August 2021 Prayer Letter

August 27, 2021 10:43 am

Dear Praying Friends,
What an amazing summer! Thank you for being part of God’s work with us.

Two young people that I led to the Lord at West Branch—25 years apart.

Four Weeks of Camps
I was again part of the deaf camps at Bill Rice Ranch this year. I preached and taught in four of the five different weeks of camp for the Deaf that the Ranch conducted.

During the first week of camp in Tennessee we saw 4 young people accept the Lord as Savior. My second week was spent in Arizona at their camp called West Branch. One boy was saved during the week and we heard that another camper was saved shortly after camp. While I was at West Branch, the Ranch saw 4 Deaf saved. I returned to the Ranch for the next deaf camp where there were 12 young people who accepted the Lord.

Stephanie and I both went to the Ranch for Deaf Adult Week. This is not a week in which we usually participate. We went as campers; however, it was my privilege to fill in for Bro. Ronnie Rice when he was unable to preach one of his sessions.

Training School
Between weeks of camp we had other meetings. One was our annual training school with our BIO missionaries. Stephanie and I interpreted each of the sessions as well as taught a couple of classes. Training school is always a busy, but enjoyable time. Besides our “out front” work during training school, we are also involved in several behind-the-scenes activities. Stephanie helps prepare and serve the meals and I take care of the technical aspects of the classes (video and audio recording as well as computer presentations).

I always look forward to going back to the slower pace of camp as soon as training school ends.

Other Events this Summer
Thank you for your prayers and words of encouragement concerning my dad’s death. Since our last letter, we had another service for Dad in Texas. This was held the same weekend as a school reunion that Mom, my brothers and my family attended. It was a good time to be together with old friends from the Christian school where I was saved.

We spent a week with Mom in Florida between weeks of camp. The BIO office is wondering if we are ever going to stay home. I’ve only been in the office 4 of the last 15 weeks.

Spain
Stephanie and I are going to Spain in October to be with one of our missionary families. I normally do these types of trips on my own, but she is able to go with me this time—one of the benefits of our children getting older.

Please pray that we won’t have any problems with COVID restrictions during the trip. If you would like to help with the cost of Stephanie being able to go, you can send a donation to our office with a note that it is for the Spain trip.

Thank you for your continued prayers and support. It is an honor to partner with you in serving the Lord together.

You can download a PDF version of this letter for printing.

Ernest Peach Memorial Services

June 11, 2021 2:22 pm

I was pleased with the two services we did in honor of my dad recently. I think he was honored and God was glorified (the two goals we had going into the first service).

Here are the two service videos.

NorthStone Baptist Church

The first service was held a couple of days after Dad died at the church where they have been members for several years in Pensacola, Florida, NorthStone Baptist Church. Pastor Johnson and I were the speakers for that service.

Calvary Baptist Church

Mom and Dad were long-time members of Calvary Baptist Church in Odessa, Texas. To make it easier for friends and family to attend who were still close to home, we held a second service a couple of weeks later at the church.

I was privileged to conduct that service. Several other friends and family spoke briefly during this service.

June 2021 Prayer Letter

June 2, 2021 11:06 pm

Dear Praying Friends,
On Saturday afternoon, May 15, we held a memorial service for my dad, Ernest Peach, who passed away on May 13. At the service I was privileged to share some words about him. The aspect that I chose to speak on that afternoon was about his love.

Dad loved God, Mom and his children. He also showed love to anyone who needed a friend. He was a “dad away from home” to many of our college friends. Now, many of their children look up to my parents as an extra set of grandparents in their lives.

One of our college friends asked Dad to present her to the groom in her wedding. She did not have a loving father like the one my family enjoyed. In the 30 years she has known my parents, she has loved my dad as he treated her like the father she always wanted.

Shortly after Dad died I commented to her about the special relationship she had with him. Through tears she said, “Oh, David, he was the first man who ever loved me!”

Those are what has touched me the most and caused most of my tears through this process. She’s not the only one who has said similar things over the last couple of weeks since Dad passed away.

We miss Dad for ourselves; but, we also grieve for the pain many people feel for losing such a friend.

We appreciate your prayers for our family. Pray especially for Mom as they recently celebrated 53 years of marriage. That is a long time to grow together and suddenly know that she won’t see him again this side of Heaven.

Back to the Philippines
A few weeks ago I was asked if I could participate in a sign language class for a group of Filipino Bible school students. Traveling to the Philippines is difficult at this time, but through the wonders of the internet, it has been possible to teach 15 students how to minister to the Deaf around them.

