There was laughter much laughter. There was waving, table pounding, shoulder tapping, and laughter. There were puzzled expressions, nods of understanding, excited recognitions, and laughter much laughter. I'm describing the monthly "silent supper" enjoyed by members of the sign language class at my congregation.
The only thing silent about our supper is our voices. When we enter the restaurant, just as when we enter class, we turn off our voices and rely on our ASL (American Sign Language) skills and miming abilities to communicate. We have the BEST time!
We are fortunate to have deaf members within our congregation, along with several very accomplished interpreters. For over a year now, these ladies have worked with our group for one hour every Sunday evening before services to study and practice communicating in ASL. In addition to learning a valuable skill, we have also enjoyed each other's fellowship, and we now share a special bond forged by the experiences we've encountered. Most important, we're becoming better prepared to fulfill God's command to go and proclaim the gospel as recorded in Mark 16:15.
We have a great mission field right here in our own backyards. More than 15 million people in the United States have a hearing loss of some degree.  Nearly 2 million people in the United States are considered deaf.  American Sign Language is the fourth most commonly used language in the United States, after English, Spanish, and Italian. 
Our Lord's command to go and proclaim the gospel applies to all mankind not just those who can hear. There is no exclusionary clause for the deaf included in verses we know and quote so easily: Romans 3:23 - all men sin. Romans 6:23 the wages of sin is death. The plan of salvation applies to all people (deaf included). The path to destruction (Matthew 7:13) is just as wide for the deaf as for the hearing.
Can you teach a deaf friend what he or she must do to be saved? Can you encourage a deaf brother or sister to remain strong and faithful? Can our deaf brothers and sisters enjoy the uplifting that worship and fellowship provides us? Using and understanding ASL provides the ability to communicate with many, many lost souls, and it also allows the opportunity to exhort and fellowship with our deaf brothers and sisters. Ministering to the deaf community is a wonderful work and an outreach that is often overlooked.
, ,  Signing for Kids, Mickey Flodin, 1991, p. 9. firstname.lastname@example.org
(Note: Kimberly and her husband, Mark, worship with the Central Church of Christ in Martinsburg, WV where Mark serves as an elder. They have 2 sons, Joshua (18) and Jeremy (15). In addition to being an elder's wife, and caring for her home and family, Kimberly has taught children's and Ladies' Bible classes, works with the Bear Program, and has started interpreting worship services. She also works full-time as an analyst with the Internal Revenue Service in Martinsburg.)
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