By Laura Menefee
I am writing this because this is on my heart, and has been for many years. I also speak from experience. You see, for explanation purposes only, I am profoundly deaf and considered “hard-of-hearing” with my hearing-aid. But just because I speak very well (which is a gift from God, praise God!), don’t make any assumptions that I “function” like a hearing person.
My husband and I are pastors and ministers of the Gospel, and according to the Word, Mark 16:15 – “And he said unto them, Go ye into ALL the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (emphasis mine), that is what we are doing.
I am writing from my own experience, and I know many other deaf friends and there are thousands more around the world. So, I am not shooting down deaf people but am speaking from my own experience. The Bible says, Matthew 11:5 – “The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.” There are many deaf people that are proud to be deaf. I do know that there are some advantages to not hearing things such as sleeping through the night during thunderstorms, or if you’re out in public, hearing people overhear other people’s conversations and oftentimes don’t want to hear it because of bad language, negative talk, gossiping/rumors, slandering, and more. So, there is a small advantage to being deaf. But… God created humans with ears to hear. Why then would this be written in the Bible, that Jesus healed the deaf? I do not claim myself as calling myself as a deaf person. I do not want it because I desire to function as a hearing person, using the telephone, listening to CDs, talking to my husband in the dark, understanding heavy-accented people, being able to communicate with those I minister to more easily instead of depending my husband to interpret in sign language. I am trusting the Lord for manifestation of new ears and complete hearing in Jesus’ name! Hallelujah!
As a minister of the Gospel, I too, need to hear the Word of God, hear preachers (those in right-standing with the Word of God), and receive whatever the Lord has for me through these Ministers, Pastors, Evangelists, and even teachers. Teachers who also teach computer classes, or college classes, or anything. How do I receive the Word or the lesson if I don’t or cannot understand them? 1 Corinthians 15:1 – “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;” This Scripture brings me to the next Scripture which is: 2 Corinthians 4:3 – “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:” Now, I see many, many ministries, colleges, large businesses, that sponsors/funds many things such as sports, cancer research, increasing a campus for colleges or businesses, malls, and more. I am focusing on ministries in this blog. I am very thankful that there are several churches that do provide ASL (American Sign Language) interpreters and have some words on the screen during worship time. And am thankful that closed-captioning is provided on TV and on a few DVDs (ministries only).
The Gospel needs to get out and reach deaf people, just like everyone else. Mark 16:15 – “And he said unto them, Go ye into ALL the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” It is fabulous that ministries and churches grow as long as it stays in right standing with the Lord and His Word. I ask that all the churches and ministries stop being cheap and spending funds on all the lights and “entertainment” of worship, large plays (not referring to Easter, Passover, or Christmas). When Jesus preached the Gospel, there were no lights or cameras anywhere. He even spoke to 5,000 people without a microphone! God is amazing! Churches and ministries have oftentimes overlooked, or chose to ignore the needs of deaf people by providing inadequate ASL interpreters, putting all the words on the screen during worship time, and/or even using live captioning during the preaching. I have had my share of interpreters for many years. And my conclusion is this... I am not interested if an ASL interpreter has 5 different certifications or not. I have had interpreters that were “highly qualified” according to paper, but absolutely terrible at interpreting and their attitudes, too, were absolutely horrendous. I’ve had certified interpreters that were absolutely marvelous, too! I also have had non-certified ASL interpreters that were phenomenal and their hearts were there to serve the Lord and bless deaf people. And, I’ve also had non-certified interpreters that were also horrendous in their skills and attitudes.
Our vision is to provide other ministries qualified ASL interpreters who are Christian. These interpreters I hire would be serving the Lord and getting the much-needed Word to the deaf people. Many people do not realize that only about 2% of deaf people have heard of the Gospel. If anyone (hearing people) can go to any church/ministry at their own choosing (really, they should follow where the Lord leads them to go), then deaf people should be able to do the same. Why should they be forced to a limited number of ministries/churches because of the lack of ASL interpreters? If the Lord leads them to a particular ministry/church, then that ministry/church needs to step up to the plate and do their best to provide a way for deaf people to receive salvation, deliverance, restoration, healing, and be constantly fed the Word of God as much as they want to. Now, I do understand that some ministries/churches are uneducated and don’t know how to do this. This is where I step in. I would like to be the “go-to” person and help them get their much-needed qualified interpreters there. The same thing goes for conferences and meetings, ASL interpreters are needed there as well.
If you would like to partner with us and our vision, please go to our Sow a Seed page on this website and let’s get this ball rolling! God will bless you for sowing into GPI to get the Gospel out to all people.
Occasionally Pastors Eric and Laura will write as the Lord leads them. There may be prophetic words or insights and revelation that have come to them. They share these with the intention that someone would be blessed and encouraged or admonished, something we all need once in a while.