Missionary to the Foreign Deaf
Nicole Condra was born in 1985 into the family of Reed and Donna Condra, who work with Silent Word Ministries (SWM) as missionaries to the deaf. Nicole developed two first languages: English and American Sign Language. She not only grew up with the language of the Deaf, but also with their culture. When she is speaking with the Deaf, they often think she also is deaf because of her naturalness and fluency in communication. The Deaf have a very distinct culture, and it is very important to understand that culture in order to effectively witness to them.
Teach Others Also
James Overton’s walk with the Lord began at the age of 12, but initially he lacked commitment. In 1990, at the Bill Rice Ranch in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, God opened his eyes to the futility of his worldly ways. Longing for a future with no regrets, he gave himself wholly to Christ and “surrendered all,” changing the course of his life. During his junior year of high school, he surrendered to full-time Christian service and went on to graduate from Bible college, obtaining a master’s degree in Bible Exposition in 2007.
While in Bible college, James spent summers counseling at Bill Rice Ranch where he met Toree Dennis. Raised in a godly pastor’s home and saved at the age of four, God had been working on her heart in the area of missions. After their meeting at camp, James went on to intern at her father’s church, and gained not only a godly help-meet, but a position as the youth/assistant pastor.
She Gets It
by Kristen Rea
Our adventure started in Hollister, Florida, where we’d spent the previous month. We put all our belongings we didn’t need for the two week overseas trip into our little Chevy Cobalt. Imagine putting two people’s ENTIRE wardrobes into a small car, along with ministry things, toiletries, etc.—talk about cramped!
A pastor in Orange Park, Florida, who graciously watched our car while we were gone, took us out for a Mexican lunch before driving us to the airport for our flight to New York. From there, a fourteen hour flight would take us to South Korea, where we would catch a flight to Thailand and spend the night. Then we would take a cab to the bus station and the bus to meet our teammate who would walk us across the border to our destination.
From Mule Skinner to Missionary
Wil Muldoon served with the Air Force in Viet Nam. There he became a drug user. He sought the truth but found only hypocrisy in religion. He found no truth or peace in Viet Nam, drugs, or the hippy life he chose upon returning to the States. He moved west hoping to find less people, a simpler life, and maybe truth.
In Arizona, Wil met Bob Sundown, a man who seemed to be real. Bob traveled in a wagon pulled by burros. Wil began traveling with him and soon built his own wagon, bought his own mules, and began working as a cowboy and a farrier. Needing to fill his water barrels one day, Wil asked some cowboys where he could find water. They told him, “There’s a rancher up ahead. He’ll give you water and even breakfast if you get there early. But be careful; he’ll preach to you!” Wil got water for his barrels, food for his belly, and truth for his heart!
A Lifetime of Service
The Youngs were born in the mid 1940s, Lewis in New Jersey and Judy in Massachusetts. Judy was raised in a Christian home and accepted Christ at five years of age. Lewis grew up attending apostate Protestant churches and never heard the gospel until he was in college. While working a summer job, a co-worker confronted him about his lost condition and led him to Christ.
Lewis began attending a Bible-believing church and grew in the Lord. He had planned a career as an accountant, but was having doubts about spending his life doing that. Some missionaries visited his church, and when he saw the great need and lack of laborers on the foreign field, his focus began to change. He surrendered to go and began to prepare for a new life’s work
Jesus Love the Little Children
JanuaryI met the children at the orphanage! Some of them thought I was a jungle gym. One little girl was playing way too rough with me. I racked my brain for Spanish words and exclaimed, “¡Más suave!”
FebruarySolomon said in Ecclesiastes that the end of a thing is better than the beginning thereof. Honestly, this city is a hot, smoky dustbowl that can’t compare to my green woods in Tennessee; on top of that, the dust never seems to settle from the spiritual battles that I fight every single day on multiple fronts.
He Didn’t Stop Me
Becky Pope was raised in Detroit, Michigan. Her father showed no interest in spiritual things, but her mother did. Her mother was saved as an adult and had little understanding of sound doctrine, but God always led her to Independent Baptist churches. Becky heard the gospel many times, but it was at the age of twelve at the Grace Baptist Church in Livonia, Michigan, that the Holy Spirit convicted her of her lost condition. Arriving home from church, Becky went to her room, knelt down, and received Christ as her Saviour.
