I was born hearing in Chicago, Illinois. At the age of 3½, I contracted spinal meningitis and from that became Deaf. I lost all communication with my family and felt very isolated. As a result, my behavior, as you can imagine, was horrible. At the age of 11, my friend was talking about church. I wanted to go to this Deaf church to be with my friends. So I gave him my address, which he then gave to his bus captain. That Sunday I was on my way to the First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana.
After misbehaving on the bus ride home, a lady worker called me to the front of the bus and shared the Gospel with me. I remember that day receiving hope as I accepted Christ as my Saviour. During camp at the age of 12, I felt God was calling me to preach. I surrendered to His will and went forward. It wasn’t until high school that I really struggled with this decision. You see, I played football all four years. I was an all-star captain at a 6A school. I had many college scholarship offers. The University of Florida, the Gators, came to my school to recruit me. I really wrestled with this decision. A godly man came to me and offered his advice. He said if I went to play for the Gators, I might end up messing up my life; who knows? He continued by saying that if I went to Bible college, I could serve God. That struck me—serving God! I put aside all my scholarships and decided to go to Hyles-Anderson College.
It was my second year at college, during a Missions-Emphasis Week, that God began tugging on my heart to be a missionary. I really didn’t want to leave the comforts that I had here in America. However, I told God I would go. I knew God wanted me to go to Africa, but it wasn’t until we had our annual Pastors’
School when the Ghana Team was launched that God revealed it to me. He struck my heart and said, “That’s where I want you to go.”
On my survey trip to Ghana, He confirmed that calling. I traveled with a veteran international missionary to the Deaf. He told me to pray that God would show us some Deaf, because not always do you get to meet them while traveling. On my two-week survey trip, I met over 700 Deaf people. I met Deaf people every day. God showed me His ministry for me.
I started attending church at the age of four as a bus kid. I recall hearing the Gospel multiple times in Sunday school, Junior Church, and Vacation Bible School. Each time it was presented, I raised my hand and prayed to make sure I had a home in Heaven. Finally, in third grade my Sunday school teacher at Community Baptist Church of Andalusia, Illinois, made it clear to me that I could never be good enough to earn salvation and I could never do anything to lose it. I understood that gift was Jesus, and He alone had the power to save me. That day I put my faith in Him, and it has been settled in my heart ever since.
I grew up in a very dysfunctional family. My parents are Deaf and Hard of Hearing and were, at that time, very heavy drug addicts. My sisters and I were left to our own doings and were never disciplined. We were our teachers’ worst nightmares. Oftentimes, after sharing my testimony, people have accused me of being the poster child for “Jesus saves.” However, it was different at church. It was a place of refuge. I remember going to church to feel loved and accepted. I thank God for a youth pastor and his family who invested in me. I started going soul winning at the age of 13. My youth pastor and his family would invite me to their home every weekend so that I would be able to work on the bus route with them. They took time to disciple me and show me what a Christian family looked like. They would bring me into their home to eat and fellowship with the missionary family they were hosting. It was at our missions conference that I surrendered to be a missionary. I laugh now, because I told God, “Anywhere but Africa!”
In high school I had a strong desire to attend our Christian school. However, because of my parents’ addictions, they could not afford food, much less a Christian education. At the age of 15, I moved in with my aunt and got a job cleaning empty apartments and the complexes to pay for school. I am so thankful that God gave me this opportunity. I know, without a doubt, that had I not made this change, I would have never attended Hyles-Anderson College.
Our desire is to work with Fundamental Baptist Church International in Ghana, West Africa, to plant a Deaf church. We want to see Deaf people saved and train them to become soul winners. In addition, we have a strong burden to reach their hearing families for Christ. This will be most effective through the ministries of our Ghana Team. Our vision is to train the Deaf and either send them to plant a Deaf church or to work with regional pastors and establish Deaf Ministries to coincide with ministries of the regional pastors.
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God,
that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood,
but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world,
against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
In our last report, we were giving thanks and praising God for what He was doing in His church. Then, what felt like out of nowhere—a hook, a jab, and an upper-cut from the Devil. First my backpack, containing my Bible and glasses, was stolen from my vehicle. Just a couple of days later, my truck broke down. What we thought should have been an easy fix was not. After spending over $1,000 on everything that was breaking and switching mechanics, we got to the root of all the problems, which cannot be fixed. It has done its damage, and we need a new engine. In the midst of me going back and forth with the mechanic, our son Tyler fell 12 feet from a tree and landed on his head on the pavement, splitting his head open. Praise God, all that was needed was stitches, and there were no other complications. This is just few examples; we were getting hit from every direction. Quite honestly, only by the grace of God were we on our feet, very much winded, but on our feet.
Ding-Ding-Ding! Round Two
At the end of May, we celebrated two of our members, Ali and Elizabeth, getting married. We were thrilled for this couple, as they have sought to honor God in every aspect of their relationship. While they got married in Elizabeth’s father’s church, the couple insisted that I preach a sermon of salvation during their ceremony. Several Deaf put their faith in Christ that day! The Monday after their wedding, we were out of town when we received a call that one of our newer members, Dorcas, who was eight months pregnant, had unexpectedly passed away. We know she is in Heaven, but this was a blow right in the gut.
“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness . . . .” (II Corinthians 12:9)
Ding-Ding-Ding! Round Three
Dorcas’s funeral arrangements were proving to be difficult. Mary, the grandmother of the baby that passed with Dorcas, came to visit our church seeking help. We called Bro. DaCoster from Fundamental Baptist Church International to come and witness to Grandma Mary. She most gladly put her faith in Christ alone for salvation and immediately wanted to be baptized. At the same time, my wife and Elizabeth were able to share the Gospel with a Deaf woman, Ama. Thankfully, Ama got it settled that day. Two new names were written down in Heaven! A month later, several men from the church and I attended the funeral for Dorcas and the baby. Many heard the Gospel, and many trusted Christ that day. In fact, in the month of July, we saw 25 Deaf receive Christ as their Saviour. God packs a mighty punch!!!
Reflecting on these moments, we are awfully grateful for those around the globe going to God on behalf of our needs, our safety, and the Deaf here in Ghana. Please pray for our work here. With one of our training centers already open and the second to be open soon, we will be going full force at the beginning of September. Our next phase is starting a school, also in September. This will be small and located on our church property to start. Please pray for wisdom and guidance, as we are still searching for a property for the school. Lastly, please pray for the provision for our vehicle. We need to replace the engine, and it is expensive; but as of right now, the mechanic cannot even find one.
. . . but God!
Your co-laborers for Christ,
Rocky, Melanie, Rocky II, Malachi, Tyler, and Marissa Hall
Grandma Mary got baptized.
Bro. DaCoster, from Fundamental Baptist Church International, came to witness to Grandma Mary.
Ali and Elizabeth, two of our Deaf members, got married in May!
Melanie and Elizabeth were able to share the Gospel with a Deaf woman by the name of Ama, and she got saved!