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Deaf Evangelist

Deaf evangelist uses pantomime to share the gospel

WACO—Kevin Clark’s first encounter with Jesus came at age 14, when he saw a televised dramatization of Christ’s crucifixion. But he wanted to know more.

“Who is this Jesus?” Clark asked his parents.

deaf evangelist300Since 1996, Kevin Clark has been designing the masks and costumes he uses to act out biblical stories. (Photos: George Henson)Years later, he tries to answer that same question for deaf people across the United States. Clark, a deaf evangelist from Morgantown, N.C., spreads the gospel to non-hearing audiences using pantomime and drama. He preached at the recent Texas Baptist Conference for the Deaf at Baylor University in Waco.

Pantomime first entered Clark’s life in high school when a workshop director showed him how body movement could draw pictures and communicate ideas.

“I thought: ‘The deaf can understand that. That’s their language—the picture language. They are very visual. They can see clearly and understand better when they can picture it,’” he said.

While the television program about Jesus sparked his interest, Clark did not make a profession of faith in Christ until age 26. Before long, he was enlisted to teach a Sunday school class for the deaf.

“I would read the lesson and sign it. There were no activities at all—just reading and signing. I would look at the deaf, and they would be falling asleep,” he recalled.

He felt badly that he was not able to communicate his enthusiasm for Christ to his class. Then he recalled the power of drama.

The next week, he dramatized the lesson. The class not only was interested, but also raised many questions about what he had shown them.

“I asked the Lord, ‘Help me, teach me, so I can help the deaf visualize what they need to know,’” Clark recalled.

In 1996, he broadened his communication by designing masks and biblical clothing, as well as signs to communicate various ideas.

In retrospect, Clark said, he sees how God has confirmed his calling on his life by the many people who have come to faith in Christ through his preaching.

“I enjoy doing God’s work and seeing how God goes before me to prepare the way. My great blessing is in knowing he is in control and learning to trust him even more,” Clark said.

“My biggest desire is to work for him. I don’t want people to actually see me, but to see God through me.”

       
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