like Quavo, maybe our fear and anxiety cannot be seen from the outside, but inside we tremble and quake. Causes for the storms are many. It can range from a serious illness, death, sudden tragedy, divorce, abuse, addiction, to loss of a job, unfulfilled dreams, and many things in between. When storms arise in our lives, we need protection, comfort, and someone to be there for us. Family, friends, professionals, and even medication can give some relief. But these people, like us, have their own problems to deal with and are not always available.

Enter our Protector

Yes, we have someone who is always there for us. When the storms arise in our lives, our Heavenly Father invites us to run to Him. He is always available. “The name of the LORD is a strong tower, the righteous runneth into it and is safe” (Prov. 18:10). “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee” (Psa. 56:3). “The beloved of the LORD shall dwell in safety by him” (Deut. 33:12). “The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms” (Deut. 33:27). In Psalms, He is our Rock, Fortress, Refuge, Strength, Shield, Help, Strong Tower, Hiding Place, Keeper, Shepherd, Redeemer, Defense, Hiding Place, Salvation, and my favorite, Deliverer. It seems now more than any time in my life, I am running to Him. Relief and help do not always come quickly, nor in the way I desire, but I place my trust in my Deliverer and leave the rest to Him.

A wonderful blessing from storms is that they usually bring refreshing rain. That can also be true in our lives. When the storms arise, run to your Strong Tower, trusting Him regardless of the outcome, and afterward enjoy the refreshing rain. Be thankful.

What if we had no one to run to?
“Praise the name of Jesus!
“Praise the name of Jesus!
“He’s my rock, He’s my fortress,
“He’s my deliverer,
“In Him will I trust.”

This is written because I care – Carlene

What’s Up?

What’s Up? Canadian friends, join SWM missionaries Bud & Jenna Ring, Jim & Terry Bracelin, Allen Snare, and Tabitha Beam for the second annual “Revival Signs“ September 5 – 8, 2018. These meetings will be at Elbethel Bible Camp, Old Lodge Road, New Albany, Nova Scotia. All activities, singing, teaching, and preaching will be in ASL, voice interpreted for the hearing. It will be a wonderful time for fun, food, and fellowship. The camp offers overnight accommodations. Contact: Jeremy Ring (902) 529-2677 Or you can contact the Rings by clicking here.

What’s Up? Happy 81st birthday, July 13, to Missionary to the Deaf, Jim Sloan Congratulations to the Sloans for 62 years serving in deaf which began in July 1956. Thank you for your faithfulness.

What’s Up? Missionaries to the Deaf in Peru, Joe & Lisa Kotvas and some of their children were guests recently at Silent Word Ministries while in the States on furlough. They began serving in deaf missions in Oct. 1998.

What’s Up? Justin & Neressa Snare’s baby daughter, Amarante, was dedicated to the Lord in a special service on May 27, 2018, at Harvest Baptist Church of the Deaf, Ringgold, Georgia – Pastor Reggie Rempel. The Snares are an all-deaf family who faithfully serve the Lord and are leaders in the deaf community.

What’s Up? Southside Baptist Church, Rock Hill, South Carolina, honored their pastor and his wife, Ken & Chris Walters, on Sunday, July 15, for 40 faithful years of service to the church and community. During these years they have had a heart for Deaf people and have maintained a deaf ministry. Thank you for your faithfulness and love. You are a great example for all to follow.

What’s Up? Congratulations to Fred & Sherrie Adams, Sword Deaf Ministries, Clinton, Tennessee. On July 11, they celebrated their 37th wedding anniversary. The Lord has blessed them with an effective ministry and three fine sons.

What’s Up? Happy birthday, July 11, to Betty Cabbage. She, along with her husband, Don, are co-founders of World Mission Society, El Paso, Texas. Betty is the deaf daughter of the late Dr. Bill & Cathy Rice, who co-founded the Bill Rice Ranch, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and opened the door, over 65 years ago, for Deaf young people to attend camp and “hear” about Jesus Christ.

What’s Up? Congratulations to SWM International missionaries, Bruce & Amanda Stuart. They are expecting their first baby in February 2019. Currently there are on a mission trip to Liberia and Ivory Coast, Africa. This experience will help them as they prepare to reach the Deaf in Gabon, Africa. Contact the Stuarts by clicking here.

What’s Up? Congratulations to SWM Pastor & Mrs Paul Strosnider and the members of Ephraim Baptist Church of the Deaf, Florissant (St. Louis), Missouri. In June they celebrated the church’s 13th anniversary. The Strosniders are SWM missionaries with a burden to plant Deaf churches as the Lord directs them. Ephraim is their first. The Deaf in the area are excited to have their own church. Contact the Strosnider’s by clicking here.

What’s Up? Deaf Evangelist/Missionary Ronnie Rice recently made a new friend, Leyton Kam Green, who is deaf and will be 14 years old in September. Leyton attends Harvest Christian Academy for the Deaf and loves it. He, like Ronnie, has experienced severe physical issues. But with the help of a loving family and a great medical team, he has a fulfilling life. He looks up to Ronnie with great admiration and hopes to be a preacher like him. At this writing, he is a camper at the Bill Rice Ranch where he is “hearing” Ronnie preach.

What’s Up? Sympathy to the family of Joy Lou Baker White, age 83, of Clarksville, Tennessee, who passed away on June 25, 2018. She was a member of New Life Deaf Church/Hillsdale Baptist. Joy was a former member of Forrest Hills Baptist Church, Decatur, Georgia, where she was known by many from Silent Word Ministries. She was a lovely and faithful Christian lady.

What’s Up? Sympathy to the family of Karyn Joy Tyson, age 44, Maple Shade, New Jersey, who passed away on June 2, 2018, after on-going treatments for leukemia. She was a member of Harbor Baptist Church where she served as business and church secretary. Karyn was a student of the Bible, a servant to others, summer club teacher for Child Evangelism Fellowship, an ASL interpreter, and a faithful Christian. She is greatly missed by family, church family, and many friends.

What’s Up? Congratulations to Jon & Diane Barr! They celebrated their 37th wedding anniversary on July 17. They met at Bob Jones University, Greenville, SC. They began their marriage being involved in full-time ministry that continues to this day. They have a heart for the Deaf and have dedicated their lives to reaching and teaching them. The Lord led them to merge their ministry with Silent Word Ministries in 2000 where their leadership has greatly expanded its outreach. They have a daughter, Rebekah, and a son, Joshua.

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