If would like to view Neville Muir’s memorial service, click on the link below
From the Muir Family
Our lives the last half a year or so have been different to any other.
November 12, 2020, was a very sad day when my dear husband, Neville, father and grandfather, passed away. He was always there for us and meant so much to many other people too, right around the globe.
Bringing the gospel of Jesus Christ to the deaf was his calling and joy. This was a community that had been forgotten for centuries. He could communicate in many different sign languages and make himself understood even with people groups whose sign language was new to him – a God-given skill.
My family and I would like to thank each and every one for the love and thoughtfulness shown to us during this time of mourning, for the flowers, the many cards and food, and not to forget the words of encouragement.
We miss Neville every day, but our faith in the Lord Jesus gives us hope for what lies ahead.
Lill and family
Tributes from around the world
It’s easy to mythologise high achievers. One of the most staggering things about Neville though, was how normal he was. Neville didn’t have great wealth or charisma or oratory skills. He didn’t have a Ph.D or political power. He wasn’t promoted by a ring of influential people. He was just Neville, going out, reaching the lost, loving them, preaching the gospel, and bringing hope and life skills to the Deaf around the world. Neville brought the modest offering of himself, humbly, gently, faithfully, gladly to God, and now, 40 years and many dozens of newsletters later, DMI runs or supports schools and dormitories in eight countries, countless employment projects across three continents and a staggering 180 Deaf churches in 20 countries.
It’s hard not to mythologise someone who has achieved so much. I remember when Neville first spoke at our church. He taught about Jesus feeding the 5,000.
There was a predicament: 5,000 people without food.
There was the disciples’ solution: “Send them away.”
Then there was Jesus’ solution: “You give them something”.
The disciples’ solution made much more sense. Jesus’ solution was absurd, up until, referring to the loaves and fish, he uttered five incredible words: “Bring them here to me”. And so Jesus blessed the small offering that the disciples had brought and everyone had plenty to eat.
This truth about the size of our offering and the disproportionate size of God’s blessing seemed to be central to Neville’s approach to ministry. He was never under the illusion that he ever had more than a little to offer, but whatever he had to offer, he offered; and whatever he brought to God, God multiplied.
One of my favourite photos of Neville is of him sitting and praying with two young men in the Philippines. One is Deaf and the other Deaf-blind. Neville is signing for the Deaf man and simultaneously signing onto the hand of the Deaf-blind man so that they both, personally, would know the love of God.
That was Neville. Not speaking to thousands, but reaching thousands one or two at a time, because those one or two are loved by God and precious to Him.
Andrew Miller – Australian Co-ordinator
“He was an inspiration to all of us.When I was 19 years old I met Neville for first time at his parent’s house in Ivanhoe for Deaf Christian Fellowship in August 1968 until he left for Japan. We were writing together.
But 5 years later in 1974 I was falling away from the Lord for 16 years. I felt like I was in a deep pit, trapped faraway from the Lord until in 1991 I came back confess, forgiveness to the Lord, ( a long story) Neville heard from me and he was visiting me and were supporting so very surprised to see him. I was crying as happily. We kept writing until his family came home to live here. We were travelled to overseas and churches with him around in Victoria and Sydney too and Lill also sharing and helping together.
We were neighbours in Beaconsfield for 12 years. Impossible not forget to him.
I miss him so dearly. Our thoughts of love and praying for the Lord to comfort Lill, Brent, Erik, David and Ian and all wives and all family. With heartfelt deepest sympathy. With God’s blessings”
Susan Shannon – Australia
Neville rescued me from homelessness when I was living in Korea in 1983. I lived in a room at the back of the Inchon Church for several months. Neville, Lille and their family were a breath of fresh air for me. I echo what Andrew has said: Neville had a great sense of humour. He could always make me laugh. He was incredibly generous. He took the Gospel to the ends of the Earth. I can hear Jesus say to Neville: “Well done, good and faithful servant. Come into the kingdom prepared for you.”
John Lachlan Dodwell
More than 50 years of close friendship. You were always there in good times and the not so good times. Our paths crossed in so many different countries. True Christian friendship. But I never admired you more than in the last 6 years as you faced all the health challenges you had. Even though you suffered so much you managed to always have a smile or a laugh. Will miss you so much, and send love and prayers to Lill Brent, Erik, David, Ian and their families. Also Ken, & Russell and their families.
