The Faces Behind Deaf Child Hope International

May 25, 2021

Greetings to you, my name is JD King and I’m the president of Deaf Child Hope. My wife Tia is a dedicated mother and ICU nurse. We have three children, McKenzie, Dakota, and Kassidy, who are all teenagers and keep us on our toes. We live in Papillion, Nebraska. Being a husband and father is a privilege and brings a lot of joy to my life. I also consider it a privilege to serve as the president of Deaf Child Hope. I never imagined 15 years ago I would be in this role of serving Deaf children in poverty, but I strongly believe in our mission and I am committed to providing hope to as many Deaf children as possible. I am honored to work alongside the amazing DCH team, both volunteer and paid, that God has put together to do this critical work.

Hello! I am Michelle Sharick and I will be leading a number of mission trips for Deaf Child Hope in 2021! I live in Northern Indiana where my husband of 34 years and I have raised 5 children. We also have 3 grandchildren and will be adding another in October! I have been a stay-at-home mom for 32 years and have decided it is time to do what I love and that is to travel and do mission work! I oversee our Mission programs at our Church and back in 2019 I led a group for Deaf Child Hope to Lance’s Deaf Orphans in Kenya. My desire is to spread the love of my Lord and Savior and I can’t think of a better way than loving on orphans and Deaf children in poverty.

I am Leah Morgera. I live in Papillion Nebraska with my husband and we have two grown sons. By day I am an educational interpreter for the local public school district and by night I do finances and other administrative duties for DCH. I originally got involved with DCH in 2011 when my husband and I wanted to sponsor a Deaf Child and I came across DCH’s brochure at a Deaf Conference and from there God put me to use in the ministry. Eight years later I am still doing it because I know God wants me here and I truly believe in this ministry. 

Hello, my name is Samantha Gray.  I grew up in West Michigan, moved to Iowa for 2 1/2 years to study at the Deaf Missions Training Center, then back to West Michigan where I am now living with my new husband – we married in August 2020. I recently started a new job working at the local Rescue Mission thrift store, and am enjoying the opportunity to serve Christ in this new position. For DCH, I serve in a support role for the Missions planning and preparation. God put it on my heart to learn ASL and get involved with the Deaf community, so I hope to serve Him in some small way related to that. 

Hello, we are David & Ruth Ann Bradshaw.  We live in Council Bluffs Iowa at Risen Son Christian Village. We volunteer with Deaf Child Hope and have been a part of the team for about one year. I (David) was a senior pastor in Longmont, CO, and many other places including Kansas and Arizona in pre-retirement life. Ruth Ann and I have been retired for a number of years. We do a lot with different ministries including leading bible studies, senior choir groups, and of course Deaf Child Hope. For Ruth Ann music has always been a big joy in life and along with it, the choir, enjoying the mountains, community, and ministry, and of course spreading the good news of Christ. We enjoy spending time giving presentations on behalf of Deaf Child Hope and working with DCH donors and sponsors.

Ruth Ann tells about how they originally got involved with Deaf Child Hope. “About a year ago we were having our devotion time and read the verse James 1:28 that talks about helping the widows and orphans. I turned to David and said we are doing work for the widows but we aren’t for the orphans. A couple of weeks later we were connected with JD and Deaf Child Hope and were shocked at the huge need to help Deaf children in poverty. We just knew God had given us a way to help the orphans and other children in need and this was the ministry he wanted us to be a part of.”

Cheri Beckenhauer lives in Papillion NE and has been with DCH as the Deaf child correspondence coordinator since August of 2020. She and her husband Jerry moved to Papillion in retirement to be near their three children and nine grandchildren. She dove into the role of correspondence coordinator with such an open heart and eager spirit to learn when JD King, the founder of DCH, approached her about the role.  She gets to see the letters written from Deaf children to their sponsors and sponsors to their sponsored Deaf children. She admits that this first year has been a steep learning curve but feels the Holy Spirit talking to her about being in this ministry and helping make worldwide change for Deaf children in poverty.

Hi there, I am Heidi Bolkema and I reside in Omaha NE. I work as an educational interpreter for Deaf children here in Omaha and have also been working with DCH for almost three years as an administrative assistant.  I originally became involved when Leah Morgera inviting me to join the team because DCH was growing and they needed another pair of hands. I love Deaf students and wanted to be able to help out in another way. When I learned how many Deaf children live in poverty, I knew I wanted to be part of this ministry.

Greetings! My name is Katie Rivera. I live in Eagle, CO with my husband Jacob and three young kids (Harper, Brooks & Martin). Our youngest son was adopted about 18 months ago from Bogota and we identified severe hearing loss after the adoption. The whole experience sent me on a path where I discovered the huge need that Deaf children around the world don’t have access to language and education. I was so convicted, it was impossible to not get involved. I started out thinking I’d volunteer but pretty quickly found myself leaving my teaching job and raising my own support to work for Deaf Child Hope. God put me on this Earth to make a difference for this group of children. There are 25 million kids who need our help and Deaf Child Hope brings them that hope one at a time. I do promotions and advancement work for DCH and love it. I meet amazing people, am part of an uplifting community, get to travel the world, and most of all, fulfill a purpose that God has for my life. I am honored to be a part of this team.

Hello all, I am Ginger Stanfill. I reside in TN with my husband and two grown sons.  Throughout my childhood, I had middle ear problems that required several surgeries.  It caused me to have a slight hearing loss and I always felt grateful that I was able to have most of my hearing.  By the time I was in high school, I knew I wanted to be a teacher.  I added that with my fascination with sign language and earned a degree in Special Education for the Deaf.  I’ve taken five mission trips with DCH over the last seven years to visit five of the DCH partners.  Last year, I decided to quit my full-time job so I could spend more time working with DCH as a volunteer.  It was a drastic move, but one that I haven’t regretted.  I also spend some time as a free-lance ASL interpreter for my area.  I truly believe one of my God-given purposes in life is to help deaf children in poverty.  I have seen Deaf children here in America be able to go to school where they are taught language, develop friendships, and get an education.  Unfortunately, Deaf children in other parts of the world are not given this right.  I’ve seen the sweet faces of deaf children in poverty in countries like Haiti, Ethiopia, and Mexico and I’ve heard their heartbreaking stories.  Deaf Child Hope International is committed to giving these children Hope by giving them basic necessities, an education, but most importantly, the love of Jesus.  I can think of no better way to spend my time.

Annie KlemmPrayer Ministry. Annie loves people and caring for the WHOLE person.  She is a nurse and has used this ministry for God and her patients.  Annie believes in prayer and encourages others to pray.  She believes in the work of Deaf Child Hope and is honored to be a part of the prayer team and helping the mission in other ways as well. She loves her two grown daughters, two sons-in-law, and one granddaughter!  She loves to cook, read, take furniture and other objects and repurpose and decorate.

Debbie Klahn Prayer Ministry. Debbie began the work of In His Sign-Deaf Ministries in the early seventies.  Over the years the mission has worked with Deaf people–primarily with Deaf children and their families as well as teaching others to work with Deaf people.   Debbie loves to read, do crafts, send cards and do some writing.  A few years ago the mission of In His Sign refocused its time on mentoring, consulting Deaf Ministries, and PRAYER.  We know the power of prayer and how we MUST include God in all of the preparation–carrying out the ministry and follow up.  We are honored to share the needs of Deaf Child Hope and her partners with people and unite with them in praying for all.