Archive for the 'Ministry Update' category

March 2016 Prayer Letter

March 3, 2016 2:30 pm

Dear Praying Friends,
This new year has opened up a few new opportunities for us to serve the Lord in the ministry to the Deaf. As I’ve gotten focused on the work, I have been caught off guard as to how quickly time has gotten away from me. Recently I told a church that they were hearing my “new prayer letter” in person and that I would be writing the paper version in a couple of days. That was two weeks ago! Where has the time gone?

Sign Language Classes
As I did a few months ago, I am teaching a sign language class at two of our local libraries. In the previous class I was able to get one of the students interested in coming to church with us. She came faithfully for a couple of months but still has not made a decision for the Lord. We are praying that the Word of God will take root and that she and her children will accept the Lord.

I was asked to teach a class in an interpreter training program at Crown College in Knoxville. This is especially exciting since the majority of the students at the school are preparing to serve the Lord in local churches or on the mission field. I am thrilled at knowing that these students are serious about serving the Lord and about thoroughly preparing themselves in the area of deaf ministry.

Missions Conferences
We have recently been in two different missions conferences. One was at a church that has supported us for 16 years. It is a blessing to see many of the same faces that we first met so many years ago. The other conference was at the Campus Church of Pensacola Christian College. We were there representing our mission board as well as sharing our burden for reaching the Deaf. We talked with many students and enjoyed time with several old friends. Some are on faculty and staff at the school and others were classmates who have now been in faithful service as missionaries since we all graduated over 20 years ago.

Home
We are looking forward to a trip to Texas in a few weeks. We were asked to be in a missions conference in April that will take us to within a couple hundred miles of our home church. We look forward to visiting family and friends while we are there.

Ministry has been busy but enjoyable. We covet your prayers as we continue to train others in the work of sharing the Gospel with the Deaf.

A printable PDF version of the March 2106 prayer letter is available for download.

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.

College
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.

PeruPerú
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.

Interpreting
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.

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.

Mexico
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.

October 2012 Prayer Letter

October 8, 2012 2:19 pm

Dear Praying Friends,
Last week my heart was broken as I walked away from Ben. He is 96 years old and understands his need for a savior, but would not accept Jesus Christ as the Messiah. He acknowledged that he could not be saved with his current beliefs. He is a Jew and categorically rejects Jesus’ claims as the Son of God.

The two things that give me hope for Ben are the people in his life and prayer. Ben is Deaf and has people close to him who love him and are praying for his salvation. Ben’s hearing son gave testimony that he (the son) came to an understanding of Christ by reading the Old Testament. Ben’s son is greatly concerned for his father’s salvation. There is also a lady who lives in the same town as Ben and picks him up to take him to church. Ben likes going to the Christian church, but does not want anyone to change him from being a Jew.

We know God can work mightily in a person’s life through prayer. Will you please pray for my new friend Ben?

We had a wonderful retreat with a deaf church in New York last week. That is where I met Ben and his son. Besides having an opportunity to clearly present the Gospel, I enjoyed teaching about prayer. Specifically the weekend was focused on praying for missionaries.

I am excited about an upcoming trip to Ethiopia. I plan to leave the week after Thanksgiving and be gone until December 17. I will meet some dear servants of God for the first time. Bizuayehu and Gomeju have faithfully served the Lord among the Deaf for many years in their native country. Bizuayehu is a deaf pastor and has trained other men to be pastors as well. There are several churches that he has helped start.

Gomeju is in charge of the Vicktory School for the Deaf in Addis Ababa. Those familiar with our mission board have probably been involved in the many projects helping that educational ministry through the years. God has used that work to bring many Deaf to Himself.

A donor will match $750 towards the trip. This will take care of half the plane ticket. Anyone wanting to assist in the other half of the trip can donate through BIO with a notation of “Peach Ethiopia.”

We praise the Lord for new monthly donors. This has been a financial relief for our day to day ministry expenses. Thank you!

Prayer Requests:

  • Ben’s Salvation
  • Successful Ethiopia Trip

October 2012 Prayer Letter PDF

August 2012 Prayer Letter

August 16, 2012 2:04 pm

Dear Praying Friends,
We praise the Lord for the wonderful ministry opportunity that Stephanie and I had at the DeafNation World Expo. We were able to go because of your help and God worked mightily because of your prayers. This event hosted 16,000+ Deaf from more than 65 countries. Though the number of participants was only half of what the organizers expected, God won a great victory. Our team of 36 people were privileged to lead 36 souls to the Lord! Deaf from at least 4 different countries accepted the Lord!

