I was raised in a Christian family. Both my father and mother are saved, and continue to faithfully attend church. When I was six years old, I recognized my sin; recognized Jesus died for my sin and rose from the dead; and invited Christ to come into my heart to forgive my sin and save me. I desired from that time on to serve the Lord in full-time Christian service in whatever way He chose.
I was raised in a Christian family also. When I was nine years old I attended a Christian camp. On Friday night of that week, we had a campfire, and a missionary as the speaker. He challenged us by saying that God did not have any grandchildren, but only children.
I understood this to mean that I needed to make a personal decision myself, not depending on my parents. That night I invited Jesus to come into my heart to forgive my sin. I then went home and shared with my parents. At the age of thirteen, I re-dedicated my life to the Lord, feeling that He had called me into full-time Christian service in some way.
Calling to Ministry
We attended Lancaster Bible College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania (we thank God for the stand this college took in the past, but do not recommend it today) where we both received Bachelor of Science degrees in Bible. While there, we felt the call of God on our lives for service in missions. When we met in college, we shared the same feeling that God had called us into mission work. Following our marriage, we entered a youth pastorate, and then assistant pastor position, all the while seeking God’s leadership into mission work. God never opened the door, but continued to open doors for us in the states in pastoral positions.
In 1987 we first met Ted and Carlene Camp while an Associate Pastor at Church of the Open Door in Westminster, Maryland. We served there for ten and a half years under the ministry of Dr. Shelton Smith. It was during the fall that Ted Camp was preaching an evangelistic meeting for us. He did something that neither Terry nor I had ever seen; he spoke his message and signed at the same time. Even though we had faithful Deaf attending our ministry there, I had never thought about the need of taking the Gospel to the Deaf, and the unique challenge that it posed. That night, God touched my heart (Jim) to learn Sign Language in order to lead a Deaf person to Christ.
The next spring, God brought the first opportunity to me to lead a Deaf young man to Christ. His name was Murdo Henderson. He was Deaf, but could speak very well. He had gradually gone deaf until the point I met him at age 16. God used this to begin a burden for reaching the Deaf with the gospel. We were asked to be in charge of the Deaf Ministry of Church of the Open Door, which we did for about five years. God then called us out of that church to become a senior pastor at Calvary Bible Church in Pennsylvania. While there God began a Deaf Ministry in our church; again, using Ted and Carlene Camp to help train our folks to be able to effectively reach the Deaf with the gospel. We are thrilled to be able to serve today with Ted and Carlene to reach the Deaf through Silent Word Ministries.