The Deaf Are “Hearing” the Gospel
By Coy Shaw
As we age we begin to lose some of the abilities that have helped us get through most of our lives.
Hearing is one of those abilities. But among us are people who have never or almost never had
the ability to hear. For these people the government has established special schools to educate and
give job training. For those who cannot find work the government grants disability benefits, but
what about their spiritual needs? Is anyone taking the message of salvation to them?
YES! Praise the Lord, YES! BIMI missionaries are reaching the deaf not only in the United
States but in many other countries. The Rempels, the Rowans, the MacCallums, the Kellys and
the Francises are serving in the United States, and at times their work includes trips to other
countries. These BIMI missionaries have dedicated their lives to reaching the deaf with the good
news of salvation in Jesus Christ. Some of them are deaf and all are laboring to win the deaf to
Christ. The deaf are actually a sub-culture, a culture within the greater American culture. They even
express themselves differently, “speaking” their own language (American Sign Language or ASL).
They like to be with other deaf and if you find one deaf person, they can lead you to others.
The missionaries' goal is to reach the deaf with the Gospel and equip them to serve the Lord.
There are several different ways in which this is being accomplished:
Starting Deaf Ministries in “Hearing Churches”
Jack and Dorothea Francis, as well as Willie and Shirley Rowan, are involved
in starting deaf ministries in “hearing churches.” Not only
do they contact the deaf in the community and invite
them to church but also they use sign language to translate
the Sunday school lesson and the sermon. This type of
Willie & Shirley Rowan
ministry usually includes giving classes in ASL to the
hearing members of the church who are interested in working with the deaf.
It is important to involve hearing members of the church so that when the
missionaries move to another area, the deaf ministry will continue.
Jack & Dorothea Francis
Starting Churches Specifically for the Deaf
There are three missionary couples who are planting “deaf churches.”
The Deaf Baptist Church was planted in Smyrna, Georgia, by Bruce
and Vicki Kelly, both of whom are deaf. In Maryland Bill MacCallum
and his wife, Linnea, have started the Crossroad Deaf Baptist Church of
Frederick, and he is also involved in
The Kelly Family
training deaf preacher boys at Capital
Deaf Bible College in Silver Spring.
Dr. and Mrs. Reggie Rempel lead the
Bill & Linnea MacCallum
Harvest Baptist Church of the Deaf
in Ringgold, Georgia. Although these churches were started
specifically to reach the deaf, they must also include the hearing.
Deaf people have hearing relatives and that means ministering to
them as well.