How They Think – Language 2

It is important to know how people think differently than we think. This helps us adjust our teaching and preaching so they can 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 with little or no “normal” Sign Language. Remember:

1. Remember that the same words and signs can have different meanings. As a missionary, I have seen this many times. Sometimes words and signs do not translate directly. That means that one word in one language, even when translated to another language, may not have the same meaning. When we first came to the Philippines, we learned some of the local language. We learned a word, “tambok” which means “fat.” However, my wife began to hear people calling our son “tambok.” He was not overweight, so my wife was upset. Later, we found out that the word “tambok” also means “healthy.” They were saying my son was healthy, not fat. To them a healthy person is fat. Find out the different meanings of the words and signs.

This has also happened with the deaf. I live in the city of Manila. However, the signs are different from the north part of the city to the south part of the city. I must remember the right sign for “smart,” for example. It changes form place to place. Sometimes when teaching or preaching, I must sign 2 or 3 different signs with the same meaning so everyone can understand.

2. Sign slow. Sometimes we can sign so fast that even the deaf cannot understand us. I always sign slower than I can sign, so everyone can pick up the meaning. Some deaf, just learning signs, may have a hard time understanding any signs at all. Slow down.

I remember meeting a deaf boy at a department store one time. He asked if I knew his interpreter. I said, Yes, I know him. The boy started to sign so fast, it was hard to understand. He then slowed down and said, “He signs very fast. I cannot understand him, but he signs fast!” Slow down so all can understand. – More next time.
(If I can be of help, contact me by email in the header boxl.)

SWMI Africa Mission Team

SWMI with a team of 12 members went on a summer missions trip to Liberia and the Ivory Coast. In Liberia, the focus was on training people for deaf education, with a concentration on training them how to teach Sign Language to minimal language deaf in Liberia. Theology classes were held for several days with six deaf leaders. We visited the homes of deaf people in the villages. There were 60 salvation decisions, including several family members of Brother Andrew Kollie, our deaf leader. In the Ivory Coast, we had a five-day deaf camp, spoke in several churches, and saw more people trust Christ. We also had one deaf ministry training seminar. Our African brothers and sisters were greatly encouraged with our visit, preaching, teaching, and fellowship. Also, several missions team members made decisions for full-time missions in Africa and full-time service with the deaf. To God be the glory. – Plan a trip with us – David Bennett, SWMI Director  To contact David, click here.


Our SWM Team: Jim & Terry Bracelin, Bud & Jenna Ring (Canadian SWM), Tabitha Beam, Steven Burns (Intern) and I went to Elbethel Bible Camp in New Albany, Nova Scotia, on September 5-8 for the second annual “Deaf/Revival Signs.”

We had 17 deaf people and 45 hearing people from three churches. The camp was very beautiful place. Jim, Bud and I preached at the meetings.

Praise the Lord three deaf ladies got saved. One of them told us that she tried to study about the Gospel of Jesus Christ many times, but she still did not understand. Finally she understood about salvation as I preached the Gospel.

Jim told me about Philip and the eunuch man that did not understand, but Philip helped him to understand the Scriptures. Philip explained to him about Jesus. He finally understood and got saved. He went on his way rejoicing (Acts 8:26-39). I was as Philip as I helped the deaf lady understand. She was saved with a smile on her face and she went on her way rejoicing as the eunuch. PRAISE THE LORD!!! My heart was also very happy to see the deaf SAVED!

