I Cannot Do That

Sometimes when teaching the deaf, the hearing workers meet me afterward. “Oh, that was so simple.” The deaf understood you.” Then I usually explain how to be simple and easy to understand. I often hear, “Oh, I cannot do that. People will laugh at me. People will think I am stupid.” Yes, maybe they will. It has happened so often to me, I do not pay attention to it anymore. I will do whatever I need to do (and is right to do) so Deaf people can understand.

1. Sometimes you can feel embarrassed by being simple. They want to appear educated and smart. However, it takes a smart person to be simple. (Being simple is hard work!) Think of the people you are trying to reach. Think of their needs. Be simple with no embarrassment so people can understand God’s Word.

2. You cannot be too simple. Simple is in the mind of each person. What is simple to you, may be very hard to understand for someone else. We must try to understand what THEY do or do not understand and attempt to teach them to understand. It is not what we know, but what they know. But we must start where they understand and improve on their understanding.

3. Childish and simple are NOT the same thing. Being simple does not mean you are treating people like children. I try very hard to be simple, but NOT childish. Keep away from childish or cute type pictures that are used for children. I always try to use photographs or seriously drawn pictures when possible. Teach subjects for teenagers and adults but teach them simply. We can teach the Bible to adults, but if they do not understand us, we help no one.

4. Take it step by step. I am always saying to workers, take baby steps when teaching. No one will understand everything at one time. You cannot teach Algebra to 1st graders. They must learn the simpler math first. Teach little by little and watch their understanding grow.

If they do not understand the way you teach, then teach the way they understand. – Unknown

Rare Rubies

Recently, I have had some ladies (of all ages – Hearing and Deaf) ask me some interesting questions. How did you raise your children? How can I live a godly life in the world today? How do I love my husband? These are only a few of the questions I have been asked. My desire for this year is to share truths with you from God’s Word and real stories to explain those truths. “Every word of God is pure” (Prov. 30:5). We can trust the Word of God to give us pure examples and answers to our questions. God has the answer for every situation we face. We need to slow down, be still, and seek His face when we read His Word, so that we can learn what He is telling us. In Prov. 31:10-31, we are given verses about what it means to be a virtuous woman. What does “virtuous” mean? It is being pure in behavior and thought. This is a high goal to aim for, but it will be worth it. Prov. 31:10 asks the question, “Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies.” Finding a woman who is pure in her behavior and thoughts is not easy. This verse says that her price is far above rubies, but I thought diamonds are a girl’s best friend! That’s what the world tells us. God’s Word says her price is above rubies. A ruby is more precious than a diamond. Rubies are very rare, and very valuable when found.

This is the example God used to describe finding a woman who desires to do what is right. A righteous woman is of great value to her husband and family! The way you act, what you say and your attitude are all very important. You are influencing and impacting others every day! I shared in an earlier article about the influence of a mother on her children and her importance to them. As we start this New Year, I am excited about showing you some lessons that God is teaching me. There is always room for improvement in our lives. Decide to spiritually grow and be transformed into a rare ruby – a stone of great worth and great price – Not only for the Lord but also for others!

All Your Heart

Imagine going on a special Valentine’s date with your husband, looking up into his eyes, and with a big smile saying, “I love you with all my… bowels!” What??? Bowels (intestines) are something we would rather not talk about. Why would you put love and bowels together? Often the Bible speaks of your bowels as the center of your tender emotions – compassion (I John 3:17), mercy and kindness (Colossians 3:12), longing (Philippians 1:8) and more.

Maybe for now we should just stick with love as being from the heart – a little prettier picture! There are many things people do from the heart. You may have heard someone say, “He puts his whole heart into it.” Perhaps he was talking about sports, music, drama, education, crafts, teaching, painting, working, dieting, or even soul winning. When someone does something with his whole heart, he does it completely, with determination, enthusiasm, commitment, and devotion. This is not being ho-hum, or maybe today but not tomorrow. It is not holding back, or pretending. In the Bible, there are several things God tells you to do with all your heart. You are to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength (Mark 12:30). Also, you are to serve Him (I Sam. 12:24), trust Him (Prov. 3:5), obey Him (Deut.30:2), turn to Him (Joel 2:12), believe in Him, (Acts 8:37), and seek Him (Jeremiah 29:13). What a challenge this should be for the new year!

