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Deaf Ministry 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. 4