I recently finished my final class with the students. They learned an amazing amount in the short time we were together. My teaching focus was on the practical application of the signs that the other two instructors were teaching. I taught them about interpreting in church and teaching Sunday School. We also talked about teaching the Deaf who have limited language skills.

In the last class I taught the students how to present the Gospel to the Deaf. Each of the three teachers covered this topic from their own experience. My focus was on presenting the Gospel when you have more time to develop the material; such as when you are teaching at camp or have a Sunday School class with students who are new to church.

Summer Camp and Training School
Once again I will go to the Bill Rice Ranch for camp this summer. Between the various weeks of camp I will be teaching in the missionary training school at our mission board. I also have the privilege of speaking for Deaf Baptist Fellowship of America this summer.

But, before all that, my wife and I are driving to Texas to participate in another memorial service for my Dad. I will have the privilege of speaking once again. I trust that Dad will be properly honored and God will be glorified by the comments made at that event.

I continually thank the Lord for your prayers on our behalf as we serve Him.

You can download a PDF version of this letter for printing.

March 2021 Prayer Letter

March 5, 2021 11:50 am

Dear Praying Friends,
This weekend, as the final service of a mission conference, the pastor asked for testimonies about the conference or recent days. I was eager to share with the church what I have seen the Lord doing around us over the last two years.

When I first heard the radio program Unshackled!, I thought the stories seemed so incredible that they had to be about a different time and place. At the time I was in college and thought, “surely those stories don’t happen as dramatically today.” Now, in my 27th year of ministry, I know those stories are not too far-fetched for the grace of God. I had said as much to a couple of men in church on a Sunday morning.

That same morning during the preaching service, I sat thinking about some of the people around me. Behind me was a man that, when I met him last summer, he said he was saved and had been a pretty good church attender; at least, he was until he quit going to church about 70 years ago. He didn’t seem to have much understanding of what a relationship with Jesus meant. Our conversation ended with me telling him I would be praying for him since his wife had just passed away. He planned to start coming to our church with his son.

A couple of months later, my new friend finally understood who Christ was and why He died. He placed his trust in Christ. He now comes to church with questions and an eagerness to learn about the Bible.

Then I thought about another man who sat a few rows in front of me that Sunday morning. About a year and a half ago—a few weeks after he was saved—I was visiting him in an alcohol rehab facility. The story he told me at rehab was every bit worthy of an Unshackled! story. He told how, many years ago, he stood over his (then) wife and her lover in the bedroom. As he stood there with a loaded gun ready to kill both of them, he realized that their lives were not worth going to prison over. He lowered the gun and left.

As he told me that story, he was nearing 60 years old and had spent most of his life drunk. His new wife, who was saved at our church earlier in the year, was ready to leave him because of his abusive alcoholic behavior. The sincere threat of her leaving caused him to call the pastor to finally get help.

Pastor showed him that his greatest need was for Christ to save him. This man received Jesus Christ that day and his hunger for the things of God skyrocketed as quickly as his desire for alcohol left him. He says he has never been tempted to drink since the day he was saved.

There’s not room to give details of the dozen people who have come to Christ because of the influence of this couple. Nor how we prayed just a couple of weeks ago as they went to the hospital at the request of a dying neighbor to explain the salvation that had changed their lives. We rejoiced when the neighbor accepted the Lord.

As I thought about these stories that Sunday morning, the pastor said something about living in darkness without God. A hard of hearing lady (herself saved out of an abusive cult), who speaks louder than she knows, leaned over to the pastor’s wife and said, “That was me! Before Christ, my life was so dark!”

I sat there and cried through the rest of the service thinking about how good the salvation of God is and how He has the power to change lives in incredible ways.

Because of our traveling ministry, we don’t often get to see the growth and transformation in people like we have over the last few years. As I tried to summarize all of this in a testimony last Sunday night, I was thankful to God for the privilege of serving Him globally through BIO, but also locally through a Gospel preaching church.

Thank you for helping us serve in this way.

You can download a PDF version of this letter for printing.

October 2020 Prayer Letter

October 15, 2020 2:31 pm

Dear Praying Friends,
The craziness fun of camps and training school is complete for this summer. COVID-19 was not powerful enough to keep eight (8) deaf young people from accepting the Lord as their Savior!

Photo of David teaching at the BIO Training School.
Teaching at Training School

Training School
We had a great group of missionaries at our annual training school. In attendance were a couple of new missionary candidates, a husband and wife couple who joined the board within the last year, and several veteran missionaries. We had classes in finances, communication, health, family, and spiritual matters.