She chose a career in nursing and became a registered nurse in 1986. For twenty years, she worked in different aspects of nursing. Her last position was a care-flight nurse, a job she dearly loved. But things were about to change.
There Is More to Life
Alan and Christine grew up in southern Ohio without hearing the gospel. Christine’s family never missed church on Sundays. Unfortunately, the message they heard was “another gospel” of salvation by works, prayers, and sacraments. Alan attended Sunday School as a child but grew up without the knowledge of salvation. It was the era of rebellion, drugs, and rock music; the trend was to doubt and question everything.
Everyone Knows Barrie!
For a young lady from Fairbanks, Alaska, Barrie Greenfield sure gets around! She has friends all over the world, and it seems like everyone knows her! She loves missions and delights in spending time being a blessing to missionary families.
Attention to Detail
From early childhood, Jenn Scarfi wanted to be a missionary. She was born into a Christian home in 1988, and born again in 1999. Growing up in church in Cleveland, Ohio, she actively served the Lord, especially with music and children’s ministry. Four words describe Jenn: dedicated, determined, focused, and organized.
At West Coast Baptist College, as she studied missions, her heart was burdened for people who have no Scripture in their language. Jenn studied Greek, but she realized she needed further training in linguistics and Bible translation principles.
Soldiers for the Lord
Bruce and Ann met and married while serving in the Army. Both were religious but lost. Their marriage was full of conflict. They did many religious things and attempted to convince themselves and others that they were real Christians. After leaving the military in 1995, they relocated in Florida and became members of a good Baptist church. Slowly the Word of God worked on Bruce, and he finally came to saving faith in the finished work of Christ. Ann was saved later on. When the Moore’s surrendered to become soldiers of the cross, they knew they must prepare for service and enrolled in BBTI, graduating in 2002.
Anything but Typical
Many things could be said about the Gade family, but nobody would describe them as the typical missionary family. Niels is a fourth generation baker. He describes his early home life as religious and sinful, yet he worked to put himself through a Christian high school. He was told that he was saved at age four, but he does not remember it. He does remember being baptized at age seven. Gwendy was raised in a good, moral home, but one that was not Christian. In high school, she chose the wrong crowd. Her lifestyle served to show her that her self righteousness was worthless. Her self-righteous boyfriend, Niels, told her she needed to get saved; and shortly thereafter she did. But Niels continued living in religious deception. Although he spoke in tongues and was “slain in the spirit,” he was still unsaved.
Some Like it Cold
Our God is infinite in wisdom and orchestrates each detail of our lives to bring us into harmony with His plan. He sets every one of His children in his place of service, giving each one everything he needs to perform His will. God’s will is not something to fear, but to embrace. He knows just where we fit and what will bring us joy.
James Dean (the missionary, not the movie star) was born in Ohio and heard the gospel as a child. But it wasn’t until age thirteen that he realized he needed it. He was suspended from school for bad behavior, and at his mother’s house, he found his Bible. He read it, remembered what he had been taught in Sunday school, and accepted Christ as his Savior. Then some men from Hillside Baptist Church visited his father and stepmother. They rededicated their lives, and along with James, became members of that church—thus the Lord provided the future missionary to Russia with his sending church!
“I Can Plod”
William Carey once said, “I can plod.” God’s work requires laborers who, like Carey and the Mark Helzerman family, just keep on going!
Mark was born in south Texas where his father was a printer in a Spanish ministry and then later worked in a Bible-printing ministry in Michigan. Christi spent a few years of her youth in Papua New Guinea, becoming fluent in the language. God gave them a burden to serve Him in that country early in their life together.
Christ-like Language Learning (part 2)
When Jesus came to His chosen people, He humbled himself. He entered earth quietly, just like everyone else. He came into this world even more humbly than most of the human race has! He did not begin by giving orders or spouting off criticisms of what he saw around Him. He did not even begin immediately to teach those around Him the message which He came to bring. Instead, He humbly learned to do what the people around him did. He began walking like them, using their vocabulary, and took time to learn the skill of carpentry from a local citizen. He did not show off His foreign and shocking skills, but contentedly learned how to be acceptable in the target culture. He grew to be “in favor with God and man.”
Christ-like Language Learning (part 1)
The following is a paper Cheri wrote for a class assignment while a student at BBTI. Cheri is a 2010 BBTI graduate.
