The fall season is one of my favorite times of the year. Here in the northeast, it is a time when colors abound. Beyond the colors, I love the smell of leaves on the ground, and smoke in the air from woodstoves. We will also celebrate my favorite holiday of them all … Thanksgiving. I love this holiday, because we gather together with family to celebrate all that God has done for us. As I write this letter for the month, I have much for which I am thankful. I would like to share some of my personal favorites with you.
When I was a young boy, I dreamed of someday standing behind a pulpit as a pastor, to share the incredible news of Jesus’ birth, His perfect life, His death, His burial, and His incredible resurrection. I am thankful for the opportunity to preach that message even one time … but God has called us to this ministry that has the Great Commission as our goal for each day. Because of my place on the SWM team, I have had the opportunity to share the Gospel regularly in Fantastic Saturday meetings, Sign Language classes, and local church preaching opportunities. God has abundantly blessed me with the unique opportunity to share the Gospel in prison ministries when we are not traveling in SWM meetings. What a gold-mine opportunity for someone who dreamed of presenting the Gospel! I could not ask for a better situation! I have the chance at least once a month to stand before the neediest people and give the greatest message! Please pray that we will continue to see souls saved … Deaf and Hearing.
Another thing I must thank God for is the answer to some specific ministry-related prayers. My wife, Terry and I have been praying for ten years for someone to come alongside us to help in the ministry. We have prayed for someone we might hand the ministry off to in the days ahead. God has provided us with an intern for this coming year. Steven Burns (a pastor’s son and has a twin Deaf sister), has agreed to come to spend one year internship with SWM to help in the ministry. He will be able to experience our work from the ground-level. We will continue to pray along with him for God’s direct leadership in his life. We have been praying for help, just as many of our other SWM and SWMI missionaries are praying. Jesus told His disciples that the fields were white and ready to harvest. I believe that is still true today. Jesus encouraged us to pray that the Lord would send forth laborers into the field. Please join us in praying for more laborers in America and all around the world!
I also thank God for the work that is going on in Canada. God allowed us to go “north of the border” to Canada a number of years ago. While there, we taught Sign Language at Blessed Hope Baptist Church in Nova Scotia. After we left, God touched the heart of a young couple (Jeremy and Jenna Ring) about surrendering their lives to Him in full-time service with SWM. They have since joined our SWM team, and are actively raising support for the work in Canada. What an incredible answer to prayer! We recently spent a week with them helping with Deaf Revival meetings. Allen Snare, Tabitha Beam, Steven Burns, Terry, and I enjoyed a tremendous set of meetings with them! We saw three Deaf ladies pray to receive Christ as their Savior! Each of their salvation stories was miraculous! What a joy to see souls saved in Canada, and around the world!
I am so thankful to God for all that He has done. I am excited to see what He will do in the days ahead. I must close by thanking you for your part in supporting our efforts here at SWM to do our part to fulfill the Great Commission! We cannot do what we do without you. We also realize that every person saved through our ministry is placed on your account in Heaven! We have had 489 reported salvations this year through SWM’s many areas of ministries. As Paul, “We thank God … for putting us into this ministry” (1 Timothy 1:12). Thank you for your faithful prayers and support.
Yours for Jesus’ Sake,
Director of SWM Outreach Ministries
News Flash! SWM is planning a Deaf Educational Tour of Israel April 1-13, 2019. Encourage Deaf people in your ministry to join us (Cost: $3950). Advise of your interest and register immediately. (Hearing signers welcomed.) More information at SilentWordMinistries.org/Israel.
Jon and Diane Barr thank you for your prayers for the fall Fantastic Saturdays. God blessed the hard work and the heart of Cindy Pennewell, the Deaf ministry leader in Salem, Virginia, to give a truly wonderful Fantastic Saturday in that location. There were 54 people present (including two families and one young Deaf man from Pennsylvania). Later, several team members from SWM (the Bracelins, Allen Snare, Steven Burns, the Rasmussens), from Harvest Deaf Ministries (the Fullers) and from the local area (Brian Lievins), worked together to make it a Fantastic Saturday in West Bend, Wisconsin, with 1 Deaf lady saved and 8 other service decisions.
