Greetings brothers and sisters in the Lord!
For the last few months we have been organizing our next trip to Leon. Our team is assembled, plane tickets are being purchased, and we are looking to fly to Houston and then to Leon on June 21st. Teaching topics have been assigned to the five “speakers”, housing arrangements and transportation issues are being addressed. Everything seems to be coming together and the Lord is once again blessing the work of our hands (Psalm 90:17).
As you may recall, we had evangelistic meetings last August at Jesus the True Vine Presbyterian Church. Pastor Abel Plata and his congregation were exceptionally hospitable, tending to the many needs of our team. I asked Pastor Abel if he would write a few words for our newsletter and here is what he said:
The church “Jesus la Vid Verdadera” (Jesus the True Vine) and the Deaf of León
We give thanks to God that he has permitted us in this last year to become aware of something that we were missing in our church. We had not been doing anything to minister to Deaf people because we were not aware of this issue and because there was no one in our congregation that knew sign language. But we have discovered that in the city of León there are many people with this disability and we had not been doing anything. We want to support our Deaf friends, and therefore we are committed to begin the following actions:
1) Learn Mexican Sign Language. A few in our congregation are already convinced of this need and have started to take classes to learn.
2) We have decided to support the work of Grace Deaf Missions that is taking place in the city of León.
3) We have set apart some space in our facility so that every Sunday a group of the Deaf can meet and take part in teaching that is provided by the missionary Robert Morgret.
4) In the future, when this group grows considerably, we would like to integrate them into our services with interpreters who will present the service in Mexican Sign Language.
In the same way in which Jesus did not look down upon anyone because of having leprosy, or being blind, deaf or mute, He is moving us to support these people who also need to know the love of God and the work of Jesus Christ on the cross that benefits the incapacitated. We give thanks to God that He is moving us to complete this mission that belongs to every Christian (not just specialists) to help and care for the needy, especially by bringing them the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
May God bless our brothers and sisters of Grace Deaf Missions
What a blessing Pastor Abel is to us! The Lord is using Grace Deaf Missions and Jesus la Vid Verdadera to minister the gospel to the Deaf in Leon, a place where, as far as we know, there is no biblical witness for the Deaf community. We also have an invitation to visit Mexico City to meet several pastors there regarding Deaf ministry. So please continue to pray for us. If you are able to help us financially, that would also be a great help. Our departure date for Leon is June 21st. We hope to have five nightly meetings of about two hours each to instruct the Deaf in the word of God. If you know of any churches, groups, or individuals that would like to know more about Grace Deaf Missions, please feel free to pass along this newsletter to them.
Grace and peace to you all!
Keith and Sharon Doster for the Grace Deaf Missions Team which includes:
The Dosters and Robert Morgret, Alberto Alcantar and Ivan Perea (LSM Interpreters), Kevin Hamilton, Toby Welch, Dale Kesterson, Samuel Marsh (Deaf pastor/teachers), Jonathan Marsh, and Pastor Abel Plata and his wonderful congregation.
During our meetings last August in Leon, Maria sat on the front row during our Sunday morning church service. She was very attentive and even refrained from taking communion when the Elder explained that only genuine believers should participate in the remembrance of their Savior’s death for them.
After the last meeting was over Maria approached Kevin. She was anxious to have him explain more about forgiveness of sins and Jesus’ sacrifice for sinners. As Kevin signed the magnificent story of God’s mercy and grace it was obvious Maria was deeply affected.
A week later, Maria went to Alberto’s house. She said her son was very angry with her for attending Baptist meetings (in a Presbyterian church, no less)! She asked Alberto what she should do. With wisdom from God Alberto replied, “It doesn’t matter what your son thinks or what I think you should do. What’s important is, what does God want you to do?”
Alberto explained that it was the Holy Spirit working in her heart to help her understand and believe the truth about Jesus. As the visit was coming to a close, Maria told Alberto she had suffered from painful, swollen legs for quite some time. Alberto told her to ask God to heal her legs.
Two days later, Maria returned to Alberto with wonderful news. “I believe now! Jesus died for me, to forgive me. I have accepted the Holy Spirit into my life.” And the Lord had healed her legs as well!
