Russell VanDonkelaar is Deaf Pastor of Palmetto Baptist Deaf Church, Easley, SC

 Rusty VanDonkelaar grew up in a Christian home. I watched my family get saved and I thought that I need to be saved also. At 13 years old in Sunday School class, I thought I understood about Jesus Christ and I received Jesus Christ as my savior. I went through some struggles as a teenager. And then I went to Harvest Deaf Bible College. At age of 27, Pastor Reggie Rempel explained to me about salvation and I did not realize that I was sinner, I did not confess my sin and ask Jesus Christ as my personal savior. That helped me understand that Jesus came to the earth to die on the cross. I understood that He wanted to take my sin and give me eternal life. I saw 1 John 1:9 and understood about salvation. I realized I was sinner; I went into a room and I cried. I knelt and said Lord Jesus, I realize you died for me. I am a sinner. After that, I was joyful. Few years later I was baptized. While I was at Harvest Deaf Bible College, I knew that God want to use me, and I don’t know what it for few years was. God touched me as I was teaching and preaching and knew that God wanted me to be a deaf pastor and He wanted me to go back to my hometown Greenville South Carolina. My family lives in Greenville. I knew many deaf in Greenville. At first, I don’t want to go because of my bad experiences and people knew me there. I knew that God want me to go there and show that I am different and tell them about Jesus Christ. Rusty and Cassandra married for 18 years and have four beautiful children. They are Joshua 18, Rebekah 16, Hannah 14, and Benjamin 12.  We moved to Greenville in 2015, there was two people, first person told me that she was praying for deaf pastor for 6 years and another person said, I’ve been praying for a deaf pastor. I have been in Greenville for 4 years. I thank God for using me in this area.