Deaf need spiritual help? Contact Allen by clicking here:

The Deaf Can Give to God

God is a giving God. God gave us His only begotten Son (John 3:16). God daily gives us His grace and mercy. God gives us salvation, life, and help in times of need. God gives us ministries to serve Him. God gives us much, but what do we give God? What can we give to God? We need to return His love and praise Him. We need to worship Him as the Almighty God. We need to serve Him with all our hearts. We need to give offerings to God. What is an offering? An offering means to show or give because you are thankful and appreciate what someone has done for you. Look at what God has given you. Now what have you given God? God will not force us to give, but we must freely give from our hearts. After we are saved, we should be grateful and present or give the Lord our lives for His service. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present (give) 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). How do we offer and present ourselves to God? We do with our words and work. We follow Him. We trust and obey Him. We stay faithful to Him no matter what happens. God loves you, but do you love Him? God wants you and your love more than anything else. We need to live for Him and love Him because He first loved us. As Deaf, we can give Him our hearts and He will use our hands. Give to God!

Make His Unknown Name Be Known

I have been writing about women in the Bible whose names are not known. Names seem to be important. Many people are now doing name traces of their family tree names. Notice that when someone is telling a story, we ask, “Who are you talking about? Do I know them?” “What is their name?” If I just gave a few names now, I’m sure you would know something of or about them. For example, Princess Di; Billy Graham; Lucille Ball; or Michael Jackson. You may know something about these people. What did you think of them as you read their names? You may have had positive or negative thoughts about them.

It is true that a name does and can make a difference. If you are at a restaurant and you say, “I know the manager,” you may be treated differently. You may be given the best seat in the house and a free appetizer: In the Bible, I was reading in Psalms 8:1: “Oh LORD, our LORD, how excellent is thy name in all the earth.” God’s name is awesome! Not just to me, but to the whole world. He truly does love all people. They should just listen to what He wants to tell them. Every day He shows His glory and majesty to all. The problem is that many are too busy with “self” and making a “name” for themselves, that they don’t see His glory.

This morning I did not see a beautiful sunrise, but a cloudy day. I looked up at the clouds and thought about Psalm 36:5: “They mercy O LORD, is in the heavens, and thy faithfulness reaches unto the clouds.” Psalm 97:2 says, “Clouds and darkness are round about him.” God is very near! His presence, His mercy, and His faithfulness are very near. Daily He is showing us His glory, but His name is even better than all the glory He shows us!

What are you doing with His name? Do you share His name with others? Or are you ashamed to mention His name? What about your name? Are people saying your name in a positive or negative way? Your name does make a difference. It goes with you wherever you go. If you have accepted Jesus’ name, then go and make a difference for Him to others. Make His unknown name be known!

Dried Up or Revived?

Every summer I plant a few flowers in front of our house. A couple flower pots sit at the bottom of the front steps and a couple hanging pots are on shepherd’s hooks. Throughout the years I have tried different flowers, and most have not survived the direct sunlight all day and my “non-green thumb.” My ability to kill just about any plant is the reason most of my flowers are silk! Even air ferns, which need no care and only need air to survive, have died in my house! But I still try with these four pots, and I have found one type of flower, Vinca, that survives. This summer, we traveled much in meetings, and every time we came back home, I was greeted by these flowers. Sometimes they were pretty and full. Evidently, the sun had not been too harsh on them, and it had rained while we were gone. However, there were other times we arrived home and their leaves were all dried up and most of the blooms were gone. I looked at my poor flowers and wondered if they could be revived (brought back to life). But after watering them well and sometimes adding a little fertilizer, they perked right up and showed again their natural beauty.

I sometimes feel my Christian life is similar to those flowers. There are times when I am taking in the water of the Word of God, feeding myself spiritually, enjoying fellowship with God, and serving others with enthusiasm. My Christian life is thriving. However, there are also times when constant activity (even doing good things) saps my strength, routine takes away my desire to serve, lack of time with the Lord causes spiritual weakness, doubt replaces faith, and there are more questions than answers. I then look at my life (as I looked at those withered flowers) and wonder if I can be revived. God’s answer is yes! He desires that intimate relationship with His children to be restored. He pulls us with His love and kindness (Hosea 11:4). He offers revival to those who are of a humble heart and spirit (Isaiah 57:15). He gives it to those who will turn back to Him and live in His presence (Hosea 14:2,7). Lord, revive us again.