Alberto was witness to the dramatic change in Maria’s life! Maria’s spiritual birth took place during the last week of August. The last week of November, Alberto called to tell us Maria had died, apparently from an abdominal infection.
Our hearts are filled with both sadness and rejoicing in knowing Maria is in the presence of her newfound Lord. We are also filled with wonder that Grace Deaf Missions had a part in helping a Deaf, Mexican woman understand the gospel before her death.
And you, dear friend are a huge part of the work the Lord is doing in Leon. You have prayed and given generously so that those who walk in darkness might see the great light of the Gospel. Thank you.
Some recent highlights:
• Robert moved to Leon and stayed with Alberto’s family for 2 months but recently moved into a house and is quite happy.
• A Sunday afternoon Bible study as been poorly attended by the Deaf. We have discovered that many of them work on Sundays or don't have transportation. Robert has attended quite a few Deaf functions which might be the best way, for now, to establish friendships and share the Gospel.
• The “president” (aka Mayor) of Leon is a close friend of Alberto’s sister and has visited their home on numerous occasions. Alberto has asked her for help in finding a suitable place for his school, (he has been teaching in the courtyard of his mother’s house).
• Finally, we are in the planning stages of our second evangelistic outreach for Leon in March. Lots of details remain to be worked out but we hope to have an even better response from the Deaf community than we saw in August.
Again, we thank you for your continued interest in our work in Leon. And we are hoping for an opportunity to begin a work at some point in Mexico City. The scope of this work is huge. According to one source, approximately 80% of all the Deaf in Mexico are in Mexico City. We need to figure out a way to get there! And we need people who are willing to go there and work in this inherently difficult “people group” because of the considerable communication problems that exist.
We still dream of the day when we will have a “real” school for the Deaf and a “real” Deaf church in Leon. But the Lord knows what He’s about. We sow the seed, and wait for Him to give the increase. We have already seen His hand at work in Maria’s life. Pray with us that He might draw many more to Himself and continue to use us and allow us to participate in His harvest among the Deaf.
Grace and peace and Happy Incarnation Day!
Keith and Sharon Doster
for the Grace Deaf Missions Team
It’s hard to believe more than a month has already passed since we were in Leon, Mexico! Some of you have already heard reports of our trip and others are still waiting to hear. So, please forgive any repetitions as we try to highlight our first Grace Deaf Missions trip.
As you know from past newsletters, 8 of us flew from the US to spend 5 days in Mexico. Some of the team members had never met before and we really didn’t know what to expect once we arrived in Leon. But, as we have seen since the very beginning, the Lord had prepared the way for us.
Our very gracious host, Pastor Abel met us at the airport. He was our primary chauffeur, translator and guide for the week. His church, Jesus La Vid Verdadera (Jesus is the True Vine) was the location for our meetings and Sunday morning worship. On the second day, as we sat across the table from him, (eating an authentic Mexican meal provided by some of the women in the church) Pastor Abel said, “Any time you want to come back, this is your home.”
Along with the 8 team members from the US, Alberto and Ivan made 10. Both young men are Mexican, Deaf and fluent in both Mexican Sign Language (LSM) and American Sign Language (ASL). For each meeting, (even in basic conversations) we needed multiple interpreters for the 4 languages being used. At times it was pretty confusing!
In anticipation of our first meeting on Saturday morning, some of us wondered if anyone would show up. Alberto had personally invited quite a few of his Deaf friends and a group had gone out on Friday night, inviting more to come, but we had no way of knowing who would show up. Actually, the meetings were very well attended, with an average of 25 Deaf adults for each session. For our first missions trip, that was outstanding! We were all very encouraged and perhaps Pastor Abel the most.
When we arrived at the church on Saturday morning, we noticed a young man with a backpack slung over his shoulder, sitting on the curb. We weren’t sure if he was homeless or just hoping for some money, until he stood up and started signing. Edgar rode the bus all night, arrived in Leon and had been waiting for us since 5:30 AM! He had seen Alberto’s Facebook comment about Grace Deaf Missions coming to Leon and he wanted to be there. Edgar is a lover of Jesus, but he starves for Christian fellowship.
