BIMI

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by Kim Rempel Reggie Rempel was raised in a small Mennonite village called Rosenort in the province of Manitoba. Reggie’s great-grandparents migrated from Europe in the early 1900s and their pioneer work ethic was carried down through the next several generations. His parents worked a hog and wheat farm, and at the age of 8 or 9 he was already driving a tractor and helping on the farm. However, there was one obstacle, his profound deafness. He and his older sister were the only two deaf people in the entire village and what seemed to them—the world. Reggie and his sister had to be sent to the city of Winnipeg for school. His parents paid a family to keep him during the week; however, he was able to go home to the country on weekends. Mondays were excruciating as Reggie would have to be pulled away from his mother as she walked him into the school and left him for the week. Reggie’s sister, only a year older than he, fostered him. She scared away wolves in bad dreams and led him to the public bus stop where they would be taxied to school each day. This was hard for his parents, but the doctors assured them that not giving up farm life would one day “pay off ” and it did because as one walks the small campus of Harvest Deaf Ministries in Ringgold, Georgia, he sees the Mennonite work ethic and handiwork all throughout the campus. As a teenager, the influence of Reggie’s peers and the philosophy of the state school began to influence his life; his parents became concerned. His sister understood salvation but church was just a terrible, boring place to Reggie since there were no interpreters. Each week they would sit in church and try to read lips to no avail. His parents prayed that God would provide something that would allow them to share the Gospel with him. Then, they heard about the Bill Rice Ranch, a camp for the deaf in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. In order to get him there, they drove Reggie and his sister to Minneapolis where they would ride a bus to camp with a group of deaf from an independent Baptist church. The trip would be a total of about 30 hours, but it was worth it. When they arrived at the camp, Reggie understood the Gospel for the first time at age 16 as he saw a preacher Reseeding America – Spring 2016 5