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What Is in a Name?
By Jerilyn Kane — Missionary to Southeast Asia
And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and
all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a
new name, which the mouth of the LORD shall
name (Isaiah 62:2).

As an introduction, let me tell you about my
name—Jerilyn. My parents blessed me with
this unique name by combining their names—
Joshua and Merilyn. Hence, I answer to Jerilyn.

I praise the Lord they did not call me Moshua!
Everyone has a uniqueness to his or her name,
a reason why one answers to Myrtle, Sue,
Mickey, or Thomas.

This brings me to this true story. When my
husband, Tom, and I are in the States, we are
active in our local church, Victory Baptist
Church in Crestview, Florida. On Saturday
visitation over a year ago, we were following up
on a prospect card. My husband and a college
student, who interns at our church on Sundays,
had filled it out. We boldly knocked on the door
of the apartment. A pleasant woman came to
the door with two small children shadowing
her. I took the lead and reintroduced Tom and
Number 1, 2020
introduced myself with the visitation card in
hand. I asked if she were Esther, the name listed
on the card. She nodded her head, affirming
that she was Esther. We soon learned that
Esther was deaf. Victory Baptist Church did
not have a deaf ministry, and my sign language
was limited to spelling words out with sign
language I had learned while teaching my
son’s Cub Scout Den (about 40 years ago!). I
earnestly prayed that we would somehow be
able to minister to Esther and her family. We
invited her to ride the church van on Sunday
and to our surprise, as we entered the church,
we noticed Esther was there.

Several in the church had gone over to greet
her and I signed the only real sign I knew,
except for the alphabet, “How are you?” I
introduced her to our pastor, who knew some
sign language. I felt sorry for her as she sat in
a silent world during Sunday school and the
worship service. Pastor did announce to the
church that we had a definite need for someone
who could sign for Esther.

A few weeks passed and it was time for us to
return to the field for five months. Shortly
before our departure, a missions’ student from
Pensacola Christian College volunteered to
interpret on Sunday mornings for Esther. I asked
the translator, David, if he would translate for
me during the invitation. I asked Esther where
she would go when she died. Her response was
a headshake and waving her hands. She did not
want to answer the question. This sent alarms off
in my head and heart.

Five months pass. I had such a burden for Esther.

I soon found out that she had been faithful every
Sunday, but she was no closer to trusting Jesus
as her personal Savior. I shared with Pastor my
burden for Esther and asked if I could teach
her separately, utilizing the talent of the college
translator and using the Soul Winning Binder
Tom and I use both on the mission field and at
home. The pastor and Esther seemed thrilled
and I had my own Sunday school class! During
the first class I shared my testimony and began
presenting the precious Gospel with her. Esther, I
also learned, can read lips somewhat. The second
Sunday, Esther responded in faith and trusted
Jesus Christ as her personal Savior.

Knowing that the Deaf community has special
“signs” for themselves and others, I asked Esther
what her sign was. She curved her fingers next to
her jaw and signed C and B. The translator and I
looked at each other puzzled. What did the letters
C and B have to do with the name Esther. She
then in sign language explained to David that her
name was Christine Brown! He then shared the
news to me! Why have we been calling her Esther
for nearly a year? Esther is a relative of hers and
Tom & Jerilyn Kane
does come to her home occasionally, and she
had been there for that initial visit. Christine
did not correct me or anyone else because
she did not want to embarrass me. I was in
tears. First of all, she got saved! Second, she
was thinking about my feelings. I then asked
her what would be a good sign for me. I
jokingly made a circle with my finger next to
my head, indicating crazy! She laughed and
shook her head. She then used her little finger
and signed a J next to her mouth and then
she continued to communicate with David.

He then turned to me and said the J was for
Jerilyn, and she signed it at the corner of her
mouth because I smile all the time.

At the end of the morning worship service,
I asked if she would like to go forward and
share her “news” with Pastor Matheson.

She grinned and took my hand; with David
in tow, we made our way to the front of the
church. Pastor was already in tears! Before she
shared her news, I told Pastor that I wanted
to introduce him and the church to Christine
Brown. I used her sign as I spoke. She then
shared with him that she was saved! The
words of that great hymn screamed out to me,
“There’s a new name written down in Glory!”
I have quite an imagination. I pictured Jesus
grinning when Christine signed her name to
me. After all, He knew it all the time.

As a postscript to this story, I have been
discipling Christine. She recently presented
herself for baptism and was baptized in the
Gulf of Mexico by our home pastor, Wayne
Matheson. She is making her decision known
to the world. W