Trip Update
In our previous letter, I had mentioned three possible trips later this year. One has been canceled (Chile), the second one is still tentative (Spain) and the third has been postponed (Togo).

Passport Renewal
My current passport will expire soon. As I prepared to send it in with the renewal application, I looked through it and was reminded of the places I have been in the last nine and a half years.

This passport began its life when we were living in Argentina. Recent good news from Argentina is that a couple that we taught sign language have finished seminary training and are now raising their support to go to Romania as missionaries. On a sad note, a friend in Argentina who we met shortly after his salvation and got to see the start of a rapid transformation in his life, succumbed to cancer a couple weeks ago. He was a great testimony for the Lord.

Picture of passport pages with visa stamps.

This passport also holds reminders of trips to five different African countries. One of the blessings of visiting places more than once is the joy of seeing the change in Christians as they mature and continue to serve the Lord. One man in Nigeria came to me and quoted back to me my outline from when I had preached in his church 10 years prior. What a strong reminder that people are always watching and learning from us even if we think what we say and do isn’t that important.

I also remember the emotions of a delayed flight out of Lima, Peru. While waiting for a part to repair the plane, I would miss the funeral of a friend who had passed away during my trip.

This passport reminded me of the joy of visiting friends in Costa Rica who had previously only been voices on a telephone or text in an email. I remember the great pleasure of meeting Pastor Bizuayehu in Ethiopia for the first time after only having met through email. Also the tearful reunion with his wife five years later when I returned to visit after Pastor Bizuayehu’s death. In this passport is the visa stamp from the Philippines where my wife and I had the privilege to travel together for the second time. The first time was recorded in my first passport 20 years previous.

I am thankful for the memories of the ministry God has called us to. And, I am grateful that you are a partner in each of these wonderful reminders of changed lives.

You can download and print a PDF version of this letter.

June 2020 Prayer Letter

June 15, 2020 12:36 pm

Dear Praying Friends,
I was reminded a couple of weeks ago that, even when things don’t seem completely out of control where I live, I should still remain sensitive to what others may be experiencing. I had a video call with a missionary friend from college a couple of weeks ago. She asked me how I was doing with the pandemic and lockdown situation. I told her that nothing really had changed for me other than I wasn’t traveling and speaking in churches. For me, I didn’t feel like this was all that big of a deal.

As we were wrapping up the call, I asked her how she and her ministry were doing. A few minutes later she was holding back tears as she told me that the COVID-19 disease and its affects were forcing her to seriously consider shutting down the work she has built over the last 15 years. While none of this has impacted me in any tangible way, she has been dealing with the stress of ministry-altering decisions every day for the last few months.

She knows God has a purpose and plan, but she is still faced with the decisions she must make in the process of following God’s will. This experience helped me see that, while my ministry hasn’t been affected much, other godly people may be struggling under the weight of the world’s situation.

We should be aware that others around us could be affected much differently than we are and that they may need our prayers and encouragement. And, if you are needing some extra encouragement, feel free to send me an email or text and let me know how I can be praying for you.

Online and In-Person Events
This time of modified class schedules and distance learning has opened up new opportunities for missionaries and Bible institutes. I have recorded a few classes for the Deaf that our missionaries have used as part of their regular Bible programs or church services.

Though much of my normal camp speaking schedule has been altered, I am thankful to be speaking again at the Bill Rice Ranch in a few weeks.

Our annual training school for missionaries has moved from June to July.

Upcoming Trips
Pray with us about three international travel opportunities we have coming up. These trips depend on travel restrictions being lifted and financial backing. First, we are looking at a multi-week trip to Chile. The other trip would be a combined visit to Spain and Togo, Africa.

If you would like to donate towards one of these trips, you can send a donation made out to BIO with the name of the trip you would like to support. Thank you for your continued prayers.

You can download a PDF version of this letter for printing.

March 2020 Prayer Letter

March 12, 2020 10:18 am

Dear Praying Friends,
Thank you for praying for our ministry. I have indicated in a couple of recent letters that there were some big projects that I needed to take care of for the BIO office. Along with being the Director of Deaf Ministries, I am also the computer department. One of the recent projects was upgrading all of our computers to Windows 10.

I am pleased to say that all went well. Knowing you were praying for me was a big encouragement for the task. Though we don’t have many computers that needed the upgrade, the whole process can be stressful in making sure everything is in place for recovery in the event that something goes wrong.

