Dear Friends and Supporters,
Why do we do what we do? I made a study and learned that God is the originator of His ministries. He sees the need of a ministry and then looks for the man (woman). Ministries do not begin with man, but with God. It is a fact that the ministry of the church began with the Holy Spirit and will continue to flow until the Lord returns. Without the Word of God there would be no work of God. God does not use programs but He uses people. God’s plan was for the flood, then the ark. The ark ministry started with God, not Noah. Examples: Egypt/Moses – Wall/Nehemiah – Gentiles/Paul – Deaf/SWM. In 1966 the Lord saw the need of a deaf ministry so He sent me. He sent – I went! The ministry originated with God, not me. I did not seek this ministry, but this ministry sought me. I also now realize that I did not build this ministry, but this ministry built me. As we go, we know. When we know, we grow. When we stop going, we stop knowing. The Lord directs not only our steps but also our stops. As the Spirit began the church ministry, He will continue to flow through His ministries until He returns. SWM verse: “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6).
How do we do what we do? SWM began in 1966 as a worldwide ministry outreach. In just a few months we started “The Silent Word” newspaper to the Deaf with only 50 names. We started a literature and tract program that developed into “free” Bible courses for the Deaf that continue unto this day. How was I able to do it? The answer was not “I,” but “we.” God continually gave friends who shared in our unique ministry to the Deaf. Some sent support while others sent special gifts. Soon we were receiving over 200 letters a month, and “The Silent Word” newspaper grew from 50 names to over 5,000 names. The flow continued at the Bill Rice Ranch for 20 years then to Trenton, Georgia, our hometown. All I did was follow the flow of the Holy Spirit that has led us into a worldwide ministry with 25 team members who are also knowing and flowing. We have learned that where He guides, He provides. God has provided our every need these many years. Today we remain debt free in our personal life and ministry. I have learned that God calls and sends certain ones to do His ministry. He works through and with those who simply trust and obey Him. As we go, we know. As we know, we grow. He continues to flow throughout this ministry to direct our paths in the ways we should go (Proverbs 3:5-6). Why? Because it is His ministry!
Who helps us do what we do? SWM is “unique” as most of our supporters and friends also share in our “unique” mission to reach the Deaf for Christ. Many of you do not know sign language, but the Lord has touched your hearts to support missionaries to go on your behalf into the Deaf world. Why do you do what you do? It is the Holy Spirit that sends (SWM) and supports (you) His ministry. Those who are sent cannot go without supporters. Both make the God-given ministry possible. You should pray and invest where the returns are profitable. You invest not only in support and gifts, but also in prayers and encouraging words. The Holy Spirit still continues to flow through His people to do His work. His ministry is to evangelize the world and edify the church. You should always invest in ministries that are involved in the Great Commission. A good ministry involves both senders and supporters. “This is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope” (1Cor. 9:10). “Behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together” (John 4:35). Notice that you as a giver become a partaker. Partaker means to take or have a part or share along with others; to participate with others to accomplish a task. Also both he that soweth (you) and he that reapeth (SWM) may rejoice together. Good news! We have 450 reported salvations through our many ministries this year. We rejoice, and you can rejoice with us as we both share in this ministry.
We promise to remain faithful to our “unique” calling and always be involved in the Great Commission to the Deaf world. Many, many Deaf will hear in Heaven because of you. You are You-nique because you have made our ministry possible these many years. Thank you for your prayers and support!
In “His” Name,
Please review the missionary reports below. Pray for the many areas of service. These missionaries are worthy of your prayers, support and special gifts.
Jon and Diane Barr praise the Lord for a good SWMB Mission Retreat with all the SWM team present. Many commented on the good spirit present. They are thankful for the unity within the team. Also, there were about 70 people present for a special Saturday Deaf Revival Jon preached near Atlanta.
David and Vicki Bennett report that many in Africa said they were blessed and challenged much by the impact of the SWMI team. Many of the team members also made life- changing decisions while there. Later after attending the SWM mission board retreat, David had an eight-day Deliberate Discipleship Retreat with 10 leaders in the Deaf world. Several said the DDR impacted their ministries. Also, their daughter, Bethany, was married to Chris Murphy on September 8.
