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July & August 2017 Dykes Prayer Letter

Dear Pastor and Praying Friends:

The Apostle Paul stated in 1 Corinthians 10:31, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”

I was teaching on this verse in a soul winning class on Wednesdays night in a local church plant, and it touched my heart in so many ways as we unraveled the scriptures and went into the mind of God here. Eating and drinking are a necessity of life, and serving God (not ourselves) is also a necessity for the Christian life. Even more, the act of sharing our faith in soul winning is a necessity.

While we are missionaries on deputation, Mimi and I look at ourselves as being missionaries wherever we go. Jim Eliot stated, “Wherever you are, be all there! Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God.” Right now the will of God is that we be on the deputation trail once again, but this does not negate the fact that we are to be constant in our witness for Him.

While we were on the road this past week, I was able or share the Gospel with hotel workers, gas station attendants, and people we would meet on the way. Yesterday I received a friend request on my Facebook page that I keep private for those I witness to, and it was one such person I shared the Gospel with. Praise the Lord she is right on the verge of accepting. Please remember this young lady in prayer, that she will yield to the Lord.

Deputation News: We have been on the road to accomplish the goal we need to move to Africa and begin our ministry there. We have managed to move up to about 39% of our needed support, and the Lord is blessing. I am currently calling weekly, and we need much prayer that we can find pastors and mission teams on the other end of the phone. Also be in prayer as the kids will be starting school next week; pray that the Lord will provide a way for us to travel nearby and keep them in their school. We are looking into the possibility of homeschooling them, but it is still important that we keep Logan in school for the social requirements he needs.

Needs: We are planning a couple of trips in between meetings. While our number one goal is deputation and reaching our needed support level, we still have many ongoing ministries that require our attention as well. I will need to make a trip to southern Africa (South Africa, Botswana, and Zambia) this year. I will be spending the majority of my time in Botswana encouraging and training the workers there with the focus of future momentum in the ministry. It is my goal to take them on a journey from Gaborone to Maun where we will be seeking the Deaf who have scattered. We will also start planning for the circuit riding ministry there. I am praying that we can raise about $4,000.00 for tickets, lodging, and necessities while there. Mimi will also need to go Ethiopia. This trip may not happen until 2018, but we need to start making preparation and raising support for it as well. This will be a survey trip where she will work with the VICKtory school, look for schools and start planning our move there.

I know the Lord will supply, and I thank you for your continued prayer while we are walking by faith now on the deputation trail.

In Christ,

Travis, Mimi, Nikki, and Logan Dykes

 

May/2017

May Report 2017

I hope this letter finds you well. Please know how much Mimi and I appreciate all the encouragement and support (both prayer and financial) since our return to missions, and that we do pray for each of you, that God will keep you all strong and in His service.

We have taken a huge step of faith, and the best way I can describe it to you is what God both shared with me and allowed to happen. Mimi and I have made the decision to go full time with Joyce’s Kids and our deputation. I have been working a full-time job, as well as doing the ministry of deputation, and though it is not easy to explain how the will of God works at times, we know that we are in it and trusting in Him and Him alone for our support and continued deputation. I will be focusing full-time on obtaining meetings and raising our personal support while we are making preparations for our return to the field.

We ask that you pray with us for God to open doors for us to obtain our support quickly because there is an urgency for us to be fully supported and focus our full-time efforts on the ministry that God has laid before us. Many of you who are receiving this letter support us, while others of you do not as yet. I would ask those of you, who do not support us, to join with us and those already partnered with us to reach the Deaf of this world for Jesus Christ.

Once we are fully supported we will move to Ethiopia. I am making plans and preparations for maintaining the oversight here at home, but right now we have two countries who are without an American missionary to the Deaf; Ethiopia and Botswana. Many of you know one of my favorite things is watching God work! In December and January, we could do just that. We went to Ethiopia to survey the VICKtory School for the Deaf, and while there I made a trip to Botswana. What God showed us is that this is possible.  For the price of a bus ticket from Atlanta to Washington D.C., I could fly to Botswana from Ethiopia and back. What is so amazing about this is that both are in desperate need for leadership to save and continue some great ministries.

