How long have you been a disciple?
Andrew have been a disciple for 20 years. He was baptized on January 26, 1992. The greatest day of his life!
Share about the past Deaf Ministry team at Buffalo Church of Christ.
In November 1991, one of his college deaf friends, Donnie, became a disciple in New York City when he was doing internship in an accounting firm. At that time, Donnie was enrolled in Rochester Institute of Technology which has a college for the deaf students called National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) at Rochester, NY. He found out Buffalo Church of Christ was the closest to his college, RIT which took about 1 hour drive. After Donnie finished his internship, he came back to Rochester, NY and shared his faith with Andrew and his college friends. Initially, Andrew thought Donnie was crazy because of this sudden change on his character which he wasn’t quite sure what to make of it. Soon after, three deaf roommates (Brad, Mike, and Scott) in their two-bedroom apartment, started to studying the Bible with Donnie and Jack, married hearing disciple from Buffalo, who happened to be fluent in sign language. Mike, Brad and Andrew got baptized in January 1992 and later Scott got baptized in March. With God’s blessing, the Deaf Ministry had grown from one to twelve disciples in 18 months!
Reason for fallen away.
The Deaf Ministry at RIT/NTID was struggling spiritually in summer of 1993. During that time, Andrew was struggling spiritually and got into many sins. Eventually, he left the church in October 1993.
Your best & worse experiences as a disciple.
The best experience as a disciple is when Andrew got baptized, no question about it! The worst experience as a disciple is when he decided to leave the church and stopped following Jesus. The sins he committed as a fallen away disciple were far more worse than the sins when Andrew had before he became a disciple.
How did you met Joe Cepeda? Your respond and felt about baptize Joe.
When Andrew got restored back with San Antonio Church of Christ in March 1996 (he moved back to my home after I finished college at RIT/NTID in 1995), he started looking for a job and got hired as a cashier in Builders Square, a home improvement store. We had a mandatory security prevention meeting for all employees to attend. Andrew remembered very clearly that he was not so enthusiastic going to the meeting. When the meeting was about to begin, Andrew noticed one guy who are wearing hearing aids was talking to one of the security staff employees. With a moment of clarity, he finally understood why God put me there to work in Builders Square so he could reach out to him. That guy was Joe Cepeda. Prompted by the Holy Spirit, Andrew introduced myself to Joe. Soon after, Joe decided to study Bible with Andrew and other brothers. Andrew saw how Joe had changed his heart by surrendering his life to God. With many prayers and fellowship, Joe made a decision to get baptized. On November 21, 1996, Andrew baptized Joe in the hotel swimming pool. Andrew remembered seeing Joe being very joyous as a brand new Christian.
Your favorite scripture and why?
John 8:31-32 “To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.”
Andrew’s favorite scripture because it is very profound and straight to the point. When he studied the Bible before becoming a disciple, this passage opened his eyes by realizing that he was not his disciple because he didn’t hold His teaching and believing Him alone was not enough!
How did you met your wife?
Andrew met his future wife, Laria, at the Christmas Wine & Cheese party nine years ago. He thanked God for introducing Laria to him at this particular moment. Eighteen months later, he proposed to her on the top of the Enchantment Rock (Texas State Park) and they got married six months later. They have been married for seven years.
Your goals for 2012?
1) Reach out and study with one deaf male to become a disciple.
2) Be faithful in all circumstances.
3) Be thankful for everything that I have.
You can share scripture to encourage our ministry. You are welcome to add details if needed.
Andrew want to encourage to all deaf disciples: God have a great plan for all Deaf Ministries around the world and He will use you to advance His Kingdom. Here’s the scripture to explain why God will work with you despite of your deafness or hearing losses.
Exodus 4:10-12 “Moses said to the Lord, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.” The Lord said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”
The Lord has made us of who we are and He also has the plans for each of us from the beginning.