Board of Directors
Chris grew up surrounded by deaf ministry. She went on to attend Nebraska Christian College and Wayne State College studying Bible and Math Education. She is currently living on a farm near Carson, Iowa, where she substitute teaches, tutors, stays involved with church and community, and maintains responsibility for the farm and cattle operation. In addition to serving with Deaf Child Hope, Chris serves on the Boards of Hope International University, Assure Women’s Center, Treynor State Bank, and the Foundation Board for Children’s Square. One of Chris’ passions is speaking at women’s events about finding true meaning in the day-to-days and special events of life. She also takes joy in her two sons, Isaac and Luke, and is grateful for the amazing people and opportunities God has brought her way.
Denise lives with her husband Dave in Sutherland, IA. Denise has been a successful Farm Bureau agent since 2007 and prior to this she worked for many years in the banking industry. She loves being outdoors riding her horses and enjoying time with her husband on the lake. The Steffens faithfully serve in their local church and have for many years been heavily involved in youth ministry.
Debbie was born to Bill and Ida Klahn on June 19, 1952, and is the second of three children. She graduated from Merrillville High School in Merrillville, IN in 1970. Debbie then attended Lincoln Christian College (now a part of Lincoln Christian University) from 1970, graduating in 1974. One of the first people she met on Lincoln’s campus was Terry Dowling, a deaf employee of the college. Terry became a friend and began to teach Debra Signed English. Debra worked with Terry from the very beginning with the Deaf Ministry at Catlin Christian Church in Catlin, IL. She also interpreted for Terry in the college chapel and in the classrooms. Debbie joined with Vicki Drummond in 1975 to start “In His Sign”, a ministry to deaf people. Debbie returned to Lincoln in 1990 to work on her Master of Arts in World Missions from Lincoln Christian Seminary and graduated in 1995.
JD, along with Debbie Klahn and Vicki Drummond, founded Deaf Child Hope International in 2010. JD has over 30 years of experience in the nonprofit arena. JD’s past roles in nonprofits include development director, business manager, conference director, event planner, director of marketing, associate minister, worship minister, church planter, festival director, and president. JD is the son of Duane King, founder of Deaf Missions, and grew up around Deaf ministry. JD has a business degree from the University of Iowa, a ministry degree from Nebraska Christian College, and a master’s degree from Cincinnati Christian University. The father of McKenzie, Dakota, and Kassidy, JD lives with his wife Tia in Papillion, NE.
Jim Barger (Chairman of the Board)
Jim was born in Nebraska and grew up in Omaha. He graduated from Westside High School and the University of Nebraska Omaha and has been married to his wife Janet since 1982. They have two daughters, Krista and Bethany, and he is also a grandfather. Jim lives in Omaha after living in New Zealand for a number of years.
After earning his MBA from UNO, Jim had the privilege of working with business owners in Southeast Asia and enjoyed owning two businesses in New Zealand. Jim has had the rare privilege to work with, and own, a diverse range of businesses around the world. Jim is a certified Business Coach with ActionCOACH in Omaha. Jim provides business advice and coaching in the Omaha, Council Bluffs, IA, and Lincoln, NE markets.
Michael Bussard is the Regional Vice President for the Pacific Life Insurance Company’s Tennessee Regional Life Office located in Nashville, Tennessee. Mike has a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Relations from Northwest Missouri State University. Mike lives in Brentwood, Tennessee with his wife, Lisa, and their two children, Morgan and Andrew. He is active in his church as well as his community.
Dr. Rick McClain
Dr. Rickey A. McClain has been serving at Deaf Missions since June 2016. Prior to this, he served as a Senior Pastor of Heritage Church of the Nazarene in Clanton, AL, and Vice-President of Deaf Online University. He has served in ministry since 1984 as a Pastor in the Church of the Nazarene in Kansas, Missouri, North Carolina, and Oregon.