As one song says,“With my whole heart I will praise God,I will sing of His goodness and grace;With my whole heart I will love God,I will serve Him through all of my days.”(Frank Garlock, Musical Ministries, copyright 1977)

The Lord does not want love or service from just half of your heart, or ¾ of your heart, or even 99.99% of your heart. Half-hearted love will not please Him. Decide today to sing truthfully, “I surrender all,” rather than “I surrender half,” or “I surrender most.” So what does the Lord command His children? It is basically summarized in Joshua 22:5, “But take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law,… to love the LORD your God, and to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and to cleave unto him, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.”

God Is Good To Me – Praise The Lord

I thank God that He is good to me. He blessed me in 2018 in my meetings, my family and my health. Praise the Lord for my 2018 report of my preaching in meetings, deaf camps, and Peru. They were very good meetings. Praise the Lord that 23 deaf got saved and some of them came to change their lives. I went to Peru last January and preached to the deaf people. Praise the Lord that two deaf got saved. I joined SWM group for the Fantastic Saturdays and Deaf-Days with Jon Barr and Jim Bracelin. Praise the Lord that we won 10 deaf to Christ. We went to Canada Deaf Camp last September. Praise the Lord that we won 3 deaf to Christ. God blessed our ministry.

This January I am thinking much about my wife, Debbie, as she passed away on January 8, 2006, thirteen years ago. Thursday, January 8, I went to visit her and I placed a rose on her grave. I miss her and still love her so much.

Praise the Lord. My children’s families (Joy, Justin, and John), are all doing fine. I still keep in contact with them. In August I will be the grandfather of a fifth grandchild. I am the father of two deaf sons and one hearing daughter. I am grandfather of five grandchildren, two are deaf. My family is good to me. God bless them.

I praise the Lord. My health is great. I pray to God that He would let me to go my preaching and encourage the deaf. Praise the Lord, He has been good to me!

Contact: Snare@SilentWord.org

Deaf Can Be Great Christians

I love to read Hebrews chapter eleven. I love to read about the Bible heroes in the Hall of Faith. There was Noah, Enoch, Abraham, Jacob, Daniel, Abel, Joseph, and many other faithful Christians.

There is also a Hall of Fame for football, baseball, and basketball players. Famous sports stars are in special Halls of Fame. Babe Ruth is in the Hall of Fame but, now his records have been broken. God’s Hall of Fame is the best. I want to be in God’s Hall of Fame. I want to break some records as a Deaf man and be in God’s Hall of Fame. I want God to use me! Deaf people can become great Christians who become great preachers, teachers, missionaries and leaders for God. You can become a Christian family leading other families to serve God. Deaf people can be used of God. Deaf people are not handicapped with God. Deaf people have become leaders in many different fields, both professionally and spiritually. Deaf can do it! Who can best reach the Deaf? Other people who are deaf, because we better understand the language and culture of our deaf world. Deaf people can be great for God! Be faithful like Paul. Many deaf people are good and faithful Christians and one day will hear, “Well done my good and faithful servant.”

Broken Pieces

From a dear friend, Kim Rempel, I received an unusual gift. It was a special cup and saucer. Inside the cup was a delicate mesh bag filled with beautiful pieces of broken shells. Along with it was the following article which she wrote. She is a very gifted and creative writer. (Each year she writes and directs the Christmas drama, which Harvest Deaf Ministries performs for the public. They are amazing.) This is a timely article as we begin 2019. It was a blessing and encouragement to me, and I hope it will be the same for you. – CC

Broken Shells
By Kim Rempel

The first time my husband and I visited our time-share located in the northern tip of North Carolina’s Outer Banks, I found an island that we could adventure. After taking a boat to the island, I was amazed at the beauty of the ocean, the sand dunes, the wild ponies, and even the shells that came to shore.