As many of you know B.I.O. Lost a great servant of Lord last year, Bizuayehu Assefa. This loss has left a great void in the ministry there, which is continuing but struggling. There are about 15 works that Bizuayehu left there, as well as the spiritual leadership he had at the VICKtory School. The reason we will be basing our ministry out of Ethiopia is to work with VICKtory School, establish some leadership within the deaf church, and plant a deaf church in VICKtory School to supply the students and families of the students with much needed pastoral and spiritual guidance while also reaching the community.

While there I will also be traveling to Botswana as well. This is to establish a different kind of ministry and to strengthen the ministries that are already in place. God’s people there have done a tremendous job of maintaining the ministry, but the time has come to push forward. Many of the Deaf lost their jobs a few months ago, and this has scattered them all over the country in pockets. We will be going to Botswana to establish a circuit-riding ministry and continue to plant deaf churches with hearing ministries. It will require training and support to get this much-needed ministry off the ground and establish the man God has called to do it.

While doing these things, we will maintain the oversight and support of Joyce’s Kids.

If you were to ask me how all this can work, I could give you ideas, but honestly, it’s all a faith move that God has called us in. Though I cannot tell you how it will work, God already knows how He will make it work!

We live in a day and age of programs, planning, and preparations. While all these things are good and have their place, we need to remember that, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9

 

February/2017 Report

2 Corinthians 5:20,

“Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did
beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.”

On a hot Botswana summer morning, an 11-year-old little boy woke up, ate his breakfast and got dressed. Much like every other morning in this young man’s life, there was nothing much out of the ordinary. As he went outside, he met his friends, who were running toward
s the big church building at the edge of the neighborhood. He heard yells of “Locoa, Locoa!” It is on this day December 31st, 2016 that not just his life, but many of the lives present would change for eternity …

We were privileged to go once more to the mission field and thanks to many of you who helped us with this journey, we saw souls saved and were burdened in unexpected ways. It is a privilege to be able to answr God’s call and to be his ambassador for a brief stay in Ethiopia and Botswana. I wish I had time to tell you all the beautiful things that God showed us, did for us, and did through us while there, but please allow me to highlight for you some of the key things, such as the story that was started before with the little boy.

In Ethiopia, we had the privilege to minister not only in the school but also in two churches. I spent much time in the school on week days. I traveled with Gomeju to the school in the morning, and then rode the school van home in the afternoon. I not only was able to see the kids in the school but also get an insight into where many of the kids live. It took us about two and a half hours to drop the kids off in the afternoon. Many of these dear children learn their first words at the school, and through there progression, they then meet their savior for the first time as well! I had the privilege to teach the Bible while there and through the story of Noah’s Ark and his one door, and Jesus the one door of Salvation, many of the children prayed and accepted Jesus as their savior.

Botswana: What a time it will be in heaven when we can see all those we have met and influenced on the road that Christ sets us on. This is how I felt when I went back to Botswana after three years. It was a great privilege to see all these dear people that Mimi and I have influenced for the cause of Christ and to see their continued faithfulness in our absence. We have been saying for years that our goal there was to have a Deaf church with a hearing ministry and through the efforts of the deaf and Corela that is just what we have in Romotswa. I went out to the village on Saturday the 31st, thinking this was just going to be an observation day to see the building and meet with the pastors, but God had other plans. That little boy and many of his friends heard God’s word and accepted Jesus as their Savior. In my next letter, I will expound more on the many good things that God allowed us to do on such a short trip.

All in all, we saw about 31 souls come to know Christ as their savior, and that is worth all the sacrifice we could ever offer.

 

Facebook Friends Report:

the-dykes_-missionaries-to-the-deaf

Mimi, Nikki, Logan, and I will be traveling to Ethiopia in December. We have chosen to sacrifice our Christmas break and take a needed survey trip to energize us for the ministry God has called us to Joyce’s Kids.

