The Good Stuff: Hand-delivered message from the pulpit

Profoundly deaf man hand delivers God's message


Every Sunday morning at 10:45, members of First Baptist Church of Benton prepare to listen to Pastor Robert Beadle lead them in worship. But on August 12, Brother Robert's seat was in a church pew right alongside the usual Sunday choir.

"It's really a beautiful story that only God can make," begins Steve Evans, who leads the church's deaf ministry.

On this particular Sunday, Steve says members of the church's deaf ministry will lead the worship and message instead. "Only 2 percent of the deaf in the world even experience hearing the Gospel one time," explains Steve. "That's 2 percent. That means there's a big need in the world to reach out and touch the deaf community."

Leading the worship team was 33-year-old Cody Campbell, who is profoundly deaf. "I feel a little bit nervous. This is my first time in front of a big audience," signs Cody.

He's never heard sound, having been born without the ability to hear.  But Cody says God made him the way he was supposed to be made.

"I'm very happy being deaf. It's just part of my identity."

Cody's father, Jim, says his son's path to the sanctuary podium seemed to reveal it's first subtle hint when Cody was only 3. "I about freaked out. He had gone and put three crosses on the wall and I said, 'Wow," remembers Jim. "I'm just proud of him being a follower of Christ."

Cody has assisted with Sunday school and children's ministries, but this is the first time he's taken the reigns over the spiritual message for the entire congregation.

"Here at our church, we've had the opportunity for the deaf to get involved in so many different things that don't normally happen," says Steve.

The deaf ministry also choreographed a dance they performed on the morning of First Baptist's special service.

As for Cody's message, "My sermon is going to be about the wisdom of man and the foolishness of man. The foolish man built his home on the sand. And the wise man built his house on the rock," signs Cody.

Cody married his life-long friend Melissa, who is also deaf. She performed with the choir for the Sunday service. They have to children, Zachary and Daniel.

"God has the power," explains Cody. "If he wants it, it will be successful. It doesn't matter where it is. Just follow him and you'll be successful. I trust Him."

You can learn more about First Baptist Church of Benton's involvement with the Open Hands Deaf Services, by clicking this link.

To find out more information about learning sign language, click this link for the Deaf Action Center of Shreveport.

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