Biggest and Best

“As we walked the shore, I, like everyone, looked for the biggest and best shells. The biggest and best shells are easy to see because they are the biggest… and the best. But while walking through the shallow water that once in a while produced a strong enough wave to push me a little in shore, I noticed something. I saw these smooth pieces of shell that almost looked like a beautiful polished stone. They were actually parts of those shells that we consider the biggest and best. But, at some point the shell broke as a result of the strong waves. I am sure that when it first broke, its pieces were sharp and rough. However, as time passed and the strong waves brought those pieces back and forth from ocean to shore so many times, the salt water and sand had a polishing effect that actually left them in a beautiful changed state.

Broken Pieces

“As I walked, I was drawn to those beautiful, smooth, and often times colorful pieces that lay all up and down the shore. They reminded me of life. We all go through things; things that break us at times and leave us in rough, sad situations. Praise God that He loves ‘broken pieces!’ He uses the rough things in life to help polish us into trophies of grace. Just like these pieces of shell, we can become beautiful if we yield to Him and let Him work us through what life has to bring. ‘I have seen the travail (suffering), which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it. He hath made everything beautiful in his time…’(Ecclesiastes 3:10,11).

Useful Broken Pieces

“I heard once that in Bible times, pottery was a very important household item. Even when broken, the pieces were gathered and used. One of the ways these pieces were used was to help others. Each morning, as a woman began her busy day, she would look out the window of her home to see if the fire had been started in the home of her neighbor. If it had not, she would use a piece of the broken pottery to take a live coal from her fire to her neighbor’s, making it easier for her to start her fire. The broken piece became useful.

For God’s Glory

“God loves and uses broken pieces. We all will go through things, but let’s allow Him to make us a thing of beauty by allowing the hard sands of time to polish us for His Glory. ‘But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold’– Job 23:10.”

Looking back on 2018, we all had times of brokenness. For some, they were of a deep grievous nature. Some were caused by willful rebellion, or injury others may have inflicted on us. Maybe thoughts of quitting or feelings of unworthiness came to mind. Perhaps questions came whether or not God would continue to use us. But just like the broken pieces of shells, the rough times can form us into something beautiful to be used of God. God is a God of new beginnings. As we yield, He will wield (make us useful). He will not throw us away. I heard this song years ago, and the lyrics are a reminder that He uses broken pieces.

I’m Glad He Didn’t Throw the Clay Away”

“Empty and broken, I came back to Him A vessel unworthy, so scarred from sin. But He did not despair… He started over again and I bless the day, He didn’t throw the clay away.“He is the Potter… I am the clay And molded in His image, He wants me to stay. Oh, but when I stumble… When I fall…When my vessel breaks, He just picks up those pieces, He does not throw the clay away…

“Over and over, He molds me and makes me, Into His likeness, He fashions the clay. A vessel of honor, I am today, All because Jesus didn’t throw the clay away.”

This is written because I care… Carlene

More Than Signs

Improve your sign language skills by considering the people who use sign language. Someone said, “It’s not what you know, but who you know.” Knowing how to DO sign language is important. But loving Deaf people is much more important.

Some people learn sign language for selfish reasons – because it is a beautiful language, they like the attention they receive when they sign, or they want to be needed. Signs are beautiful, but sign language allows people to communicate ideas, feelings, goals, purpose, and more. Sign language connects people.

People are more important than the language they use. Some hearing people cannot communicate well because of physical limitations or intellectual disabilities. However, Deaf people tend to be isolated from the “hearing world” because of language. Deafness is not a physical handicap. Some hearing people say, “I feel handicapped because I do not know sign language.” Deaf people can be isolated in church when others do not communicate with them nor even try to learn a few signs.

