MISSISSIPPI (BP) — Each night, International Mission Board missionary Ray Hodgins prayed for the Deaf. He saw their faces. He knew their names. He desired for the lost Deaf around him to know Jesus.
“Who will tell these folks about Jesus if we don’t?” he had asked. “Who?”
Hodgins, 52, died of a heart attack on Jan. 18 while on stateside assignment in Mississippi. He often challenged those around him to share the Gospel. He trained and empowered Deaf believers in three different countries, Uruguay, Paraguay and Mexico. He was appointed as a missionary with his wife Cindy in 2001.
Gary Tufts, IMB missionary, remembered his teammate as a storyteller. He said Hodgins spent hours upon hours storying the Bible, teaching the Deaf in their own heart languages.
“When Ray talked about Deaf people coming to faith in Christ, joy would fill his heart to the point of being unable to speak and tears streaming down his cheeks,” Tufts said. “Ray had a passion to serve and disciple Deaf wherever he went. But even more exciting to him was when he could encourage a Deaf to disciple other Deaf.
“Simply put,” Tufts said, “Ray lived for one purpose — to see Deaf people become followers of Christ.”
Cliff Tolosa, retired IMB missionary, saw this in action. He visited the family in Mexico and observed Hodgins teaching them Bible stories. The Deaf couple excitedly told Tolosa how the lesson taught them so much, and the Bible stories came to life for them. The couple said they realized they could teach these stories to other Deaf.
Colleagues wrote that Hodgins will be missed not just for his passion for the Deaf in Mexico but because he made those around him better and want to never quit living for Jesus.
Hodgins is survived by his wife Cindy and four children: Alyse, Taylor, Kalee and Nathan.
Funeral arrangements are pending.