SMART Classes
We have a ministry through BIO called SMART (Specialized Missionary and Resource Training) where we seek to train missionaries in practical ways. A couple of weeks ago I helped teach a group of missionaries during one of our SMART sessions.

Three of the four families represented in the training are, or will be, working in restricted access nations. We chose our classes based on what we thought might be most helpful to that particular group. In this case we taught portions of three of our specialty classes.

Terry Childers and I taught about staying safe during domestic and international travel, preparing for emergencies at home and on the field, and various topics from our leadership development course. We create new training modules on a regular basis. These classes are open to any missionary even if they are not with BIO.

Our recent class was taught during a church’s missions conference. During a conference a church can provide training to missionaries who are already at the church. The missionaries don’t have to tie up more time and money traveling to us for training. Contact Bro. Terry Childers about having one of our trainers come to your church’s missions conference to teach your guest missionaries. More information can be found at biomissions.org/smart.

BRBI
The week I taught in our SMART ministry, I also taught a class for the Bill Rice Bible Institute. I am teaching the practical side of missionary ministry. In the class I talked with them about the application process for becoming a missionary. We talked about how to choose a board—with the guidance of your pastor—that is a good fit for your ministry. Then we went through the questions that are asked in the missionary application and interview process. The goal with that class is to help young people prepare for ministry and know what pitfalls commonly make it difficult for someone to take the next step in missionary service.

I enjoy reading about the history of missions and the inspirational philosophy of missions, but I also enjoy teaching the practical side of the missionary’s ministry. Through our SMART ministry and teaching young people in programs like BRBI, I trust that the Lord will allow me to help build durable missionaries who continue to serve the Lord for many years to come.

Thank you for your continued support in the work that the Lord allows us to do through BIO by training missionaries—hearing or Deaf—to continue to serve the Lord faithfully.

There is a PDF version of this letter available for download and printing.

November 2019 Prayer Letter

November 26, 2019 12:42 pm

Dear Praying Friends,
It is always good to know that people are praying for us. This summer while waiting for my bags at the Nashville airport, Evangelist Dave Young, a friend from college, sent me an odd text message. Based on the message, I figured he was standing in the same room watching for my reaction. I found him and we had a chance to catch up for a few minutes before our bags arrived. At the end of the conversation he said, “I pray for you every Tuesday morning, my friend.”

Thanks, Dave. Knowing people are praying for you, and them telling you they do, is very encouraging.

Clayton
Between weeks at camp this summer, I attended the funeral of a friend from church. He was a man known as a man of prayer. Every Wednesday evening when Clayton and I were at church together, he would come to me and tell me that he had prayed for me that morning. Then he would inevitably follow that up with, “Well, actually I pray for you every day.”

I would then thank Clayton for his prayers. But Clayton is gone now.

Our prayer card from Mrs. Gellos’ Bible after she passed away.

Mrs. Gellos
A few weeks ago, at the funeral of a friend of 31 years, the family had the contents of her Bible on display. I’m sure the items had been rearranged during the visitation time, but the included picture was sent to me from the funeral. Our family’s newest prayer card was sitting right on top of the items from Mrs. Gellos’ Bible.

When we saw her this summer she knew she was dying of cancer. As my wife and I sat in her apartment with tears in our eyes, she put her hand on my wife’s arm and, with a big smile, said, “Don’t cry for me honey. I know where I am going and I will be just fine.”

I know Mrs. Gellos is just fine; but, we still miss her. This is the first prayer letter that I am sending out after she passed away. In the past, the day after sending out my prayer letters, I would get a short email from her. She would let me know that she was praying for us and she would ask follow-up questions to prayer requests that I had written about in previous letters.

Do You Pray?
For several years I have tried to emphasize to churches that they should be praying for missionaries. Over the last few months I have lost two of the people who were praying regularly for my family and me. Are there others to take their place?

I ask this not because I am looking for a flood of people to write and say they are praying for me (though I appreciate it when you do). My main interest is in encouraging you to make praying for missionaries a regular part of your personal time with God. As you meet missionaries and other servants of God, get to know them in a personal way and make them a serious focus of your prayer ministry.

At this time of Thanksgiving, we are thankful for you and your prayers.

You can download a PDF version of this letter for printing.