Language learning is an adventure. It is the experience of exploring unknown territory in a culture that is different from our own. It is therefore emotional. Situational language learning is about developing relationships and connections to those of another culture. Language learning is therefore social. Language learning is a challenge. We must put aside the thought and speech patterns that we have practiced for our entire life in exchange for a whole new way of thinking and speaking.
Old Soldiers Never Die…
In the late 1960’s, George and Sharon Anderson served as missionaries in Mexico, desiring to reach indigenous people groups. Travis and Sudie Duffee were sent by the same church to Mexico. Travis was both a preacher and a pilot. God allowed George and Travis to pioneer a work among the Tlapaneco Indians in the mountains of the state of Guerrero. George graduated from Bible Baptist Seminary, but he learned nothing about learning languages, especially unwritten ones such as Tlapaneco. He also graduated from a Spanish language school. But George and Travis found themselves in a two-fold dilemma: the people did not understand Spanish, and they had no idea how to learn Tlapaneco.
Lord, Change Me!
By Jamie Knickerbocker
Two years ago, my husband, 3 kids and I were living in a single-wide two bedroom mobile home. So when a man knocked on our door, three separate times, and begged us to sell our home to him, I was excited. I started dreaming of a new house with lots of room for the kids to play. I was already planning the colors to paint each room, and how to decorate my kitchen. When Luke told me shortly after that he believed God was calling us into mission, and that we need to move to Texas to attend the Missionary Training School, I was not excited. I actually started bawling, and didn’t stop for at least 3 days.
A Heart for God
Laura-Lee Alford first came to Baptist Bible Translators Institute (BBTI) as a nine-year-old MK (Missionary Kid). Her parents graduated in 2001. The Alford family was on their way to Thailand, but, after emergency surgery for a brain aneurysm on Mrs. Alford, was counseled not to go overseas. The mission field was still in their hearts, and after much prayer, the Alfords returned to BBTI to help prepare others to go where they could not.
Are You Nepalese?
In a place where few missionaries speak the language and even fewer speak it well, Justin Levine is often asked, “You’re not Nepalese, are you?” Seeing his skin and hair color, they get a confused look because the voice doesn’t match the western aspect. Speaking a new language without a distinct foreign accent gets people’s attention and opens doors.
Sarah was in the ministry, not medical work, but she did not want to be a helpless bystander if a medical emergency occurred near her. She took some classes and became a Michigan certified First Responder. Sarah graduated from Hyles Anderson College and worked for eight years as her church secretary. A good secretary is worth her weight in gold, and Sarah was a good one! That is until missionaries John and Selina Allen came to her church and shared their burden for the Kamea people of Papua New Guinea. John is a preacher and Selina is a registered nurse; they told of the spiritual and medical needs of this primitive, isolated people. Sarah responded.
This Little Light of Mine
An Interview with Rick and Sheila Ackerman
Q: Did others before you attempt to establish a work in San Lorenzo?
Rick: Yes. When we arrived in San Lorenzo, we noticed that the people did not return our greetings. We didn’t have very many friends, just the opposite from Tarija where we lived before. Then we met some other fundamental Baptist preachers [from nearby towns] and each one told us, “Oh, we are so glad you’re there [San Lorenzo]. We once tried to start a work there and it didn’t take off; the people were so hard.” An American missionary told us that when they went door knocking fourteen years ago, they were chased out of town. They really prayed because they thought this was the end. When we found this out we said, “Okay, now we know why the people are so closed-minded.” These people are very entrenched in their Catholicism; even above the church door is the inscription “400 years of faith.”
Can You Sell Me a Bible?
By John and Selina Allen
While visiting his son in PNG, John Allen preached to the Kamean people through translators – from English to Pidgin to Kamea. However, as there is no Kamean Bible, the translator just had to sort of explain the meaning. How frustrating to try to preach this way! John saw the impossibility of building a church with strong leaders without the Scriptures and became burdened to return to PNG, learn Kamea, and translate the Bible. The need for a Kamean Bible is clearly seen in the following prayer letter excerpts.
Because He Lives
By Cara Shirley
Cara closes her letters with “Because He Lives.” These excerpts tell some things that she endures for He who lives so that others may know that He does.
