All posts by Joe

Founder of the Deaf Ministry at Mission Point Christian Church. Married with Chante Cepeda.

Joe Cepeda’s 15 years Spiritual Birthday

Hello This is Joe Cepeda. Today I celebrated 15 years of spiritual birthday. My best flashbacks as a disciple are: getting baptized on November 21, 1996 and marrying my beautiful deaf wife, Carole, on September 17, 2005. 3 reasons for me to become a disciple: to overcome my depression of being heart broken when my ex-girlfriend broke up with me because of a pregnancy which lead to a miscarriage, to accept my deafness and learn to improve my communication skills to others, to not commit suicide and appreciate God convicted my life to become a different person and to be grateful for salvation. My favorite bible verse is 1 Corinthians 7: 10 “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” Through this verse, I have learn that Godly sorrow is showed only when I forgive myself and forgive others, as I made mistakes in life or as someone hurt my feelings. I am not perfect but it is important to follow Christ daily by reading the bible and praying to have solid relationship to God and to His disciples.

My favorite sports are NBA, NFL, MLB and martial arts.

I have been volunteering for the Deaf Ministry ICOC website ( for over 2 years and I love every moment of it. It is fun and inspiring to get connected to the Deaf Ministry family around the world and to build relationships with the brothers and sisters. Carole & I love to attend deaf events to socialize with deaf friends.

My spiritual vision is to baptize interpreters and deaf disciples at Mission Point Christian Church (MPCC). My dream career is to work any deaf organization so I can improve my ASL skills with deaf employees and deaf customers. I do enjoy educating hearing people so they can learn how to communicate to the deaf and to promote Video Relay Services products for the deaf.

Happy Thanksgiving to USA and enjoy your upcoming holidays!

Interview with Sandy Sallee

1. How did you became a disciple? Share brief experiences about your life changing that convicted to follow Christ.

I became a disciple as a high school student in the Latino Ministry in Chicago.  My sister had invited me to church with her.  After attending church and studying the bible for about 8 months I was baptized!  Reading the bible and seeing the heart of God and the sacrifice Jesus made was very impacting.  Realizing that God made this sacrifice for me made me see that I was responsible for it and was willing to do anything to try and show my gratitude for it. 

2. Where did you meet your husband?

I met my husband, Travis, in Phoenix while we were both in the single’s ministry there.  He had been a disciple in the Phoenix church for a few years when I relocated to Arizona. 

3. Where did you learn ASL?

I had the amazing privilege to learn ASL while attending ASLIS (American Sign Language and Interpreting School) in Seattle.  The program was amazing very personable and extremely supportive.  The instructors were phenomenal and my experience is one that I would love others to have.  Unfortunately the school has now closed and it no longer offers classes. 

4. Why did you decide to become a certified trilingual Interpreter?

I became an interpreter after deciding to take some ASL courses because I have a niece who is Deaf. I am from a large Mexican family that predominantly speaks Spanish in the home and noticed how much more difficult it was for her to communicate with family, especially our non-English speaking family. I decided to take an ASL course solely to communicate and include my niece. Wow, was I in for a ride! Once I started my classes I fell in love with the language and Deaf Community and decided to continue with the ASL Deaf Studies and ITP offered. I had an amazing team of instructors and an even more amazing and supportive Community. After graduation in June of 2007 I decided to take a short break to figure out my role as an interpreter and to see if I truly wanted to take it up professionally. Six months later I realized that I absolutely loved interpreting and decided to pursue it as my full time profession and haven’t looked back!  I decided to become certified because I wanted to challenge myself professionally and strive for growth in our profession that is ALWAYS growing and changing.

5. What is your best memory of your interpreter career?

My best memory is when I took my certification exam and passed! 🙂

6. What is your strength and weakness of your interpreter skills?

My strength as an interpreter is knowing what I can and can’t do as an interpreter.  Our profession is one of integrity and I would never want to be thought of as an interpreter that does not have integrity in the work she provides.  My weakness as an interpreter is in the performing arts.  I am NOT a performance interpreter but strive to one day learn the craft and become better at it. 🙂

7. Do you have a goal for the future Deaf Ministry at your church?

Although our church is a small church it would be amazing to have Deaf brothers and sisters and/or other interpreters in our congregation.