We arrived on Friday evening, July 27. The weekend was filled with prayer and preparation for the event. The leader of our team, David Bennett from Silent Word Ministries International, made prayer a priority during our weekend preparation. It was obvious to us that he had spent much time on his face before the Lord concerning DeafNation. David not only taught us to pray, he showed us how. I am certain the prayer lives of everyone on our team will be forever changed. God used Bro. Bennett’s example of prayer to help all of us focus on the Lord during the week.

Picture of our team in Las VegasBesides preparing our hearts and minds for the work, there were tens of thousands of tracts and videos to make ready for opening day. The main focus of our evangelistic thrust this year was that man cannot be good enough to earn his way into Heaven. God’s Law was clearly presented to help people realize that they are sinners but that God has also provided a Redeemer.

Our group of 36 split up into four teams. I was in charge of one of the two street teams. We walked up and down the Las Vegas strip for several hours each day handing out tracts to anyone who would take them. When we saw Deaf we would give them a Gospel DVD along with the tracts. We engaged as many people, hearing or Deaf, as we could in conversations about the Lord. Though I did not personally lead anyone to the Lord on this trip, I trust that the many seeds planted will soon be harvested by other Christians. God blessed and kept the street teams safe even with the many hours we spent in the sun.

The two teams which covered our booths inside the convention center did the bulk of the witnessing. The convention center provided them a place to carry on long conversations and answer many questions. There were several people who spent more than two hours with our team members before accepting the Lord as Savior. People were not in a hurry to get from one place to another. Most of them were there for the purpose of talking hours on end. We praise the Lord that they chose to talk with the people at our booths.

I want to extend a hearty thank you to each one of you for your involvement in our ministry in Las Vegas. We appreciate the financial support that made this trip possible, but mostly we thank you for your faithful prayers. We know many were praying for our family and the DeafNation team. God truly heard your prayers and answered. Thank you for taking a part in DeafNation World Expo so that many Deaf could learn about salvation through Jesus Christ.

August 2012 Prayer Letter PDF

DeafNation: Midweek Report

August 2, 2012 12:43 am

There wasn’t the turnout expected for this edition of DeafNation World Expo; however, our ministry seemed to be much more effective than it was in the past. I think we made some good changes to help with that. And I think that seeds were planted 2 years ago that were ready to be harvested this year.

We saw one deaf man saved over the weekend while preparing for the beginning of the event. On Sunday night we went to an area packed with hearing and Deaf to distribute our main tract. I have not yet heard a number for how many of those we distributed, but I would guess our number was somewhere around 5,000 that first night. Fewer than 100 tracts were found on the ground by our team of 36 people. We are praying that many people will keep and read the tracts over the coming days.

Monday we saw 16 saved. All Deaf I believe. Tuesday there were 13 (12 Deaf, 1 Hearing). Today (Wednesday), I have not gotten an official count, but the last I heard there had been 6 saved. That makes 36 and more than 3X the number saved from 2 years ago.

The conference ended today, but we are still in Vegas for a couple of days. We will continue to distribute tracts on the streets and try to engage Deaf and hearing in conversations and share the Gospel with them.

Going into the week there were expectations that we would have close to 30,000 Deaf for the conference. No official number has been given, but it would surprise me if we had 20,000. Regardless of the number of people in attendance, God accomplished so much more in this week than what we were able to see with larger numbers last time.

Continue to pray for us. Pray that the team will stay motivated to share the Gospel even though the main event has ended.

The next 2 days will be filled with sharing testimonies and spending time together as friends and co-laborers in the Gospel. Two of our dearest friends from our ministry in Mexico are with us this week. We have had precious little time to enjoy each other’s company. We look forward to catching up with Gary and Ann Layne over the next 2 days.

Final Preparations for DeafNation World Expo 2012

July 26, 2012 1:28 pm

Stephanie and I are excited about the opportunity to be a part of the evangelistic outreach at DeafNation World Expo in Las Vegas. We leave tomorrow morning. Lord willing we will arrive in Las Vegas around 3:00 in the afternoon on Friday July 27. We will be there until Saturday August 4.

While the DeafNation event is Sunday through Wednesday, we will spend the hours leading up to the convention in prayer and preparation of materials. Our group will distribute tens of thousands of tracts and Gospel DVDs. There will still be thousands of Deaf in the area a few days after the close of DeafNation; therefore, we will stay those extra days to continue with our evangelization ministry.

As we stand at the start of the event I have a few requests I would like to ask you to pray for over the next few days.

  • Physical safety in the heat
  • Spiritual safety against Satan’s attacks
  • Wisdom in many decisions to be made
  • Team members will work together and be spiritually pure

I will try to update you with pictures and posts from Las Vegas over the next week. Even if you don’t hear from us (because we will be very busy), we still need your prayers.

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