I now understand the meaning of culture stress. After “sucking it in” and trying to “just deal with it” for a few months, you eventually get to a saturation point and find yourself crying over stupid things, like the light switch going the wrong way. I am finding that the solution is not to keep trying to “suck it in” but to cast it on the Lord. (March ’06)
The Lord Went Before Us
By Rodney Myers
We planned on leaving for Katesh Friday, but our preparations delayed us until Saturday morning. Friday evening a water pipe burst and flooded our kitchen. We acted fast in shutting the water off and cleaned up the mess. Just imagine if we had left on Friday and not returned until Tuesday afternoon! We are so thankful the Lord delayed us.
by Joel Simkus
What is it like to leave America and live in a foreign land? Most of the time, I love it here, because I know that this is where the Lord has called us. But I must confess, there have been times in the past three weeks when I have hated it here—largely because it is just so different, and the people think entirely different than we do in so many ways. Beginning life in a different culture is like being loosed from all familiar moorings and being set adrift on a vast sea of continual unknowns.
Two are Better than One
Cherith Stevens, a Christian school teacher from Delaware with a master’s degree from Bob Jones University, felt the call of God on her life to be a missionary. She attended BBTI, graduating in 2007. While at BBTI a partnership was formed with fellow students who planned to reach the Kamea people of Papua New Guinea’s (PNG) Gulf Province. After graduation Cherith spent five weeks with the Kameas, learning their unwritten language and culture. She returned from her short-term trip with the desire to return full time as a missionary linguist and Bible translator.
The Preacher’s Daughter and the Atheist
Josh grew up in rural Iowa in a devout Catholic family. Twelve years of Catholic school left him empty, without answers to his questions. Deciding there wasno God, he joined the Army and lived like there was no God. Kerry Dailey grew up in the home of a fundamental Baptist preacher. Josh, the atheist, certainly needed to be saved; but wouldn’t a good, moral life in a preacher’s family earn Kerry a place in Heaven?
By His Grace
God has transformed Lydia from a bashful girl who barely whispered into a courageous young woman. This article highlights the glories, but Lydia also pays the prices of arduous hikes and long nights of nursing malaria-stricken teammates.
Lydia writes, “I’m horrible at door knocking and witnessing. I get so nervous and tongue tied. Despite my faults and weaknesses, it is actually through them that He is glorified. It just amazes me.” And she signs off with “By His Grace.”
January ’09I stood in front of a sea of faces. At least forty-five different pairs of eyes filled with curiosity and questions watched me. The room permeated with a strange mixture of trepidation and enthusiasm. It was my first day teaching at Santo East. The students were surprised to find an American teacher and eager to hear what I had to say. The current room was too small to contain everyone, and a few students were forced to stand outside; but despite this, their attention never wavered.
Glimpses of the Harvest
Ricardo is 31 years old. The first thirty years of his life, Ricardo was lost, without hope. His believing grandparents had taken him to church, but his Mom and others never believed; thus he strayed from the truths learned in Sunday School.
But on this day, he was desperately looking for Pastor Jose. Pastor Jose was away but when he returned, his wife told him Ricardo had been to see him and would be back. He did come back and told the pastor he needed to get saved.
Let Brotherly Love Continue
Don Heinz was born in the city of Brotherly Love, and at the age of eighteen, God began to give him a love for his fellow man who is lost without Christ. Don joined a mission-hearted church, Lehigh Valley Baptist Church in Emmaus, Pennsylvania. It was there, during the preaching of a missionary from France, that he first began to lift up his eyes and consider himself a candidate for the mission field. The old saying is, “A call to preach is a call to prepare.” Thus, Don attended Bible college where he met his future wife, Amy.
In this column we feature BBTI graduates who are faithfully serving on the field. But there are some missionaries whom we cannot mention by name or country. This is because they live and work in closed countries. Revealing their identity could cause them untold problems. They could be expelled from their country or even imprisoned for their crime of smuggling the Good News of Christ into a place where the religious and political leaders don’t want it. Besides exposing the missionary, there is the added reality that we might expose the national Christians associated with the missionary to even greater danger and persecution.
Teaming up in Mongolia
Teamwork is simply the Bible way. This has always been my conviction based on Bible teaching and example. Jesus sent men out by twos. The apostles preferred to work in pairs.
When we went to Mongolia we asked the Lord to let us work with someone, and He did. We have worked with three other families in church planting and evangelism, and there are many advantages. For starters, the work of each part of the team is more efficient. Secondly, you can encourage one another which helps each member stick with the work. Thirdly, as you endeavor to be like Christ in your relationship with each other, it is a significant example to the local people. They have never seen a partnership based on principle and Christ’s love rather than on feelings and emotions—one that outlasts the trials that come.