Never forget that Deaf people are not just signers. They are real people with real lives, needs, desires, and goals. One of the best ways to learn sign language is to become a friend to a Deaf person. As you enjoy time together, you will learn their language. (Interpreter Training Programs require students to be around Deaf people.) Church interpreters should not just interpret and leave. Invest time with Deaf people before and after church. Attending Deaf social events will help you learn their language and learn to love Deaf people for who they are. Not everyone can nor should become an interpreter, but all can value relationships with Deaf people. Try it! You will become a better signer and a better friend!

Outside The Box?

There is a danger facing us in Deaf ministry as well as in our local churches. The danger is that we continue to repeat the same things over and over, without any results. When we become content with repeating things over and over just because we have always done things that way, we will eventually have a ministry that is dead, or dying. I want to encourage you to think about a new phrase that touched my heart in our own ministry. A few years ago, Dr. Ted Camp challenged me with these verses. “Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes; For thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left; and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles, and make the desolate cities to be inhabited” (Isaiah 54:2-3). What do these verses mean today? It is not talking about us setting up a tent in our backyard. It is talking about us growing our ministry in God’s work. The phrase that God has touched my heart with comes from my desire to do more to be more effective in the days ahead. I want to think outside the box (the normal way of doing things), while staying right in the middle of the will of God. “You can get out of the box, but don’t get out of the book” – Dr. David Synder, BIMI. There is a balance that is needed. I want to do things differently, but I don’t want to get out of God’s will for me. I want to be willing to try new things, and new ways, but I do not want to get away from the foundational truths of the Word of God, or the Great Commission. I noticed that Saul and Barnabas changed the “normal” ministry of the church when they left the church in Antioch to begin the first missionary trip. Peter left the Jews to go to the home of Cornelius, the Gentile. Ruth left Moab behind to find the man God wanted her to marry in Bethlehem. God has blessed men and women of the past, and He will bless us if we stay within His will!

Don’t Follow Bad Advice

God wants you to be blessed. Does He tell how to be blessed? Yes! Psalm One tells how you can be blessed (happy) in life and home. This psalm could be called “The Blessed Psalm.”

Psalm One starts with three negative things — three things that you should not do. Avoid these three things if you want to be blessed. Verse one says, “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.” So, you should not walk in the influence of ungodly people. You should not stand in the influence of sinners. You should not sit in the influence of scornful people.

Ungodly means “not like God.” Sinner means “one who breaks God’s law.” Scorner means “one who says NO to God and His advice.”

If you start by walking in the advice of ungodly people, you will find it easy to stand around more and more with those people. Then it will become easy to sit down with them to scorn God and His Word. You become like they are.
The rest of Psalm One gives positive things that you should follow so you can be blessed. But, in the beginning, be sure that you avoid those people and things that tempt you to do wrong.

You Do Not Have To Be Ungodly, Sinful or Scornful. You Can Be Blessed. Avoid Sin & Follow God

What’s Up?

What’s Up? Sympathies to SWM’s Home Office Missionary, Tabitha Beam, whose grandmother, Grace Campbell, age 89, Sarasota, Florida, passed away on December 28, 2018. “Gram,” as Tabitha called her was a faithful Christian and supporter of Tabitha’s ministry. She was the last of her grandparents. The family is sad because of earth’s loss but joyful because of Heaven’s gain and the prospect of seeing her again.

What’s Up? SWM’s David & Vicki Bennett are excited about the birth of their 6th grandchild. Ryleigh Grace was born to Afredo & Susanna (Bennett) Exposito on December 29. Ryleigh pictured with proud grandma, Vicki. Congratulations to all!

What’s Up? Congratulations to SWM’s Bruce & Amanda Stuart on the early birth of Belle Rosemary! She was born on January 2, 2019, weighing 5 lbs 15 oz. Since the baby made her appearance a bit earlier than expected, she has been in the nenonatal ICU and is improving daily.

What’s Up? (From Filipino friends of the Bracelins). Sent by Missionary Eden Layda: “This past December 13 sign language students received certificates for a 6-month Basic Sign class. Our daughter, Gaye, topped the class. She has a burden to help deserving deaf Filipinos gain employment at her bank. I am 74 and I thank God for extending my horizons. ‘It is always too soon to quit.’”

