What’s Up?

What’s Up? A long-time deaf friend of SWM, James Cunningham (69), of Trenton, Georgia, passed away on Wednesday, April 24, 2019, from complications of diabetes, pneumonia, and heart surgery. He often volunteered at SWM and was a ready and willing worker. Over the years he attended West Virginia School for the Deaf and Tennessee Temple Schools. He served the Lord as a layman in several local churches, worked in the bus ministry, sang in the Heart & Hands Deaf Choir, and much more. He loved fellowship and was involved in church activities, SWM events, community events, and wherever something exciting was happening. He was preceded in death by his wife, Danna, and is survived by his son, Matthew, daughter, Amy, and two grandchildren. He is greatly missed by many.

What’s Up? Sympathies to the family of deaf friend, Bramwell Lee Hightman (75) of Bethesda, Maryland, who passed away on April 15, 2019, from diabetes complications. He graduated from the Maryland School for the Deaf in 1962 and from Tennessee Temple University with a Bible degree in 1984. He served as associate pastor for the deaf at Wheaton Baptist Church, teaching Sunday School, sharing the Good News of the Gospel, and serving wherever he could. He worked for NIST as a custodian for 10 years, retiring in 2007. He was a friend of Silent Word Ministries and enjoyed The Silent Word Newspaper for the Deaf. He is survived by his wife, Stephanie A Hightman, who is also a friend of SWM. He will be missed.

What’s Up? The Harper Family, Buster, Carol, Kacie, & Kamie, from Florida, recently stopped by to visit Silent Word Ministries. Kacie is planning to attend Harvest Deaf Bible College in the fall.

What’s Up? Congratulations to Matt & Colleen Dundon, Hampshire View Baptist Deaf Church, Silver Spring, Maryland, on the birth of their son, Aiden Jude, on April 2, 2019, weighing 6lb, 12oz.

What’s Up? Congratulations to James & Thelma Scott, Cleveland, Tennessee. They recently celebrated their 50th (April 18, 1969) wedding anniversary with a renewal of vows. They have a heart for reaching deaf people for Christ. They have been involved in ministry for many years.

What’s Up? PA summer camp for the Deaf will be held at Camp Tohiglo, Mercersburg, PA , August 10 – 15, 2019. SWM’s Allen Snare will be the featured deaf preacher. For information contact the camp director, Pastor David Foote, www.camptohiglo.org.

What’s Up? Missionary/Pastor Bruce Kelly, Deaf Baptist Church, Smyrna, GA, reports a wonderful mission trip to Brazil and Peru. He preached at a deaf camp in Brazil. During camp, bad storms hit and a tree fell on the chapel. But, still three deaf accepted Christ as Savior. Afterward, he flew to Peru and had the opportunity to preach three times.

What’s Up? Deaf pastor, Otto Albrect, Master’s Hands Deaf Church in Denver, Colorado, has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. He is stepping down as pastor. Pray for him, his family and the church. The church needs a new pastor.

What’s Up? “It’s a girl!” Tyler & Rebekah Thornton and brother, Korad, Bill Rice Ranch, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, welcome Mariella Joy, a beautiful baby girl. She was born April 21, weighing 8lb, 7oz. Congrats!

What’s Up? Missionary to the Deaf, Keith Ford, BIMI, is experiencing many serious health issues at this time. He requests your prayers. He continues to preach at a Rescue Mission and teach. With help from a friend, he keeps the Print Shop going, getting the Gospel out by the printed page. He would appreciate cards of encouragement. PO Box 5532, Ft Oglethorpe, GA 30742.

What’s Up? Deaf Evangelist/Missionary Ronnie Rice is slowly showing signs of improvement in his health. His hope is to soon return to traveling and preaching. Continued prayers are needed.

What’s Up? Ursala Rasmussen (SWM Board) her brother, Gene Grapa, and a doctor, Ezana Azene, traveled to Belize for mission trip earlier this year. Gene taught soul winning, Dr. Azene taught CPR and Bible, and Ursala taught sign language. They visited many churches and schools. Ursala used SWM’s ASL Video Vocabulary Handbook to teach. She also gave a DVD, “Good News for Deaf People,” to each deaf family and school they visited. Ten people accepted Christ and lives were changed. (Jon & Diane Barr will also serve in Belize in late May).

What’s Up? On June 9, 2019, Pastor Stanislav and his wife, Tanya, and the Lighthouse Deaf Baptist Church, Sevastopol, Ukraine, will celebrate their 20th anniversary. Missionary to the Deaf Bob Van Sant, went with Pastor Stanislav to establish this ministry to the deaf. The church continues to grow, and they give God the glory. The Simferopol Deaf Baptist Church, Ukraine, which was also established under the leadership of Missionary Van Sant, continues to grow and meet for services. It is amazing that deaf people world-wide are hearing the Gospel of Christ!

What’s Up? Anna Brooks, a senior at Pensacola Christian College, Florida, is serving a one-month internship program at SWM. She has a passion for sharing the Gospel with her gift for art work. Her help is greatly appreciated!

What’s Up? Lydia Holmquist (Harvest Deaf Bible College) received the annual 2019 SWM Character and Leadership award (and gift). This was the 20th year to give this special award.

Tired IN the Work or Tired OF the Work

Serving others can be hard. You have many responsibilities. Then someone asks, “Are you busy?” Yes, you are busy. There are emails to write, articles to read, people to see, bills to pay, receipts to file, electronics to update, broken things to fix, places to clean, and much more. These days everyone seems to be busy and pulled in many directions.

In the Bible, the word ministry has the idea of serving. Ministry is called work (Eph. 4:12). The work (ministry) of serving others can lead to burnout – emotional, physical, social, and spiritual exhaustion. Be careful and protect yourself from burnout. You can become tired IN the ministry, but you should not become tired OF the ministry. What causes burnout?