Berto is a single, Deaf man, trying to support his mother. 3 months ago, he had come to Alberto’s home, begging for help. His mother had recently had a stroke and didn’t have any money to see a doctor or buy medication. Berto himself, had not eaten for 3 days. Alberto gave him some food, found a job for him and talked to him about Jesus. When he found out that we were coming to Leon, he couldn’t wait for us to explain more of this wonderful news to him. During our 2 days of meetings, Berto’s face shone with joy. A simple gift of white athletic socks brought tears to his eyes. He knew they were really a gift from God.
During the last session on Sunday night, Pastor Kevin Hamilton did an excellent job of explaining repentance from sin, faith and obedience to Christ. As always there was a question and answer time after the meeting. Ernesto stood and signed for the whole group, “We believe what you have told us. We know that we need to turn from our sins. We know that God’s Word is important for us to understand. But who will teach us? We have no Deaf churches, no interpreters, no one. What will we do? When are you coming back?” As we watched this man express the frustration of them all, our hearts ached for those who had been neglected for so long. But we were able to share some wonderful news with them as well; Robert was planning to move to Leon! What an enthusiastic reaction we witnessed as the Deaf realized there would soon be someone coming who could teach them God’s Word.
While preparing this newsletter (10/6/12), Robert and Alberto are meeting in McAllen (TX). Tomorrow they will both drive to Leon, at least 12 hours, where Robert will find an apartment and begin his missionary work there. This has been a long time coming, but the way has obviously been prepared by the Lord for Grace Deaf Missions to work there.
Thank you for praying for the Deaf in Leon. We have seen the Lord do amazing things, as we’ll share in upcoming letters. Please pray for Grace Deaf Missions as we plan our next trip to Mexico. If the Lord allows, we’d like to return in January. We’ll keep you posted.
Thank you for being such an encouragement to us.
In His hands,
Keith and Sharon,
Grace Deaf Missions
We’re beginning to feel like we work for NASA! It is now less than a week before launch and we’re counting down the hours to our blast off for Leon, Mexico. The goal of this mission? The proclamation of the biblical gospel of Jesus Christ to the Deaf in a language they can understand. Some will be “hearing” this message for the very first time in their lives by seeing it explained through Mexican Sign Language (LSM).
Sharon and I don’t know LSM. Nor do the two deaf pastors going with us. Nor does Robert Morgret, our missionary. But we have interpreters. Pictured below with Robert are our good friends Ivan Perea (center) and Alberto Alcantar (right). They are both Mexican, deaf, and bi-lingual. They will be interpreting American Sign Language into Mexican Sign Language for the Deaf who attend our meetings.
These two young men are responsible to accurately translate into LSM what is being preached and taught in ASL. We have no way at this point of knowing if their translation will be entirely accurate or not. We trust that will not always be the case. We hope to become more proficient in LSM in the days and years ahead. But in all translations, spoken or signed, there are always discrepancies and inaccuracies which need to be addressed. In this situation, four languages will be spoken and signed simultaneously: ASL, LSM, English and Spanish. A perfect storm for misinterpretation.
However, as we look back through the years that have led us to this event, as someone once said, “God’s fingerprints are all over this!” We are confident the Lord has led us to this specific task. Recently, Robert told us he is convinced the Lord has prepared him throughout his entire life to be a missionary to the Deaf in Mexico.
On Thursday, ten of us will converge at George Bush International Airport in Houston and fly together to meet Alberto and Pastor Abel Plata in Leon. There, we will make our final preparations for two days of meetings designed to communicate the great news of the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ for the salvation of all who believe. But without the work of the Holy Spirit enabling us, without His power working in the hearts and minds of the Deaf (and the Hearing), nothing of any spiritual significance will be accomplished. So pray with us to that end. We fully expect the Lord to answer our prayers!
Thank you for all the encouragement you’ve sent our way through notes, financial gifts, face to face conversations, phone calls, and everything else. We are very pleased to be the people the Lord has seen fit to use for this task. We’re absolutely incompetent in our own strength. But by God’s enabling grace, we become, in a sense, infallible. He will certainly accomplish all His purposes and we get the astounding privilege of being the means through which He does His work.