Pray Down the Barriers
As I talked to several Datooga two weeks ago, I noticed that as soon as I transitioned from friendly conversation to talking about our need for a Savior, there seemed to be a spiritual cloak shrouding their minds so that they would not listen. These episodes have reinforced my understanding that it is not just the true Gospel message that is needed, nor is it enough to have a Spirit-filled messenger deliver the Gospel, but we need the Holy Spirit of God to remove the spiritual blindfold from the Datooga so that they can listen with understanding and be pricked in the heart to be saved.
Valor in Venezuela
Sandy’s parents, Missionaries Dale and Nelda West, served in Guadalajara, Saltillo, and San Luis Potosí, Mexico, from 1958 to 1998. For thirteen years they had an orphanage. The orphans were part of the family and serving the Lord was a family affair. Definitely a people person, Sandy thrived in this atmosphere of work and fun. She still plays her accordion, sings, and cooks for a crowd!
Melvin was saved when he was in third grade. Melvin is serious about serving his Lord. And Melvin is a man of action who knows both what he needs and how to go about getting it.
They Sought Means
The Johnson family, like the men in Luke 5:18 who bore the sick of the palsy, have used great creativity in seeking to reach souls for Christ.
Sept. 2000 – Correspondence Course
Each week that passes, we find more responses in our mail box from people who want to enroll in our home Bible study courses. I believe that this will be an effective tool to reach people for Christ. We are placing an ad about these free courses in our largest circulating newspaper.
Worth the Trouble
Colin was nineteen years old when he met with his pastor in his study and realized he was trusting a false assurance instead of the Savior. Sandi, encouraged by an older sister, responded to the invitation at church when she was ten. Colin and Sandi have spent their lives taking the news of their Savior to other places.
After Colin’s graduation from Midwestern Baptist College, the couple worked four years in Mexico with senior missionary Ralph McCoy. Returning for furlough, they recognized they needed specialized training in order to minister to tribal people and attended Baptist Bible Translators Institute.
Committing Unto Faithful Men
Dan and Jennifer Olachea are sent out by the Central Baptist Church of Ocala, Florida. Dan grew up in the home of a Baptist pastor and made a profession of faith at an early age. In his teen years, when doubts about his salvation surfaced, he settled the matter by reaffirming his faith in Christ. Jennifer’s mother was saved as a result of door-to-door soul winning, and shortly after her salvation, she led six year old Jennifer to Christ. What a blessing to be saved as children and raised in godly homes!
Food for the Spirit
by Steve Schnell
We came to Cambodia in 1998 and are involved in Church planting, Bible teaching and translation. Our dream has been seeing indigenous churches established that could and would carry on the work of evangelizing. We planned to start in the provincial capital of Kampot. Beginning in the major urban centers seemed like the best plan. While we believed strongly in indigenous principles, to labor all these years and still see nothing significant in Kampot city left us tempted at times to try and buy land, buildings, or give financial aid. God never allowed us the freedom to go down that road, but rather God had us wait for Him to work in the hearts of the Khmer.
I Have an Idea!
In our missionary-minded churches, many children feel called to be missionaries. Some may be drawn by the adventure of missions, others may feel sorry for the poor, hungry children in other countries; no doubt, some genuinely love God and want to do His will. As these children grow into adolescence, they should become more serious and mature in their dedication to Christ and His great commission; sadly this is rarely the case. Many allurements such as boyfriends and girlfriends, cars, jobs, education, etc. become more important than lost souls on the mission field. Often the call to missions is not nurtured by parents, peers, or pastors.
Jerry became a marine at age 17, and the people back home in Michigan thought he was a Christian. He had made a profession of faith at age 12, but his life showed little evidence of salvation. One evening, Jerry and 3 other marines planned to go to town and get drunk. A corporal, however, needed a truck driver, and Jerry had to stay on duty. On their way home, his buddies hit a bridge abutment, and 2 were killed.
An Unexpected Opportunity
by Jeff Lange
We plan to use Thailand’s religious freedom as well as its proximity to closed countries to serve as a hub for ministry in S.E. Asia. Part of our plan for Thailand has been to systematically and strategically “sow” down different regions by tract distribution. We now have nearly five hundred students in the Bible Correspondence School. Our goal is for God to raise up some men who can be trained and who will later establish Independent Baptist Churches that are self-financing, self-governing, and self-propagating.