Stress of Life – Life is hard. People, poverty, pressures, and even persecution, can test or strengthen your faith in God, (1 Peter 1:6).

Relationships – Someone said, “The ministry would be easy if there were no people.” There are times you face criticism, as Nehemiah (Neh 4:1-3); rejection, as Jeremiah (Jer. 20:14); and bitterness as Naomi (Ruth 1:20).

Physical or Health Problems – We all face problems with our bodies. Accept that your body has limits. Do not let your body control your God-given goals. Job had boils all over his body, and even Paul had a continuing “thorn.”

Sins of Others – People can be cruel. Just as you have sins and shortcomings, realize that other people are not perfect. They will hurt you when they sin (example: Gal. 5:19-21). Instead of becoming bitter, Moses begged God for mercy for other people (Ex. 32:32).

Little Spiritual Growth
– Those who love to grow in Christ cannot understand why others refuse to grow. Paul called the Corinthian Christians “babes” or immature Christians. He could not teach them more (1 Corinthians 3).

Situations – Your car is wrecked, your child runs away, you lose your job, or your house burns down. Situations can greatly affect your life. (Ex: David’s son died – 2 Sam 12:15-23).
Pride – This may be the number one sin of our day. Even in Paul’s day, people divided because of pride (1 Cor. 1:12-13).

Disinterested People – You work, teach, help, and give of yourself, yet some people do not want your help. They seem to prefer the easy way rather than listening to truth (2 Tim. 4:10).

How to be Refreshed

Run to the Word of God – Man’s words can only give you temporary help. As you read and obey God’s Word, you find right motivation, helpful correction, and permanent direction in life (2 Timothy 3:16).

Right Priorities – You can choose what is good and miss what is best. Set right priorities and do the things that God desires for your life. Seek first the kingdom of God and other things will flow better (Matt 6:33).

Rest in God – Realize that you cannot control situations or others around you, but you can decide what you will do. Accept the fact that God will have His way (Philippians 2:12-13) and His way is always best (Rom. 8:28).

Renew Your Mind – Everyone needs times of refreshing physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. As Jesus developed in these ways, you must continually develop throughout your life. Renew your mind (Romans 12:2), discipline your body (1 Cor. 9:27), be humble to spread the Gospel (1 Cor. 9:19), and be a good example to others (1 Tim. 4:12).

Realize God’s Work – You are part of God’s work. Christians should do good works (Eph 2:10), but it is the Lord that works through us. “Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it” (Ps.127:1-2).

Rely on God’s strength – God delights in being strong through your weakness. “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in (your) weakness (2 Cor. 12:9).

Receive Rewards – Decide to continue and not quit. Jeremiah could not sit still, but knew he must continue (Jer 20:9). “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast (strong), unmoveable (stable), always abounding (fruitful) in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 5:58). There is a reward!

It is okay to be tired IN God’s work, but never become tired OF God’s work. It is a great honor to serve the Most High God!

Let the Redeemed Say So: “I grew up in a Christian home, going to church every week. At age ten, I went to the front of the church to receive Christ. I thought my decision saved me. Our family moved to Florida, where we got involved in a good church. I learned to lead other people to Christ and actively told others about Him. I began to realize that my heart was still unsettled about my salvation, but I was afraid of what other people would say if I got saved “again.” Finally, one Sunday morning I decided to make sure of my salvation. Again I went to the front of the church. This time I trusted Christ to save me – and He did! Praise God. Now I can confidently share Christ with others.” – Jon Barr

Lessons From a Tombstone

Lessons to Learn and Teach #3

Let’s learn a lesson from a tombstone. Notice most tombstones give dates of birth and dates of death. But look between the dates of birth and death and notice a small hyphen. That small – hyphen represents the number of days lived. How many days have you lived?

“So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” – Psalm 90:12 “The days of our years are threescore and ten (70); and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years (80)…it is soon cut off, and we fly away.”- Psalm 90:10

So use wisdom and number your days. So enter your age number now into a calculator. Multiply by 365 = days lived. Now add the number of days since your last birthday. The total is the number of days lived. Surprised? Now subtract the number of days you have lived from 25,550 days (70 X 365) = number of days you may have left. Surprised? Look at both numbers and think. Think! Wisdom is learning the importance of each day. An average life span is 70 years, 25,550 days, 613,200 hours, 36,792,000 minutes, or 2,207,520,000 seconds. Quickly seconds become minutes, minutes become hours, hours become days, days become weeks, weeks become months, and months become years. Number your days!

Don’t just count the days, but make the days count. When you pass on, what will you pass on? Don’t worry about tomorrow because God is already there. Value what you have while you have it. Live each day so that you will not be ashamed of yesterday or afraid of tomorrow. One day you will take that last breath – then death! It is a fact! Everyone who has ever lived will exist forever. There was a time you were not, but there will not be a time you will not be. You are not a body with a soul, but a soul with a body. The body dies, but you still live. After death you still exist! If you died today would you be in H_______? If you die without Christ, it would have been better if you had never been born (Mark 14:21). You may die unsaved, but you will not die unloved (John 3:16). Only those in Christ can say, “Absent from the body is to be present with the Lord” (2 Cor. 5:8). Be saved today. Tomorrow may be too late! Receive and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ (John 1:12).

Realize that “Loving moments make Lasting memories.” One lady said, “Today is the best day of my life.” Her son said, “What about the time you were married?” She said, “That was my best day then, and every day I live is now the best day of my life.” Learn the best things in life are not things. Don’t love things – love people. You cannot change the past, but you can change the future. Make the days ahead the best you have ever known. Each morning say, “Today is the best day of my life.”

Learn a Lesson From a Tombstone!

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