November 2015 Prayer Letter

November 23, 2015 1:52 pm

Dear Praying Friends,
Happy Thanksgiving! As Christians, we have much to be thankful for all year. I am truly thankful for the ministry God has called us to. That doesn’t mean the ministry is always easy, but it is comforting to know that we are in God’s will and He has a plan for all that takes place.

Our son James is now a freshman at Pensacola Christian College. He is almost done with his first semester. We look forward to spending Thanksgiving with him and my parents this week. James has grown tremendously in his maturity over the last year. We pray that God will use this time of school to continue developing him into the man God desires him to be.

In October I needed to go to Perú. While it was a ministry trip with a specific goal, it turned out to be a personally enjoyable time. I have many friends in Perú and I enjoyed seeing a good number of them during my 3-week trip.

I preached 13 times in 7 different ministries. Six times were to the Deaf.

While in Perú I spent time with some friends from Argentina who were some of our best students when we were starting the deaf ministry in La Plata, Argentina a few years ago. This couple recently moved to Perú and are looking forward to greater ministry opportunities as they get more involved with the deaf community.

Stephanie and I are both continuing to enjoy a ministry as community interpreters. At times we aren’t called on much to interpret and other times we are almost overwhelmed with appointments. However, in the busyness of it all, I enjoy the opportunity to minister to the Deaf in a practical way. Recently, in a casual conversation with a deaf lady I had never previously met, I enjoyed seeing her face light up as she spontaneously shared with me her salvation testimony. Those are the times that I enjoy most about the many hours sitting and chatting while waiting for an appointment to progress.

We covet your prayers for our ministry. As with all missionaries, we enjoy when you can write a quick email and give us news about your ministry and tell us how we can pray for you too.

May God richly bless you during this holiday season.

A printable PDF version of the November 2015 prayer letter is available for download.

Peru Trip 2015

October 15, 2015 8:32 am

I haven’t said anything about my trip to Peru in any of my prayer letters because this trip was planned somewhat on short notice. Then when it did get scheduled it was nestled between a few other events that diverted my attention. But, I am a week into a three-week trip and you are just now reading about it.

Street scene

When I was here 24 years ago this road was all dirt. I don’t remember any buildings taller than 1 story on this street.

It is good to be back in my beloved Peru. I fell in love with Peru during my second trip here. That was in 1991. I spent 4 and a half months working at a church and school for the Deaf named Efata. Though my main purpose for being here isn’t Efata, they have been gracious in giving me a place to stay and providing me opportunities to preach to the Deaf. I really appreciate their offer of housing because I absolutely love being back here.

I am enjoying visiting many of my friends in and around Lima, but my main reason for being here is to spend some time with one of our BIO missionary families and see what I can do to help them and their ministry in various ways.

An added blessing is having some friends from the deaf ministry in Argentina who are also here at this time. My goal with them is to continue to encourage them in their work with the Deaf. I pray that as they are here in Peru they will get the extra training they seek as well as have a fruitful ministry among the Deaf.

I also get to play grandpa to their kids. After a visit with an older missionary couple this morning we are going to spend the day at the zoo. I pray that God will use this time of casual conversation to strengthen our relationship and that I can be a help to my friends in the ministry. I trust that God has us both here for a specific purpose and I want to be sensitive to what that purpose may be.

August 2015 Prayer Letter

August 17, 2015 9:09 am

Dear Praying Friends,
We have had a wonderful summer full of ministry opportunities and enjoyable reunions.

Training School
The annual BIO Training School was a blessed time of learning and fellowship. What made this year special is that we held our training sessions in the new BIO Training Center. This is the lower floor of our office building. The Training Center is in a “not quite complete” state. Using it in this condition helped us learn how we can better use the space while we can still make design changes.

The classes were tremendous and I always learn from them. I taught two classes: one on communication and one on a technology topic. I trust the missionaries also benefited from this special week of training.

Deaf Camp
Stephanie and I enjoyed a week of deaf camp at the Bill Rice Ranch together. Then I returned for a second week without her. I taught the first-time boys’ class and was able to pray with 4 young men as they accepted the Lord during camp. We had 16 young people trust the Lord as Savior during my two weeks at camp. There were 26 Deaf saved this summer at the Ranch.

