Archive for December, 2009

December Prayer Letter

December 31, 2009 5:14 pm

Dear Praying Friends,
I spent the first two weeks of December in Nigeria and was blessed to see decisions made and people accept Christ as Savior. I went to Nigeria to help the pastor of a Deaf church be more effective in his ministry. Though Pastor Wale (Wally) was already the pastor of a hearing church in Lagos, he accepted the pastorate of a deaf church in Abeokuta. The pastor who started the church in Abeokuta also started 4 other churches for the Deaf. Since the death of the founding pastor these churches have wandered a bit from their good doctrinal foundation. Pastor Wale is providing godly leadership to bring these churches back to where they started and take them much further in reaching other Deaf around them.

It was my privilege to preach to both the hearing and the Deaf while I was in Nigeria. Nine people came to Christ during this trip! I also witnessed to a couple of men that Pastor Wale has continued contact with who have not yet made a decision for Christ, but I pray that they will soon.

There is still a need for more monthly support, but we are currently focused on raising the needed money for our move. We anticipate needing $7000 to help get us settled in Buenos Aires. Some of the money has come in for this need, but we still lack more than $6000 to make the move. We trust that the Lord will use you and others to help fill this need so that we can soon be in Argentina working to start the Deaf church.

My trip to Nigeria was my first trip to Africa. I was pleased to see God is at work in places that you and I have never been. Most people will never travel outside of their own country, but through the work of missionaries God is doing a great work in the world. While there is still a need for more ministries in Nigeria, I am thankful to have seen some wonderful works with the Deaf in that country. However, that makes me even more burdened for the need in a well-developed country like Argentina which has so little available to the Deaf concerning the truth of God’s Word.

Please pray for us as we travel over the next few weeks and start getting things in order for our move to Argentina. As you can imagine there are many things that need to be done concerning what we will take and what we leave behind. We are thankful for friends and family who will help store items that we cannot take with us. There are other items that need to be sold and weeded out. As we have experienced with previous moves, this can be an emotionally difficult time.

PDF Version of the letter

Home from Nigeria

December 17, 2009 7:43 pm

It is good to be home. Here is a summary of how the trip went. I will break down my trip based on the initial three prayer requests that I had for the trip.

First, I asked you to pray for safety. I never experienced any illness nor was I ever concerned about how unsafe any situation might have been. God protected in every step of the trip. It was busy, but never too busy to get the rest I needed.

Gathered outside the Deaf church after my last service in Nigeria.

Gathered outside the Deaf church after my last service in Nigeria.

Secondly I asked you to pray for wisdom in what to teach in the churches as well as to Pastor Wale (Wally). God gave direction there and, while I had prepared some items specifically for the trip, God gave me foresight to grab several sermons from my files before I left. I ended up using more of the material that I had not previously planned to use than what I had prepared.

The final thing I asked you to pray for was discernment in some decisions that needed to be made. God gave clear direction in a couple of specific areas. Basically we learned that we would not be able to work as closely with another group as I had hoped we could. The other group is doing a great job in education of the Deaf, but the churches they are aligned with are not theologically strong. While there may be a possible future relationship with them, we feel that is not appropriate at this time.

I was able to see 9 saved during the trip. Of the nine, three were Deaf and the rest hearing.

There are many stories that could be told about the trip and I may share some of those here. One of the biggest lessons I was able to take away from this trip is that though I was hesitant to take the position with the mission board that I currently hold (Director of Deaf Ministries), I see now that this is the type of ministry that I have always done and feel called to. My wife and I have been called to train and capacitate others in their efforts to reach the Deaf. While we are still focused on Latin America, God has shown me that our ministry is needed around the world. We just need to be willing to befriend those that God brings into our lives and pour ourselves into them in any way that we can so that they can more effectively reach the Deaf around them.

Thank you again for praying.

Nigeria trip coming to a close

December 13, 2009 6:27 pm
Some of the Deaf leaders and I. (I'm the pale looking one.)

Some of the Deaf leaders and I. (I'm the pale looking one.)

Today I preached my 10th time in 12 days. There were 24 who came forward during the invitation this morning. Most came forward to confess sin and ask the Lord for forgiveness. There were 6 who came for salvation. Half were hearing children and the other half were Deaf adults. All 6 showed an understanding of the Gospel and accepted the Lord today!