August 2019 Prayer Letter

August 10, 2019 6:44 pm

Dear Praying Friends,
The 19-year-old deaf girl exclaimed in understanding, “Oh. Oh! Oh!” That was all she could say when I showed—in signs—how that Christ was a substitute for our punishment by dying on the cross, even though He was innocent of sin and we were guilty. Her sudden, and vocal, understanding was at the end of the 10th message I preached at camp in Arizona a couple of weeks ago. This girl, along with a 14-year-old deaf boy, had traveled many hours on buses and trains from California to hear the Gospel presented in their native language: American Sign Language. When the light of their understanding turned on, it was moving to see how excited they got.

Tyler and Rebekah Thornton.
Tyler is the Deaf Camp Director
at the Bill Rice Ranch.

We had several other deaf teens and adults with us that week. The rest of the crowd was already saved and had been actively praying for the salvation of these two teens. Everyone else in the room was as thrilled as I was to see their response to a clear presentation of the Gospel.

That was the last week of my four weeks at deaf camp this summer. I was at West Branch that week but had spent the previous weeks of camp at the Bill Rice Ranch in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. West Branch is their camp in Williams, Arizona.

In the five weeks of deaf camp (4 in Tennessee and 1 in Arizona), we saw 17 young people come to know the Lord as their Savior! As I mentioned in my last letter, being part of camp ministry is such a blessing. I travel to churches today and regularly meet people who I met when they were teens coming to camp. It encourages me greatly in the ministry.

While I have spent at least part of 16 summers at the Bill Rice Ranch, I realize there are many other good camps. Let me encourage you to take advantage of sending your kids to camp or going to an adult retreat at a camp that can minister to you as an individual, couple, or family. And, would you consider working at a camp? There are many that could benefit from you volunteering a week or a summer to help them in some tangible way.

Training School
We had a wonderful training school with our missionaries in June. Three families attended with the intention of making application to be missionaries with us. We also had several veteran missionaries who took the time to fellowship with us and share things they have learned from the field that are beneficial to our younger missionaries and missionary applicants.

Upcoming Schedule
We will be home quite a bit the next two months. That allows us to catch up on some projects around the office and at home. Pray that God will give us wisdom in completing what we can and clarity to realize that some things we may have intended to do may not need to be done now, or at all.

Thank you for your continued prayers and financial support. We are able to do our ministry because of you.

You can download a PDF version of our letter for printing.

April 2019 Prayer Letter

April 29, 2019 10:53 am

Dear Praying Friends,
We celebrated the Lord’s resurrection by attending our local church and having a nice meal with family. Though we enjoy ministering to churches and missionaries away from home, it is also nice to be home to participate in local ministry when we can.

Office Ministry
Certainly a large part of our work is serving the missionaries who minister through BIO. The first part of the year is always taken up with paperwork that must be submitted for tax reporting on behalf of the missionaries. It is neither enjoyable nor glamorous; but it is an important part of how we serve the missionaries. This keeps them from having to deal with all the extra tax paperwork that would come their way if they did not work through an agency such as BIO. We can’t take all the burden away from them, but we do what we can to help them avoid an unpleasant IRS visit.

Selfie at the Deaf Rally at Palmetto Baptist Deaf Church

Preaching Ministry
I preached in two evangelistic meetings in deaf churches recently. One was a four-day revival campaign. Another was a one-day rally in which I was asked to give a simple and clear Gospel presentation. It is an honor to be given that task. We did not see anyone saved in those two meetings, but I am confident that God’s Word was clearly presented by the various preachers who were involved.

I trust that fruit will grow from these two meetings.

Bill Rice Bible Institute
I have been teaching a missions class in a Bible institute at the Bill Rice Ranch for the last two years. Some of the classes I teach by Skype, and others I am there in person. I pray God will use these young people in ministry for years to come. None of my students this year have indicated that God is calling them to full-time mission work, but they are open to the Lord’s leadership. This class will help them have a better understanding of how to minister when missionaries visit their churches.

Camp Ministry
A couple of weeks ago I was in a deaf church when a man came up to me and signed, “In 1996, when I was 16 years old, you preached at camp. I understood the Gospel. You prayed with me and I got saved.” Then he gave me a hug.

It is times like this that I am reminded of what a privilege it is to have an impact on the lives of young people through camping ministry. There are thousands of Deaf (and hearing) who have been saved because of camps that preach the Gospel. It is an encouragement to me when I meet someone who tells me they were saved at camp.

I will be at the Bill Rice Ranch again this year for four weeks. Serving in camp ministry is such a privilege. Whether you are a camp speaker, a camp worker or a supporter of camp ministry, allow the Lord to use you in making an eternal impact on the lives of young people in the coming months.

You can download a PDF version of this letter for printing and posting at church.

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