Photo of me presenting award.

Pablo Ramirez working with BIO for 25 years.

Catching Up
During Training School I always enjoy spending time with other missionaries. This year I had an extra special treat in that I got to be with my friend Pablo Ramirez from Costa Rica. It was an honor to present him with a 25-year service award as he and his wife have ministered to the Deaf through BIO these many years.

Of course there were many old friends that we saw while serving at the Bill Rice Ranch this summer. We enjoyed seeing them all.

At Home
Last week I met Kevin, a deaf man who recently moved to my area from the other side of the state. Kevin told me that he had gone to the Bill Rice Ranch as a camper during the 90s. Though I don’t specifically remember him, we were there at the same time. Kevin assured me that he was saved, but he wasn’t saved at the Ranch. His father was a pastor and clearly presented the Gospel to Kevin when he was a boy. I am thankful for parents—especially parents of the Deaf—who take an active role in teaching their children about the Lord.

Thank you for continuing to help us carry the Gospel to those Deaf who aren’t privileged to learn about the Lord from their parents.

A printable version of this letter is available for download in PDF format.

May Prayer Letter

June 1, 2015 10:51 am

Dear Praying Friends,
A few days ago I was showing my parents around the historic city of Oak Ridge, Tennessee when we happened to meet a deaf friend. She requested that I interpret a funeral for her family the next day. This was the second funeral that my wife and I have been involved in as interpreters since our last letter. These are open doors to share God’s love and grace with hearing and Deaf who have questions about eternity.

photo of our daughter and pastor

Our daughter Leyla with Pastor David Cross

Our good friend and supporting pastor, David Cross met his savior the day before Easter. With the Lord’s help, he fought cancer for 12 years. Through everything that was going on in his life, he was a great example and role model for his family and the church. He will be missed. The ministry of the church will continue strong because of Pastor Cross’ preparation for this time and his sensitivity to the Holy Spirit’s leading.

We were able to attend the graduation of my younger brother when he received his Doctorate in Nursing Practice (DNP) a couple of weeks ago. Our son graduated from high school this past weekend. It is hard to believe that he is old enough for this. However, he has shown great maturity over the last few months. That makes it easier to believe that he is ready, even if we aren’t. You can see pictures from these graduations at

Preaching Opportunities
I have preached in two different deaf churches in the last few weeks. I also voice interpreted for our good friend Ronnie Rice when he preached in a hearing church in our area. I look forward to spending 2 weeks with Bro. Ronnie and Allen Snare this summer as I preach at the Bill Rice Ranch for deaf camps.

Right Place, Right Time
On a Wednesday night a few weeks ago the young people stayed with the adults instead of going to their normal youth classes. The interim pastor wanted us to spend more time together in prayer after the death of Pastor Cross. I prayed with some of the young people. When we finished praying and were just chatting, one of the young boys casually said to me, “I’ve been wanting to talk with someone about getting saved.”

What a wonderful open door to step through! I prayed with him and went to talk with one of the youth workers about his decision. When I returned, I asked the other two boys if they were saved. One confidently replied that he was. The other boy responded with long pauses between his words, “Yes. I think. Actually, I don’t know.” I was privileged to share Bible verses and pray with him to be saved.

Training School
Our biggest meeting of the year for the mission board is coming up in a few weeks. Please pray for us as we teach various classes to our new missionaries and some of our veterans. Some classes will be office procedures while others will be focused on being more effective ministers for the Lord. Training week is June 22-26. We would appreciate your prayers for this important meeting.

A printable version of this letter is available for download in PDF format.

Graduation Day 2015

May 25, 2015 10:55 am

High School Graduation

Our son James graduated from high school. Though he is home schooled, he graduated with 32 other young people in a ceremony with almost 800 people in attendance. This is thanks to being part of a home school association in the Knoxville, TN area. We had a great time with a few family members at the ceremony.

photo of James

Ready to walk!

The whole family together.

The whole family together.

James with Mom and Dad.

James with Mom and Dad.

Before the evening graduation, we had about 40 friends gather at our house for an open house in honor of our graduate.

table filled with food

Ready for the open house!