Lord willing, we will return on August 28th. We hope and expect to bring back good news of God’s miraculous granting of repentance,
faith, forgiveness of sins, eternal life, and a new heart to many Deaf people in Leon. Stay tuned!
Grace and peace,
Keith Doster, for the Grace Deaf Missions Team: Keith and Sharon, Robert Morgret, Alberto Alcantar & Ivan Perea, Kevin Hamilton & Dale Kesterson (Deaf ASL pastors), Donna Cook & Melissa Gentner (Spanish translators), and Jonathan Marsh (ASL interpreter), along with Pastor Abel Plata and the hospitable congregation of Jesus is the True Vine Presbyterian Church in Leon, Guanajuato, Mexico.
Yesterday (7/15) Sharon and I had the privilege of worshiping with our brothers and sisters at Reformed Baptist Church in Lewisburg, PA. It was such a blessing to introduce many of them to the work of Grace Deaf Missions. Pastor Les Clemens was away, so I also had the joy of preaching to his congregation on the topic of our adoption by God. That message has become a great blessing to me personally and hopefully it has been an encouragement to others as well.
In Acts 18, as the Apostle Paul was making his way from Macedonia to Corinth, as was his custom, he went to the synagogue to teach. And as was the custom with the Jews, they opposed and reviled him. But many of the Corinthians believed the gospel. Then we read these curious words:
And the Lord said to Paul one night in a vision, “Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in this city who are my people.” (Acts 18:9&10 ESV)
I cannot help but think the Lord has many Deaf people in Leon who are His. Many who will become our brothers and sisters as the Lord saves them so that he might adopt them as His own sons and daughters. It has been amazing to watch the Lord make our path straight all the way to Mexico. So many details have fallen into place that it is evident God is orchestrating this work. We believe He has Deaf people in Leon and He is using us to take His Gospel to them.
Melissa Gentner is one of our translators. She is a member Grace Fellowship and has considerable experience ministering in Mexico. She is fluent in Spanish and will serve as an interpreter for Sharon and me, along with Sharon’s sister Donna. Melissa will also be taking along her 6-month old daughter, Sarah. Hopefully, little Sarah’s passport will arrive very soon so please be in prayer for them both.
Our journey to Mexico begins on August 23. Last week, Pastor Samuel Marsh informed us he will not be able to make this trip. That was disappointing, but it reminds us that we are absolutely dependent upon the Lord in this endeavor. Samuel’s son, Jonathan, will be joining us and serving as an additional ASL interpreter for the three “speakers” for the conference: Pastor Kevin Hamilton, Robert Morgret, myself. We will each be responsible for two 1-hour sessions. I have never preached or taught extensively in Sign Language. So this has become a bigger challenge than we first anticipated. Please pray.
Finally, the Lord has raised up numerous friends to support this trip financially. A huge relief and a huge blessing! But please remember, we are not planning a single summer missions trip. We hope to establish Grace Deaf Missions as an ongoing work. A school for Deaf children? An orphanage? Formal missionary training for hearing and deaf students to do church-planting work? There is a huge amount of work to be done. Will you continue to work with us and pray for us?
The Lord has people in the city of Leon, Deaf brothers and sisters who will “hear” the gospel for the first time in just a few weeks. We look forward to seeing the great things He will do.
Grace and peace,
Keith Doster, for the Grace Deaf Missions Team: Keith and Sharon, Robert Morgret (our missionary), Alberto Alcantar (coordinator in Leon), Kevin Hamilton (our Deaf evangelist), Donna Cook and Melissa Gentner (Spanish translators), and Jonathan Marsh (ASL interpreter).
We never know how the Lord may use us for His purposes. Thirty years ago, I never would have imagined that one day I would be going to Mexico to share the Good News of the Gospel with the Deaf. Working among the Deaf never crossed my mind. I never would have imagined that one day I would learn American Sign Language or that I would be a part of a ministry like Grace Deaf Missions. We never know all the plans the Lord has in store for us. Even after our lives in this world are finished, God often continues to use us for His purposes and glory.