Tanya baptism

I. Sharing


1 sec. Hello, dear brothers & sisters.

5-12. Time has passed and I want to introduce you to a new brother.


13-15. Hello to everyone! My name is Zhenya. I’m studying here in a local university.

16-29. We have a great celebration today. My classmate Tanya is going to be baptized now.

30-44. I want to wish her all the best. Wish her be filled by the Word. May God bless her!


45. Let me tell a little.

50-1.24 I have watched Tanya a lot. She eagerly studied the Bible. She had many questions, much struggle. It was quite difficult for her to choose the right life-way. But today she is going to be baptized. That’s amazing!

1.25-1.29. We shall have the first deaf sister in Ukraina!


1.30-1.34. Yes! They are so happy! Welcome!

II. Baptism

1.32-1.35. Slava. “Excellent! She’s saved!”

1.54. Slava. “Let’s pray right now”.

2.04- Roman’s praying. Julia’s translating. “God – our Father!

That’s so valuable for us! Time’s passed, but she has already baptized! that’s amazing!

2.13. Thank You – You gave her a Holy Spirit! She is the first deaf sister in Ukraine! That’s cool!

2.20. Our group was begun! I’m so happy!

2.23. Bless her Father. Bless us by having many new sisters and brothers, by seeing many changed lives! Amen!

3rd Deaf Trivia

The answers for the 2nd Trivia questions from 9-26-11 are shown below:
1. B
2. A
3. C
4. D
5. B

Did anyone answer all of them correctly?
Are you ready for the next Trivia today?

1. When was the Deaf Ministry ICOC website started?

A. June 2009
B. August 2009
C. January 2010
D. June 2008

2. How many deaf disciples and interpreters disciples at Los Angeles Church of Christ mention on article 5-15-11?

A. 20 deaf disciples & 14 interpreters disciples
B. 14 deaf disciples & 11 interpreters disciples
C. 30 deaf disciples & 20 interpreters disciples
D. 50 deaf disciples & 25 interpreters disciples

3. Who was the “Father of Sign Language and Deaf Education”?

A. Abbe Sicard
B. Laurent Clerc
C. Charles Michel De L’Eppe
D. Samuel Heinicke

4. Who was the first deaf major league baseball player?

A. Cy Young
B. Honus Wagner
C. Curtis Pride
D. Dummy Hoy

5. Who was the 1st American deaf person to earn a medical degree & a doctoral degree?

A. Charles Bonnet
B. Judith Pachciarz
C. Annie Jump Cannon
D. John Goodricke

The answers will be shown on the next 4th Trivia on November 28th, 2011. Good luck!

Zhenya baptism

A. Zhenya

1-5 sec. Dear brothers and sisters, beloved friends.

6-11. What a wonderful evening we are having!

12-31. We even can’t deeply comprehend what a joyful event is beginning in heaven. Angels are waiting for this event.

32-43. Only God has full understanding.

44-1.22. Here what the Bible says in Psalm 49:7 — No man can redeem the life of another or give to God a ransom for him– 8 the ransom for a life is costly, no payment is ever enough– 9 that he should live on forever and not see decay.

1.23-1.42. Just imagine – all people are dying, anxious about that, live in fear…. But God has a special plan for His children. 1.43-2.23. John 3:1 — Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. 2 He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.” 3 In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” 4 “How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!”

2.24-2.51. When Jesus explained the new birth trough water and Spirit to Nicodemus, the Pharisee amazedly asked: “How can it be?”.

2.52-3.27. How can it be true – the eternal life for a man? Right for this reason God has sent His only Son Jesus, for His believers and followers could be saved and with Him on heaven. Trough the water and the Holly Spirit.

3.28-5.42. Many people are trying hard to earn salvation. To be better in compare with others. Usually they compare themselves with others and say: “I’m better then someone else… I’m worth to be saved…”. In the eyes of the world we haven’t any worth, our price is small, but what our God is saying.  1 Corinth.6:19-20 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought with a price! Here is a Good News! We have amazingly high price in the God’s eyes! He gave Jesus for the sake of us!

