Uncategorized February 14, 2021

Early 1900’s

Robert Hartfeil born deaf, about the first SDA life-long deaf person in Canada that we know about. He married a hearing lady who thought he would learn to talk, and he thought she would learn to sign. Colporteured some and remained faithful to the Lord. Attended church for years even when most of the time no one signed for him.


Arthur Griffith: His parents moved to the Peace River District of Northern Alberta. He became Deaf in 1929 through spinal meningitis.


Arthur Griffith goes to Deaf school in Winnipeg and later to Vancouver.


Arthur Griffith leaves Canada to get work in the Eastern USA.


Judith Oslund born Deaf in the Riley area and at the age of seven, in about 1950, was sent off to Montreal to attend a school for the Deaf. Later baptized as an SDA.


John Issler, graduates from theology at Canadian Union College. Colporteur’s his way across Canada ending up in BC before then working his way down to California. He sold SDA books to Deaf from Ontario through to British Columbia, and for a time became a strong advocate and a leader in Deaf work in the Western USA.


Robert Hartfeil (deaf) meets teenager John Blake at the Hope Camp meeting – neither ever dreaming that one day Blake would have two deaf children and many years later, would become Robert’s pastor in BC. Robert did some canvassing in BC with small SDA books.


Les Oslund born deaf in the Ryley area and at the age of 5 is put in a Hard of Hearing class in Edmonton having to stay in a private home. Later attends deaf school in Edmonton with Paul Kelly who becomes an SDA – partly through the influence of Les.


In Nova Scotia, Blake’s discover that their middle daughter has become deaf through a high fever. They gradually become involved with parents of the Deaf and ultimately the adult SDA Deaf world.


Leona Thomas (deaf), in the Mannville, AB area, is baptized after being witnessed to by an SDA neighbor and also taking the VOP Bible Correspondence course. Her husband is also baptized as a member.


Alberta Blake takes training as a teacher of the Deaf at the Inter-Provincial School for the Deaf in Amherst, NS. Their deaf daughter, Judy, attends Kindergarden there at the same time.


Blake’s take a little foster child, David, into their home and ultimately adopt him


Ivan Babcock (largely deaf) attends the Dartmouth church while Blake’s pastor his church. He later visits them twice in Alberta and gets to meet other Deaf at the Milo, OR, Camp Meeting for the Deaf (by this time Babcock is largely both Deaf and Blind)


Blake’s move from Dartmouth, NS, to Trail, BC and Mrs. Blake teaches Judy and David in a ‘home school’ with some collaboration with the Trail SDA church school.


John Issler ordained (former Canadian) to the Gospel Ministry to work with the Deaf.

Robert Hartfeil goes with Blake’s to Utah to attend his first ever Camp Meeting for the Deaf.


First Camp Meeting for the Deaf at Milo Academy near Roseberg, OR. A number of Canadians attend through the years.

Blake’s move from Trail, BC to the BC Conference Hope Campground. With the blessing of the BC Conference under Elder Tony Kaytor, they start a school for the Deaf. However, after one year, they have to give up the attempt. They move to pastor at McBride, BC. where they begin working with interpreting sermons and recording on VHS video tape.


The Christian Record Starts a Deaf Ministry Department with Thompson Kay in charge. It is to serve both the USA and Canada.


Blake’s move to CDC in Arkansas to work with the deaf center there for three years, returning to Canada in 1985.


Blake works as a volunteer in Deaf ministry in Alberta seeking to establish a viable ministry with Deaf in Alberta. His father helps support them and Alberta works part time.


The CUC Acronaires on Feb. 25 put on a performance for the Alberta School for the Deaf in Edmonton, AB.

George Belser comes from Oregon to Edmonton and conducts an evangelistic series for Deaf at Coralwood Academy. He also works with Blake to prepare a sample TV program like “It is Written”, but in Sign Language for Deaf.

-A Sign Language Class conducted at the Bridgeland SDA Church in Calgary

March 8, 1987

A vegetarian cooking class for Deaf is held at the Coralwood Academy gym in Edmonton, AB.


Alberta Blake works with Elder Sorenson, BC Conference President, to start a mini-camp meeting for Deaf during the BC Conference Camp meeting.

First Canadian Mini Camp Meeting for Deaf during the regular BC Camp meeting at Hope, BC. This deaf mini-camp meeting is held during the first weekend of the hearing camp meeting. An Introductory to Signing and Deaf Ministry workshop is held during the week days at the camp.


-Another BC and Alberta Conference co-sponsored Mini-Camp Meeting for the Deaf at Hope BC. This was the only year that the camp meeting went all week. Trexler’s provided special meetings all through the regular camp meeting.

-Blake returns to Deaf Ministry again combining regular pastoral work with volunteer mostly self-supported ministry with Deaf


Jeff Jordan goes from the Seminary to Toronto, ON, for a special Deaf Ministry weekend.


A Deaf department in the BC Conference with Pastor Jim Gaull as Director.

November 1997

Christian Record Deaf Department closes permanently with Kay & Trexler dropped.