One thing to understand is that December 25th is not when Ethiopia observes Christmas so there will be much we will be able to do while there, and of course, we do have many family members and friends there, so it will not all be work.

Here is a few specific prayer request we have for this trip:

  • That we will be a blessing to those serving in Ethiopia and Botswana
  • A deeper burden for the work there.
  • Souls saved!
  • Energy for our Deputation.

Deputation:

I will also begin to start calling churches full time this coming Tuesday. I will have to be very careful as I have to maintain a job until we reach at least 25% support. We do have a few obstacles in our path to overcome, but on faith, I plan to begin traveling and visiting churches even if I do not have a meeting with them. We will have stick to an 8-hour driving distance from our home or the BIO office. I thank God I have work that will travel with me if I have the necessary equipment to do so.

My Plan is simple:

  • 30% Support – I will go part time at work:

I will still have to work, but not as much. The reason for employment is not all financial as much as it is to maintain insurance and educational needs the kids have, especially Logan.

  • 50% Support – I will go Full time with Joyce’s kids and deputation:

There are some obstacles that we will not be able to overcome:

  1. Logan will need to remain in school throughout the school year. He is doing better than anyone ever had thought, but still requires some of the programs that assist him with his educational needs.
  2. While Working I will not be able to attend a full missions conference. For a missionary these conferences are priceless, and some churches will only have you at these conferences. So for now I have to put this into God’s hands.
  3. Limitation of travel (do to work).

Prayer List:

  • Encouragement to walk by faith while on deputation.
  • Fruitfulness in my contacting Churches for meetings.
  • Understanding from Churches about my family situation and them not always being able to travel with me.
  • Our upcoming trip to Ethiopia and Botswana for safety and to get a deeper burden for the calling God has placed on our lives.

 

The Largest Unreached People Group

Why is a ministry like Joyce’s Kids so important? 

… and why we do what we do!

Are there any truly unreached people in the World?

I know what you’re thinking, and yes it’s hard to believe that after 2000+ years since Christ’s ascension into Heaven, there can be unreached in the world? Let me introduce you to one set of people that are truly unreached. The Deaf of this world is the largest unreached people group. What! How can you make such a claim you may be thinking? Let’s look at some facts:

  • According to the World Health Organization, over 5% of the world’s population has a disabling hearing loss.
  • The World Deaf Federation reports that only about 1-2% of the Deaf receive an education in Sign Language.
  • It is estimated according to many of the organizations such as Joyce’s Kids, Silent Word Ministries, and many others, that only about 2% of the Deaf in the world have a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

All of this combined qualifies the Deaf as an Unreached people group.

A Practical Look:

What does all these statistics look like?

  • 5% of the world’s population being Deaf:
  • America has roughly (according to https://www.census.gov/popclock/ at the time this was written) 325,000,000 people residing in it’s borders that we know of.
  • The world population is roughly 7,000,000,000
  • That puts the Deaf population at roughly 350,000,000
  • If you took all the Deaf people in the world and placed them in a single country, they would be the third largest country in the world; larger than the population of the United States of America!

Put this into perspective. While it would make our work a lot easier if they were in one nation, they are not. Think about how many churches, Missionaries, Missions, and outreach projects we run in America today. Now think about how many people you know that have still not been brought to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

This is why an organization like Joyce’s Kids is needed. The harvest is great, and it takes groups to conquer such a challenging field. We are able to equip the missionaries with the tools and extra funding they need to educate and win these Deaf peoples to the Lord. As a Director, I am looking forward to working with others on a team and with a group effort to go to places where there are no missionaries and present this to God’s people in the hopes that more will join us in our efforts to reach this unreached people group to Christ.

  • The World Deaf Federation reports that only about 1-2% of the Deaf receive an education in Sign Language.

Think about the people you are currently witnessing to on a daily basis. What if you could not speak to them tomorrow, not because of a physical contact availability, but because you did not know their language?