That is the case with Mr. Glenn Sieben. Mr. Sieben went home to be with the Lord last year at the age of 97. But the Lord was not finished with him. Because he left an inheritance to his niece, a long-time friend of Sharon’s and mine, Grace Deaf Missions has been given a very generous gift to help us on our way to Mexico.
Our friend gave this gift in honor of her uncle because Mr. Sieben suffered from serious hearing loss. Through his service to our country during World War II, her uncle's hearing diminished the rest of his life. Our friend felt her uncle would be pleased to help Grace Deaf Missions take the message of salvation to people who cannot hear.
We do not take this kind of generosity and trust lightly. We realize we are asking fellow believers to fund this work. When we receive a financial gift from you, regardless of its size, it is both encouraging and humbling. You not only believe the gospel is the power of God unto salvation for all who believe, but you are also trusting us to take that gospel to those who cannot “hear” it except through their eyes. Thank you for trusting us. We expect to bring reports of God’s faithfulness in answer to your prayers.
We hope this trip to Leon in August will be the first of many. And just like we don’t know how the Lord might use us after death, we don’t know exactly how He intends to use us now. I can foresee a day when Grace Deaf Missions has a Deaf church in Leon and we are teaching hearing missionaries Mexican Sign Language so they might live there to minister to the Deaf on an ongoing basis, Lord willing.
Recently, our treasurer reported that we have approximately $5700 in our Mission to Mexico account. That provides for the majority of our immediate need. But this is just the beginning. However the Lord chooses to use us as laborers in His harvest field in the future, we will go as often as possible and do as much as we’re able as you enable us to do so with your gifts. But whatever the Lord provides, we pray He will help us use it responsibly and wisely for the sake of his kingdom and for His glory.
Thank you, Uncle Glenn. Thank you, friends. And thank you, Lord, for giving us this good work to do. Bless the work of our hands.
Grace and peace,
Keith Doster, for the Grace Deaf Missions Team: Keith and Sharon, Robert Morgret (our missionary), Alberto Alcantar (coordinator in Leon), Kevin Hamilton and Samuel Marsh (our Deaf evangelists), Donna Cook and Melissa Gentner (Spanish translators).
Greetings from Grace Deaf Missions! The time is drawing near for us to start packing our bags for Mexico. The plan is to fly to Houston on Thursday August 23rd and then to Leon for two days of evangelistic meetings on the following Saturday and Sunday. Then we’ll return home on Tuesday the 28th, Lord willing. The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps (Proverbs 16:9 ESV). We’re trusting the Lord to establish our steps as we make plans to head south.
In anticipation of our trip, and so you know how and who to pray for, I’d like to introduce you to one of our Mission to Leon team members, Donna Cook.
Hi! I'm Sharon Doster's sister, Donna Cook. Sharon and I were blessed to be raised in a Christian family. We were taught from the Bible that God loves us so much that He was willing to do what it took to make us right with Him by sending His Son to live a perfect life in our place and then take our sin and guilt and the punishment we deserved so that, when we trusted Him as our Savior, God would forgive us and accept us as his children and give us eternal Life!
The Lord has given us the immense privilege and opportunity to share this good news with many, many people who have never heard it. Among those are the Deaf, a huge unreached people group who have extremely rare opportunities to "hear" it, especially in other countries.
I've been invited to join the Grace Deaf Missions team going to Leon, Mexico, in August because my family and I were missionaries in Latin America for many years. We expect there will be Spanish-speaking family members or friends who will accompany the Deaf to the conference and we want them to be able to understand the good news being shared in Mexican Sign Language. The Bible says, "Faith comes by hearing and hearing through the word of Christ".
That is exactly right: Faith does come by hearing. But the Deaf can’t hear. For them, saving faith is heard when the gospel is communicated through sign language. They “hear” the gospel with their eyes, and they understand the gospel by the power of the Holy Spirit working upon their hearts and minds, just like the rest of us.
In our last letter, we estimated our outstanding financial need to be between $5000 and $6000. Through a few special gifts we’ve received recently, we now have almost $1500 towards that need. If you can help with the remaining $4500 within the next few weeks, it would certainly be greatly appreciated. Sharon received her passport in three weeks (!), and we’re hoping to purchase plane tickets by July 1. So pray with us and ask the Lord to provide in His perfect timing. Thank you for all your help and encouragement!