5.43-6.11. Today we have a joyful event. One of God’s children received the price, grateful for it, able to join God through the baptism, and he’s going to receive the Holy Spirit.

6.12- / Before this we will pray God, then we will share about how Zhenya’s life has changed. And then we’ll ask him two significant questions, after which he can be baptized. Let’s pray. Prayer. Sharing about Zhenya.

9.09 Nick. That was great to see how Zhenya didn’t delay to receive challenges from the Bible.

9.49 Ann. I remember how eagerly Zhenya served on our missionary project. Hehas a good heart.

10.14 Roman. I looked for guy with open heart. When I saw Zhenya I was pleased by his open sight. Had many prayers for him. I’m so happy now! We, who can’t hear give one-another Sign-names. He had an old name, now he has a new one – “New”!

12.00 Slava. I must say – I’m so amazed by the God’s miracle! The repentance of his heart was so obvious. It was enough to look in his eyes, to speak heart to heart. I can’t remind without tears that day when he decided to follow Jesus. Now I can say – God gave us a new son!

13.35 Julia. When I saw him first time, his eyes were so sad. Time had gone, and eyes changed. If I could give him a sign-name I’d call him “Wonder Eyes”.

14.22 Tanya “the Singer”. I’m very glad to see how God wants to save everyone. Very happy about Zhenya. Happy we’ll have a new brother soon.

15.08 Slava. Now we must ask you two questions. Before that let’s read Romans 10:9. Read & explain the Scripture… Ask & answer…

15.55  1-st. “Yes. I believe”.

16.15  2-nd. “Jesus – is my Lord”.

16.23 According to your faith, good confession & what we have heard about you we can baptize you in the name of Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. You’ll receive the forgiveness of all your sins and the gift of Holly Spirit. It’ll put you before God pure and completely innocent in the Last Day.

17.37 Here is the water – what can stop us baptizing you? – Nothing!

19.50 Great! Saved!

20.19 New life is beginning!

20.24 Praise God!

20.30 Brothers and sisters! We’ve got a new brother! Let’s prepare for celebration!

B. Roman

1-8 Hi, dear brothers and sisters, disciples of Jesus.

9-11. My name is Roman.

13-15. I was baptized three years ago.

16-25. I didn’t know God’s plan for my life. I’ve been praying a lot and wanted to save deaf people.

26-40. God makes His fabulous plan. Amazing. I’m so impressed how God uses me here in Vinnitsya.

41-47. I believe, God chose me to serve the deaf. I’ve found one guy, his name is Zhenya.

48-56. We all together as a Church encouraged him and trying to show God’s plan to choose him.

57-1.03. I couldn’t even imagine what’ll happen but prayed a lot! And he decided to be baptized in Christ!

1.03-1.05. It’s amazingly! Tonight I invite you all to the celebration of new life! Go!

Patty Herrenbruck

Patty Herrenbruck was baptized on April 10, 1990 in Kansas City. She moved to Indianapolis in 1992. She became a Disciple because Jesus had sacrificed himself for her. Also she wants go to Heaven wheres there are peace, love and no worries!!

Patty’s biggest challenge being deaf disciple: limited support from her church to meet her special needs, grew up in the hearing world and trying to learn to be involved with the Deaf Ministry, and seek advice from Joe & Carole Cepeda for spiritual support for the Deaf Ministry at her church. Her best memory as a disciple was when she attended the Deaf Retreat at the Big Bear, CA on 2006. Patty inspired about fellowships with deaf disciples at the Deaf Retreat. She enjoyed contacting deaf disciples and spiritual encouragements from out of state in USA by mobile texts, emails, and videophones. Her favorite scriptures in the bible is 1 Corinthians 13. Patty’s goals for the Deaf Ministry at Indy: her Deaf Ministry group to meet and unify for once a month, monthly outreach deaf events to build friendships to the deaf and interpreters, baptize deaf disciples, & Deaf Retreat meet different locations in US.

Pattys photo is the first on the left below.

