2020-03 Prayer Letter
“But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel” (Philippians 1:12). All of our ministries have been greatly affected in recent weeks. We all want to be in our churches. We crave a single handshake or hug. But this is the time to be safe, self-isolate, and protect other people. Our mission field, Deaf people, are sometimes isolated in unexpected ways. On Tuesday, March 24, several Deaf people asked me, “What do we do for church on Wednesday night?” At that time very few churches with deaf ministries provided interpreters for their online church services. Quickly we decided to provide an online Bible study for Deaf people. For our first lesson there were 59 “live” viewers. Later we learned that the lesson reached over 4,500 people. Praise the Lord! We are continuing to provide this weekly study to reach unchurched Deaf people and to help local churches provide Bible training during this difficult time.
As with other SWM missionaries, our travel schedule has come to an abrupt stop. However, we are now able to be highly productive, catching up on ministry projects, producing lessons, creating new materials, and improving resources for Deaf people and deaf ministries. We are using Facebook “live” and other video methods to continue to conduct ministry. Others are helping, so we can have an interesting variety of lessons.
Comments from SWM Facebook Live Ministry: (As Written) Thank you for live service! • It’s a good one. I recommend! • Great job glad you preached since many of churches close since coronavirus. Pray for my health. • Thanks so much. Several of us watching from Bristol TN! • Thank you from San Diego, California. • Thank you! My church had no service tonight. • Wonderful! Blessings to SWM. (“Glad to be a blessing” – J Barr)
As you know, much of our ministry relies on technology for writing, printing, videos, online resources, and more. Deaf people do not all live in one area, but are scattered around our country and around the world. Several years ago, Dr. Ted Camp, SWM Founder, encouraged the SWM leaders to “get the seed out of the bag.” That was his way of saying we need to get our good, Bible-based SWM literature to more people. We began that process by making SWM materials available online. Now, this time of national crisis has encouraged us to reach out even more and to spread the Gospel and God’s Word to more people using today’s available technology. Imagine what the Apostle Paul would have done with the Internet! Our desire is to reach all we can.
Last November we began upgrading our SWM website. Funds were provided to get professional help. After the site was designed, we began to realize the great “seed” (many Bible-based materials) we have been sowing. We are now transferring all the material from the old site to the new. We are grateful for the time to focus on needed projects. But we long to again be with Deaf people around the country, teaching and preaching the Word of God.
Summer ASL Institute Meetings – Until further notice, we are still planning our three ASL Institutes and Deaf Bible Conferences. These meetings are a valuable resource for deaf ministry workers and their deaf ministries. The dates are: Trenton, Georgia, July 9-11 – Holt, Michigan, July 23-25 – and Collegeville, Pennsylvania, August 6-8.
Animated Gospel Video – This unique Gospel presentation in American Sign Language continues to move forward. We planned to present this at the DeafNation World Expo this summer, but that conference has been postponed to 2021 because of the worldwide health crisis. This will allow the production team more time to work on the video and make it even better. Please pray that the sign language will be clear in the animation (easier said than done).
We are thankful for your prayers and support during these challenging days. We continue to represent you and serve the Lord in the harvest field of Deaf people. May adversity make hearts more soft to God’s Word!
For Deaf Souls,
Jon and Diane Barr,
Missionaries to the Deaf