Grace and peace,
Keith Doster, for the Grace Deaf Missions Team: Keith and Sharon, Robert Morgret (our missionary), Alberto Alcantar (coordinator in Leon), Kevin Hamilton (our Deaf evangelist), Donna Cook and Melissa Gentner (Spanish translators).
Greetings from Grace Deaf Missions!
April was a busy month for us. We attended the John Bunyan Conference in Lewisburg, PA and the Green Mountain Baptist Association Spring Meeting in Whiting, VT. We also had a wonderful visit with our brethren at Reformed Bible Church in West Rutland, VT.
Time is short! Lord willing, two pastors from Deaf Reformed Ministries, Kevin Hamilton and Toby Welch, will accompany us to Leon in August. Alberto Alcantar will be traveling to Houston from Leon in June to meet Kevin and Toby to discuss the evangelistic meetings in more detail. As of the time of this writing, we have approximately three months to make final preparations for our first venture to the Deaf of Leon, Mexico with the gospel. Sharon is getting her passport, we’ll be purchasing plane tickets soon, and Alberto will handle our housing accommodations.
Apart from continued prayer for the Lord’s blessing upon us, all that remains is to gather the finances to make this a reality. We do not yet have the funds needed for our travel expenses. Previously, we have assumed that all who receive this letter understand Grace Deaf Missions needs regular financial support. So we have not asked repeatedly for what you already know we need. But now the time has come for us to make the reservations, purchase the plane tickets, etc. Our current financial situation will not allow it. We estimate our immediate need to be between $5000 and $6000 to cover these costs.
For those of you who have given in the past to support this work, we sincerely thank you. We don’t take that for granted especially in these economically challenging times. Please pray for our remaining needs. Ask the Lord to supply as He sees fit. If you could send a gift today, it will be put to good use immediately.
And pray for the Deaf in Mexico. They need to “hear” the Gospel. Thank you for your partnership in this effort to enable the Deaf of Mexico to see with their eyes and understand with their hearts the gospel in their own language.
Grace and peace,
Keith Doster, for the Grace Deaf Missions Team: Keith and Sharon, Robert Morgret (our missionary), Alberto Alcantar (coordinator in Leon), Kevin Hamilton and Toby Welch (our Deaf evangelists), Donna Cook and Melissa Gentner (Spanish translators).
As you can see from our new logo, we’ve been working hard to get organized. Over the past few months, the Lord has supplied all the right people and all the finances necessary to get literature, prayer cards, business cards, a basic table display, and even some really nice shirts designed and produced. This is all part of our effort to promote the work of Grace Deaf Missions. Appearance isn’t everything, but a nice appearance can certainly be beneficial. We hope you like our new look.
Today Sharon reminded me of how faithful the Lord has been to surround us with the very people we need to get this work done. The graphics work was done by a friend who lives down the street from us. We’ve known her for several years, but we never knew she was a graphics artist until recently. And she lives within sight of our house! Tammy’s work is excellent, and her price has been far more than reasonable. She is a sister in the Lord and has done a great job for us. God is so good!
Then, there’s our friend who owns a printing business. He and I have worked together in the past on several construction projects. But now he’s pursuing his goal of having his own print shop. Kody is a brother in the Lord, and he and his wife Cindy have contributed financially to Grace Deaf Missions. They believe in what we’re trying to do. Again, the Lord has provided in ways we did not anticipate!
And then there is the young lady in our church who is fluent in Spanish! Melissa hopes to be an interpreter for us when we travel to Leon in August. It is remarkable that in our little fellowship of about 20 people, we have someone who knows Spanish so well and is so eager to help!
Finally, Sharon’s sister Donna has been led of the Lord to serve as our second interpreter. For nearly 30 years she was a missionary with her husband in several Spanish-speaking countries until he went home to be with the Lord in 2004. She has desired to be involved in missions once again, and now the Lord has given her this opportunity to serve Him with Grace Deaf Missions.