Deaf Ministry at Ukraine

My name is Slava Matsiuk. Me & my wife Julia are COC leaders in Vinnitsya, Ukraine. It’s on the south-west border of Russia. The Church was planted 6 years ago and now has 27 disciples.

A month ago Roman Harchuk – a disciple from Odessa (South of Ukraine) came to our city for study in the university. He is a young 19 years old guy and he is absolutely deaf. We knew about that a couple months ago, so we began to study sign language. Now my wife Julia fluently speaks and partly translate sermons.

As a fact I make two notes of preaches: 1 – for Roman. I also make effort to study his language. Twice a week Roma stays overnight with us, so we can speak a lot and teach one another.

Almost all disciples in our Church are inspired to be in Christian fellowship with Roman. They study the sign language, sisters invite him to dates, brothers and families – to their homes for fellowship. Roman’s arrival unified all of us.

A week ago we made our every-year missionary-social project. It’s like a family game or play. We invited many non-christian families to take part in it. Roman also invited some guys from his university group. And one of them (he is an orphan deaf) came. Now we study the Bible with him! His name is Zhenya. Pray for him please. And a 11 years old deaf boy – a neighbor of ours, came also, and now we’re in a good fellowship.

Amazingly, Roman was a team-leader of one group consist with deaf and hearing people. That was fabulous! We all secretly cried. We pray God to make miracles through Roman. Our goal – to provide a possibility for deaf in our city to know a real massage about Jesus. We know how large groups of deaf Jehova’s witnesses and baptists have. And our hearts are full of zeal. Pray for us, please. Also, there are two young deaf disciples in Odessa (Roman baptized them), but only Roman’s parents can deeply speak with them about discipleship. We constantly pray for them.

We need in many advice how to study the Bible with deaf people, to treat young disciples, to grow leadership etc.

Please, be in touch with us.

With love in Christ.
Slava & Julia Matsiuk’s

on the 01 foto from left to right: Maks (our neighbor), Roman, I, my 8 years old daughter, my wife Julia & Zhenya.

on the 02 – they’re discussing the tactic of the round.


MPCC Deaf Ministry 14th Anniversary

Joe Cepeda had taken American Sign Language (ASL) on the Fall 1994 at the San Antonio College (SAC). It took a while for him to become fluent in ASL. He improves his receptive skill quicker by taking ASL courses, watching interpreters from college classes, and attending monthly deaf events to communicate with the deaf, hard of hearing, and interpreters.

Three years later in the Fall of 1997, Joe Cepeda started the Deaf Ministry at the San Antonio International Church of Christ (SAICOC). He had no religious interpreter experiences and had limited knowledge of ASL during that time. It was very challenging to start a Deaf Ministry without experience. There were no members who have religion interpreter services. He took his best shot to interpret entire service for the first deaf visitor. Joe used to wear powerful body aids that have long cords on both ears and able to hear very clearly to the church sound system. There are two ways to put his microphone: clip on the Evangelist’s shirt or on top of the sound speaker while he interpreted for the deaf visitor. Some of the former church members & visitors who were interpreters assisted Joe for a short time. He had trained them from his experiences to interpret at the church services. Joe used to practice and memorized 20 Kingdom songs daily to prepare for Sunday services.

On October 2004, Renae Quick started to take over interpreter services while Joe steps down interpreting for spiritual reason. She is a certified interpreter and non-member that have religious interpreter services. Joe & Carole have done fundraising to raise funds for the interpreter fees and website hosting. Our church leaders and disciples voted for a new church title called Mission Point Christian Church (MPCC). Our Deaf Ministry at MPCC will miss Renae very much and have appreciated her service and hard work these past 7 years. Renae’s last day for interpreting service was on Sunday, September 25th, 2011. We have two current interpreter members at MPCC. Matt Simkovsky is a non-certified interpreter disciple with experience from the International Churches of Christ (ICOC).  He is planning to enroll in the Interpreter Program in the near future at SAC. We also have Sabrina Ornelas, a certified level 1 interpreter who graduated with Interpreter AAS degree at SAC with experience at MPCC. Our goal is to baptize interpreters to have strong team support.

