Missionary Spotlight Update: Doc and Dee Douglas*

You’ve probably heard the term “heart language.” It describes the mother tongue of a people group through which communication flows freely and clearly. For the Deaf in the United States, it is “heard” through the hands of American Sign Language.

Until recently, no theological education using this optimal mode of communication was available to prepare Deaf Southern Baptist believers for mission service with the International Mission Board (IMB).

A breakthrough, however, came in 2014. A partnership involving the IMB; Union University in Jackson, Tennessee; the Southern Baptist Conference of the Deaf; and Brentwood Baptist Church and Brentwood Baptist Deaf Church, both near Nashville, Tennessee, birthed the Deaf Theological Center, based on the Brentwood campus. Three missionary couples enrolled in the first 5-class series to satisfy IMB requirements for continued service.

Doc Douglas, who, along with wife Dee, serves as IMB affinity global strategy leader for the Deaf, lauded this opportunity “to prepare personnel for effective, practical church planting, evangelism, and the reproduction of indigenous leaders."

Aric Randolph, pastor of the Brentwood Deaf congregation who serves as center director and adjunct professor, has joyfully watched this process and shared this recent report: “We have just completed our fourth year of classes. [To] date, we have had 27 people complete our program.” Fifteen have become career missionaries with the IMB, he said, and others are serving as pastors, as church planters, and in other ministries through the Brentwood Deaf congregation.

Doc and Dee Douglas are featured in the October 2017 Missions Mosaic Missionary Spotlight.

*Names changed.

South Mississippi writer Ann Maniscalco, parent to a Deaf daughter, loves reading and sharing missionary stories.

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