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.

Doctorate

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: biomissions.org/smart

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.

December Prayer Letter

December 20, 2013 11:16 am

Dear Praying Friends,
Merry Christmas! Having come through the Thanksgiving season and getting ready for Christmas has made me reflect quite a bit on this last year and the many blessings the Lord has provided to our family. Here are a few of those blessings from 2013.

Ethiopia and Costa Rica
A year ago I was in Ethiopia meeting some people whom I had previously only known through email. But now I can count them as dear friends and partners in ministry. In January and February I again had the opportunity to meet a missionary family in Costa Rica that had only been phone and Internet contacts, but are now “real people.” I thank God for the time that He gave me with these various coworkers in different parts of the world.

Mexico
Of course we thoroughly enjoyed being in Mexico from March to June. While being there was part of our ministry, it was also a “going home” time for our family. The only difficult part about that trip for us was the ever-present knowledge that we were there only a limited time. There was more we wanted to do in the church and with the people but could not because of time.

Thanksgiving
In more recent news, we spent the week of Thanksgiving with the Peach family. My two brothers and their families were with us. It was good to be together at Mom and Dad’s house. However, I think we are all glad to know that we don’t have to pile 15 people into one house all the time.

Deaf Baptist Leaders Speakers

Preachers from the Deaf Baptist Leaders Conference

Church Meetings
At the end of October I spent time with Manuel Cáceres—a dear friend working with the Deaf in Argentina. He was in the US for preaching engagements and I was privileged to interpret for him for a few of his meetings. I plan to visit Argentina next year to preach with Bro. Manuel in his deaf camp.

On our way to spend Thanksgiving with the family, we stopped in Atlanta where I had the privilege to preach at the Deaf Baptist Leaders conference hosted by Bruce Kelly and the Deaf Baptist Church.

After Thanksgiving our family participated in a couple one-day meetings and a missions conference. We praise the Lord for a new supporting church. While they are just now partnering with us as a financial supporter, their pastor has been praying for our ministry for more than 15 years. We thank God for these prayer partners. I thank God for you.

May God give you a special Christmas season this year as you share His love with those around you.

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

September Prayer Letter

September 13, 2013 10:15 am

Dear Praying Friends,
Working in the BIO office gives me an opportunity to help missionaries in practical ways. The last several weeks have been a mix of working in the office and meeting pastors as we travel.

In the Office
Much of my time in the office involves communication with pastors and missionaries. We always enjoy when missionaries are able to stop by and visit with us. Since we have been home from Mexico we have seen Jeremy M. and his wife. They work in a closed country as church planters. We also enjoyed an overnight visit in our home from Pete and Marianne Leclerc. They are missionaries working with the Deaf in Indiana.

I help with various modes of communication in the BIO office. One of the ways is through maintaining the BIO website: www.biomissions.org. I also help our General Director, John Yingling, with a couple of newsletters that BIO produces. A weekly newsletter is focused towards our missionaries. Then a monthly newsletter goes out to our supporters. If you would like to subscribe to either of these you can go to www.biomissions.org/newsletter.

On the Road
My son and I drove to meet with a pastor in North Carolina. He is the sending pastor for the Leclercs in Indiana. It was our first time to meet with him. We enjoyed discussing ministry and ways we could help Pete and Marianne be more effective in their work. I always enjoy meeting with sending pastors who want to take an active part in helping a missionary do their ministry for the glory of God.

I met with another sending pastor in Florida while on a recent trip. He too wanted information that would help him know how to properly encourage his church’s missionary in her work.

We look forward to being in some of our supporting churches later this year as well as a few mission conferences in new churches. We have not made a big trip to visit all our supporting churches in three or four years. If you would like us to be part of your conference or special meetings, please let me know. Now that we are in the US it is easier for us to visit you at your convenience and not just whenever we can fit you in between other meetings. Give me a call or send an email and we will be glad to make the trip to see you.

Thank you for your prayers for our work. It is a great privilege to minister to missionaries on your behalf.

A PDF version of this prayer letter can be printed and posted at your church.

June 2013 Prayer Letter – Extended

June 12, 2013 9:43 am

Here is our June 2013 prayer letter that I wanted to write. But, it is too long to fit what I know to be good practice for printed letters. Those reading it online will get about 50% more than those getting the printed version.

Enjoy!

Dear Praying Friends,
Thank you for your prayer support during our time in Mexico. It is hard to believe that it is quickly coming to an end. We have been here since mid-March and will be leaving in a few days (June 17). Being here has been a blessing in so many ways.

