What’s Up?

What’s Up? Three beautiful and godly deaf ladies who are also pastors’ wives – Amy Remington, Phoenix, Arizona, Sherrie Adams, Clinton, Tennessee, and Carol King, Tucson, Arizona. They are close friends and enjoyed time together at the recent Deaf Baptist Fellowship of America in Hammond, Indiana.

What’s Up? Congratulations to Ben & Marie Condra on the birth of their second daughter. Moriah Charis was born June 29 weighing 9lb 1oz. Grandparents, SWM’s Reed & Donna Condra and sister, Hosanna Grace, welcome this newest addition to the Condra Clan.

What’s Up? Congratulations to SWM’s David & Vicki Bennett on the birth of their 7th grandchild. Emilia Dawn was born in India, July 15, weighing 6lb 8oz. Her parents, Eric & Rebekah (Bennett) Elrod serve as missionaries in India. As you can see, sister, Olivia, is excited to welcome Emilia.

What’s Up? Congratulations to Tim and Elizabeth Kelly on their marriage on June 1, 2019. Tim is the son of deaf pastor/missionary, Bruce & Vicki Kelly, Deaf Baptist Church, Smyrna, Georgia.

What’s Up? Pennsylvania 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.

What’s Up? Pray for a speedy recovery from double-knee replacement on July 24, for SWM’s Jim Bracelin.

What’s Up? Deaf pastor, Otto Albrect, Master’s Hands Deaf Church in Denver, Colorado, has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and is stepping down as pastor. The church is in need of a new pastor. . Please be in prayer for Pastor Albrect and his wife, Lori.

What’s Up? Deaf pastor/missionary Mike Remington, Phoenix, Arizona, recently preached for a deaf camp in Togo, West Africa. This is one of the groups that attended. Attendance: 108 with 30 accepting Christ. To God be the glory!

What’s Up? Missionary to the Deaf, Keith Ford, BIMI, continues to experience many serious health problems at this time. He requests your prayers. He continues to preach at a Rescue Mission and to teach. With help from a friend, he keeps the Print Shop going, getting the Gospel out by the printed page. He has a heart for the Deaf world. Cards of encouragement would be a blessing to him. P O Box 5532, Ft Oglethorpe, GA 30742.

What’s Up? Congrats to the 2019 graduates of the Kingston & Knockpatrick campuses of the Caribbean Christian Centre for the Deaf in Jamaica.

What’s Up?
Patrick Rogers, Southwest Baptist Church, Oklahoma City, OK, recently visited SWM to learn more about deaf ministry. He also visited Harvest Deaf Ministries, Ringgold, GA, and attended the ASL Institute.

What’s Up? Long-time deaf friends, Roger & Brenda Bourne, Stuarts Draft, Virginia, recently visited SWM. It was a nice surprise and good fellowship was shared. We invite others to stop by and visit us. Y’all Come!

What’s Up? Lee & Eva Johnson, missionaries to the Deaf in Chiclayo, Peru (BIMI) report the opening of their Bible Institute on April 23 with five students. They are rejoicing that their daughter, Melanie, graduated from Pensacola Christian College on May 10.

What’s Up? Missionaries to the Deaf of South Africa, Chris & Lucinda Radebaugh, Signs of Life Missions (BIO), have an ongoing ministry in Cape Town, Kimberley, Pretoria, Johannesburg, and Bulawayo (Zimbabwe). They are praising the Lord that a much-needed counseling center is being built. Lucinda gives of her time to counsel women who have dire needs. This facility will help much in this ministry.  The need is great in South Africa and the need for more laborers is great.

What’s Up? A special deaf family in Columbus, Ohio, Jeff & Lisa Frink, parents of 11 deaf children. That’s right! 11 deaf children. WOW! They are a faithful family who are servants of the Lord these many years. They are wonderful examples to the deaf world and friends of SWM.

What’s Up? Don’t forget DBLR! Ladies plan to attend and bring others with you.

Are You A Barbarian?

“Therefore if I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be unto him that speaketh a barbarian, and he that speaketh shall be a barbarian unto me.” – 1 Corinthians 14:11

Where did the word Barbarian come from? The Ancient Greek name βάρβαρος (barbaros), “barbarian”, was used by the Greeks for all non-Greek-speaking people groups to emphasize their “otherness.” The other’s language sounded to the Greeks like gibberish, as “bar..bar…” (Wikipedia).

Gibberish – This summer’s ASL Institutes include a workshop about interpreting difficult Bible words into American Sign Language (ASL). We discuss the problem of interpreting words without signing concepts. Signing words can make the meaning unclear. From the Deaf person’s view, the signer may be signing gibberish (unknown words, as a barbarian), which emphasizes a Deaf person’s “otherness” from the signer. This says “I am better than you.” But, it is better to speak or sign five words with understanding, than to use thousands of fancy words or signs with no-one understanding you (1 Cor. 14:19).

