History of Deaf Missions

Duane King leads a worship service for Deaf people at First Christian Church in Norfolk, Nebraska, early 1967.
Duane King leads a worship service for Deaf people at First Christian Church in Norfolk, Nebraska, early 1967.
Deaf Missions is a story of God at work. It seems that God is determined that deaf people should receive the Gospel message. He went to great extremes to save us all! The Great Commission is to preach the Gospel to every person - deaf people included.

Duane King (founder of Deaf Missions) first met deaf people while serving as the minister of First Christian Church in Norfolk, Nebraska. During the Christmas season of 1966, Duane was asked to deliver an anonymous cash gift to some deaf people. From this first meeting with Emery and Louise Booth (deaf) came the challenge to reach them and other deaf people for Christ.

By 1970, God's call was so strong on Duane's heart and mind that he knew he had to preach to deaf people full-time and on March 28, 1970, Deaf Missions was born. Deaf Missions was officially incorporated as an Iowa non-profit religious corporation in November of 1970.

After-school Bible classes have been taught continuously at Iowa School for the Deaf since 1968 (even before Deaf Missions was founded). Classes also met at Nebraska School for the Deaf in Omaha until the school closed in 1998.

Two other important ministries were started soon after Deaf Missions began. We helped establish Christ's Church of the Deaf in Council Bluffs in July of 1971. This congregation still meets today. Deaf Missions Bible Camp started in August of 1971. Deaf Missions has also helped other groups to begin Deaf churches and camps in other states.

The year 1977 saw the beginning of the Extension Class Program. Students receive 16 hours of college credit when they complete the studies in courses that have particular relevance to ministering among deaf people. The Extension Classes met on alternate years until 2003, when the classes began meeting annually. Sixteen different Bible colleges have participated in the Extension Classes, thereby providing high-quality education in Deaf ministry to their students that the colleges could not otherwise find or afford.

Deaf Missions has also begun other training programs for deaf people and hearing workers, such as "God Loves Deaf People" seminars, "Building Better Families" workshops, and "Christian Interpreters" and "Deaf Christian Leaders" conferences.

Bill Pike works the Deaf Missions printing press.
Bill Pike works the Deaf Missions printing press.
In 1979, Deaf Missions printed the first issue of Daily Devotions for the Deaf. Since then, Deaf Missions has published a devotion for every day! Currently, more than 22,000 of these devotion books are printed three times a year and mailed to deaf and hearing people in 95 different nations. The devotions are translated into several other languages, including American Sign Language. They may also be read in English and American Sign Language on our website.

The enormous project of translating the Bible into American Sign Language was conceived in 1981. After 23 years, we finally finished the ASL translation of the New Testament. Also, about one-third of the Old Testament is translated. At least sixteen other nations started sign language translations after being inspired by Deaf Missions.

Deaf Missions has produced the popular made-for-TV show, The Finger Food Cafe Show, and is producing Big Bible Stories in American Sign Language, a series of videos teaching deaf children stories in the Bible. The list goes on. Deaf Missions is faithful to its calling.

In August of 2011, the Deaf Missions Training Center (DMTC) was launched. The DMTC is a three-year program to prepare and equip people to become preachers, missionaries and evangelists who will go into the world and reach deaf people with the Gospel of Jesus.

Speaking of "faithful," that word applies to the supporters of Deaf Missions, who prayed and gave through the years - some starting before 1970 and continuing to the present time! The board and staff are noted for their faithfulness. And Deaf Missions depends upon supporters who continue giving faithfully. Praise God for the faithfulness of all, because we ALL depend on Him.

After almost 40 years of leading Deaf Missions and at the age of 70 years old in November 2007, Duane turned over the leadership of Deaf Missions to Chad Entinger. Even with the change of leaders, Deaf Missions' focus and purposes remain the same - to reach deaf people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

From these humble beginnings, Deaf Missions has grown to become a powerful influence, touching the lives of deaf people in all 50 states and in 95 different countries. Deaf Missions is a noted and respected leader among ministries with deaf people, and its outreach extends through more than 50 denominations.

40th Anniversary
Deaf Missions has been ministering with deaf people for over 40 years!
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