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.

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.

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.

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: 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

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.