Retreat Reaps Results Among Nigeria's Deaf
While ministering at a retreat for the Deaf in Nigeria, U.S. missionary Kevin Babin witnessed 100 accept Christ and 100 filled with the Holy Spirit.In the Deaf culture in Nigeria, he’s known as Chief Nwannedinamba 1 of Enugo Ngwo. Others know him as Kevin Babin, U.S. missionary with Intercultural Ministries and the national field representative for AG Deaf Culture Ministries.
Babin was given the lengthy chieftain title on his first trip to Nigeria in 2006 during an unexpected mountain-top ceremony. At first, he thought the title was little more than one of customary respect, but he’s since found out that the title carries weight in Nigeria.
“I’m treated with the greatest respect no matter where I go in Nigeria,” Babin says. “The title has opened many doors for me.”
Recently Babin returned from speaking at the 2018 National Deaf Retreat in Nigeria held at the Evangel Camp in Okpoto, Sept. 7-10. Approximately 400 to 500 Deaf people gathered for the “Show Me Your Glory” retreat.
“The Nigerian AG general superintendent and the director of AGCare National Board chairman for Nigeria were supposed to be there to speak as well,” Babin says, “but then a significant leader passed away and both gentlemen asked to be excused to attend the funeral — and I served as the keynote speaker.”
The change in plans didn’t catch God by surprise. The response to Babin’s opening salvation message, Karla’s (Babin’s wife) message on healing, and the message on the infilling of the Holy Spirit by AG ministers Mike and Sandy Benintende resulted in 100 people accepting Christ, 100 more being filled with the Holy Spirit, and others rejoicing throughout the week for a variety of healings.
Babin observes that some spiritual concepts can be difficult to translate and many people wonder how Deaf people can be filled with the Holy Spirit.
“When the Holy Spirit moves, some Deaf will still use their voice and speak in other tongues and others have responded with something called ‘signed glossolalia’ — their hand movements are clearly different,” Babin explains. “It can seem complicated, but the important thing is that they are living for and walking with God and that the Holy Spirit is active in their lives.”
Rev. Georgian Ugah agrees. “God moved in various ways, touching the lives of my Deaf people,” she states. “We enjoyed God’s presence. His glory really came down.”
Ugah, who Is the national director of AGCare Compassion Ministries for AG Nigeria and the director of Evami Special School in Enugu, also expressed her deep appreciation for the Babins and their team and how they began each service with “Holy Spirit-filled drama, which was so amazing.”
During the retreat, four Deaf students — a young lady and three young men — who felt called to the ministry, were brought to the stage by Ugah. She explained the students, who had played key roles in ministering at the retreat, desired to attend Bible school, but lacked the funds to start their first semester.
“As soon as the announcement was made, the Holy Spirit spoke to me,” Babin says. “I turned to my team and asked them if we could be a part of this and pay for their first semester — they all agreed.”
The excitement, joy, and disbelief on the students’ faces as they read Babin’s signs indicating his team desired to pay the $1,000 for their first semester still remain fresh in his mind.
But that wasn’t all the team did for Ugah and the Deaf ministry in Nigeria. They also donated 10 laptops and 10 projectors to help AG Nigerian Deaf Culture fellowships enjoy worshipping God.
“In 2007, there were only three AG pastors to the Deaf in Nigeria,” Babin says. “Today, there are more than 25 preaching points for the Deaf in the country. And, in a few years, we believe those four young people we helped — and many more — will be out on the field ministering to the Deaf as well.”