We thank the Lord for the maturity and direction He has given to James. Though James still does not know everything the Lord wants him to do, he is taking one step at a time. This fall he plans to attend Pensacola Christian College and study professional writing.


My younger brother graduated with his Doctorate in Nursing Practice (DNP). We had a good time with Mom and Dad while we were in Orlando for the graduation.

Graduate and handsome brotherCousins and the GraduateGraduate and Parents

February Prayer Letter

February 18, 2015 3:17 pm

Dear Praying Friends,
We thank the Lord for several ministry opportunities over the last couple of months.

Sign Language
I taught an abbreviated sign language class in a local Christian school in January. The class consisted of kindergarten up through middle-school students. I taught sign language in conjunction with a daily chapel time. Because I was saved during a Christian school chapel, I enjoy sharing my testimony with Christian school students.

When I was 10 years old Mrs. Parnell, the kindergarten teacher at our Christian school, took me aside and led me to the Lord after a chapel service. She and her family have faithfully served the Lord as missionaries in Uruguay since that time. I would like to show the same faithful example to these young people.

Pastor Francisco
One of the pastors in Mexico that we grew to love and respect contacted me recently. Pastor Francisco and his wife are hearing but have dedicated their lives to reaching the Deaf. He updated me on their ministry and asked for contact information for Bro. Bill Green, our coworker in Yucatan, Mexico. I trust that Pastor Francisco and the Greens will be able to work together to reach many more Deaf.

Sword GroundbreakingGroundbreaking
Dr. Garvin Dykes and I were invited to the groundbreaking ceremony for the new dorms at Sword Deaf Baptist College. Bro. Fred Adams invited us because he plans to dedicate the ladies’ dorm in honor of Joyce Vick for her many years of service to the Deaf. Mrs. Vick is the late wife of our mission board founder Richard Vick. Though I never met Mrs. Vick, she was a great example for many involved in deaf ministry.

Pastor Cross
We attend Faith Baptist Church in Jefferson City when we are home. The pastor, and good friend of ours, Dr. David Cross was diagnosed with cancer 12 years ago. He has been a wonderful example of showing grace to others and gratitude to God during these years. We appreciate your prayers for the church and his family as he is anticipating going home to be with the Lord soon.

A printable PDF version of this letter is also available for download.

Teaching a Local Sign Language Class

January 23, 2015 8:54 pm

This week I was privileged to teach in a local Christian school each morning. I taught sign language and gave my testimony each day. Well, I taught as much sign language as I could in a 45 minute class each day. Plus I used my time to give my testimony and encourage the young people to serve the Lord.

The school is a new school and only in their second year. I had 25 to 30 students each morning. They ranged from kindergarten to middle school.

December Prayer Letter

December 22, 2014 11:14 am

Dear Praying Friends,
Merry Christmas! What a wonderful time of year. As I think about the Lord’s birth I think about the work He established during His life. The local church and its ministries should be our focus today. One of these ministries is missions. I am thankful that God has called us into full time ministry in the area of missions.

From the Field
Many of you prayed for my friend Victor in Argentina. I reported earlier this year that he passed away. I was saddened to learn a couple of weeks ago that his dear wife Alicia recently died too. She gave a clear testimony of knowing the Lord as her savior. I look forward to seeing her again in Heaven.

BIO November Meeting
Each year in November BIO hosts a special meeting in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. At the November meeting this year we honored my friend Neal Beard with what we call the Faithful Man Award. It is always enjoyable to spend time with Bro. Beard and his wife.

At the November meeting we had Bro. Norman Johnston speak for us. Though I met Bro. Johnston only a couple of years ago, he is quickly becoming a good friend and colleague in the area of missions. He challenged us with the fact that Christ commanded us to take the Gospel to the whole world, therefore the Lord had full confidence that we could do so. He then empowered us with the Holy Spirit to carry out the work which He commissioned. Jesus knew exactly the challenges we would face. Christ’s commission to us in the area of world evangelism can be accomplished. Even as someone involved in missions in the way that I am, I was challenged and encouraged by Bro. Johnston’s message to stay in the battle and follow our Commander.