Adventist Deaf Ministries [ADM] starts in Lincoln with Thompson Kay and David Trexler.

-Blake’s work with Pastor Jeff Jordan to record a ‘live’ signed ASL evangelistic series of 20 lectures in digital format in Marietta, GA.


Toronto Deaf Ministry continues with Blakes, Jeff Jordan, David and Francisca Trexler and an evangelistic series with David Trexler in 2000. Meetings followed up by Paul Kelly. Nigel Persaud had been teaching signing to Marian Rochford and others in connection with the Harmony SDA Church.


-Blake’s work with David Trexler, Esther and Chip Doss (and family) to produce a full series of 26 video evangelistic programs recorded in the Clinton, Arkansas, school gym as a project of Adventist Deaf Ministries.

-$2,500 raised to send Thompson Kay to visit deaf work in India.

-NAD Deaf Leaders convention in Lincoln, Nebraska, March 23-26


Blake makes first of many overseas Deaf Ministry trips. This first trip is organized by Dorothy Watts in India. Pastor Jordan accompanies him and is a great help on the first trip.


A Canadian Deaf Ministry internet site started and now at:


Blake goes to investigate Deaf Ministry in China.


At end of 2005, Blake’s retire and in the next few months Gospel Outreach starts a ‘Deaf Ministry Department” with John in charge.


-A major video production done with Chip and Esther Doss at Edgemont Video in Arkansas. This two hour production is called: “Our World: A Theater in God’s Universe”. It was a $10,000 production sponsored by the Alberta Conference Deaf Ministry Department

-The last of the BC Mini-Camp meetings for Deaf as Alberta Blake found that she had ‘Atypical Tuberculosis’ and had to drastically cut back on her share of deaf ministry.


Deaf Ministry Class: In addition to the regular Alberta Camp Meeting for the Deaf display booth in July, an Introduction to Signing and Deaf Ministry class is conducted during the workshop time. Ron Whitford and Marian Rochford help with this new program. These were held in 2014, 2015 & 2016.

Blake gets to visit Deaf work in India with Elder Alfred Griffith, Dr. Larry Evans and Elder David and Francisca Trexler.


A major Signed and captioned 2 DVD project “Jesus Life Story” completed and introduced at the General Conference Deaf Ministry booth at the 2015 GC Session in San Antonio Texas. It was a $55,000+ production of the Alberta Conference Deaf Ministry Dept.

Blake visits deaf work in the Philippines with Dr. Larry Evans and Elder Jeff Jordan. They also get to have a good visit at the SULADS deaf school in Mindanao. Dr. Fred Webb, the GO main Philippine Regional Deaf Director, also traveled with the visitors. He has been giving great support to deaf work there!


In August, Blake makes a trip to Kenya to help with the local East Central Africa Division ‘Special Needs Advisory’ and the combined Kenya Camp Meeting for the Deaf. About 300 deaf attend and about 70 Deaf are baptized, along with some others with disabilities.


Springtime – Samuel Hines (deaf) from the Surrey, BC, church with friend, Mateusz Sobczak, together with Nohelani Jarnes of Seattle, work to help the Surrey church rise to the occasion of a deaf member (Sam) needing to feel a real part of his church!

North American Division Union leaders deaf ministry meetings in Dallas, Texas (for a2nd year in a row). Blake is asked to attend to represent Canada.

Gospel Outreach now at approximately 50 Lay workers for the Deaf in 16 or 17 countries including: India-15; Philippines-7; Kenya-8; Ghana-4; two each in S. Sudan, Uganda, Zimbabwe and Congo; one each in: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Burundi, Nigeria, Botswana, Tanzania, Rwanda and Ethiopia plus possibly a part sponsorship GO one in Brazil through GO Brazil. Funding is augmented at the USA office from special funding collected at the Bentley, Alberta SDA church. This special funding, forwarded through the GO Canadian office, helps start work in new countries in Africa.


August – Blake attends the “Special Needs” Camp meeting at Nakuru in Kenya. Pat Gustin does a special “Bible Story Method” training program for nearly all the approx. 30 GO and Global Mission Pioneer workers for the deaf in all Africa. Thompson Kay and Jeff Jordan each do several lectures for the main camp meeting audience. Dr. Larry Evans is the key speaker at the camp meeting. Between 400-500 Deaf attend plus blind and multi-handicapped. About 70 Deaf are baptized! Blake gets to meet the workers and gives a PowerPoint report to the main camp meeting. The GC puts in $8,000 and Gospel Outreach $4,000 to get the workers to this one central location for training.

December – Special “Big Day” at the Surrey, BC, church for the Deaf. Three non- regular Deaf came as well as Sam (deaf) who is one of the presenters. Special Guests were Elder’s Allan Meis from Michigan, and Elder and Mrs. Paul Kelly from the Rochester, NY area. Nohelani, our Seattle professional interpreter and Washington State Deaf Director, was also key to the program. Taigen Smart-Blake, a College Sign Language Interpreter in training, also is giving good help in the Surrey church with the program for Deaf.