Archive for the 'Personal' category

March Personal Update

March 29, 2017 10:17 am

Thank you for taking the time to read this longer personal report. In my regular prayer letter I had a really good story that I wanted to share. As a consequence, all the personal stuff got bumped out. So here is the all family news and ministry info that didn’t make it into the regular letter.

January—Back to PCC

We took James back to Pensacola for his 4th semester at PCC. While were there we enjoyed time with family and friends. It is always an encouragement to see people who have been serving in their places for 20 years or more. God doesn’t call everyone to stay in the same place for such a long time, but it sure is refreshing to see those who continue to eagerly serve the Lord where they are.

After the Florida trip, I was able to preach at Calvary Baptist Church in Sparta, Tennessee. Pastor Yockey is another one of those faithful servants of the Lord. We met about 20 years ago and he continues to faithfully serve the Lord. It was at Calvary that I preached a two-sermon series based on the same story that is in my latest prayer letter.

Eli and Katie Guiltner: Missionaries to Japan.

Missions Conference

We greatly enjoyed the missions conference at Faith Baptist Church in Jefferson City, Tennessee. We were not there as guest missionaries, but we were sure blessed to be a part of the week. This is the church we attend when we are home at the mission board office. At the conference we were reunited with old friends and made new ones. Ron and Sarah Smith are BIO missionaries serving in Cambodia. I love Ron’s consistency through the years that I have known him. The church already supports their ministry

Eli and Katie Guiltner were new missionaries for the church, but not strangers to our family. I met Katie several years ago when she was just starting to raise her support to go to Japan. You should take the time to listen to an interview I did with her in 2009. Though she’s now married and has a baby girl, her energy for ministry and passion for the Lord has not changed since we did that interview.

SMART training with missionaries and church members.

The Essentials of SMART Computing

At the Faith Baptist conference I taught a SMART class on basic computing. This is a ministry of our mission board to equip missionaries with the knowledge they need to be long-term servants of God. In the class I taught various things, but the biggest emphasis was on using a computer more efficiently and protecting the work they have already done so that the missionaries can be more productive.

A Temporary Good-bye

I had been concerned about the salvation of a friend. When he told me that he was going to go into Hospice care, I knew that was the best time to talk with him about his salvation since he was already thinking about eternity. When I asked him about his relationship with God he replied, “I’m good with God.”

I proceeded to lay out for him what the Bible said about being in good standing with God. He encouraged me to continue talking, but did not indicate either way whether he agreed with me or not. It was an awkward end to the conversation with him just staring at me and not responding. After a long stare he mischievously, in his ever playful manner, changed the subject with still no indication of what he was thinking.

I was very burdened and concerned for him, but while I consider him a friend, our relationship with one another has been a professional relationship. I had no appropriate way to see him outside of that relationship. When I heard my friend was back in the hospital (and it would be his last time), I drove an hour to visit him. I knew his wife was saved and that she would be at the hospital with him. I was pleased to talk with her and find out that she was confident in his salvation testimony. He was not in a lucid state when I visited, but his wife told me about when he was saved as a 12-year-old boy at a vacation Bible school class. I told her about the day I laid out the Gospel for him and that he would not respond either way. She assured me that he was playing with me and that he knew well what the Bible taught about salvation. I was relieved to get that information.

Getting ready to harvest goodies from computer printers.

Community Outreach

I had a good time earlier this month teaching a group of kids at our local library how to be hackers. No, not the kind you see on TV cracking into some secure network, but what I consider to be the real kind of hacker—a person who makes a piece of hardware or software do something that it was not originally intended to do. We tore printers apart and got motors and gears out of them for future robotics projects. I taught them a bit about what kinds of things can be harvested out of discarded technology so that it can be used and not sit rotting in a landfill. We did a class on basic electronic circuits and we made a couple of fun projects.

Though many of the kids at the classes were kids I had invited from church, we were able to build friendships with other children in our community that we can possibly minister to in the future.

Through previous community sign language classes that I taught at the library, we have seen a few visitors at church. This was my first time to specifically teach a community outreach class for children. I am excited to see how God might use it to bring others to Him.

California, Here I Come!

Bro. John Yingling (BIO President) and I will fly to California this weekend and spend a few days promoting missions and the board with the students at West Coast Baptist College. This is our first trip there and we are both excited about building this relationship with the school. I have several friends whose kids are at the school. I trust God will use this time to encourage the students to be involved in missions—whether it is through BIO or not.

