June 2015 Prayer Letter
Dear Friends and Supporters,
On Memorial Day, as our country remembered people who died while serving in the United States armed forces, I was reminded of the great country in which we live. We, as Americans, still have access to public and private education, we have freedom of religion, the Gospel is very much available here, and we have a higher standard of living than many other places. As I recently traveled abroad, I was reminded that others do not have these privileges.
SWM Mission Report – Diane and I recently arrived back from a short-term missions trip to the Philippines, where Missionaries Bob and Brenda Himes (Bill Rice Ranch Missions) invited me to preach for their 35th annual deaf camps. Several other SWM missionaries have also served there in previous camps. Diane led songs, helped with crafts, coordinated deaf choir competition, and taught a ladies class. Our SWM team also included Hannah Holmquist and Sarah McDowell from Harvest Deaf Baptist Church, Ringgold, Georgia. This was Sarah’s first mission trip. Both ladies worked hard and helped with crafts, songs, and having personal time with the campers and counselors.
Young Deaf Boy Saved – In the first deaf camp, a deaf mother came forward to receive Christ, and brought her 6 year old Deaf son with her. When Bob Himes asked her about her salvation decision afterward, the boy said “Me, too. I received Jesus.” After some questioning, it became clear that he really had received Christ. You see, both his parents were Deaf and had taught him sign language since he was an infant. He communicated well, and also understood! Camp totals (2 Weeks): Attendance 365, Salvation Decisions 79, Other Decisions 233.
There is Still a Need for Missionaries to the Deaf WORLDWIDE – In the deaf camps, we noticed that many of the deaf people had little education. While some had graduated from high school, and others had attended higher education, many deaf adults bragged about having graduated from the first, third, or fifth grades. Often this also meant they had very little Bible knowledge. Most were not able to read the most basic verses in the Bible and many had limited sign language. David Bennett (SWMI) advises that much of the world’s deaf population is the same. Our SWM method is, as Bob Himes says, “If they don’t understand the way you teach, then teach the way they understand.” We adjusted our sign language level and taught much more simply.
SWM Report – This spring SWM missionaries are traveling in meetings, Fantastic Saturdays, and missions trips. The Deaf Bible Institute, now online, has 1,040 enrolled. Three SWMI missionaries are raising support to reach the Deaf in other countries. Already this year, 140 salvation decisions have been reported in the many areas of our 24/7/365 ministry.
We are thankful for you who support the SWM home office, support SWM missionaries, and for you who send special gifts. Because of your prayers and support, Deaf people can “hear” God’s Word with their eyes in sign language, online, and on the printed page. One day, they will hear with their ears in Heaven!
For Deaf Souls,