Signing for Souls
By Julia Bray
Together hearing and deaf can win the lost to Jesus. We must reach out to the lost deaf people and tell them who Jesus is.
We at the First Pentecostal Church in Lexington, Tennessee (Pastor Bobby Beecham), are really excited! We have three deaf people that come all the time and some that visit on different occasions.
Frankie Dyer received the Holy Ghost and was baptized in Jesus name in 2004 in Beech Bluff’s Deaf Conference. Brother Richmond came to our church and did a Bible study with our deaf and taught a class on Sunday morning and preached the Sunday morning worship service. We had several deaf visitors to attend this service. This was enjoyed by all as this was a new experience for the majority of our church for the hearing to have an interpreter. Danny and Vicki Parker received the Holy Ghost in a youth revival in February 2005. After Danny received the Holy Ghost, God gave him a beautiful vision about baptism in Jesus’ name. Danny and Vicki were both baptized the following Sunday. Having them in our services has made a great impact on our church. The deaf in our church many times have blessed our hearts in signing of songs and with words of encouragement and obeying God’s leading in service. Such as, “When I say 1, 2, 3 tell Jesus – I love You from deep in your heart.” Everyone did that. Then he said after leaning forward with his hand cupped around his ear, “Jesus not hear that, you not tell Him from deep in your heart. Try again. Are you ready? 1, 2, 3, I Love You. Jesus!” You could feel it in the atmosphere the difference when people meant it from their heart. People’s hearts were touched. Some were filled with the Holy Ghost and one was filled with the Holy Ghost and baptized that night. They are a real blessing to our church. We are really excited about what God is doing in the lives of the deaf here in our church. But, we are not satisfied with just these three and no more. We are trying to reach as many deaf as we can for the Kingdom of God.
On March 31 – April 2, 2006 the Anointed Signs of Praise Deaf Ministry of the First Pentecostal Church of Lexington, hosted a Signing for Souls Deaf Conference. It was awesome! Brother Mallory Richmond, a deaf preacher from Greenville, Mississippi, preached the night services and taught the deaf class during the day. Sister Sandra Hester, Mississippi UPC State Coordinator taught a class for interpreters on Saturday and voiced for Brother Richmond. Camden Christian Academy’s Sign Class, Decaturville Pentecostal Church Sign Team, Dyersburg Pentecostal Church Sign Team, and Melissa Hopper, of Palestine Pentecostal Church, came and participated in the services. The Anointed Signs of Praise Sign Team and the deaf people, of Lexington, also participated in these services in various manners. While the songs were being signed and the Word of God was being preached, you could feel the anointing of God move throughout the place. The church was full of deaf and hearing coming together to learn more about Jesus and signing, and to worship God. Sister Hester’s class was very informative and interesting for the hearing. And the Bible study class for the deaf taught by Brother Richmond was very helpful to the deaf people. Deaf people, interpreters, people interested in deaf ministry , sign teams, from all over Tennessee, Arkansas, Michigan, and Mississippi came to be a part of our first deaf conference. It was a great success. Plans are being made for A.S.O.P. Signing for Souls Deaf Conference 2007.
Together hearing and deaf can win the lost to Jesus. We must reach out to the lost and deaf people and tell them who Jesus is. Many deaf people don’t even know who you are talking about when you talk about Jesus. Many of them have not been told about a Savior that was born and His life for them on Calvary. Many of them don’t even know that there is hope in Jesus. The deaf people are the last culture to be reached with the Word of God. It would be awesome if all our churches in Tennessee opened their hearts and their doors to these people. Many of these people have been shunned, ridiculed, and pushed around, mostly because they are not understood by others. We are Christians, that means we are to be Christ-like. We must be like Christ and reach out to the lost deaf people hear in Tennessee. They have situations and hearts that are wounded and many times feel excluded from society. Oh, but when a deaf person walks through the doors of your church and you have someone who can interpret for them and people show them the love of Christ, you can watch as God starts talking to their hearts and see the tears fill their eyes when they fully understand and realize who Jesus is and What He came to do here on earth. You can watch the expressions on their face while you tell them, about God’ love for them, and they understand there is someone who knows exactly how they feel. As you watch God unfold this rose, you see God do a work as they repent and then God opens their understanding to baptism in Jesus’ name. As you watch God fill them with the Holy Ghost, you get so caught up in the miracle that is happening before your eyes and as you hear them speak in that heavenly language and you see the expression on their face change, it is so awesome that you can’t help but lose yourself in rejoicing and worshipping God for what He has done. You even forget that there are other people around. Then as they slowly start growing in God, as they start clapping their hands, signing the songs, and raising their hands in worship unto God in the services, studying His Word, praying, and participating in church, and sharing with other deaf people about Jesus, you can’t help but thank God for the burden to reach the deaf.
Oh, Tennessee, please awake out of Zion and get a burden to have a deaf ministry in your church and reach the deaf in your area. There is no church that is too small. What if you were deaf and not hearing – wouldn’t you want someone to reach for your soul and tell you about Jesus? If God is tugging at your heart and you don’t know where to start, give me a call, we will help you and put you in touch with others to help you get started. Don’t put it off! It’s ever too late to learn and let God use you for His glory. God will help you reach deaf people, but you must make the first step and say, “Lord, here I am, send me.” Who knows, maybe the next time you walk into Wal-mart and around the next aisle, there could be a deaf person that you could be a witness to and win them to Christ.
Just imagine on the Day of Judgment when the first words they hear is God calling their name and saying, “Enter in thy good and faithful servant into the joys of the Lord.” All because you reached out to a deaf person. Together, as a team, Tennessee Pentecostal Churches can win the deaf together.
Article “Signing for Souls” excerpted from “Pentecostal Voice of Tennessee”. Article written by Julia Bray.