Jim and Terry Bracelin and Allen Snare held a Fantastic Saturday in the Pittsburgh area. There were 61 in attendance and 4 Deaf people made salvation decisions. Reed and Donna Condra joined them for a Fantastic Saturday in Holt, Michigan. There were 74 present there, and 17 made decisions for ministering with Deaf people. They also helped with teen, Awana, Senior Citizen, and Adult Bible Studies in Smethport, Pennsylvania, and Jim preached in the school chapels of Valley Forge Baptist Academy.
Allen Snare reports that when he arrived home from the Pittsburgh Fantastic Saturday, a Deaf man called on the video phone. He was unsaved and had been at the meeting, but did not make a decision there. He called Allen saying he wanted to accept Jesus. Allen explained the Gospel to him, and he got saved!
Paul and Rachel Strosnider recently had the annual missions conference at their church. The theme was “Testify the Gospel,” and God answered many prayers. There were 4 first-time visitors and several other unsaved visitors who “heard” the Gospel. In St Charles, Missouri, they are helping a church prepare for starting a Deaf ministry at the beginning of 2019. They are in the middle of teaching a 10-week American Sign Language Class. Rachel also had the opportunity to speak at a ladies meeting in St Louis.
Bruce and Amanda Stuart have been traveling in the South where they have made great contacts and visited some family who live in the paths of recent hurricanes. Bruce also filled the pulpit for some pastor friends. The Stuarts excitedly report that they now know their baby (due in February) is a girl.
SWM ladies participated in and enjoyed the Deaf Baptist Ladies Retreat in Phoenix, Arizona, hosted by Signs of Life Baptist Church (Amy Remington). Diane Barr, Terry Bracelin, Carlene Camp, and Donna Condra taught workshops. One Deaf lady made a salvation decision, and several ladies decided to trade the ashes of their lives for the beauty God gives. Next year’s retreat will be in Plymouth, Massachusetts! Come join us as we “Give Thanks!”
Jon and Diane Barr will be conducting November Fantastic Saturdays in St Louis, Missouri, and Huntington, West Virginia. Please pray that many will attend and that they will make decisions to walk through the “Open Doors of Opportunities” that God has for them. Also, a big ministry need right now is for volunteer help in the technical and networking areas, especially help for setting up a VPN (virtual private network) at the SWM office. If you know someone who is qualified and interested in helping, please let SWM know.
Jim and Terry Bracelin will conduct a Fantastic Saturday in Gloucester City, New Jersey, and a Deaf Day in Thompson, Connecticut. They will also present their ministry in Owego, New York. They request your prayer for the Lord to go before and behind them, making their work profitable.
Reed and Donna Condra ask prayer for more couples to attend their classes and for wisdom as the Condras seek to ground them in the Word of God.
Paul and Rachel Strosnider ask your prayer for the salvation of Joe, Ivan, Kate, Mrs Nicholson, Jim, and Madison. Please pray also for the Lord’s direction in choosing leadership for the new Deaf ministry in St Charles. In November, they will be hosting a SWM Fantastic Saturday, and their church will be packing Christmas shoe boxes for needy children who need the Gospel.
Bruce and Amanda Stuart have meetings scheduled in Georgia and South Carolina. They also look forward to representing Silent Word Ministries International at Ambassador Baptist College. Please pray for them as they challenge students about missions and having a “big vision for ministry.”
SWM asks prayer 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.
SWM Missionaries needing more support: Jon Barr, Tabitha Beam, David Bennett, Nicole Condra, Reed Condra, Larry Galyen, Bud Ring, Jay Savelle, Paul Strosnider, Bruce Stuart, and SWM home office.
“Thanksgiving a Time to Think and Thank!”
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