Joe’s best memory with his wife, Carole, was vacation trips to the Los Angeles Deaf Ministry on 2006, 2008, & 2010. They enjoyed spiritual times with the ministry family. They have close friendships with them and continue to keep in touch with them. Another amazing memory was when Angel Blanchette committed to co-administer for the DMICOC website on April 2011. She has done an incredible job to assist our website with new monthly updates. Joe and Carole feel blessed to have her special friendship in Christ and our DMICOC website partnership.

Joe and Carole have experiences for deaf bible studies. Joe baptized a deaf UTSA student from Campus Ministry but he left the church. He baptized a faithful disciple named Sabrina Ornelas on January 2001. We have Deaf Ministry fun events that meet once a month or more for our group to be united. We will have great memories in our hearts for our ministry’s anniversary in the years to come. Joe & Carole are very grateful to God that He gave them talent to lead the Deaf Ministry in San Antonio.

Angel interviewed Joe with the following questions below:

1. What inspire you to create DMICOC website?

God called me to create this website on June 2009. I was inspired by disciples & DMICOC deaf members from around the nation who contacted me to be connected with our ministry. I believe more good news can happen anytime and I posted articles on this website.   Jeremiah 29: 11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

2. What is DMICOC’s mission statement?

DMICOC’s mission statement is to encourage, challenge, inspire, and support to the deaf disciples and interpreters.    Hebrews 10: 24“Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another- and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

3. What is the best way for a deaf disciple to connect to another in the same area or long distance?

It is important for deaf disciples to have strong disciplined relationships in their local area by weekly contact or to meet every 2 weeks. We can communicate with each other by ASL. They can contact each other by mobile texts, emails, and videophones. For international deaf disciples and interpreters, it’s best to contact them by emails and live video chats for spiritual encouragements. You can plan a trip to a city where there is a Deaf Ministry and set-up schedule in advance for deaf double dates and fun events. We encourage you to teach non-deaf disciples ASL to communicate to each other.   Ephesians 4: 3Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”

4. What was your biggest challenge being a deaf/hard of hearing disciple?

Carole & I biggest challenge for being deaf is when no interpreter service provided at Bible Talk. We have to pay close attention to lip-read during bible discussion group. No closed-caption videos available on big screen at church can be frustrating and discouraging. We have learned to request in advance for special needs to the church leaders. Currently, we are the only deaf couple at MPCC. Sometimes it can be difficult to schedule a meeting with LA deaf couple (disciples) for spiritual guidance. We have discussed our struggles to another deaf couple by videophones to get a strong spiritual encouragement.   Exodus 4: 11 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?

5. How to study the bible with the deaf effectively?

We need to bond relationships with the deaf and hard of hearing. You need to be humble to share your spiritual life to them to be a positive influence on them. Don’t be unprepared and without prayer when you schedule to meet for their bible studies. It’s best to practice ASL in advance to know how to sign for the studies. There are great resources for religion signs at the internet. I would recommend long distance bible studies via Skype or videophone if a church don’t have disciples who are fluent in ASL or have no experiences on how to studies with the deaf and hard of hearing.   1 Peter 3: 15But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect”

6. How to be an interpreter for DMICOC?

You will need to learn on your own when there is no mentor at church. The best way to become expert interpreters is by meeting professional certified interpreters who have religion interpreter experiences. Don’t be embarrassed to ask deaf members or deaf visitors for feedbacks after church services to find out what interpreters need to write down in their improvement list. Attending Interpreter Program at community college, university and interpreter workshops is a great plus to improve your skills. Contact Los Angeles Deaf Ministry Interpreter Team to seek advices on how to improve your interpreter skills.

1 Timothy 4: 8 “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.”

7. What is your vision for DMICOC’s in 5 years?

My vision for DMICOC in 5 years: Deaf Conference in every 2 years, monthly Deaf Devotional on video conference calls on Skype or better program, deaf disciples and interpreters baptize everywhere, deaf disciples rise up to become leaders, good news videos around the world to be posted on DMICOC website & eagerness to volunteer for DMICOC website.   Colossians 3: 14And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”