2020-09 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
This year has certainly been unusual. But for us, meeting cancellations and schedule changes because of COVID-19 have actually expanded our ministry. This year, together with Jim Bracelin and others from our Silent Word Ministries mission team, we launched “Eagle Soar.” This new online deaf ministry training has been a blessing to Deaf and hearing people worldwide. Through the videos, we had several opportunities to talk, sign, text, message, or email people who responded to our online teaching/preaching. Some some had salvation answered. Others made “serve the Lord” decisions, are overcoming sin in their lives or were encouraged during these discouraging times.
ASL Institute and Deaf Bible Conference – We were blessed to conduct one ASLI this summer in Trenton, Georgia. The meeting was well attended. Many were challenged, encouraged, and helped; and we connected one young man with a ministry where he could serve in the days ahead.
Open or Closed? – We really want to be together with people in Fantastic Saturdays and other meetings. As area pastors advise it is safe for their congregations, we are conducting meetings. For your information, we have noticed that Deaf people in most of the churches to whom we minister have been very cautious and fear returning to church or gathering in a public meeting. Please pray with us that the current situation will quickly pass and fears will be calmed.
New at SWM – Recently we welcomed 3 new missionary families to our mission team — Ben and Marie Muldoon (Romania/Europe), Monique Lindsey (Liberia), and Carrie Whaley (Liberia). Each is now raising support to reach Deaf people with the Gospel in his/her field. Also, J.T. Gorham, a recent graduate of Pensacola Christian College, is serving as an intern at SWM until December. Jon and others are training him in many areas of deaf ministry. Pray for him as he considers God’s direction in full-time deaf ministry – missionary, pastor, etc.
Animated Gospel Video – After a pause in this project for the animator to complete a course of study, we are now actively editing this unique Gospel presentation in American Sign Language. Please pray for wisdom for David Bennett (SWMI), Niall Lynch (animator), and Jon (ASL presentation) as we make decisions about each step of this process. Our desire is for the Gospel message and the sign language to be clear for Deaf people worldwide. It would be thrilling to hear of many trusting Christ through this special project.
Continuing Results – Often we report salvation decisions, but you may wonder what happens afterward. At the 2018 West Virginia Fantastic Saturday (Grace Gospel Church, Huntington, WV – Pastor Keith Wiebe), Allen Snare (SWM), Gailyn Agar (FIM), and I explained the Gospel to Anita, a Deaf lady. She had seen the Gospel several times before, but this time she slowly understood and prayed to receive Christ as her Savior. Gailyn discipled her weekly, and Anita began to grow and change. She was baptized and is still growing. She is a different person today because several “someones” took time and invested in her. She says, as other Deaf people often do, “Jon Barr saved me.” Of course, we confirmed that she is trusting Christ alone. That’s just her way of saying she is grateful for her new life in Christ. Just as when growing trees, it often takes years to see fruit.
Personal Note: Diane’s dad, Clay Mitchell, recently passed away. He was a quiet, faithful servant of the Lord who preached his own funeral by the way he lived his everyday life. He will be greatly missed.
Thank you for investing in our ministry so we can invest in others. Your sacrifice reaps eternal rewards!
For Deaf Souls,
Jon and Diane Barr,
Missionaries to the Deaf