B.E. Tour Update: Pt. 5

St. Paul, Minnesota: First Deaf Life Church (Deaf/Deaf-Blind)

Emory and Cindy co-lead First Deaf Life Church and also help support various of ministries nationwide. Emory is also the new president of World Deaf Assemblies of God and is thrilled to let us be a part of his family’s celebration. We performed at two locations, two ministries but both within the same church. The first one was the general deaf congregation where we met up at Antler Park for a picnic and a baptism. Followed with an evening with an amazing woman of God who brought along a young friend who needed to be bombed with encouragement because of her struggles in life with health and family. The second performance was for the deaf-blind ministry; we were grateful for all the amazing interpreters who pitched in and gave them an opportunity know what God is doing. Brandon’s family also joined us.

During our free time, we hit the Mall of America for a few hours. Almost a dozen friends we’ve met or knew, tagged along.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin at Maranatha Deaf Church was a holy roar:

Our drama we hope make people laugh as we don’t always want to consider ourselves serious. Maranatha Deaf Church was roaring with laughter and we were soaking it up behind the scenes. The church had a potluck before we performed which we enjoyed as we chatted with people. Fellowship was short after because many people work early in the morning. But whatever words were spoken, we felt hearts were lighter and perhaps mending after spending some time here. Even the kids approached Brandon and played with him because he was a favorite in many of the skits.

We stayed with a friend name Heather Shur and her parents home whom many of us are friends with. It was their first time hosting missionaries (other than their daughter). We not only appreciated their hospitality but thoroughly enjoyed many conversations and jokes.

Chicago, Illinois at St. Paul Lutheran Church, where we’re one big family:

We didn’t spend too much time in Chicago but we had an opportunity to meet Carole McClelland’s family: the Ruiz. Her mom signed the Lord’s prayer with two other women. One who knew a little bit of sign language and another who gladly joined. After our performances, we went off to our hosts homes where we were really blessed with great conversations, ice cream and food.

Milford, Indiana at Indiana Deaf Camp where Superheroes are trained

Our team not only performs but we love serving. We decided to make a one week stop in Milford, Indiana and work at the Indiana Deaf Camp. Some of us were camp counselors, some of us worked in Good Sports, some of us were in crafts. Our team was pretty busy. We did some of our performances on Tuesday night which was strategic because we wanted to open up an opportunity for kids or the staff to come and talk with us if they wanted to.

Renca worked with the Blue group which was ages from 13-16. The Blue group is not only the toughest group but they were actually one of the most broken. The drama opened up their hearts through the week. Renca was able to share what was on her heart with the girls in her cabin. They simply needed someone to listen, be open and loving. It really makes a difference.

Noblesville, Indiana at Creekside Ministries and MDO

A few of us had already been to Creekside (CS) before so we already knew what to expect. For those of you who don’t know, it’s a really anointed church where half are hearing and half are deaf. Everyone honors each other for who they are.

We only showed two of our skits but people loved it, especially the part in Masks about religion. They laughed but they also knew why it was important to show that specific part.

We stayed with the Alanco family. Not only did they open their homes but opened up their family to us as well. Not a time went by we were hanging out with someone.

We also performed a little bit at the Deaf Youth Sports Festival, Inc. Also known as MDO. We were asked at the last minute this week to perform briefly there. Kids who are athletes in training for the Deaf Olympics. We were surprised to see some kids we met from the Indiana Deaf Camp but were encouraged to see new faces as well. We didn’t have a chance to hang out after with them but hope the skts gave them something to think about.

Up Next: Dayton, OH and Mercer, PA

 

B.E. Tour Update: Pt 4

The many possibilities in San Francisco, CA:

Since our performances for the most part were put on hold, we still take the opportunity to meet people on the road. In San Francisco, we met up with SF YWAM directors at Mozzeria, a deaf owned and run restaurant. With the two of them, we discussed how they run in CA and what their vision was. One of the things they shared was their hearts for the deaf community in CA and possibly starting a ministry there. On top of hearing this, we were munching on delicious pizza and chatting with the waitresses working there as well as some people we met at WDAG. We were thankful for the opportunity to connect with the directors there and get an idea of the possibilities for the future in terms of deaf ministry.