The Deaf Hear

The Deaf Hear

During the days of Jesus many people were saved, healed, and changed. This truth is written in Matthew 11:3-5. John the Baptist was in prison awaiting execution for the cause of Christ. Knowing he would soon be beheaded, he sent two of his disciples to inquire of Jesus. In my opinion, he wanted to make sure losing his life was worth it. John’s question was, “Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another? Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and show John again those things which ye do hear and see: The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them.” What a wonderful outline of Jesus’ earthly ministry! Notice it says, “the deaf hear.” That shows me that there were many deaf people during Bible days, and many were touched by Jesus and were made to hear. I love it that the story of one deaf man meeting Jesus is recorded for us in the Bible.

One That Was Deaf

“And they bring unto him one that was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech; and they beseech him to put his hand upon him. And he took him aside from the multitude, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spit, and touched his tongue; And looking up to heaven, he sighed, and saith unto him, Ephphatha, that is, Be opened. And straightway his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain” (Mark 7:32-35). This is an interesting story. It shows the greatest need of deaf people, which is to meet Jesus. It also shows that people cared for the deaf man – “they bring unto him one that was deaf.” And best of all, it shows that Jesus loved the deaf man and took time to help him. The man was deaf but because of Jesus and those who cared, he was made to hear, and his life was forever changed.

One That Is Deaf

Here is the story of one who is deaf. Leyton Kam Green was born September 27, 2004. He was born deaf and legally blind (vision 20/400 which cannot be corrected). He had a heart defect, scoliosis, hernias, and other serious physical defects. When he was two months old, he had open-heart surgery. At five months, he had eleven different procedures, and a feeding tube was inserted which he kept until age 8. At 15 months, he received a Cochlear implant that never worked because he didn’t have the nerve in either ear. From all appearances, it seemed there was not much hope for Leyton to lead a productive life or to make a difference in another life.

They Made A Difference

His parents and family members work diligently to give him the care he needs. They along with many from their church family at Ebeneezer Baptist, attended sign language classes at Silent Word Ministries so that they could teach Leyton and he would have a community who could communicate with him. At age 5, Leyton enrolled in Harvest Christian Academy for the Deaf in Ringgold, GA. He loves it. The academy is about one hundred miles round-trip from his home. Volunteers help with the transportation, which is costly and time-consuming. The staff at the academy love him and are dedicated to his education, to developing his social skills and to giving him opportunity to serve others. Leyton is an usher at his church and occasionally performs special music. He plays baseball for the Miracle League in Chattanooga, TN, goes fishing with his grandpa, and watches his big brother play football. His favorite places to go are church, the hospital to visit people, and the funeral home. He loves to socialize and be around people. Wherever he goes, people love to be around him. When he grows up, he wants to work in a hospital and be a preacher.

Three Deaf preachers – Dr. Reggie Rempel, and Missionaries Ronnie Rice and Allen Snare – are great examples for Leyton to follow. Many, are making a difference in his life. Leyton has an exciting and productive life, and a bright future because the Lord and many are making a difference in his life. And Leyton is also making a difference in many lives. His former pastor and his wife and former interpreter and her husband are now missionaries for the Deaf in Africa.

Are You Making A Difference?

Jude 22 says, “And of some have compassion, making a difference.” All around us are needy people. Can anyone point to you and say, “They made a difference in my life.” This written because I care – Carlene

The Heart of Interpreting

Many FingerTips articles emphasize the methods and techniques needed for signing and interpreting well. Even though correctly forming signs, using non-manual markers (on face and body), and good grammar are important, never forget the heart of interpreting.

