Vesta Sauter’s experience with the Deaf goes back to her childhood. She was born to a Deaf father, who attended the Sulphur School for the Deaf and served as a Deaf evangelist throughout the United States. Her grandfather was a church planter in Oklahoma. Her brother is a missionary to the Deaf in Oklahoma, planted a Deaf church and is currently serving as pastor of a Deaf church. She and her husband, Mark, have been leading Deaf work with the International Mission Board (IMB) for the past 25 years.
In addition, her husband’s family has been active in Southern Baptist work in Indiana, where Mark planted and served as pastor of a church for 14 years. She also was an adjunct professor for Oklahoma Baptist University extension in conjunction with Indiana Baptists.
Sauter serves as global strategy leader for Deaf Peoples and is executive director the IMB initiative Deaf Pathway Global. Her current assignment is to direct, guide and encourage the facilitation of key Bible stories into 300 sign languages. Currently only one of these sign languages has a Bible.
“I give oversight to Deaf Pathways,” she said. “We are working to address the desperate need for Deaf peoples to have access to His Word in their natural language through the Death Pathway Bible.”
Sauter said there are nine countries in the Balkan region of Europe that have no Deaf church and no Deaf Bible.
“Through the prayers of Baptists, a door opened up to send a team to meet with key Deaf leaders eager to know more about the God we serve,” she revealed.
She noted they are seeking to develop partnerships with Oklahoma Baptists to reach the Deaf of North Africa and the Middle East. Chris Harvey, Deaf pastor at Broken Arrow, Battle Creek, is seeking to mobilize volunteers to reach the Million Deaf in Egypt.
“There are also a small core of Deaf of East Asia believers who are seeking to share gospel stores with the millions of Deaf without the truth,” she said. “There are also 10 full-time Deaf workers based in the U.S. who are working tirelessly to translate key Bible stories into each of the 300 sign languages worldwide. We are praying for at least one Deaf church for every Deaf community.”
Because of the generous giving of Oklahoma Baptists through the Cooperative Program, an amazing array of ministries are supported. This unified giving encourages fellowship with other believers all over the world. Collectively, Oklahoma Baptists are advancing the Gospel together.
Vesta Sauter was featured in the 2022 Missionary Prayer Guide for Oklahoma Baptists. To see more information about her mission work, visit oklahomabaptists.org/cp