A largely unreached culture is all around us. Approximately one million people in the United States are functionally deaf. Many consider themselves part of Deaf culture (the capital D emphasizes their cultural identity), with their own language, history, and customs. Their native language is not English; they communicate fluently using American Sign Language (ASL). Ministry to the Deaf is literally ministry in a different language and to a different culture.
Calvin Farley believes that God prepared him for a special role in that kind of ministry. Since he was born deaf, he knows the challenges and rewards of being part of Deaf culture. He also had a brush with atheism, so he understands the value of creation apologetics.
In Deaf residential school, Calvin was greatly influenced by a science teacher who taught evolution and discounted Genesis. As a result, Calvin’s faith wavered for eight years, and he considered becoming an atheist or agnostic. When he finally found answers, he also found a new passion—to teach other Deaf Christians how to defend their faith.
When Calvin heard creation evangelist Ken Ham speak (through an ASL interpreter), he was thrilled to get answers to his many questions. That day he knelt down and said, “I’m so sorry for doubting you, God.” At that moment, he says, “God called me to be a teacher for the Deaf and to train Deaf people to learn how to defend their faith in Christ.”
While he works on a master’s degree in Deaf education, Calvin has been diligently studying apologetics and gaining practical experience as an adult Deaf Sunday school teacher at his church. He presented a four-hour workshop on Creation and the Flood to about 30 Deaf people at another church, and the Lord keeps opening doors to ministry. Recently he had the opportunity to share his “Relevance of Genesis” presentation at the Knoxville Center of the Deaf in Tennessee and to the Deaf congregation of First Baptist Church in Knoxville. In addition, Calvin created a Facebook page, Deaf Genesis Apologetics, where he posts news and brief teaching points related to the authority of Scripture.
Calvin is excited about the opportunity to give his “Relevance of Genesis” presentation on the next Deaf Day (October 10, 2015) at the Creation Museum near Cincinnati, Ohio. The annual Deaf Day event usually draws well over a hundred Deaf guests. Having a native ASL speaker who understands the relevance of creation will be a perfect fit.