It was a wonderful privilege to know and love Neville. He had an amazing ability to connect with people and to inspire others to serve alongside him in a relaxed and friendly way. Neville lived out his ministry in real life, always fun to be with, genuinely and openly modelling God’s love in action for all to see. He always responded to needs with faith and innovation, giving out and of himself tirelessly. May Neville’s faith and heart to equip and empower Deaf people live on in and through others and increase in the years ahead. Loving prayers and sympathy to Lill and all the Muir family.
Jeanette & Kerrin Lee
“Way before God called me to join DMI, I met Neville. What struck me was how humble he seemed to be. An international leader and a mission pioneer, so humble …? When I went on my first mission trip with him ten years ago, I discovered more. Love! I saw how he loved the deaf and how they responded to this love. And I myself felt loved too. When God now has taken Neville home, he is leaving a ministry where he has set a standard for leadership which he must have learned from Jesus: lead people by serving them in a humble and loving way. We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:19”
Gunnar Dehli – DMI International Director
“ Remembering and honouring Neville for all he has done for deaf children and adults; as a teacher, friend and Christian counsellor to hundreds of disadvantaged people around the world. It is a privilege for me to work for DMI.”
Jenny Reid, Sponsorship Coordinator
“Faith, hope, and love.
Neville brought the Gospel to many deaf people with vast faith and hope. You showed us God’s unconditional love. I will never forget how I witnessed Neville sang wholeheartedly and with full joy, Psalm 118:24: “This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” although DMI was in a hard situation at that time. The experience of the relationship with God that Neville had was really tangible. I am going to miss Neville’s endlessly faith and hope for a bigger blessing. The love you showed continues in us because you were a man close to God and revealed God’s eternal love for us. Thank you so much, Neville.”
Matthijs Terpstra – DMI Finance Manager (Norway)
“We met 15 years ago, today he went to his friend and Savior Jesus. Neville, your simple heart, your wonderful laugh, and your encouragement, made a good impression in my life and the lives of my wife and even my children.”
Fadi Alchoufi – DMI Syria
“My best friend, my spiritual Dad, Neville Muir is gone. For sure he is with you God. Tears in heaven.
So do not fears for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
“Our beloved friend, mentor and father. You have gone to be with the Lord. You fought well and have won. We will miss your love, listening ear, smile, wisdom, understanding, the way you knew every person by name and personal details, your genuine love for the most vulnerable, your faith and above all your love and enthusiasm to see that the Gospel reaches the deaf souls globally and more specifically Africa.
Your love and faith for and in Africa will forever remain with us. Rest in Peace and see you again in Glory”
Simon Begumisa – DMI Uganda
“We started Deaf Missionary in 1996 because we were challenged by Neville and He encouraged us to reach more Deaf people in other country.
Thank God for his gift of communication with Deaf people on different language and International Sign Language in different country which leads us to do this because of his example.”
Raymond and Rita Abernethy – Northern Ireland
“I too had the honor of walking with Neville in many countries and missions. We too laughed, prayed and worked. It was an honor. I will miss him. We had a standing joke about whoever got to the meeting or event first to save. A seat for the other. So, Neville, save me a seat! See you later my friend. Praying for all his family.”
Debbie Kahn – His Sign and Deaf Child Hope
We continue to pray for the Muir family after the loss of dear Neville. What an amazing Godly man who had so much humour despite health issues and different challenges where the way for conferences/travel/ projects were not favourable….His persistence in seeking miracles, praying and trusting God shows a real servant of God. Nothing was too hard for him to attend our Church during May Missions when asked – if he couldn’t personally come, someone from DMI came – the segment or sermon was ALWAYS GOD honouring and a testament to the way God was constantly working in and through DMI and its people. Neville will be sorely missed but we are greatly blessed from having known him. He leaves an amazing legacy which I am sure many folk will carry on with gusto.
Murray and Sheryl Parker (Mill Park Baptist Church) Australia
“You are the very reason why I chose to stay at the school and dedicate my life in the deaf ministry for many years (27 years). Through you I ‘ve witnessed how God miraculously work in our school , proving that with Him , all things are possible because of your dedication, hard work and great faith in God!”
