Archive for 2013

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.

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.


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

February 2013 Prayer Letter

February 27, 2013 3:04 pm

Dear Praying Friends,
Since our last letter, so much has happened and so much is about to happen! I have to wonder how I have been able to go two months without telling you all about it.

Costa Rica
The Costa Rica trip was wonderful. The trip had a couple of main goals and God worked in helping to accomplish them.

Primarily I needed to visit our BIO missionary Pablo Ramirez and his ministry. Pablo is a Costa Rican national who has been involved in deaf ministry for more than 25 years. Bro. Ramirez has a desire to reach his own people—both hearing and Deaf—with the Gospel. I was very impressed with the way he has structured his ministry. Though he has a deaf pastor, Cristian Muñoz, trained to run the deaf church, Pablo is still involved in helping other churches start deaf works to share the Good News with the Deaf in their areas.

Pray for Bro. Ramirez and Bro. Muñoz as they prepare for their annual international deaf camp which is scheduled for the week of March 25.

A dear friend of ours, Steve Blann, has assisted Pablo and Cristian in their camps for many years. He wants to meet the two men in the Dominican Republic for planning some future ministry outreach there. Steve has already raised the money for Cristian’s trip. If you would like to help me raise some trip money for Bro. Pablo, you can send a donation to the BIO office in his name. Be sure to designate it for the trip.

The second main objective of the trip was to introduce Bro. Dan Bode to the foreign mission field. This was his first time outside the US. He knows God has called him into ministry and he is seeking clear direction. The trip affected his heart towards missions and was spiritually beneficial. I enjoyed seeing how the Lord worked in his life during our time together.

We are headed back to Mexico for the next three months! We leave March 7 and will return June 17. It is an honor to be asked to fill in for Bill and Jennifer Green while they return to the US. It also brings joy to our hearts to know that we are going back to visit many dear friends in Mérida. We will help keep the ministries of the deaf church going while the Greens visit churches and participate in the wedding of their daughter.

You can still reach us with our normal contact information. Email is probably the best way to get in touch with us while we are gone.

PDF version of the February 2013 prayer letter.

Costa Rica Trip

January 14, 2013 3:04 pm

Dan Bode (a friend from church) and I are going to Costa Rica on January 24 to visit national missionary Pablo Ramirez. Pablo has been a missionary with BIO for more than 20 years working with the Deaf. This will be my first opportunity to meet this faithful servant.

Pray that Dan and I will be a blessing to the Ramirez family and the other people we will meet. We look forward to preaching in deaf and hearing churches as well as ministering in any way Bro. Pablo would like us to. We plan to return February 4.

This is Dan’s first trip outside the US. He knows the Lord would have him serve in full-time ministry. He is unsure of exactly where or how he will serve the Lord, but he is eager to seek the Lord’s direction as he actively prepares himself for ministry. I am looking forward to the good fellowship as we serve together in Costa Rica.

Thank you for your faithful support. Because of you, this trip is almost completely paid for. There is a need of only $200 which I know the Lord will supply.

December 2012 Prayer Letter

January 7, 2013 2:04 pm

Dear Praying Friends,

Deaf pastor Bizuayehu Assefa walked in the door and God instantly knitted our hearts together. It took less than 10 seconds in his presence to know that I would grow to deeply love this pastor whom I have previously known only through email. Because of your prayers and financial help I was able to meet this dear man of God as well as many other godly servants of our Lord in Ethiopia.

Faithful Pastor

Bro. Bizuayehu has faithfully served the Lord in deaf ministry as a pastor for more than 20 years. He is Deaf and has a passion to reach his own people. Though he has struggled with health challenges, he continues to ask the Lord for strength to continue in ministry. He was deafened many years ago by illness and recently lost an eye due to disease. Even with these obstacles I consistently heard from American missionaries and national pastors that Pastor Bizuayehu is the hardest working and best pastor in the country. He holds a yearly conference where he is able to minister to Deaf in 16 cities and villages in Ethiopia.

Ethiopia Report

Three deaf pastors

Pastor Bizuayehu and two pastors who work with him.

While I was there I spoke 10 times in churches and Bible classes. Three precious souls accepted the Lord as Savior! One is a hearing man and two are deaf teens. All of them have been prayed for and witnessed to by Christian friends. I thank God that He allowed me to see the results of their evangelistic efforts.

As far as I know, I did not eat anything too rare. I drank too much coffee. I had great fellowship. Even as busy as I was, I had time to read and pray in a way that I often don’t do here in the US. Stepping out of my daily routine helped me to see ways that I can spend more time with the Lord even back home.

Thank you for your prayers and support for this important trip. There were many things I had hoped to accomplish while I was in Ethiopia. I believe I accomplished my goals. The sweetest thing is that I got to connect with people that I had never met or spent much time with before. I have many new friends for whom I can pray and know they are praying for my family and our ministry.

If you are interested in helping Bro. Bizuayehu financially in his ministry, please contact BIO or me for information. He is the kind of man of integrity who will use any support he gets to further the Gospel. If he had $5 or $500 more in support each month, he could do so much more ministry. I am confident that every dollar you invest with him will be used wisely and effectively.

Costa Rica Trip

I am planning a similar trip to Costa Rica from January 25 to February 4. I would appreciate your prayers that I can effectively minister to the missionaries there. More information about the trip will be at our website.

PDF version of the letter