Thank you for taking the time to come and read this longer (and less formal) version of my prayer letter. I know the official letter was quite a bit different than normal, but I have been so impacted by the life of Bro. Hamrick that I continue to think about those stories his children told even three months after I heard them.

Thank you for your prayers and continued involvement in our ministry.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

Sign Language Class a Success

May 14, 2012 9:00 pm

The final weekend for a two-week sign language class that we taught went very well. Though our main focus was on Saturday and Sunday, God gave us several opportunities to make new contacts and see some victories in the days leading up to the weekend.

We learned of an interpreting agency in the area that was very friendly and sympathetic to our cause of starting a deaf ministry in a church. They invited us to attend a deaf community meeting on Thursday night. I went to the meeting while my wife finished teaching the class that evening. I met a few of the key people involved in the social activities of the deaf community.

On Friday the church set up a table at the mall’s Deaf Awareness Day activities. We handed out tracts and invited people to our Saturday night fellowship at the church. Again we met other people who seemed to be excited about the church’s interest to reach the Deaf with the Bible. A couple of the students joined the pastor and me at the mall for the day. It was a great introduction for them on how Deaf communicate with one another. Needless to say, I think it was shocking to our new signers as to how fast everything looks when people who are skilled in the language talk to each other.

Saturday night we had a fellowship at the church. We do these as a way to introduce the Deaf in the community to our students and to give the students a chance to practice their skills. One of our Deaf friends was at the event. We played games, did skits, ate and talked. A few of the students were brave enough to try and carry on a conversation with the Deaf visitor.

On Sunday morning Stephanie and I did part of the interpreting while the students did the rest. Three of our students interpreted songs and announcements. They each did very well. For these classes we always leave after the morning service so as to break the dependence on us. A couple of students interpreted the evening service. We heard from one of our other students that they did very well.

We look forward to keeping a good relationship with the church in Leitersburg and helping them to become more effective in reaching out to the Deaf around them.

Nigeria Trip Pictures – December 2009

February 6, 2012 10:50 pm

picture of a little boyI met some college students today who asked if I had any pictures of some of my missionary work online. Here is an album from my 2009 trip to Nigeria. I have thousands of other pictures, but these were already in a nice album. I hope they are encouraging to anyone looking to be inspired about missions.

This particular photo album was compiled for a friend of mine who knows many of the people in the photos, therefore the captions are tailored more for him. But I think others will enjoy the pictures.

I have another, smaller album from the same trip. It has just pictures of some of the people I met on the trip.

Settling In

November 23, 2011 11:53 am

We have been back in the US for almost 4 months. We left Argentina at the end of their winter and we are quickly moving in to winter here in the US. God has been good to us in that we have been in some great meetings.

front of houseHouse

Thank you for praying for us concerning a place to live. We lived with, and paid rent to, a man in one of our supporting churches while we were looking for a house. Last week we moved into our new house which is only about 15 minutes from the mission board office. This is the first time we have unpacked some of our boxes which were packed up 11 years ago when we last lived in Tennessee. Knowing that we were not going to have a permanent place to live all those years, we left some things stored in boxes. We are now unpacking and discovering old treasures.

Vehicle

God’s protection has been evident in our lives over the last few weeks. If you have ever seen a car sitting on the side of the road with a wheel hanging out to the side because of a broken ball joint, then you get an idea of what happened to us. It is an extremely dangerous thing to have happen.

God protected us in our ball-joint incident. We pulled off the Interstate (on which we were traveling 70 MPH) for a bathroom break. As we were backing out of the parking spot to get back on the highway again, our ball joint broke. Our wheel fell off at 2 MPH instead of 70. God is good!

Because of this incident we have done the necessary work on the car to make it safe again. We are thankful for the kindness of God’s people to help us do the work and pay for it.

We would still like to have a larger vehicle for traveling, but until then we are pleased that this car is safe again.

Meetings

Though I intentionally did not schedule many meetings for the rest of 2011, God has seen fit to let us be in some great churches over the last few weeks. We are thankful for pastors who were willing to have us in to present our work and report on the ministry even though money in churches is still tight.

BIO Office

I am still settling into my responsibilities at the mission board. I have visited one of our missionary families working with the Deaf. Next spring I plan to visit a few more. It is a great honor to serve the missionaries working with the Deaf through BIO. I look forward to getting to know them better and serve with them in the future.

Thank you for praying. It is always encouraging to get a note from someone who says that God brought us to their mind and that they prayed for us. We really do appreciate your prayers even if you don’t have the time to write and tell us about it.