Anabelle- Head of Fisherman of Christ Learning Center, Ligao
“We from DMI Bicol Deaf Action/ Fishermen of Christ Inc Phils deeply mourning for his departure. We will never forget Sir Neville. We respect him and love him so dearly. No words can express how much we thank and appreciate him for all the things he has done for our Organization. He did his best to support the ministry here in the Philippines specially the deaf people. We treasure all the wonderful memories of his visit when he was alive. To the family of this good man, our prayers and deepest sympathy for your bereavement. You are so lucky for having a godly head of the family. And to us all DMI Family, let us all help one another and support each other.”
Bing – Director of DMI Ligao
“We first met Neville in 1969 when pastoring Collingwood Church of Christ. He turned up at our evening services with a dozen or more deaf in tow. This started for us an amazing friendship as we supported, prayed for and visited many of the DMI centres. We were inspired by Neville’s passion, patience, endless compassion and constant supply of stories of earthquakes, house fires, boiling toilets etc.Our lives are the richer for knowing him – to us he was God’s ‘Apostle to the Deaf’.
To Lill and the family we extend our heartfelt sympathy and assure them of our continued prayer and support.”
Barry & Anne Cutchie. – Australia
“I met Neville during an International joint convention for the Disciples of Christ and Church of Christ in Nashville, TN. He was at a booth for Deaf Missions. There were 2 other people too. I went to the both and introduced myself. The rest of the convention they interpreted for me. I was there signing for the Gender Rd Christian Church Choir. I appreciated it. A few years later he was back in the US. in Cinn and I drove down in the snow to be there. He was shocked I drove down. The church had 4 missionaries. Neville came down from where the 4 were sitting and interpreted the service for me until time for him to do the sermon. I will always remember him. He traveled all over the world sharing the Good News to the Deaf. Now he is rejoicing in heaven!”
Martha Lynn Wilson – USA
“Rich rewards await him in heaven for his wonderful service among the deaf. I am glad I crossed his path at a conference in Switzerland years back. I was blessed to know him more intimately during his visits to South Africa. Our prayers go for the families, his devoted wife Lil.”
“Neville were introduced to me by my late Husband who had been a student at VSDC. As I seen him at DCF and other church and got to know him each time. Then when DMI were formed and I attend 2008 Egypt conference. Bit by bit I was inspired by his work and his knowledge of Korean Sign Languages. He is a mountain of a Man who faithfully serve and committed to the Lord when he made that promise since he was a little boy. And kept this promise from that day onward.
We are sorry to see you go and knew your time was up, you fought that long and hard battle. You have been an inspiration to us all around the Globe. Your example shone on us. We all are in this as ONE and must work together to continue DMI. And praying that the new leader and helpers will continue to grow. My Sympathy to Lil and four sons and extended families. You won’t be forgotten.”
Linda Beasley – United Kingdom
You are so deeply loved by so many because you showed us Jesus Christ’s heart in every possible way. You are a perfect example of selfless, generous love. Our very deepest sympathy to your wonderful family, as they grieve your incalculable loss. O Holy Spirit, please touch their hearts and the hearts of each person that Neville so greatly touched as he lived his life serving the Lord. Each of us mourns, but Heaven’s angels rejoice as their son has come home to be with his Savior for all eternity. Neville, someday we will join you in God’s house, and we’ll never have to say goodbye again. Until then, dearest brother in Christ and May you rest in Jesus’ arms of love. We love you!
Jovy Arnesto – Former Fishermen for Christ Learning Center student
We the Deaf community, Sign Language Interpreters in South Sudan and the church of the deaf are deeply saddened to hear about the death of Rev.Neville Muir on Thursday morning. He passed away in Australia and we deeply send our condolences to the family and friends of the late Rev.Neville Muir, we are praying for the wife Lill and children who have been left behind. We the Deaf community would like to thank you for supporting our church in South Sudan and assisting our member attend a Bible college to become evangelists and serving church in South Sudan. Rev.Neville Muir!!! Your legacy will live in our hearts, may his Soul Rest in Peace.
Claire Auma- South Sudan