United States of America:
SPECIAL COMMENTS ABOUT THE SDA DEAF HISTORY FROM JOHN BLAKE
I, John Blake, have been asked to write about how this SDA Deaf Ministry History came about. Some will remember my wife, Alberta, who was on both the NAD Deaf Committee and the 3ADM Board. Also, two of our four children are deaf. Alberta first trained as a teacher of the Hearing, then after Judy became deaf, Alberta took a one year teacher training program for the Deaf at the Maritime Inter-Provincial School for the Deaf in Amherst, NS. Later, we spent three years working with the (SDA) Christian Deaf Center (CDC) at Alpena, Arkansas. Gradually we became more and more involved in the SDA World of the Deaf.
One of our dear friends from CDC, Elder Arthur Griffith, discussed with my wife about having a history of SDA deaf work. Arthur gave pictures and some other materials to Alberta. She had hoped to write this history herself. However, her health situation became an increasing problem, and I could see that if this history was ever going to get written, I had better get involved. We agreed that I would do the basic “Writing” and she would be my ‘Editor”.
So we began to work on the project, collecting pictures and trying to think of ways to best cover this history. We got ideas from here and there. The history starts in the time of Ellen White and brings a dear deaf man, Brother Kimball, into contact with Ellen White. We don’t have a lot of information about deaf ministry over 100 years ago, but some, and we are grateful for that.
Someone may ask: “What about SDA Deaf Ministry in other countries outside of the USA and Canada”? That is a good question. Writing a ‘history’ like this can almost seem never ending, as SDA deaf history never stops. It may be that slowly we can write deaf history for different countries, one at a time. But first, we have felt it best to start with the materials we have had on hand.
As you may be aware, my wife Alberta went into long term care, and then broke her hip, passing away in July 2019. I have now remarried and my wife, Ngaere, is now helping me with different phases of ministry.
Dr. Larry Evans, the Possibility Ministries Director under Elder Wilson at the General Conference, has a copy of this history and has given his blessing to this project. We had two long time deaf ministry workers, Elders’ Thompson Kay and George Belser, go through the script. Since much of the material in the history is from people’s memories, there may be some facts which need correction. If so, please write me, John Blake, and help us make a correction.
Our prayer is that God’s name may be honored and that ministry to Deaf be inspired to grow and develop strongly as the Lord leads by His Holy Spirit!