What’s Up? Missionaries to the Deaf, Bob & Brenda Himes, Philippines, Bill Rice Ranch Missions, will be coming to the states on February 12, 2019, returning to the Philippines on March 19. This short five-week stay is because of requirements for their visas which enable them to continue their ministry in that country. Preparations are already underway for their deaf camp, May 6 – 10, in N. Luzon, Philippines. Please pray for the preparations and the needed funds for the camp. (See article page 8).

What’s Up? Congratulations to deaf Missionary Maria Podbereski! She is celebrating her 33rd year in mission work which has taken her all over the USA. She is a faithful and brave servant as she has traveled alone these many years and met with many challenges. She has taught sign language in many churches and shared the Gospel with hundreds of deaf people. She is also gifted in ASL music. She is pictured with her pastor, Marvin E Curtis Jr, and her faithful support dog, AJ. Thank you Maria for your heart for God and service to others.

What’s Up? The 18th annual Deaf Christian Senior Fellowship will be April 7 – 11, 2019, in Columbus, Ohio, at the Sheraton Suites Hotel. The theme, “Faith Works.” For more information see Ad page 4.

What’s Up? For the first time an SWM Fantastic Saturday will be at Harvest Baptist Church of the Deaf, Ringgold, Georgia, Pastor Reggie Rempel, on March 2. A great day of fun, food, fellowship, and facts to follow led by Jon Barr and SWM team. A special invitation is extended to those in the tri-state area, Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee. It is worth the drive. Contact: office@silentword.org.

What’s Up? Happy 80th birthday, January 4, to Barbara Sharpton. She and her husband, Jimmy, are long-time friends of SWM and are helpful volunteers. Jimmy helps print and Barbara helps bind the books. Both are deaf.

What’s Up? Host Denise Wyble announces the 2019 Living Word Deaf Ladies Retreat, October 10 – 13, in the Outer Banks, North Carolina. Theme: “Merry Hearts” Space is limited, so check it out soon. Website: lwbc.net

What’s Up? The 25th (1994-2019) anniversary celebration and graduation of Harvest Deaf Bible College, Dr. Reggie Rempel, will be May 3 – 5, 2019. This is a great time for alumni to visit and enjoy the fellowship with former teachers and students. Special guest speakers include Dr. Don Sisk, Pastor Mike Frazier, and Missionary Robert Gunter. For more information, see: www.harvestdeaf.org or email: contact@harvestdeaf.org.

What’s Up? Deaf Evangelist/Missionary Ronnie Rice continues to have serious health issues. The doctors have ordered him to stay at home until he greatly improves. Naturally, he is disappointed because he is not able at this time to travel and preach, which is his passion. Encourage Ronnie by sending him a card. Missionary Ronnie Rice PO Box 23 – Onancock, Virginia 23417

What’s Up? Missionaries to the Deaf, Jim & Terry Bracelin celebrate their 20th year with Silent Word Ministries. They are a vital part of everything SWM. One notable work they have done is opening the door to the Northeast for SWM, making known to churches the need of deaf ministries, resulting in many new opportunities for deaf people to worship and hear the Gospel. Jim is Vice President of SWM and director of SWM Outreach Ministries. They both serve on the Executive Operating Board. It was a grand day when the Lord led them to be a part of this unique ministry. Thank you Bracelins, for your dedication, loyalty, heart for God, and love for people everywhere.

What’s Up? Jerry & Louise Pike and family, missionaries to Sioux Native Americans in South Dakota, and long-time friends of Jon & Diane Barr, recently visited SWM. They enjoyed seeing the ministry and learning more about the unique ministry to the Deaf world.

What’s Up? Sympathies to the family of Vivian Rose Kirlin, age 89, Quincy, Illinois, who went home to Heaven on December 5, 2018. She is survived by two daughters, Dorita Kirlin, Quincy, and Anita (Jeff) Leroux, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Anita & Jeff are long-time friends of Silent Word Ministries and serve in a deaf church in the Milwaukee area. The family is comforted knowing they will meet again.

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