On April 1, 1948, Ronnie Binkley was born at the Children’s Hospital of Vanderbilt in Nashville, Tennessee. His was a very rough beginning in life, but God has used him to do a tremendous work among the deaf throughout the world. He did not have much of a family life. He never knew his real mother. She left him in the hospital after he was born. She died when he was nine months old. He remained in the hospital during that time. He does not know who his father was. There was never any record of him. Ronnie was born with numerous physical deformities (cleft palate, “club feet,” and others) that required over twenty different corrective surgeries before he was thirteen. His earliest memories are of the hospital; he always thought that was his home. At age six, under the care of a foster mother, Ronnie was enrolled in the Tennessee School for the Deaf in Knoxville. He had a hard time making friends there until he discovered the power of humor: he was a gifted impersonator. By mimicking a teacher’s or other student’s facial expressions and the way they carried themselves, Ronnie quickly gained friends at TSD. At age sixteen, Ronnie was confused and bitter about his life. At thirteen he had learned that his real mother had died when he was a baby. (He had never known.) He was frustrated at the lack of communication with his foster mother, who did not know sign language. There were constant misunderstandings in the home that added to his frustrations. He wanted to be independent. He wanted a “summer job.” A social worker familiar with the situation contacted the Tennessee School for the Deaf to ask if there were any work opportunities for a young deaf boy. The principal at TSD knew of the Bill Rice Ranch, a camp for the deaf, in Murfreesboro, not far from Ridgetop, where Ronnie lived. The principal called the “boss” of the Ranch, Bill Rice, to see if they would accept Ronnie as a worker for the summer of 1964. Dr. Bill was happy to have the troubled deaf boy work at his Ranch that summer. At first, Ronnie had a hard time with the heavy work loads of ranch life. He was hot and tired! He didn’t care much for the $5 per week allowance either. In his words, “It stunk!” The Bible teaching and services (which for the first time in his life offered an interpreter!) were also new to him. He had never heard these old Bible stories before, and he was fascinated by them. Early that summer, Ronnie Binkley made the decision to trust Jesus Christ as his savior. Ronnie was saved in June, 1964. After Ronnie graduated from TSD, he went on to Tennessee Temple Bible School in Chattanooga. He finished after five years of study with a Bible degree. He also finished with the last name “Rice,” having been adopted by the Rice family and having his name legally changed at the age of twenty one. During his time at the Bill Rice Ranch, Ronnie had become burdened about all the deaf people who did not know about Jesus Christ. It was his heart’s desire to take the gospel message to deaf people as a missionary and evangelist. Ronnie has seen thousands of deaf people trust Jesus Christ to forgive their sins. By God’s grace, Ronnie Rice is someone who is making a difference in the deaf world one soul at a time.
Ronnie Rice is Evangelist/Missionary to the Deaf for 47 years. I had been travel 15 different foreigners for camps and revivals. I love work to Bill Rice Ranch for many years. He has 8 grandchildren.