This means that out of that 350,000,000 Deaf People, only 7,000,000 have received an education in their own language. I have personally witnessed this in a developing nation where I worked. There was a classroom of Deaf students (a little over 20), and a teacher, teaching them. She was writing on the chalkboard, and the students were copying what she wrote. There was one issue here, though. While I appreciate the government of that nation for offering any kind of education to the Deaf; the issue was that the teacher did not know sign language! While I have the artistic capability to copy Chinese on a piece of paper, I can not tell you at all what it says, or how to apply it to my life. If I copy Chinese (a language I do not know) on a piece of paper, its just art to me.

Attempting to teach the Deaf in anything other than sign language, would be like me assisting my children with their homework in French. They would not get it, and they would be very confused.

The lack of education is also a road block to Bible teaching and winning them to Christ. They need to know their language (or any language) for someone to be able to share the Gospel with them.

This is why there is a need for Joyce’s Kids. Hearing Children, in spite of an education, learn their language at a very young age. While most Deaf people are not born that way, in developing nations they become Deaf at a very young age. This is why we need schools. We do not start schools as a means of charity; we start them as a means of the ultimate charity. We start these schools and educate these children with one goal in mind, reaching them for Jesus Christ. We not only reach them, but these precious children (and sometimes adults) have families. These families would have no hope in many nations if it were not for these schools.

Imagine if you were a father or mother, and had a child that was Deaf. This child is yours, alive, and still a blessing, but you have no idea what to do. You go to the local education system and they tell you they have no programs for that child and there is nothing they can do for you. This is unheard of in America I know, but in many developing nations, parents feel that pit in their stomach every day from a hopeless response.

In Zambia, Ethiopia, Brazil, South America, the Philippines, and a few other nations, when this parent goes to the ministry of education and asks this question, they are met with a hopeful response. “you know we do not have much to offer … but there is a missionary …” This is what we do every day in the nations we have a presence in, we supply hope to the hopeless. We educate not only the children in sign language, but we educate the parents that are willing as well. For the first time, a mother can now have a conversation with her daughter, and a father can now communicate with and teach his son. A Missionary can now give the Gospel, and it is fully understood.

  • It is estimated according to many of the organizations such as Joyce’s Kids, Silent Word Ministries, and many others, that only about 2% of the Deaf in the world have a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

This is our primary goal. How much investment is a soul worth? How much time, money, and effort is that Deaf child worth? Along with our faithful team of missionaries, I have said it is worth my life.

For most disabled children in developing countries, their families simply believe that they cannot learn. In many African countries, schools for disabled and handicapped children simply do not exist.

They receive no education, learn no skills and many are exposed to verbal, physical, and sexual abuse on a daily basis. Worst of all, many of these children have come to believe that GOD does not love them and that their lives have absolutely no value or hope.

I have spent time with Deaf Children in developing nations, and when I asked them about God, they asked “What is God?” meaning the actual word “God:” not even the person God. Imagine not to even know the word that we use to describe the ultimate love contained in the person of God.

At Joyce’s Kids, we work along side of the schools, churches, missionaries, and ministries to equip them with the tools needed to answer this question “What is God?”

We only need one more key team member – YOU! We can’t do it without your prayers and support. This is one place you can be sure that what you do will result in someone hearing the gospel who would not have any other way.

On Mission September/2016

Dear Pastor & Praying Friends,

As we wind down another year, I’m more convinced than ever that God calls His people to changing the world through initiatives that serve the special needs, and especially the Deaf – and that at Joyce’s Kids, together with all our partners, is answering this call.

One of the central themes of Scripture is a call to “go win the lost to Christ, and make disciples of all nations.” The brilliance of Jesus’ words is found in the fact that this call is manifested in so many ways – some serve in local churches, others fight poverty, hunger, or injustice, and still others do the more unconventional, such as translating Scripture for remote people groups.

For us, we obey the call by going to one of the largest unreached people groups in the world, the Deaf. As we work to respond to these urgent needs, we rely on God’s provision and your generosity. We are grateful for you and together we have been able to do so much on behalf of the precious people that we serve. Our overall support grew by 2% percent, thanks to you and our other partners – individuals, churches, and other donors – that equip us to provide a full range of services to help transform lives all over the world. We are currently at about 22% support, and closer to our goal of 50%! Once we get to that 50% mark I will be able to quit work and focus full time on deputation and the ministry of Joyce’s Kids!