Old Friends
Of course one of the things we were excited about doing was spending time with many of our old friends. It seems like there wasn’t enough time to see everyone and spend as much time with them as we wanted. But we did what we could and received a blessing from seeing so many who have been faithful to the Lord. This included our dear friends in the deaf church, other missionaries, national pastors, and church members.

I can’t necessarily remember all the people that I did not see (those who have stopped going to the various churches); but, I do get great joy from seeing those who have been faithful to the congregations where God has allowed them to serve.

New Friends
I have mentioned before how that Bill and Jennifer Green have done a great job in the ministry here. They have contacted so many new Deaf that I had never met during our four years in Merida. The church has grown in faithful attendees; more than half of whom are people we previously did not know. Meeting the new Deaf and hearing in the church has been wonderful.

There are also new missionary families that are beginning their ministries. Some so new that they are still in language training. This thrills my soul to see this area of Mexico getting the attention of people who want to do a work for God.

Ministry Opportunities
Last Sunday night I preached in a hearing church that has been a great friend to us. Missionary Don Carney is the pastor and has a wonderful group of people who have been faithful to the Lord. I am excited about some of the men in the church who grew up as teenagers there and are now taking active roles in the work.

Last week I attended a seminary graduation where they graduated their first class of seven men and women. The graduates range in age between early 20’s to almost 50 years old. Two are already pastoring churches they helped start and one is preparing to start a new work. The fourth young man in the group is seeking God’s direction while working as a leader in his church. The three ladies who graduated are all very involved in their church ministries (two are the pastors’ wives). What a thrill to see people dedicating themselves to absolute surrender. They have sacrificed four years of their time to intensely study God’s Word and prepare themselves for ministry.

Of course we have also been busy in the work with the deaf church. I love teaching the Bible and seeing eyes light up with understanding. Two weeks ago I was teaching about baptism. One of the deaf ladies who has come to the church for years, but who seems more curious than she is committed, started to understand the purpose of baptism. The teenager beside her poked the lady and said, “see, that is what I have been trying to explain.” I trust we will soon hear news of her step of obedience and identification with Christ through baptism.

Headed Home
In just a few days we will be boarding the plane back to Knoxville. Currently I have no trips on the horizon. Though I have stayed as connected as I could to the BIO office, there are some things that I need to catch up on when we get home. You may remember that I have been in several countries since the beginning of December. Traveling in the US will be a welcome change.

As always, we thank you for your prayers and financial support. Through you, God is enabling us to assist those missionaries working with the Deaf around the world.

PDF version: Peach June 2013 Prayer Letter

May 2013 Prayer Letter

April 30, 2013 9:27 am

Dear Praying Friends,
We have been in Mexico a month and are enjoying being with so many old friends once again. We are filling in for Bill and Jennifer Green with whom we worked to help get the deaf church in Mérida established. They are out of the country for three months and asked if I could preach for them while they were gone. It was an opportunity we did not want to pass up.

It is a blessing to see the church people growing physically and spiritually. Many of the core people in the church were teenagers when we left. Now most of them are grown and some have children!

Another exciting thing to see is the way the church has expanded far beyond our original contacts. Bro. Bill Green has done a great job of reaching out to parts of the deaf community that we had never contacted before. I believe the ministry is much stronger now that the circle of contacts has reached beyond the one small segment of the deaf with which we started.

We will be in Mérida until the middle of June. Please continue to pray for our safety and that God would use us to be a blessing to the work here in Mexico.

Recent Prayer Requests
I want to thank you for praying for the prayer requests that I mentioned from my recent trips. The camp in Costa Rica was wonderfully used by the Lord. There were many Deaf at the camp with various countries represented. There was even a news crew that came out to film some of the camp. The story aired on the national level. This was positive exposure for the ministry of Bro. Ramirez.

The ministry in Ethiopia is continuing to thrive. Bro. Bizuayehu wrote me this week and asked that we pray for their Resurrection Sunday celebrations. Ethiopia is on a very different calendar than the rest of the world. They celebrate the resurrection of Christ on May 5. They will have a special day of prayer and Easter programs in a few of the deaf churches. Pray that God continues to use the deaf works in Ethiopia for His honor and glory.

If you would like to support either of these ministries, or any BIO missionary to the Deaf, please contact me or the BIO office for information on how you can be involved.

PDF version of the May 2013 Prayer Letter