It is astounding to see the Lord provide all the people we need in order to do the work He has called us to do! Alberto Alcantar is in Leon making all the arrangements for our evangelistic meetings. Robert Morgret continues to prepare for ministry in Kentucky and is traveling and talking with the Deaf pastors who will be accompanying us and preaching. And YOU, dear friends! You are making all of this possible with your gifts. God is answering your prayers for us. Obviously!
Thank you once again for your continued support and encouragement as we follow the Lord’s leading to take the Gospel of the saving grace of God to the Deaf of Mexico.
Grace and peace,
Keith, for the entire Grace Deaf Missions team
Greetings, friends for the Deaf!
During the month of November our missionary to Mexico, Robert Morgret, spent three weeks in Leon with our good friend and Mexican Sign Language teacher, Alberto Alcantar. It was a great time of fellowship for them both. In our conversations with Alberto, we have learned that there is no church family in Leon that he knows of where he could attend and be taught the Word of God. It’s not that there are no churches. There are plenty of churches. But no interpreters for the Deaf. There are very few provisions made for the Deaf anywhere in Mexico, whether it be in the churches or in the schools or anywhere else. In fact, on one occasion Alberto went to the local Office for the Disabled. They would not provide an interpreter for Alberto in order for him to have an appointment. He was told he had to supply his own interpreter. He doesn’t know of any.
So you can only imagine how little access the Deaf have to any truly biblical teaching. The Jehovah’s Witnesses are working hard among the Deaf in Mexico, as are other cults. But there are very, very few works aimed at taking the true, biblical, saving gospel message to the Deaf. That is why we are hoping to address that huge problem to the best of our ability and to the extent that our funds will allow. We pray the Lord will see fit to use Grace Deaf Missions as a means of providing access for the Deaf to the Lord Jesus through the preaching of the gospel using Mexican Sign Language.
Another interesting development which we’re seeing take place is the creation of a school for the Deaf. For all practical purposes, there are no Deaf schools in Mexico, according to what Alberto has told us. However, he has begun to make inroads in this direction. Unofficially, Alberto is already teaching a number of people, children and adults, hearing and Deaf. He teaches one hearing couple that lives 90 minutes away. He does all of this at his own expense with no help or reimbursement from the government (which is probably a good thing). But there is only so much one man can do, paying for it out of his own pocket. This is the kind of work we hope to encourage and support as we’re able. Alberto understands the need for someone to come alongside him to teach the Bible. Robert would like to be that man.
The picture you see here is an example of the kind of ministry we hope to have. The seven year old twins on the left, Jesus and Miguel, and their five year old brother on the right, Leonardo, are all deaf. Their parents are also deaf. Jesus is wearing dark glasses because he just had surgery on one eye. It is possible he will become blind in that eye. What will this little boy do if he becomes both deaf and blind? I am grateful to God for His mercy in sending Alberto and Robert to him to encourage him to look to the Lord Jesus as his Savior.
If the blessings the Deaf in America take for granted are completely beyond the reach of the Deaf of Mexico,
how far removed is the gospel?
This month we received an invitation from the Green Mountain Baptist Association of Vermont to attend their Spring Meeting in April in order to present a breakout session regarding our ministry to the Deaf. Please pray we will be well-received and the Lord would move others to join us in this seemingly impossible task. One of our immediate needs is for professionally-produced literature. If you know of people who could help us out in this area, it would be GREATLY appreciated!
As a final reminder, when sending your financial gifts, please make your check out to Grace Fellowship and on the memo line be sure to write “For Grace Deaf Missions”.
May the Lord bless you all as you celebrate the incarnation of our wonderful Savior!
Keith Doster and the Grace Deaf Missions Team
This morning I received a call from the Sorensen Video Relay Service. It was an American Sign Language interpreter speaking for our deaf friend Joanna, who lives a couple of miles away. Usually these calls are casual conversations, while at other times it may be a request for assistance in communicating with hearing people.
Today it was the latter. Joanna asked if I could come to their house and interpret for them. A couple of guys were installing a new wood stove in their basement and Joanna’s husband, Bill, had some questions for the installers. Thankfully this was one of those mundane, non-emergency situations and I was able to help.