Opened hearts in Redding, CA: 

Our team was immensely blessed by the Bethel’s deaf ministry after church service when we were invited to their Bible study. They shared what they’ve been studying but decided to take a break to bless us with a word from God individually. While they may be a small bunch, they are bold in faith with the many testimonies they shared from healing to growing with God. Some people from the team ended up talking to a few people asking about a painting and ended up simply ministering and praying for them.

Bountiful but fun rest in Grants Pass, OR:

While Renca was gone, we had the opportunity to go to her Aunt and Uncle’s home for a couple of days to rest. We were grateful for the opportunity to hang out and get to know more about Renca and her family. We did one of our skits for them. On our off time, we went down to the river to swim in the cold water but enjoyed basking in the sunshine.

More family time in Tacoma, WA:

We had the opportunity to hang out with Gabriel Gabriel Villahermosa’s family. His parents hosted all the boy while his grandmother hosted the Dan, Carole and the girls. Both of them not only made sure they were fed but were able to encourage each other, one way or another and super blessed. We also met with a future DTS student who drove a few hours from Canada to meet with us and very excited to have her joining in September.

Broken windows don’t stop us in Everett and Spokane, WA

We spent the fourth of July with the Bethany Christian Assembly Church Deaf ministry. They toured us around Seattle to see some well known sights near the Waterfront and the Needle. However, our van was broken into but only Renca Dunn’s bag was stolen which only had her Bible, passport and other miscellaneous items.  Though disappointed, we hope whoever stole it actually reads the Bible. We ended up having to stay an additional night in order to wait for the window repair place to open after a long 4th of July weekend to repair the broken window. We were grateful for our hosts to let us stay another night and not rush out Sunday afternoon. Our plans to Vancouver, BC in Canada were cancelled but we went to Spokane on Monday and stayed with deaf pastors. They shared not only their delicious raspberries but much about their faith from thorough their journey and encouraged us.

In the middle of nowhere; Three Forks, MT:

Three Forks may be in the middle of nowhere, but it’s beautiful and welcoming. We stayed with family who simply wanted to share their home and host us for the evening and maybe play with the kids. We got to know them a little but wished for more time.

Adoring one’s beauty in Yellowstone, WY:

We all need a break now and then, and with a long drive ahead of us this week; we decided to camp out for a couple of nights in Yellowstone National Park. We saw the Old Faithful where some of the most amazing’s Geysers spring from the air. We also went rowing in the Bay area. We encountered a bison in our very own campsite and a few of us got some selfies. We only hoped it didn’t detect our fear!

Just a night in Rapid City, SD,

Our original plans in Sioux Falls fell through but we grabbed a chance to stop for the night in Rapid City, SD and also went to see the works with Crazy Horse and also Mount Rushmore. After a night in Rapid City, it will be super busy once again.

B.E. Tour Update: Pt 3

Next Generation in Santa Fe, NM:

Our team was able to tour New Mexico School for the Deaf (NMSD), even though the campus was empty and construction is being done, we were able to see where Carole McClelland used to work. We also connected with a Leah Gregg who is dear friend and an consultant at NMSD. We also performed at the Blaze Christian Fellowship Church. The majority of the people who came were hearing but the much of the deaf drove from Albuquerque which is an hour away simply to hear God’s message.

The day after the performance, we all gathered for dinner and fellowship. We hung out with friends who worked at NMSD, Blaze Christian Fellowship and Deaf Bible.

On our last day, we had an opportunity to meet with Agusta, a student from NMSD and her mom. We were able to discuss different things and encourage them in their season of stepping up in a difficult place like NMSD where she longs to share God’s heart with her peers. We also showed a part of one of our hour-long skits and prayed together.

