God does not call everyone into the deaf ministry, but He does call some. How do I know? Because God called me. I did not seek the deaf ministry, but it sought me. In simple words, “God picked me.” People often ask me why I am in the deaf ministry. I just state, “God called me.” I tell the deaf, “I am hearing, and not deaf. I am doing the best I can, and if you don’t like it, blame God. He called me into the deaf ministry.” God has a place for every Christian in His body, church, and ministry. The Bible teaches that God places Christians (members) in the ministry (body) as it pleases Him.“But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him” (2 Cor. 12:8). I am in the deaf ministry not to please me, but to please Him. A servant does not have the right to choose his position or place. I have learned that God does not call you to a place, but to a people. God called Peter to the Jews and Paul to the Gentiles. “…They saw the gospel of the uncircumcision (Gentiles) was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision (Jews) was unto Peter” (Galatians 2:7). Both Peter and Paul won Jews and Gentiles, but they always recognized their first calling to a certain group of people. I believe that God also calls or “picks” certain people for the deaf ministry. Paul often spoke of his calling on the road to Damascus and he remained true to “that” calling. “I have finished my course (calling).”
My Calling – As I pastored, my calling came when a deaf man, Alvin Spurgin, sang a special song in signs as someone voiced for him. He sang, “More about Jesus would I know…” As he sang, I began to weep. God touched my heart and called me to tell the deaf “more about Jesus.” I responded and promised the Lord I would give my life to telling deaf people “More about Jesus.” In 1966 Silent Word Ministries was born as I responded to my calling to the Deaf.
My Commitment – Later, when Alvin, “My deaf man of Macedonia,” was dying with cancer, I went to see him. He asked me to preach his funeral in Sign Language. Then, he asked for one more promise. He said, “Will you promise me you will never stop helping the deaf? Will you find more deaf the same as me and help them?” I wept as I prayed and promised God and Alvin that I would never stop. God only called me once – in 1966. I have tried to be faithful to that one calling these many years.
My Compassion – After I had taught Sign Language for several years, a single deaf lady in one of my meetings in Illinois was saved. I noticed that she did not smile, but looked sad. I asked her what was wrong. She said, “I am happy I am saved, but who will sign for me and be my friend after you are gone?” She told me that she lived a lonely life without friends. Six months before, she had even tried to kill herself. As the meeting closed, she came to me excited and smiling. I asked her what happened. She pointed to some ladies who had learned Sign Language in the class. She said, “They invited me to their home for fellowship. Maybe things will be different now.” From that time forward, my desire was to make a difference in the Deaf world.
Has God Called You? You could make a difference in the lives of deaf people in your area. I believe that God calls both “hearing” and “deaf” to serve in different areas of the deaf ministry. Both can become pastors, teachers, or missionaries. Who can best reach the deaf? Naturally, another deaf person who knows the language and culture of the Deaf can. But, some deaf ministries could not exist without hearing people to interpret and minister to the deaf. As Peter and Paul, we are not in competition with one another, but all serve in the one body of Christ. We serve to please Him. Does God want you to become His hands and voice to the deaf? It is still a pioneer ministry, especially in foreign countries.
Will You Respond? It seems many are called, but only a few respond. If God has called, now or in the past, will you respond? “Go into all the world” includes the Deaf. I have often said, “God wants your heart first, and then He will use your hands.” God does not call everyone into the deaf ministry, but He does call some. Will you surrender? Maybe you once surrendered and need now to re-commit your heart and hands to help make a difference in the deaf world for Christ. God called Peter to the Jews and Paul to the Gentiles. Is He calling you to the Deaf? Will you surrender or rededicate your life to tell the Deaf, “More about Jesus?”
“Go, Sign to Them for Me”
Master, “What shall I do today? Where shall I go for thee?”
And He pointed to the deaf people. “Go Sign to Them for Me.”
“Oh no, not there!” No one will notice and see.
I must learn Signs – no, it isn’t fair. Oh no, not the deaf world for me.
As He spoke I began to understand, “Search your heart and use your hands,
I died for you on Calvary. So, go sign to them for Me.”
By Ted Camp, SWM
“Yes, I know God has called me into the deaf ministry. I now [ ]surrender [ ] rededicate my heart and hands to make a difference in the deaf world for Christ. I want to help the deaf know more about Jesus. I promise I will never quit. I want to finish the calling God has given me.“I am [ ]Deaf [ ]Hearing. Name___________________ Date________If you have made this decision please contact SWM – We will rejoice with you – Send more helpful literature.