Ramona G. Banks can look back on some of her earliest years and see God preparing a path for her to enter ministry to the deaf.
Growing up, one of her friends from school had deaf parents. At 15, she began attending a deaf church, and a year later, she worked and interpreted for a deaf man who repaired shoes.
“The Lord started very early in my life, putting the love of the deaf in my heart,” says Banks, now 71.
Ramona met her future husband, James W. Banks, while attending an Assemblies of God church in Edmond, Oklahoma. James, 74, felt called to preach while in high school. As his relationship with Ramona progressed, he also sensed a tug to deaf ministry.
“We began to date, worked together, attended a deaf congregation in Oklahoma City, and from then on God led us to what we’re doing,” James says.
James, who serves as an Intercultural Ministries U.S. missionary to the deaf, has surpassed 54 years in the ministry. He and Ramona continue to lead a deaf congregation at Radiant Church in Colorado Springs — where they have been for more than 25 years — they say their work is as involved as ever.
The Banks arrived in Colorado Springs in 1991 after pastoring a pair of deaf congregations in Oklahoma and spending several years in Springfield, Missouri, as Assemblies of God national representatives to the deaf, blind, and disabled.
James says the main hurdle a deaf person has regarding understanding the gospel is not just that they can’t hear — which can be overcome using sign language — but rather grasping certain concepts. Because English is a second language for most deaf people, many read at around a fifth-grade level. It can be difficult to comprehend the Bible on their own.
And because the deaf do not have a written form of sign language and do not necessarily “think” in English, Banks says many of the intangibles in the gospel message present a challenge.
While there are already speech-to-text apps that allow deaf users to read what other people are saying, they’re often thwarted by background noise or multiple people speaking at once. SpeakSee, however, is a new multi-mic system that reportedly works much better.
SpeakSee was created by Dutch entrepreneur Jari Hazelebach (working with company co-founder Marcel van der Ven), who grew up with two deaf parents who often had difficulty following family conversations.
The basic setup consists of three Wi-Fi wireless mics (although up to nine can be accommodated), a mic docking station/charger, and an iOS/Android app. Each mic is clipped to the shirt of a person involved in a conversation, and utilizes a “beam-forming” directional system to pick up their speech while not picking up background sound, or the speech of other people.
The mics transmit the audio to the docking station, which can be located up to 20 meters away (66 ft). It processes the speech picked up by the different mics, then relays the audio data via Wi-Fi to the app on the deaf user’s smartphone. That app transcribes the data into text that is displayed onscreen in real time, with different colors and names indicating which person is speaking.
Peter Toth Piano Recital at Morristown National Historical Park
1 pm, Sunday, June 24 2018
Washington’s Headquarters Museum
30 Washington Place
Morristown, New Jersey 07960
Morristown, NJ – Please join Morristown National Historical Park (NHP) as it welcomes back acclaimed Hungarian pianist Peter Toth for a piano recital at 1 pm on Sunday, June 24, 2018. The free event will be held in Morristown NHP’s Washington’s Headquarters Museum, 30 Washington Place, Morristown, New Jersey.
Mr. Toth will play the park’s 1873 Steinway Grand piano in his second recital this year of a series at Morristown NHP. The programs are all at 1 pm on Sundays; future dates are:
*September 16, 2018
*November 11, 2018
Hungarian pianist Peter Toth is one of the most recognized artists of his generation. He has concertized in most countries in Europe, South America, and Asia. His first released CD recording won the Grand Prize of the Hungarian Liszt Society (2006). Mr. Toth is a regular guest artist at various piano festivals and has been member of the American Liszt Society since 2011.
For more information on the recital, contact Chief of Cultural Resources, Dr. Jude Pfister at 973-539-2016 x 204; or email: email@example.com.
Morristown National Historical Park preserves, protects, and commemorates the landscapes, structures, features, and museum collections of the Continental Army winter encampments, the headquarters of General George Washington, and related Revolutionary War sites at Morristown, New Jersey for the benefit and inspiration of the public. Morristown NHP also represents a continuum of our nation’s efforts to protect our common heritage: as the very first “national historical park”, the park was also established to commemorate, preserve, and memorialize American history and heritage.
For more information about Morristown NHP, please call 973-539-2016 ext. 210 or visit our website at www.nps.gov/morr.
You can also check out our Museum Blog at http://morristownnhpmuseum.blogspot.com/.
This is a long video, but it is because it is a personal video that I wanted to share with you guys what I’ve learned about myself, my privileges, from meeting different Deaf community around the world. No matter where we are in the world, there is a sense of Deafhood between each other. However, our experiences are different.
THANK YOU ALL DEAF COMMUNITIES for teaching me!! I hope this video will make you realize what privileges you may or may not have.