Often when speaking to Deaf groups, I ask the question, “Would you rather have 1) a highly skilled interpreter who does not care or does not invest time with Deaf people, or 2) a less skilled interpreter who loves Deaf people?” Most respond that they would rather have the interpreter who loves Deaf people. (Many say they want an interpreter with both skill and heart  🙂

Hearing signers, especially new signers or students, often say they “love” ASL. The need is to love Deaf people. The only way to learn Deaf culture and language well is to invest time with Deaf people, to observe and study their “ways,” to put aside your “hearing” ways, and to begin to do things “the Deaf way.” It may be impossible for hearing people to fully understand the “Deaf world.” The hearing may never have experienced a world without sound and easy communication. Leaving the “hearing world” means thinking visually, ignoring sound, not using English, and creating visual messages. When you love Deaf people, your heart will be touched and you will have compassion toward them. Your heart will affect your hands. You will get involved in the Deaf community. You will have Deaf friends and have time for them. They will begin to trust you. They will share more about their “world.”

Effective interpreting requires more than good sign language. Some signers may never become fully skilled in sign language, but we can all love Deaf people, respect their language and culture, and let PEOPLE be the focus of our ministries. People are the heart of interpreting!

Make the Unknown Christ Known

We all have the important ministry of reaching out to others. Have you ever felt that you or the job you do is not very important? Imagine being a shepherd in the days that Jesus was on the earth. All shepherds did all day and night was make sure that the sheep had grass to eat and were safe from enemies. But on one wonderful night, all that changed for a group of shepherds gathered together on a hillside in Bethlehem. Night had come, so they were taking turns guarding the sheep while the others rested. Can you imagine their amazement when the dark sky became as bright as day? They heard the voice of an angel telling them that Jesus had been born and was in a manger in Bethlehem. They were not very important to other people, but God made this special announcement to them! These men heard the special announcement and immediately went to see Jesus. They were the first people after Joseph and Mary to see God in a human body. All this is amazing, but it would not be such a great story without hearing what these unimportant and unnamed shepherds did right after they saw Jesus. The Bible tells us that “… when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child” (Luke 2:17).

So, the question for today is, how many people have you told about Jesus since you met Him as your Savior? Have you told anyone? They told everyone they could, from their own hometown to every place their feet touched! We don’t know the names of these simple shepherds, but we can learn a great lesson from them. Those of us who have met Jesus as our personal Savior need to go and tell everyone we meet about Him and what He has done in our lives. God chose to tell simple people this incredible message. He has given us the same message and the same responsibility.

Go and tell someone about Jesus Christ today!

The Blessing of Work

One night after church, we stopped at a gas station. A young couple had their truck hood open. I asked if they needed help. Then I remembered meeting the young man in another city. He said that they were okay, but they had just stopped to buy gas and to check their oil. He said that he had become youth leader in a nearby church and that he really needed a job to earn some money. I asked him what type of work he wanted to do, and he said, “Oh, anything!” That told me nothing, so I asked again, “What type of work are you good at? What type of work do you enjoy doing?” Again, he said, “I’m willing to do anything. I just need to earn money.” Dr. Bill Rice said, “There’s more to life than making a living.” The young man wanted me to help him find a job, but he gave me no idea where to start. I did not help. I could not help!

It is true that “In all labour there is profit,” but it is also true that God gives gifts and abilities that He expects you to use in work (Proverbs 14:23, Ephesians 4:8). You have abilities inside you that are perfect for a certain type of work. The world has taught, “You can do anything you want. If you can imagine it, you can do it!” (Anyone can become President: anyone can fly to Mars; anyone can run through a brick wall.) Many people are frustrated in life, because they have followed that philosophy. Bible truth states that God has made you and designed you for work that uses your God-given gifts and abilities (Romans 12:6-8). You CAN do all that God has CREATED you to do! The Apostle Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13). For Paul, that included “abounding” (having plenty) and being “abased” (suffering need). It did not include running through brick walls or doing everything that he could imagine. Work that uses abilities well leads to success in life, family and ministry. This is the Blessed Way!

God’s plan is best… He can lead you in work!

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