Training Center dedication service

Training Center dedication service

BIO Training Center
After the November meeting we had a dedication service for the BIO Training Center which is in the lower level of the BIO office. This is a project we have been working toward for several months. While the training center construction and outfitting are not complete, we were able to use the space for a SMARTraining module on Leadership Development. If you would like to learn more about our SMART program go to:

Thank you for your continued support for our ministry. We covet your prayers as we seek to honor the Lord in the work He has called us to. May God richly bless you, your family, and your church during this Christmas season.

A PDF version of this letter is available for download and print.

August Prayer Letter

August 10, 2014 3:19 pm

Dear Praying Friends,
Thank you for your continued prayers and financial support. You are upholding us in an exciting and needed ministry.

Local Ministry
Many preachers will tell you they would rather be part of a funeral than a wedding. It isn’t because weddings are a bad thing, but funerals give you more of an opportunity to minister to people when they are looking for answers. In the last few months I have been part of one wedding and three funerals within our local deaf community. I am thankful for the inroads God has given to us to minister with the Deaf.

Last Sunday I was privileged to preach to a deaf congregation about an hour from our home. This is the second time they have invited me to be with them. I look forward to being a regular speaker for their special services.

Photo of David teaching

David teaching during BIO Training School

Office Ministry
BIO holds an annual Training School that is always busy and exciting. Each year the dynamics of the attending group changes based on who is home from the field. This year’s school was dominantly attended by new BIO missionaries. This gave us a chance to teach the basics of writing prayer letters and contacting pastors. It was a great refresher course for those of us who have been involved in missions work for many years.

I am helping the office in technological needs in both computer system infrastructure and technology planning for the future. It is hard to explain my excitement when I figure out a difficult problem, but I am grateful for the ability to talk to the right people and find the right answers when I am stumped.

Foreign Ministry
My plans were to visit missionaries working with the Deaf in Nigeria, Ethiopia, Botswana, Tanzania, and South Africa during a 4 to 6 week trip in August and September. The Lord gave clear direction that the timing wasn’t right for this trip. I am very thankful for God’s leading.

Because of not spending the money to travel to these places, we have been able to make a sizable personal donation to one of the ministries I would have visited. I believe that money will accomplish much more for the Lord than my presence would have done. Please pray that God will keep us sensitive to His leading in these matters.

A PDF version of the letter can be downloaded and printed.

April Prayer Letter

April 2, 2014 2:31 pm

Dear Praying Friends,
Thank you for your faithfulness in prayers. I believe it makes a difference in the ministry God has given to us.

Local Ministry
One of the greatest opportunities we have had during the last couple of years is an increased involvement with the local deaf community. Both Stephanie and I have been interpreting for various events and appointments. While we can’t always witness openly during these assignments, we constantly look for ways to minister on a personal level. Recently an opportunity presented itself to me.

Photo of my friend Victor

Our dear friend Victor from Argentina died in January. As far as we know, still without Christ.

I was chatting with the husband of the person I was interpreting for while waiting for a class to start. Before we got too far into our small talk, the man asked me if I went to church and if I knew the Lord as my Savior. It always thrills me when someone asks me about my salvation. I told him I was a Christian and that I attended a Baptist church. He confirmed with his signs that he too went to a Baptist church. We continued to talk about the Lord and about our respective churches.

After a short while he began asking me questions about the Bible. At first I wasn’t sure if these were honest questions, or if he was just trying to find out more about what I believed. It became obvious after a few minutes that he was hungry to learn more about the Bible. He has been saved for several years, but struggled with a few things concerning

Christian growth. Over the next half hour, while we waited for the class to start, I enjoyed walking through as much of the book of Romans as I could with my new friend answering his questions.

Foreign Ministry
Throughout the course of the year I will probably be taking two trips to Africa. These trips will include visits to Botswana, Tanzania and Nigeria. I don’t have firm dates on these yet, but I would appreciate your prayers for me and my family as we work out the details. Pray that the trips will accomplish their intended purpose and that God will be honored in those visits. I am praying for a greater burden to grow in me as I visit some works for the first time and others for a second visit.

I will let you know when these trips get scheduled, but they should be towards the end of the summer.

Thanks again for your continued prayers and support.

PDF version of the letter can be printed and posted at your church.