A surprising and inspiring look at one deaf girl’s impact on three generations. Despite her deafness, this young heroine becomes a ‘silent blessing’ to her parents, her teachers, her husband, her children, and to us. More than a documentary, this is a mesmerizing drama with a number of twists that I did not see coming. Utterly enthralling and poignant! —David Paul Kirkpatrick, former President of Paramount Pictures & former Production President of Walt Disney StudiosDonald Boggs and his team have succeeded...in helping all of us who live in a hearing world, too often oblivious to the needs of the deaf, to hear the silence and to speak with a deep, new respect for the gift of language. —Gloria & Bill Gaither, named Christian Songwriters of the Century in 2000 by ASCAP
“In a Silent World" isn't a film just about being deaf. It isn't a film simply about faith. It's not really even just a film about the love of a family or adapting to disability. Instead, In a Silent World explores the sacredness of the journey in both every day and seemingly larger than life ways. –Richard Propes, The Independent Critic
Gifted musician Marshall Lawrence and his wife Terry, a communication professor, were excited to welcome newborn Rachel into their world.
But because of Rachel’s deafness—they were forced to enter hers instead.
A New Life
The birth of Rachel in 1985 was an incredibly exciting moment for parents Marshall and Terry. Rachel’s 9 year old sister, Carol, was highly protective of this newborn.
Marshall and Terry had prayed for a healthy baby and all seemed well. Within a few months, though, things seemed different from their experience with Carol’s infancy. Carol had mimicked her parents’ sounds and had babbled. Rachel did little of this.
At 9 months, Marshall and Terry requested that Rachel’s hearing be checked and after some rudimentary tests, their pediatrician assured them that everything was OK and they just needed to be patient.
The Lawrences weren’t so sure.
A Silent World
At 15 months of age, Rachel still was not using any words. Finally, one rainy and cloudy day, Rachel awakened from a nap in her darkened room and Marshall, standing at the door, heard her fussing as she stood with her back to him. Marshall called her name—no response. Again he called, louder. And finally, at the top of his lungs, he called “Rachel”, yet again received no response. But when Marshall flipped on the ceiling light switch, Rachel immediately wheeled around with a huge smile and put her arms out to him to be picked up from her crib.
It was then that Marshall knew for sure that she was simply not hearing his call to her. More advanced testing confirmed that Rachel was profoundly deaf—a loss of 95 decibels in each ear.
A Deaf School
As most parents would, Marshall and Terry tried hearing aids for Rachel, hoping that they would enable her to acquire English, but after three years of intensive speech therapy and training it became clear that a different approach was required. Marshall and Terry visited the Indiana School for the Deaf where for the first time, five year old Rachel met children that were deaf like her.
Although this new experience was exciting and comforting for Rachel, the residential nature of the school meant her parents would drop her off on a Monday and come back Friday for the three hour trip home. That first Monday it was impossible to communicate to her that they would be back on Friday to take her home. This was incredibly challenging emotionally for Rachel—and for her parents.
Despite the challenges, the Indiana School for the Deaf made all the difference for Rachel—and for Marshall and Terry.
A Faithful Life
The journey since for the Lawrence family has been nothing short of amazing. It is a story of one family’s experience with Deaf culture and the challenging but worthwhile path they walked together. Marshall and Terry had prayed for a healthy baby and they believe that happened.
Their Christian faith held them firm in their love for Rachel and their commitment that she would come to an understanding of a loving God. But, in a silent world, how can one hear the voice of God? In this dramatic documentary, the differing experiences and perspectives of Rachel and her parents are intertwined to tell the story of their family’s life in two different worlds.
In a Silent World boldly shares the moving spiritual story of how an entire family had to adjust to the unexpected—and found more meaning in life than might have happened otherwise.
Rachel Lawrence Biser
Christy Spaulding Boyer
Mark G. Dawson