In business, people often think of opportunities as ways to make more money, advance their career, or improve their resume or status. However, in our ministry, the Lord opens opportunities to spread the Gospel, teach the Bible, help others improve their ministries, and minister to the needs of others.
Opportunities to Train at ASLI – Every year Diane and I conduct two regional ASL Institute training seminars for church deaf ministries. ASLI South met in Trenton, Georgia, in July (Attendance 80, Deaf 23, States 6). Many people were very encouraged. One lady wrote that she had “one of the most AMAZING experience’s ever at the ASL Bible Institute with SWM this past weekend. …My brain is still seeping with an over abundance of information!!!!.” At the same time as ASLI, our team also conducts a Deaf Bible Conference. This year three people made salvation decisions during the conference. One of the Deaf attendees even led a hearing lady to the Lord using an interpreter in the local Taco Bell. Please pray for ASLI North, which will meet August 7-9 in Collegeville, Pennsylvania, hosted by Valley Forge Baptist Temple (Pastor Scott Wendal).
Opportunities to Help – Weekly, for over six years, Diane has been visiting and ministering to one of our Deaf ladies, Mary Short, since she became blind and moved to a nursing home for other health reasons. Diane told her Bible stories, shared verses with her, and even tried to help her learn Braille. Last week Mary went to heaven. We were glad to tell the family that she had trusted the Lord as Savior many years ago. Her husband, Ray, who is also Deaf, has been trying to share the Gospel with his family. It appears a door of opportunity may have opened because of Mary’s home going. Please pray for Ray and others as they share the Gospel with his family.
Opportunities to Encourage – Fantastic Saturdays and D-Days (Deaf Days) are all-day workshops to help and encourage many deaf ministries in several areas around the country. The meeting theme follows the school year, and starts in the fall. Last year 954 people attended, including 404 deaf from 130 churches, and there were 10 salvation decisions. We are excited about this year’s theme, “People Need the Lord.” If you can, please come see us at one of these meetings, which are listed at SilentWordMinistries.org/fs.
Opportunities to Improve – The Silent Word Ministries correspondence Deaf Bible Institute (DBI) recently had student number 1000 enroll. Some DBI students do not have good signed services in their areas, so DBI may be the only Bible teaching they receive. We are also putting the 20 courses online at DeafBibleInstitute.org. Thanks to Tabitha Beam (SWM Office Missionary) and Andrew Kitchens (volunteer) for their hard work on this important project. Please pray for more students, for more salvation decisions, and for more graduates.
Opportunities to Go – Bob Himes (Bill Rice Ranch Missions), missionary to the Philippines, has invited me to preach in the annual Philippine Deaf Camps in 2015. This is an opportunity to influence hundreds of Deaf people in just a few weeks! In these camps, the Gospel is presented slowly over three days before the first salvation invitation. For those who respond, the Gospel is explained again to the group, then counselors explain it to them again personally. After their salvation decision, they meet with Bob Himes individually. If there is any misunderstanding, they are dealt with again. Often we have seen over 100 campers make clear salvation decisions. Your help is needed to make this mission trip possible. The total need is $2,500, which will cover all expenses. If you can help, please send checks to SWM and designate “Barr Mission Trip.” Thank you.
Enclosed is SWM monthly ministry prayer letter which I recently sent to our financial supporters. More letters are available at JDBarr.com and SilentWordMinistries.org. Thank you for helping us to reach the Deaf world!
For Deaf Souls,
Jon and Diane Barr,
Your Missionaries to the Deaf