Jessica McGowan Smith (left), Southern New England Conference Deaf Everywhere Are Family (DEAF) Ministry Coordinator, and SNEC member Jonathan Salomon (right) join Three Angels Deaf Ministries at the Connecticut Deaf Expo in Waterbury, CT, to share Jesus with the Deaf community.
About 1500 people in the Deaf community from all over the Northeast and beyond attended the Connecticut Deaf Expo in Waterbury, CT, on May 20 to meet friends, visit booths, watch exhibitors, and enjoy being in the Deaf world for a day. Jessica McGowan Smith, Southern New England Conference Deaf Everywhere Are Family (DEAF) Ministry coordinator, and SNEC member Jonathan Salomon supported Paul and Tina Kelly at the Three Angels Deaf Ministries (3ADM)/Deaf Bible School booth. Salomon enjoyed meeting people and sharing Jesus at his first Connecticut Deaf Expo.
The team from SNEC and 3ADM was happy to reconnect with people they had not seen since the start of COVID-19. Rekindling relationships made it seem like a family reunion! They informed attendees of the restart of the monthly DEAF Study meetings and about DEAF Camp for 2023. They also met many new people interested in Bible studies and Deaf Christian fellowship.
The 3ADM booth had a complete makeover with new banners, table drape, and handouts, including new Bible studies and the redesigned Deaf Messenger magazine. People were drawn to the new banner, which was large enough that the picture of Jesus and the words, “Jesus is Coming Again Soon! Are You Ready?” could be seen from across the room. This compelling question started many conversations and prompted people to ask for materials to share with others they want to reach for Jesus.
Pastor Paul Kelly (left), evangelist for Three Angels Deaf Ministry and manager for Deaf Bible School, Jessica McGowan Smith, and Jonathan Salomon interact with attendees and give away almost all their literature!
Individual connections with people were the highlight of the day. The team met a woman whose brother died the day before. She teared up as she spoke about his death and lamented that there would be no interpreter for the funeral. They hugged and reminded her of the blessed hope of Jesus’ soon coming, when there will be no more death, pain, or sadness. The team offered to pray for her and interpret for the funeral.
Another woman said she felt a strong urge to visit the 3ADM booth. This hearing woman attended to support her Deaf daughter, who also had a booth at the expo. She wanted to reach her three Deaf grandkids and her daughter for Jesus. The team told her about an upcoming Deaf Camp for kids in the Washington Conference and DEAF Camp at Camp Grotonwood, Massachusetts, on September 8 -10. When the woman brought her daughter to the booth, the team gave her the Bible Adventures Stories for Kids in Sign Language DVD and Bible studies designed for children.
Tina Kelly from Three Angels Deaf Ministry shares a DVD with an attendee.
The team distributed almost all the DVDs and Easy Reading books they brought, along with many Bible study materials. They also gave away all their DEAF Camp brochures. 3ADM brought Spanish materials for the booth and quickly gave them all away. People continued to ask for more, showing that there is a great need for Spanish and other language materials for the Deaf. The team was happy to point people to Deaf Bible studies that Francisca Trexler has translated into Spanish and materials available in Mexican Sign Language.
Several Deaf people came to the booth asking where the church was and where they could join them for worship. Unfortunately, there are no Adventist Deaf churches in Connecticut or anywhere in the Northeast. The team shared information about the monthly DEAF Bible Study and hope they can connect with them this way.
Organizers are already planning next year’s Deaf Expo in Massachusetts, and SNEC DEAF Ministry is looking forward to being there. Deaf Expos are a great opportunity to meet and reconnect with the Deaf community and share with people who may not have other opportunities to learn about Jesus. Please pray that God will bless the seeds that were sown!