Tabitha Beam, Jim and Terry Bracelin, Bud and Jenna Ring, Allen Snare and Steven Burns (SWM Intern) all helped with the Revival Signs camp in Nova Scotia. There were 45 hearing and 17 Deaf people present, and 3 Deaf ladies made salvation decisions. One was 84 years old, another said she had waited all her life to find out the way to Heaven, and the third prayed in her cabin by herself after hearing the clear presentation of the Gospel.
Reed and Donna Condra presented Deaf missions at a missions conference in North Carolina. In West Virginia, they were part of the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Deaf Ministry. Some young children there spoke of possibly working in the future with Deaf people. The Condras also report great challenges from the SWMB Mission Retreat, and they are glad to be back with the Deaf Couples Class at Harvest Baptist Church in Ringgold, Georgia.
Jay and Cathy Savelle taught their “Sharing Christ Confidently” seminar in May at Bible Baptist Church in Everett, Washington. They were asked to go back and help the church with their first-time ministry outreach at the Evergreen State Fair. Eighty-two church members excitedly worked with the Savelles at the booth. Together they and the Saville’s passed out over 6,000 tracts, and 42 people made salvation decisions.
Allen Snare led the Deaf Bible Conferences (conducted at the same time as the ASL Institutes) in Holt, Michigan, and Collegeville, Pennsylvania. He also preached for the Deaf and Family Camp in Mercersburg, and for a Deaf Day in Mount Union, Pennsylvania.
Paul and Rachel Strosnider praise the Lord that David Lutz trusted Christ as his Savior. David is a Deaf man they have been working with for 1½ years.
Bruce and Amanda Stuart returned from their mission trip to Africa and have been able to report about the trip to several churches – in Tennessee, Connecticut, and Georgia.
Jon and Diane Barr ask your prayers for their fall Fantastic Saturdays coming up in Wisconsin, Missouri, Ohio, and West Virginia. They will also present deaf missions to students in a Christian college, and Diane will teach at the Deaf Ladies Retreat in Phoenix. Pray for the Holy Spirit to work in these meetings and for His power to be obvious.
David and Vicki Bennett appreciate your prayers for their children who are in missions. Eric and Rebekah (Bennett) Elrod and daughter Olivia, just returned to India. Brian and Christa (Bennett) Pate with their sons, Caleb and Josiah, will soon be headed to Brazil, and Jason and Charity (Bennett) Rishel, and son, Levi, are home on furlough for a few months before retuning to Burkina Faso, Africa. They are expecting their second child soon.
Reed and Donna Condra ask prayer for them to focus on fewer and higher priority goals. Please pray also for their home-church pastor, Jim Troyer, who recently had pacemaker surgery and experienced some difficulties after the surgery.
Jay and Cathy Savelle request prayer that their 2019 plans for Nigeria and Ghana will come together. They plan to teach in schools and churches. They need financing to come in to allow both of them to minister there. Please continue to pray also for the Lord to go before them, leading them to churches with a desire to share Christ more effectively. Pray for the Lord to provide the needed supplemental support, to allow Jay and Cathy to serve Him with this ministry full time.
Paul and Rachel Strosnider ask prayer for David Lutz’s spiritual growth. The Jehovah’s Witnesses are trying to pull him into their teachings.
Bruce and Amanda Stuart report that their support level is now just under 40%, and request your prayers as they are booking meetings for next year. They look forward to returning to Africa full-time and have the goal of being on the field by December 2019.
SWM ladies will be traveling to Arizona for the Deaf Baptist Ladies Retreat. Several will be teaching workshops and would appreciate your prayers for that opportunity to influence many lives, especially those of young ladies.
DID YOU KNOW? “Approximately 56 million deaf people, 80% of the 70 million deaf people in our world today, receive no education at all. This is especially true among deaf women, girls, and people in developing countries.” http://wfdeaf.org/our-work/human-rights-of-the-deaf/ Please pray for more laborers, Deaf and hearing, in the home office, as missionaries and regional directors, as missionaries on foreign fields, and as workers in Deaf ministries all across America.
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