Archive for the 'Personal' category

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.

Final Preparations

November 29, 2009 1:23 am

On Monday I will drive to New Orleans to start my trip to Nigeria. As I get the final items together for the trip I would like to ask you to generally pray for 3 things.

  • Safety as I travel.
  • Wisdom as I preach and teach. I have some material prepared, but some of it will require knowing what the need is.
  • Discernment in some decisions once I get there. There are a couple of investigative items I am doing there and I will need God’s guidance in how I make future recommendations to people.

I will try to update this page while I am there, but I really don’t know how accessible an Internet connection will be.

Thank you for your prayers for me and my family while I am away from them.

Nigeria in December

October 30, 2009 12:09 am

I am planning a trip to Nigeria in December in which I will be working with Pastor Olawale ‘Wally’ Orekan to be more effective in his ministry with the Deaf. Pastor Wally became the pastor of a deaf church in Abeokuta, Nigeria in the spring of this year. He has been learning his sign language well. However there is a need to learn more about how to effectively minister to the Deaf and communicate better within the culture of the Deaf.

Prayerfully I will be leading a small team on this trip. I have invited a couple of men to join me as I go to Nigeria. They will be a help to me in some practical matters. They will also gain a greater love for missions which I pray will encourage others to be more involved is sharing the Gospel throughout the world.

We will be in Nigeria the first 2 weeks of December.

The trip will cost $2000 which I need to raise outside of our monthly support. I have intentionally not mentioned the financial need to our current supporting churches. My purpose in this is to get others involved who may not feel like they have the ability to support us monthly. As a result, I have contacted a small group of churches that have expressed an interest in being a part of our ministry. There are also some individuals who want to be a part of this team. Will you join with us too?

To be a part of the team for this special trip there are two needs: prayer and money.

Pray that the team will be able to get all the paperwork in place for the trip. One of the potential members needs to renew his passport. All of us need to get visas. We cannot get the visas until the plane tickets are purchased. There are some letters we need to get from Nigeria as well. Pray that we will be able to get all the paperwork submitted for the visa process in plenty of time. Since the plane tickets need to be purchased before applying for the visa, we also need to pray for the needed money for those tickets.

Pray for Wally. He wrote me yesterday and said that he has been sick the last few weeks. He is much better now and is ready for our visit. Pray that his health will continue to be fine and that he will strengthen while preparing for our arrival. Pastor Wally pastors 2 churches that are 60 miles apart. One is a hearing church and the other is the deaf church. He needs strength and wisdom as he prepares to receive us and not be too worn out to benefit from the instruction we can provide.

I will attempt to keep you posted on the progress of the trip by way of Please check back here often or subscribe to the RSS feed if you would like to be notified of updates.

One of the ways you will be motivated to pray is that you take part in the financial needs of the trip. The immediate financial need is the money for the plane tickets. That will be approximately $1200. The visa will be $112. One of the fees just to submit the visa paperwork will be $20. Even if you are only able to donate $20, you are helping to cover different costs associated with the trip. The rest of the needed money will be for expenses while in Nigeria.

Any gift you give is tax deductible and can be sent to our mission board marked with my name and that it is for the Nigeria trip. Since this trip has come up quickly and time is running short, it would be a help to me if you will send me an email letting me know how much you are able to donate towards the trip. As soon as I know enough money is being sent in to buy the tickets I can start that process.

Join the team. While you may not be able to go to Nigeria with us physically, you can certainly take part in God’s work by praying for us. Pray for the needs mentioned above and ask God what He would have you do financially to support this trip. Check back often over the next few weeks to see the progress the team is making to go to Nigeria.

Update — October 23

October 23, 2009 9:21 pm

We had a great missions conference in Anderson, Indiana this week. God did a work in the church and in us as missionaries. The capstone to the week was that on the last night of the conference a lady came forward in the service for salvation. Many in this church are either new believers or older Christians who have been recently stirred up again in their relationship with the Lord. The zeal and excitement of the church members was a blessing to us. We went there to inspire them towards missions and they ended up encouraging us to be out there on the firing line as their ambassadors.

The conference started on Sunday, but I was not asked to be there until Monday. Because of that we were able to be in the church of Pete and Marianne Leclerc on the south side of Indianapolis for the Sunday morning service. The Leclerc family is another missionary family with our board whom we met for the first time this last year. We have enjoyed a great relationship with one another during this time.

Steph and I also had the privilege to interpret at a supporting church on Sunday evening. Though there were no Deaf in the service, we were able to use that time as a training opportunity for some of the church interpreters.

We also spent a few days at the Bill Rice Ranch where we previously ministered for 6 years as staff members. We were there for a Ladies Retreat. My wife enjoyed a nice time in the services while the kids and I played around on the Ranch and got some office work done. It was a blessing to see some old friends and to make new ones as there are many new staff members since we lived there.