This kind of scenario is totally foreign to the vast majority of the Deaf in Mexico. They do not have the magnificent luxury of a free Video Relay system at their disposal which allows them to see and talk to both deaf and hearing people as easily as you and I talk on the phone. Nor do they have interpreters or anyone else who knows Mexican Sign Language, including their parents, living in their neighborhoods. Nor do they own their own homes, a virtual impossibility. What I experienced with Bill and Joanna this morning is nearly beyond the imagination of multitudes of Deaf people in Mexico.
If the everyday blessings the Deaf in America take for granted are completely beyond the reach of the Deaf of Mexico,
how far removed is the gospel?
Grace Deaf Missions is continuing to make plans for our first gospel outreach event next year. The tentative plan at this point is to have some evangelistic meetings in the city of Leon. Leon is about 8 hours northwest of Mexico City and is the home of our friend and Mexican Sign Language teacher, Alberto Alcantar.
On November 7th, Robert Morgret will be flying from Danville, Kentucky to Leon to spend three weeks with Alberto to “spy out the
land” so we will have a better idea how to plan for our outreach there in October of 2012, Lord willing. In the meantime, Sharon continues to study Mexican Sign Language three days a week with Alberto in Leon via Skype, while Robert continues his theological studies with our friend, Rev. Kevin Hamilton of Deaf Reformed Church in Danville. And they like to eat too, as you can see!
Please pray with us for the needed grace to do this good work in a manner that is pleasing to our heavenly Father. If you’re able to do so without neglecting the support of your own church, we would deeply appreciate your continued giving so that we might take the biblical gospel message to the Deaf of Leon. Be sure to make your check out to Grace Fellowship. A heart-felt “Gracias!” to you all for your past support of Grace Deaf Missions.
One final note: Our mailing address has changed slightly. Please be sure to mail any future gifts to PO Box 121 in Pine Grove Mills, PA - 16868.
Grace and peace,
Keith Doster, for the Grace Deaf Missions team!
As you can see from this letter, much has happened in recent days with our brother, Robert Morgret. You all should have received a letter in June from David Sitton of To Every Tribe Ministries explaining Robert’s transition. He is now a missionary with Grace Deaf Missions, a new organization we’ve begun as a ministry of our church, Grace Fellowship of Pine Grove Mills.
We are excited about what the Lord is doing! Anytime a new work begins, there are endless details to tend to in order to simply become operational. Over the last two months we have:
1. Consulted with an attorney regarding the legal ramifications of a new missionary outreach.
2. Gotten our banking “ducks in a row” in order to facilitate smooth transactions between us and those of you
who support this work financially. (And on that note, please make your checks payable to Grace Fellowship Church and be sure to write Grace Deaf Missions on the memo line.)
3. Created return receipts, mailing lists, address label templates, and this newsletter in order to keep in contact with you all more consistently.
4. Made lots of phone calls and written bunches of emails to answer your questions about Robert’s transitioning from To Every Tribe Ministries to Grace Deaf Missions.
5. Begun setting up our church website in order to accept funds electronically for Grace Deaf Missions.
6. Begun working with our good friend Alberto Alcantar in Mexico. He is teaching Sharon Mexican Sign Language via Skype five days a week (or as often as possible), one and one-half hours a day. A huge task, and a huge blessing! Sharon will eventually be teaching me LSM.
(So now you really know how to pray!)
7. Attended the annual Deaf Reformed Ministries Conference in Indianapolis which was excellent! (You can learn more about them at www.deafreformed.org)
8. Brought our entire church family on board to be the administrative support team for Grace Deaf Missions. (And started an American Sign Language class at church!)
We’ve been busy! Once we get situated to actually perform the work of running this ministry, then comes the planning of excursions into Mexico, the raising of additional funds to go there, the coordination of the outreach activities, etc., etc., etc. Lots and lots of work yet to do!
So please be patient with us as we slowly move ahead into unfamiliar territory. The Lord’s leading has been quite evident and we are happy to be a part of His plan to take the Gospel to people who have never heard it. But they won’t hear it from us either! By the Lord’s grace, they will see it through our hands and our faces and come to understand the greatness of our Savior as we communicate through Mexican Sign Language the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Grace and peace,
Keith Doster for the Grace Deaf Missions team