Combined my wife Mimi and I have been in the ministry for a little over 20 years. We have given our lives to God’s Great Commission. We are both saved, my wife since she was 13 years old and myself since I was 16 years old. We have twin children Nikki and Logan (age 9). Nikki has recently accepted Christ as her Savior, and we are still praying for understanding for Logan. We served as missionaries to the country of Botswana for many years, and have maintained a ministry there since 1998.
Why did we return home from the mission field?
This is a great question, howbeit an uncomfortable one at times. We returned home from the mission field after our son (Logan) was diagnosed with Autism. We still did not have any intention to remain in America when we returned, because we loved the place of service God had for us in Botswana, and still do. Upon learning of the seriousness of his autism, we made the decision as a family to remain here in the United States to give him the help he needed, for as long as he needed.
We have never truly left Botswana,
… as we have been in constant communication with the people there. We still do much for the work, and financially support it as much as we can. I never stopped being a missionary, and I was able to plant a church in Stockbridge, GA where we were able to witness and win many people to Christ, I was able to learn many things through this and developed a passion for the youth and children through this ministry. In essence, I guess we never truly leave the field till we leave this earth, and God always has something for us to do and continue doing.
I will tell you that having a child with Autism is challenging but is also very rewarding (more about this in a second).
Why has God uniquely trained us for our current calling?
While in the country of Botswana we worked with the Deaf. We saw thousands come to know the Lord as their savior (both hearing and Deaf). We worked directly with the Ministry of Education and the Office of the President. There was no work with the Deaf that we were not directly involved in at certain points of our ministry. There were days my wife, and I would say goodbye in the morning and meet again around 9 p.m. My wife even interpreted for the President and the news outlet in Botswana, after we raised awareness of the need of the Deaf for information. At the top of our ministry, we ran four churches (3 Deaf and 1 Hearing), and three are currently still active. Our goal in everything we do is driven by a passion for planting Churches, and strengthening the ministry wherever we are.
Then God prepared us in a more personal way.
He gave us a special needs child of our own. God has been so good to us with Logan. We were told that he would never be able to speak and thanks to a lot of help and a mother’s determination, the trick is getting him not to speak now. He has always to this date been in normal education classrooms and is excelling on a normal level of education. God blessed us but used this to introduce us to a different side of special needs than the Deaf, and through this, we have learned so much on how to educate and take what we learned to the world.
This is why when God called us to do the ministry of Joyce’s Kids, we had no choice but to say, “ Even so Lord send now me.”
Joyce’s Kids is like no other ministry on earth. We render needed assistance to missionaries and national workers to bring the hope of Christ to some of the neediest children and adults in the world. Our primary focus is on the Deaf, but we have blind and mentally challenged ministries as well. If you took all the Deaf people in the world and placed them in a single country, they would make up the third largest country in the world. This is used to show the reality of the massive work in front of the church to reach these people for the Lord. While there is a great need to reach all people, the Deaf have a unique language and a unique way of understanding language. No matter where you go, the Deaf you encounter, have their culture and community. Only 2% of the Deaf in the world receive an education in sign language (their language), and this is an obstacle to full understanding when teaching them anything; much less the things of God.
A unique calling to get the Gospel to the Deaf of the world.
The unfortunate thing is that the Deaf are not all contained in one country. The work to reach them is a human scavenger hunt that circles the globe. This ministry takes a team, and a mission willing to put that team together, not count the cost and live our lives daily in the faith that God will perform that which he has called us to do.
Baptist International Outreach, the ministry of Joyce’s Kids, and the great missionaries that serve with us have a unique calling to get the Gospel to the Deaf of the world and plant church’s led by them and for them.
What does this ministry look like?
While I wish I could share the mountain of notes and events I have stored, I will share this experience:
In 1998 God called a young girl of 18 years of age to leave her home in Ethiopia, and move as a missionary to the Deaf in the country of Botswana. At this time there was no missionary to the Deaf there, and they had no hope of eternal life. She could not preach, but she could work, educate, and soul-win.
As far as we or anyone else knows the very first Deaf person (Ishmael) ever to accept Christ in Botswana was saved in 1998. After that followed a revival of souls understanding and coming to the saving Grace of Jesus Christ.
From them, God called the first Deaf pastor in the country of Botswana who is still serving in his church today.
I met this amazing woman in 2000, and in 2001 I asked her to be my wife. I stand in awe most days seeing what God can accomplish when one person, who may seem insignificant on a map, surrenders to serve the Deaf. Mimi’s story is one of many. The ministry she built and the ministry we continue to this day to maintain and push forward is a testimony to what God can do through his servants.
All these things I have written about, lead us to the reason why, when God called we could not say no.
Mimi and I have been called to become the directors of Joyce’s Kids, a ministry that provides a way for not only us but your B.I.O. Missionaries to minister to the needs of disabled children all over the world. The story above is about adults coming to know Christ, but right now in Botswana, through many years of working with the Ministry of Education, where they allowed us to come into the schools to teach these children about Jesus and to offer them hope. We are seeing the third generation of Deaf rising to become Sunday school teachers, pastors, and yes even missionaries. What God can do through winning the adults is amazing, but when these young men and women come to the point in their lives where they are ready to accept the call of God, they do it with more understanding. Reaching them young and raising them in the Lord is the key to success!
About our Support:
Currently, we are at around 45% of the support needed to fully engage in the mission the Lord has laid out for us. We will not receive a salary for the position, and we will be supported by independent churches like yours. We look at deputation, not as a burden, but as an opportunity for ministry. Jim Eliot said, “Wherever you are be all there, live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the perfect will of God.” We have adopted this philosophy, and believe whether we are on deputation or on the field we are missionaries.
We would ask you to prayerfully consider partnering with us, and allow us to serve as your missionaries.
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.