Coming from a non-Christian home, Robert trusted Christ as Savior in September 1981 after attending a Round-Up Sunday at a local church. However, it was not until the age of 18 that he received the assurance of his salvation while working at a Christian camp. The Lord started working in his heart to work with the deaf when he picked up a prayer card and learned the finger spelling alphabet. Later, because he wanted to communicate to a neighborhood deaf girl, he took a sign language class at a local college.
For eight summers, Robert worked at the Bill Rice Ranch, where the burden to reach the deaf continued to grow. After surrendering to become a missionary, he attended Bible College where he became a sign language interpreter, and met his future wife, Lisa.
Lisa was born deaf and grew up in a Christian family. She was placed in an oral education program to learn how to hear and to speak. It was not easy for her to grow up in the hearing world. All through her childhood, she attended church with her family. However, because of her deafness, she did not understand the preaching, although she understood a few Bible stories from Sunday school.
At 13 years old, she went to a Christian camp that had a sign language interpreter. Through the interpreter’s hands, she realized that Jesus had died for her sins and had asked Jesus Christ for forgiveness. She was baptized a few months later and started to grow in Christ.
Lisa too attended the Bill Rice Ranch, a well-known Deaf Christian camp. It was there she discovered her identity as a deaf individual. She chose to attend a Christian university to study Education. During her freshman year, she surrendered her life to the Lord for full time Christian service.
Having met in Bible College, served in the deaf ministry for four years and graduated from Bible College, we were married in 1989. Two years later, after a deaf evangelist gave a challenge of reaching the deaf world in a Sunday school class, we joined Baptist International Missions, Inc. as missionaries to the deaf in December 1990.
During deputation, we started to work at the BIMI Deaf Camps. In 1994, we assisted the establishment of the BIMI Deaf Bible College (now Harvest Deaf Bible College) while ministering through Stanley Heights Baptist Church (SHBC), our sending church. This is where we served until the Lord called us to the country of Australia in 1998.
During our first term in Australia, we worked alongside a fellow missionary at a church plant (Harvest Baptist Church) in Beenleigh, Queensland. We assisted the church and their camp ministry while we studied the Australian Sign Language (Auslan).
During our last three terms (2004-2018), we have been ministering at the Calvary Baptist Church in Melbourne, Victoria, also a missionary church plant. In the fourteen years serving in this church, in addition to our duties in the church, we have ministered in several external ministries of the church at the Crystal Creek Christian Camp and the Victoria Baptist Bible College. We also led the church in establishing a deaf ministry. Lisa also taught Auslan at local universities and schools and has an outreach ministry to the students and staff. During this last term, we assisted the church in its transition to a new full-time national pastor (2017), and seeing God bless the work to the point that the property and buildings are now debt free.
Robert has been involved in several international outreaches: the 2009 Deaflympics (Taipei) and the Solomon Islands. We have taken seven missions trips in the Solomon Islands, an island chain that is just north of Australia between Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu, since 2011. We have been involved in Bible distribution projects on the two largest islands, Guadalcanal and Malaita, teaching college level classes to nationals preparing for the ministry, and working among the deaf, who do not have a nationalized sign language. We have been working on the Solomon Island Sign Language project in an attempt to uniform the language among 8 major island groups so that we can communicate the Gospel. We are also encouraging a new church plant on the island of Guadalcanal.
Please pray for us as Lisa has health issues, recently having surgery for uterine cancer. Though our desire is to return to Australia, we are currently praying for the Lord’s will concerning a stateside ministry. Thank you for your continued prayers.
If the Lord allows us to return to Australia, we will be move to the capital city of Queensland, Brisbane, to work with a new church plant on the northside of Brisbane. While teaming with another missionary in the church plant, we will continue to be involved in deaf ministry, evangelism, discipleship, camps, and in training nationals. Lisa will be developing a national Auslan curriculum and Sign Language projects. We also desire to have other churches in Australia and other Oceanic countries (i.e. Solomon Islands to establish deaf ministries. As we have time and opportunity, we will develop resource materials, teaching sign language courses, conduct camps, workshops, and retreats for the deaf and sign language interpreters.