Providing Hope in the Deaf Community2 min read

Screams and laughter are heard throughout the neighborhood in Dearborn as St. Martin’s class is at recess. It is exactly what you would expect from your typical neighborhood school, but there is one noticeable difference: the children are not talking; they are signing using ASL (American Sign Language).

St. Martin Lutheran School for the Deaf has been serving the Detroit metro area for only a few years. It’s a ministry that has been much needed in this area for a while. The school’s goal is to not only educate all of their students, but to have them know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior within the setting of academic excellence.

The deaf classroom has lessons and problems covering the walls. Teacher Diana Rice, who is also deaf, says she likes to make sure her classroom is very visual. “Our class tables are round so the children can see everything and have fellowship with each other,” says Rice.

Rice is passionate about what takes place in the classroom. She has seen the growth that is taking place both spiritually and academically. Rice teaches biblical lessons in all the subjects, from math to language arts.

Rev. Tyler Walworth, pastor at Emmanuel Lutheran in Dearborn, loves having this ministry under his roof and on campus. “This is a great opportunity for the Gospel, for children who are clearly not going to hear it, but to receive it,” says Rev. Walworth.

One student, Xavier, loves science. School wasn’t always easy for him, but thanks to St. Martin and Ms. Rice, Xavier has become a good student. “He had so little ASL, and he came when he was seven,” says Rice. “I can’t imagine, no communication with mom or dad… but now we’ve been teaching him, he’s developed, and he can sign. He’s a skilled signer; it’s been wonderful.”


It is great to see how the students are growing and thriving at St. Martin Lutheran School for the Deaf. To find out more about this ministry go to

Emmanuel, Dearborn and St. Martin Lutheran School for the Deaf are holding a VBS for both Hearing and Deaf children next week—June 19-23—from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. To sign up, click here.

Video and photos by Jeff Heisner/Michigan District, LCMS

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About the Author

Jeffrey Heisner is the video journalist and digital media director for the Michigan District, LCMS.

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