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More than 500 Assemblies of God pastors, lay leaders, interpreters, workers and young people from around the world gathered together in a joint conference that combined the fourth triennial World Deaf Assemblies of God (WDAG) Conference with the 30th biennial (U.S.) AG National Deaf Culture Fellowship (NF) Conference, June 23-27, at the California School for the Deaf in Fremont, California.

Themed "The Deaf World United Through the Spirit's Fire," the combined conference featured Deaf Ministries speakers from around the globe, including South Korea, Canada, Estonia, Venezuela, Japan, Australia, the Philippines, and the United States, with all services and events being communicated in American Sign Language, English, Japanese Sign Language, Korean Sign Language, and several other languages simultaneously.

Belinda McCleese

"This was a time of supporting one another and growing in key concepts as Deaf and hearing persons gathered together," says NF President Belinda McCleese of Long Beach, California. "It's important to understand that a very small percentage of Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing people around the world have been given the opportunity to really understand about the gospel — one of the greatest mission fields."

According to Kevin Babin, AG national field representative for Deaf Culture Ministries, this was the first time that the World Deaf AG has come to the United States. "We previously met in South Korea, Estonia, and Japan," Babin says.

Much like a General Council gathering, the WDAG and NF each held its own business meetings during the conference week. In addition to adult services, the conference offered children and youth ministries, a missions banquet, exhibit booths, workshops, worship services, dramas, and many other events.

During the NF Business Meeting, Rev. McCleese was elected as president of the NF and Rev. Emory Dively was re-elected as secretary. Dively, who was also the WDAG treasurer, was elected the new president of the WDAG in its business session. The 2016 NF conference will be held in Springfield, Missouri. The next WGAG conference will be held in Australia in 2017.

Kevin Babin

Babin, who is a nationally appointed missionary to Deaf people, was deeply moved by the harmony and love displayed. "The Fruit of the Spirit was experienced in a powerful way throughout the conferences," he says. "People from around the world — pastors, missionaries, leaders — were so gracious, serving each other, giving of themselves, displaying a special love for one another . . . the sweet presence of the Holy Spirit was evident throughout the entire week."

"It was so awesome to see so many countries united together as we worshipped the Lord," McCleese says. "May we continue to pray daily, read and know His Word, and work together to reach the lost Deaf world for Jesus Christ."



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