Over the last couple of days I have been teaching the leaders from 4 different deaf churches. We have had a great time of fellowship learning from one another. It was interesting to see that while they use signs from the United States, they do not use the philosophy of ASL (American Sign Language). Last night several of the Deaf and I had conversation about sign language and the difference in the way they sign and the way we do in America. All of the interpreters here seem to pride themselves on how much they have been able to keep up with the ASL way of signing, but the Deaf all knew that the way they sign in Nigeria is philosophically different than the way the Deaf communicate in the US.

I also visited a few deaf schools over the last couple of days too. I am encouraged to see the level of education the Deaf have available to them in Nigeria. However, there are still many Deaf who have no education nor any opportunity to go to school. While some may live where a school is available, their parents either don’t know about the schools, or can’t afford the bus fares to transport the children back and forth.

I have fewer than 24 hours left in Nigeria. The trip has been profitable for both the national pastor and myself. I am very pleased with the direction of ministry as well as the future potential of expanded ministry among the Deaf.

Moving from Lagos to Abeokuta

December 8, 2009 4:40 pm

This last weekend was spent in ministry with the hearing church that Bro. Wale (Wally) pastors. While handing out tracts on Saturday I shared the Gospel with a group of teenagers. A 16 year old boy in the group, Kenny, prayed and asked the Lord to save him.

On Sunday I preached twice in the church and 2 people came forward for salvation. I took 14 year old Peter to the side to help him make a decision for Christ. Peter has been in church for a while and was deeply convicted of his sin. I spent quite a bit of time with him concerning assurance of salvation.

Monday was a day off in which we only spent 5 hours in traffic trying to accomplish one thing. Today we were gone 11 hours. We probably spent close to 7 of those 11 in traffic. I look forward to moving from the big city of Lagos to the smaller town of Abeokuta tomorrow to leave this traffic behind.

The boy on the right is about 14, Deaf. Has no education.

The boy on the right is about 14, Deaf. Has no education.

While at the market today we met a deaf boy who did not know his name. He was probably 14 years old. He was not in school and had no language skills. Through some simple games I was able to determine that he was very intelligent. Pastor Wally is going to try and help get him into a deaf school.

As we move to the town where Pastor Wally’s deaf church is, we will be visiting in other ministries. Wednesday I will preach in a Deaf church. Thursday we will visit another deaf church and school. This school is a private Christian school that was started by the man who God used to start many of the ministries and schools in Nigeria for the Deaf, Andrew Foster.

Friday through Sunday I will be preaching several times to the Deaf of Wally’s congregation as well as the leaders of several surrounding ministries and churches for the Deaf. It will be a busy few days.

I am praying for continued safety and good health. It would be easy to get sick and complicate the packed schedule. It has been in the mid-90s each day and we rarely have electricity in the house–much less air conditioning.

Safe arrival in Nigeria

December 7, 2009 11:19 am

I arrived safely in Nigeria on Wednesday morning. We don’t have electricity all the time here, but just riding around in the car is entertainment enough to keep me from getting bored. Every country I go to says they have the worst drivers. While I don’t know that this is the worst I have ever seen, it certainly keeps me prayed up with the Lord.

Wednesday night at church I was able to preach to the hearing church. We will have special services with them this weekend. We will go on visitation on Saturday to invite the church member’s friends and families to the services on Sunday. Then I will preach to the seminary students and pastors. Sunday will be an evangelistic outreach day as I present the Gospel. We are praying for a good number of visitors who may have never heard a clear presentation of the Gospel.

Before we travel to the town where I will preach in the deaf church for 2 days next week, we will be visiting other deaf churches and schools in surrounding towns.

I had asked for prayer for three things. One was safety. I praise God that He has kept me safe thus far and trust that He will continue to do so. Wisdom was needed in preaching. God has given me clear direction up to this point.

The third thing I asked you to pray for was discernment in some decisions about the ministry here and future possibilities. My time here will be wrapped up in gathering information for some of these decisions. Please pray earnestly that I will know how to council those involved. The pastor here has shared with me much of the information I need to know. God has knitted our hearts together and we are absolutely interested in heading the same direction with future ministry. As you pray I know that God will give wisdom and direction.