Jesus often ministered in places where others were reluctant to go, serving and ministering often to the rejected and overlooked. We’ve found He is still in these places today, especially in cities, villages, and houses where we find these precious people in need of a language and introduction to Christ.

We have been able to talk by phone, and in person with many of the missionaries whom we serve, and are developing a plan of action to begin this most serious work of winning the truly lost Deaf peoples of this world to Christ. I have been in communication with the pastors and workers in Botswana (we are still praying for a missionary) and are excited that the work there is not just continuing but thriving!

We will be making our first official trip to Ethiopia to spend some time with the school there and ministering to, and getting to know the needs that are present there. This will be like a survey trip for us to see how the work is going as well as to target areas we can assist and improve upon the many needs that we know are there. I am also, planning on stopping for a brief stay in Botswana. I am hoping to establish a method for better educating the men and women there, while I am traveling and raising support here. We will try to set up a connection point for us to meet with them regularly, and keep the momentum going that is building there. While we are not fully supported as of yet, this will be a faith move on our part, and we know that God will provide for this trip. We are needing about $3200 to be able to accomplish what we will need to do there, and we know that God will provide the need, not matter how great.

Thank you for partnering with us in offering hope, comfort, and healing. We are so grateful to work together with you to fulfill this expression of the Great Commission.

In Christ, Travis Dykes

Our Time in Botswana:

The Botswana Story 

pics“… the heart can be touched!” This statement resonates with our time in Botswana. In 1996, my wife, Mimi’s, heart was touched, when she learned about a need the Deaf people in Botswana had. Through the urging of God and Dr. Joyce Vick, Mimi had a heartfelt calling and desire to go as a missionary to this needful country.

DSC01372Mimi was instrumental in assisting the Ministry of Education,
Sign language teaching and training, as well as establishing Bible studies for the Deaf. From what we have learned, the very first Deaf person was lead to the Lord by Mimi in the country (Ishmael Thebe). After a few years God called the very first Deaf Pastor, Emelang Moikotlhai, and through that calling and the efforts of Mimi, the First Deaf Bible Baptist Church of Ramotswa was founded in 1998.

Mimi, though she had been to the States a few times prior, came to the United States to raise support for a much needed Church building, and for the ministry as well.

salvations (5)“… the heart can be touched!” In 1999, I had accepted the call of God in my life to become a missionary. I moved to Tennessee to pursue this calling in 2000. While working one day I had met a man, who was from this country of Botswana, which was little-known to me, and we talked for about 2 hours on the Knoxville circuit City sales floor about his home country. I would never meet this man again, but he impacted my heart for his country, and later that month I accepted the call of God to become a missionary there. A few months latter, I would meet this amazing missionary from that country, my wife Mimi.

After our marriage, we immediately began deputation, so that we could quickly get back to the place my wife had served for so many years and the place that God had driven a desire into me for. In May of 2001, I would visit this country for the first time.

My survey trip was a bit unusual as compared to most missionaries, IMG_0188since I was visiting a work in progress. Immediately off the plane we got to work, and I would over the next month meet some people that would impact my life forever.

After visiting, a few over 200, churches Mimi and I would raise enough support to make our move to Botswana together. Through the years we would raise up two more ministers of the faith (Corela and Tshenolo) and establish woks for the hearing as well as the deaf.

“… tDSC00241he heart can be touched!” These  words have become a tag line for our ministries, and Botswana is no different. Not only were we touching hearts there, but the people we encountered touched our hearts as well. The duel impact of serving the Lord is just that. People do as much for you as you do for them.

There is still much to be done in the country of Botswana, and though we are not there physically, we are there spiritually, emotionally, and financially. Our pastors are under-supported, and in need of funding. if you would like to help support these men who literally sacrifice all to serve the Lord, please fill out the form bellow and in the form for country write Botswana, and we will send you the information on one of these faith men!