No place like home in Flagstaff, AZ (Munds Park):

Two of the staff felt quickly back at home when arriving to Flagstaff. Renca Dunn’s family (Lowell, Lynn and Richard) hosted us, not only that but allowed us to reach out to the local Coconino Community College ASL students, teachers and some of the interpreters. On our off time, we swam at Thousands Trails, hiked the Frog Tank Loop and also hit downtown Sedona. The majority of the National Parks have been closed due to a uncontained wildfire.

Reunions in Phoenix, AZ:

To our team, family is very important, even when language is limited. A homemade mexican dinner was provided by Liza Brandow’s family before heading to the First Deaf Baptist Church in Phoenix led by Pastor Robert Payne and his wife who also hosted us for the night. The church is just a few blocks away from Phoenix Day School for the Deaf and Blind. There were many new passionate believers who were excited to see young people and had many questions about life. For Liza, it was a reunion with some friends, including a childhood friend from school who she had no idea though was excited to see Jesus leading his life and including his wife he recently married. The pastor and his wife were simply blessed and encouraged us to continue in missions, especially after sharing his heart through missions to the deaf for many years. Renca flew out from the Phoenix airport to participate in a friend’s wedding for a few days.

Hanging loose in Riverside, CA:

Kari Olney’s hometown is in Riverside, CA. We made a little stop to visit her brother as well as touring California School for the Deaf Riverside where she and her brother used to attend school. They also hung out with a close mentor and friends.

Going vintage in Pasadena, CA:

We stayed with Dan McClelland’s cousin, Kyle in Pasadena. Not only is his entire house vintage but he’s one of the California State University college pastor at his local church. He opened his heart on things he desires to see within his ministry He not only opened his home to us but also showed interest in learning some sign language and sharing our jokes. Some of us spent the day at Huntington Beach for a few hours and walked around Universal Studios Skywalk in Hollywood. We also found out Brandon Burnett’s dad was in town with the family for a vacation. We found time to have dinner together and meet the family.

Serving with love in Fremont, CA at the World Deaf Assemblies of God 4th Conference:

We had an opportunity to serve in WDAG, which has been the largest one by far where over 500 people attended from all over the world. Places like Japan, South Korea, different parts of Africa, Honduras, just to name a few. We served in different areas from children’s ministry (one year-old to high school aged students). Media (film and photography), concession, deaf interpreting, etc. Some of us served as early as 7 a.m. to as late as 11 pm (Deaf standard time). You can view photos here. We were able to connect with many pastors, leaders and volunteers. Renca flew out once again to help out, at the National Deaf Conference for a week.

Note:

In the past two weeks, God has been certainly connecting us with many of our families and friends and meeting many new faces. We were grateful for the opportunity to take the time to not only do a drama for many but also serve and simply loving people. This can be as simple as having a discussion about life, praying, sharing a meal and loving on one another. We find ourselves not limited to what God wants us to do but unlimited by His love for His people.

Up next: Going north and far north.

 

 

B.E. Tour update pt. 2:

Olathe, KS: We performed at the Deaf International Community Church in Olathe, KS on Sunday morning. But first, we wanted to get connected with the community. One family with two deaf adopted sons, hosted a picnic. This gave us an opportunity to hang out with the youth group where many students attended Kansas School for the Deaf nearby.

Kari Olney was able to teach about relationships. Relationships with parents, teachers, friends, peers, co-workers, boyfriend/girlfriend and even the church. Many of the kids just had fun hanging out, playing games like Ninja and  and getting to know one another. On Saturday, we went to the local deaf expo. Mostly chatting with the locals and inviting them to church on Sunday.

We performed at Rev. Debbie J. Buchholz’s church Sunday morning. Many faces we had already met at the bbq and the deaf expo event. There was a mixture of young and old and many of their hearts were touched and convinced for the need to fully surrender.

Kansas City, MO: We stayed in Olathe but on Saturday, we drove to Kansas City to connect with Caleb and Michelle Chamberlin. They both work at the International House of Prayer KC. We started out by touring the IHOPKC campus. We met with several others where they prophesied over each of us individually. 1 Corth 14:3 says: “But one who prophesies strengthens others, encourages them, and comforts them.”