Dr. McClain is a graduate of Gallaudet University. Education is important to him and he has enrolled and graduated with an Associates’s, and two Master’s degrees. He completed the last leg of his educational journey when he received his Doctorate (D.Min.) in 2010 from Beeson Divinity School, Birmingham, AL.
Dr. McClain is a born and bred Ohioan. Born and raised in Columbus, he attended Prairie Lincoln Elementary School, Norton Junior High School, and Westland Senior High School. His family relocated to Fort Myers, Florida and he completed his schooling there. He met his wife of 41 years, Deb, in Fort Myers, and together they have two grown children (Debbie Hause and Diana McClain-Wagoner) and four Grandchildren. He enjoys spending time with his family, rooting for the Ohio State Buckeyes, playing Baseball, and playing with his beloved Pup, Brutus!
Rev. McClain’s favorite Scripture, his life verse for the last 40 years, is found in Mark 4:19.
Chad Entinger is the Executive Director of Deaf Missions in Council Bluffs, IA www.deafmissions.com. Chad became deaf at the age of 16 months due to Spinal Meningitis. He was raised by Christian parents, Dennis and LuAnn Entinger, in Howard Lake, Minnesota. Chad attended elementary, middle, and junior high schools in the Howard Lake – Waverly Public School System. During his high school years, Chad went to the Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf (M.S.A.D.), graduating in 1993. He then enrolled at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education in 1997, and a Master of Arts degree in Deaf Education in 1999. From Fall 2003 to Spring 2006, Chad was an elementary teacher, elementary department chair, and football coach at the Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf. Prior to teaching at M.S.A.D., Chad worked at Deaf Missions in Council Bluffs, Iowa, from 1999 to 2003. Chad was ordained for Christian ministry work by the Howard Lake Christian Church on April 23, 2006. In June 2006, Chad returned to Deaf Missions and served as the Associate Director. He became the Executive Director in November 2007. Chad is married to Glory and have one daughter, Shekynah Ann, and three sons, Corban Peter, Davan Neal, and Jadon John.
Darwin Covington is a businessman from Iowa who is also the President of the Board and Sponsorship Coordinator at one of Deaf Child Hope’s partners, Haiti Deaf Academy, located in Haiti. Haiti Deaf Academy is a non-profit, nondenominational Christian organization striving to educate, employ, empower and encourage, so that every Haitian child with a hearing loss may know and reach their God-given potential.
Haiti Deaf Academy offers a transformational program, which can lead to self-reliance by providing language, academic/vocational training and both physical and spiritual nourishment for deaf & hard of hearing children and their families and deaf adult staff.
Marc is Vice President at Caribbean Christian Center for the Deaf, one of Deaf Child Hope’s partners located in Jamaica. Marc has served with Caribbean Christian Center for the Deaf since 2004.
Caribbean Christian Centre for the Deaf exists to reach, teach, and nurture the Deaf of Jamaica so that they can experience the joy of knowing Jesus and serving within their community.
Marlyn & Diane McClain
Marlyn is the founder and president of Masters Financial and Insurance Group LLC in Council Bluffs. He began his career as an electrical engineer for Boeing. In 1970 he became involved in the financial and insurance industry that has spanned over 40 years. During his career, he has been asked to speak at conferences throughout the US and internationally. He is a member of the Council Bluffs Estate Planning Council and the Council Bluffs Chamber of Commerce, as well as other organizations. His main interest though has been having the opportunity to serve on the Board of Directors for Deaf Missions for over twenty-five years.
Diane, now retired, spent her career in the bookkeeping/accounting field. She was also a certified CPR instructor for the American Heart Association for 23 years. She currently serves on the leadership board for the Pottawattamie County CERT (Community Emergency Response Team). She also volunteers on the severe weather team through CERT, for the Emergency Operations Center and National Weather Service. In September 2013 she went on her first mission trip to Christianville in Haiti with a group from First Christian Church. They are also active in other church and community functions and fundraisers. Both Marlyn and Diane are serving as Advisory Board Members with Deaf Child Hope.