US or THEM – In sports and games, teams and individuals compete to be the best. “Who will win, US or THEM? We want to win! We will beat them. We will show that we are the best!” But in church, communication is not a competition. It really doesn’t matter who signs the best or who is a better preacher or teacher. The goal is communication. It is a great joy when Deaf and hearing people understand the great Bible truths that are shared.

Know “THEM” – One key to communicating clearly is to know your audience. When the audience is ALL professionals (doctors, lawyers, corporate executives, etc.), using large words, fancy outlines, and challenging illustrations may be all right. But when the audience includes people with more limited education or language, it is best to use simple words, clear reasoning, and easy-to-understand illustrations. Balance the message for a mixed audience. One time I asked a group of church interpreters, “Do you understand your pastor?” I was shocked that every person shook their head “no.” That challenged me to consider how I preach and teach. Speakers are responsible to make their message clear to everyone. The best speakers can present deep ideas so everyone can benefit.

Word Choice – The choice of words or signs should match the needs of the audience. A Deaf person should not leave with the thought, “The interpreter is very smart. He can sign all of the big words.” The message is more important than the signs or words. Speakers use words so the “hearing” audience (including the interpreter) will understand the message. Interpreters use ASL to restructure the message for Deaf people. They must sign for understanding. When done well, the interpreted message will match the speaker’s original message.

Lead THEM – A person in leadership should not think or speak of US (the leadership team) and THEM (the followers). Leaders have a special responsibility and great influence. But leaders are not better than and should not be separate from the people we serve. The “US vs. THEMattitude separates people. How “can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3). The New Testament word for fellowship means to be very close and share the same goals (Philippians 1:5).

Just for Fun – In 1976, my friend, Kathy, and I began learning sign language. Kathy quickly became a fast signer and could sign every word of barbershop quartet music. Deaf people were amazed as they watched her sign. They said, “We do not understand, but she signs beautifully.” That kind of music is really just for fun and not for understanding. Some Deaf people also enjoy playing with their signed language and creating funny signs.

Viewpoint – The word barbarian also means “a member of a group of people from a very different country or culture that is considered to be less socially advanced... than your own” (Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary). Many hearing people view Deaf people as less advanced. Did you know that Deaf people can also view hearing people as less advanced because they do not know sign language? Hearing people may be less socially advanced, especially when they treat “others” with disrespect or ignore Deaf people.

Togetherness Not Otherness – Especially in ministry, we must be careful to not put down or reject others. If we talk, sign, or behave in a way they do not understand, we create distance between us and them. God loves all people and so should we.

WE without US is THEM.
WE without THEM is US.
WE is THEM with US.
WE is better than US vs THEM.

“Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others” (Philippians 2:4). Simply said, pay attention to the needs of others more than the needs of yourself. This one principle could help stop the barbarian way of thinking.

Note: Yes, I used too many “big” words in this article! Laugh with me, not at me  😀

The Fable of a Frog

When I was a young boy, I remember times I would churn milk to make buttermilk and butter. As the milk was churned (up & down) it produced buttermilk. The butter would then be separated from the milk. We would have both butter for our biscuits, and milk for our cornbread. Sometimes when the cow ate some wild onions it made the milk and butter taste like onions. My smart mom told us to eat some wild onions and we would not taste the onions in the milk and butter. It worked!

Well, there is a fable of a milk churn and two hopping frogs. The frogs left the pond and kepthopping, hopping, and hopping until they hopped onto the porch. They both made a big hop and hopped onto the lid of a churn of milk. Then they fell into it. They swam and swam for hours, but could not get out of the churn. Finally, one frog said, “I give up. I cannot kick anymore. I give up.” He slowly went to the bottom and died. Well, the other frog would not give up. He just kept kicking, kicking, and kicking. He kicked all the night with all his might. He would not quit!

In the morning the wife was surprised as she looked into the churn and saw one dead frog sinking and another frog sitting on a pound of churned butter.

Learn: “Look before you leap.” Watch where you walk!

Learn: “Quitters never win.” Don’t lose heart! Keep kicking!

Learn: Maybe the kicking frog was Deaf and never heard the quitter!

Learn: Both frogs had a choice – to sink or swim. You have a choice only you can make. Decisions determine directions – Directions determine destinations. The Devil cannot make you sin, and God will not make you serve. Decide to overcome your obstacles. Keep kicking, kicking and kicking until you overcome. A failure is not someone who fails, but someone who quits. Success is not determined by what starts you, but what stops you. You cannot change the past, but you can change the future. You may not be able to change what happened, but you can change the ending. Which frog represents your present life? Many have quit. But look around you, and you will see many who were once as you are now, but they did not quit. If they did it, so can you. Don’t sink, but swim. Keep kicking, kicking, and kicking and you will reap if you faint not (Galatians 6:9). Let’s learn a lesson from a frog!

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