After, we had lunch Oklahoma style with the Chamberlin and also Nate Uttley. Nate was a major part of the YWAM DC and David’s Tent during ASL DTS 2013 and was so blessed. We were excited and grateful to see and hear his heart while being at IHOPU.

After lunch, Michelle allowed us to take her intercession spot from 4-6 pm. Several of us intercede for different things: our current and future generation, our country, deaf community, Body of Christ, Holy Spirit and unity. We were trained ahead of time of what to expect. To see the video, click here. (in ASL and English, no subtitles).

Tulsa, OK: Our host Jenna BuPerry and her husband. There was no actually plans except to rest a little bit and catch up with old friends. However, when we arrived, we all felt we wanted to perform for the youth who gathered for dinner. Our biggest dilemma? Tiny garage space was all we had and rain. But we didn’t let that stop us! You can watch a short video clip of the Identity Dance on Facebook (here). Thankfully, it wasn’t pouring but just sprinkling.

We have been truly blessed throughout this trip in so many ways. With our hosts, families we’ve met, youth groups and more importantly, enjoying everything God is doing.

Up next: Santa Fe, Flagstaff and Phoenix.

B.E. Tour update pt. 1:

Our team has officially began the Burning Embers Tour (B.E. Tour) last week. Here are some places we’ve gone to:

Lancaster, PA: On May 29-30, we attended the nightly worship for the Catch the Wave Conference where hundreds of people gathered to simply worship and hear some teachings from Loren Cunningham. Loren Cunningham is the founder of Youth With A Mission who had a vision of young people catching the wave and making God known in all the nations.

As the ASL ministry continues to grow, we have desired to hear his teachings in person and take the opportunity to meet with him. He shared a lot about the future of YWAM by using a need: education. He also mentioned we are in the Bible Movement era and how the importance of education will influence how we provide access to Bibles around the world in every language by 2020. We are called to be commissioned into these places to provide accessibility. And even to those illiterate. Currently, Cunningham and a team is working on developing a program to help the illiterate using Uniscript where pictures are placed with the sound. The program is not yet online as it is still in the developing stages.

On Saturday, we did our first public performance at the First Deaf Mennonite Church. For many of us, it was a reunion and they were encouraged. With light refreshments, we heard what their thoughts and how it may have touched their hearts.

Richmond, VA: We met with a Deaf church there, we joined for their morning prayers and then did a performance outside. The room was really small! But people thoroughly enjoyed it. We went out for lunch after and got connected with the people there and listened to their hearts. Our hosts blessed us tremendously.

Testimony: One family our team stayed with has two teens. They both shared they started to think more about their life. The feeling of needing to have a mask and not being able to be themselves. One of them is soon graduating and is beginning to think about what to do next in her life. The dramas provided some realities for her but opened up her heart to ask God.

Louisville, KY: where we partnered with Deaf Teen Quest (DTQ), Bob Ayers and Community Grace Church. We also got connected with the local YWAM Louisville base director and a few of the staff who works there who knew sign language. The director shared his heart for both KY and the need for partnership between ministries to help build each other up.

We had the opportunity to attend one of the local deaf events where the deaf gather and hearing can come and learn sign language. They played volleyball and just hung out.

Before we started, we hung out with some of the kids and parents from DTQ. Played games and had pizza. An amazing number of about 50-60 people from ages of seven days old to 70, showed up on Wednesday night’s performance. Afterwards there was fellowship and and an opportunity to pray for people. Many people agreed the dramas provided insight on their struggles but truth was penetrating their hearts.

We are so thankful the churches, ministries, families and friends have opened their doors and allowed us to reach out to the local deaf communities. Both the deaf and hearing communities have been greatly impacted in one way or another. Behind the scenes, we see the hurts and the joy being on the road has bought our team to a realization of God’s glory radiating over His works.

Next up: Olathe, KS; Kansas City, MO; Tulsa, OK and Santa Fe, NM.

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