Northern Deaf Camp 2009

August 4, 2009 12:29 am
95 Campers Attended

Campamento Henson 2009

We finished our northern deaf camp in Mexico, officially known as Campamento Henson, on July 24. We had a wonderful week with 95 campers. There was 1 decision for salvation, and 2 dedication decisions that I know of.

While we were down in our number if missionaries this year, we had a great group of national pastors, both hearing and Deaf, who stepped up to the plate to make this year a success. Out of our normal group of missionaries there are 10 who regularly attend and help teach classes and run the program. This year there were only 4 of us.

Knowing this was my last year as camp director, we asked a couple of the national pastors to work with me this year to get everything ready. In reality, when I got to the planning meeting during Easter week this year, they already had the teachers and schedule all planned. I helped polish up the details and made sure the little things were cared for, but they did the bulk of the planning before hand. Going into camp I felt like I had done so little to prepare and that we might suffer some consequences from it. While there were some hiccups along the way, the preparation work done by the pastors went a long way to making this year’s camp a success.

I am going to miss being part of the camp each year, but I doubt we will be total strangers to this group who has meant so much to us.

BIO Training School

June 28, 2009 7:58 am

We spent last week in a training school with missionaries. This was a training week put on by our mission board. We had missionaries representing 10 different countries (if I counted right) as well as the support staff from the office.

The sessions were taught by missionaries, pastors, a financial planner, the office bookeeper, a medical doctor and a lawyer. We had a good mix of very practical sessions as well as spiritual enrichment. Classes included “Writing a prayer letter,” “Putting your important paperwork in order,” “Overcoming anger,” and “Understanding what a pastor expects from a missionary.” We were in classes from 8 in the morning to 5 in the afternoon. It was like being back in school! Somehow I enjoyed this much better than I ever enjoyed school. Maybe the coffee and cookies all day helped with that.

I want to give a public welcome to the new missionaries with BIO. We had none who was completely new to the BIO team, but there are a few who have been with us right about a year. I was serious when I said you are welcome to contact me any time about some of the things I taught. Also, if you just need a friend to talk with, please give me a call or send me an email. I don’t guarantee I will have the answer to all your questions, but I can try to point you the right direction, or listen patiently to your needs. I am excited about my new position with the board that allows me to just be a friend to you.

Over the next couple of weeks we will be in many churches as well as a week of camp in Pennsylvania. Then we go home for a couple of days while getting ready to drive to our camps in Mexico and also pack up our things to prepare for our time in Argentina. We appreciate your prayers as we travel and minister.

Update – June 20

June 20, 2009 9:25 pm

We have had a great, but busy travel month. We were on the road for 4 weeks. Part of that time was spent with family at a family reunion. We have not been able to attend a family gathering (other than one funeral) since we went to the field in 2004. It was good to see everyone.

Though we are home currently we will be leaving tomorrow for another long trip. We will be in a couple of supporting churches as well as several new ones.

It is hard to believe that our camp season is coming up soon too. We will get home from this trip just in time to head out 3 days later for the camp in the northern part of Mexico. We will be in Mexico for a month for the 2 weeks of camp and have time to sell and pack up the things we left in Merida. It will be good to be with friends in Mexico once again. The church is going well and we are eager to see the members.

I know many of you prayed for my mother earlier this year. She had pancreatitis and has had a rough time getting her strength back. However, she was progressing well. She had a physical setback a couple of weeks ago when she got an infection that sent her back to the hospital for a few days. She is home now and recovering slowly. We would appreciate your continued prayers for her.

We will be in Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New York on this trip. We covet your prayers as we travel.

Robbed in the US

April 12, 2009 11:21 pm

We returned home from a long trip last week to find that our house had been broken into. We noticed this immediately because the thieves were not real careful in putting stuff back where it belonged when they finished ransacking the house. Fortunately we were able to get the police to the house pretty quickly, before we touched anything. They looked for fingerprints and clues, but did not find much that will be a help.

We are finalizing a list of items stolen to give to the police, but they have a short list they are working from right now to check pawn shops.

Somehow we expected this to happen in another country, not right here at home. We were initially shaken up a bit and very saddened at the loss of some items. Thankfully, with the exception of Stephanie’s computer, most everything taken we consider to be tools. There was nothing of sentimental value taken (that we have discovered so far). However, we did lose some valuable tools. We will be adding up the value of everything in the next day or two. But initial estimation is that they took between $2000 and $3000 worth of equipment.

We are praying that we will get the computer back with the data. While we have most things backed up, there were some items that were not.

The big items taken were the computer, two LCD monitors, a DVD player and a bicycle. Some of the “jokes on them” items taken were some computer equipment that I keep around for parts. They may be surprised to find that all the things taken from the laundry room were actually broken. The funniest (yes, we can laugh at some of this) thing taken was our $20 bathroom scale. I guess they wanted to work on a weight loss program.

We do appreciate your prayers over the next few weeks as the police search for our items. Our personal best hope of tracking down the criminals is through the stolen bike. While it is not unique, it will be easy to see and may lend a clue as to who the theives were.