Vision 2 Hear Update January 11,2016

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I’ve been in El Salvador for several days now. It’s been a great trip thus far. From spending time with old friends to making new ones, Vision 2 Hear is off to a great start for 2016. Here’s some of what’s been happening.

Before we even left from the USA, we were already excited about being able to offer this trip for Angela Lowe, a college student from Messiah College in PA. She found Vision 2 Hear online, actually looking at 2016-01-04 10.01.15sign videos from YouTube. Needing to have a cultural “deaf experience”, she contacted me to see if there was any way we could help. With El Salvador being the primary place we have ministry with deaf people, we were able to work things for her to be part of this trip and spend the required days she needs in order to graduate on time. If this didn’t work for her, there was a very good chance she would have to postpone her graduation until December…So we praise God for His mighty power and the use of the internet to connect us so that she could benefit and help us in ES. The first time we met was at the airport in Atlanta.

Even though the plane was delayed several times, the overall trip wasn’t too bad. But we were basically awake with travel for about 24 hours.  We were met at the airport and made our way to San Salvador, discussing possibilities for the week. Angela is here to learn about deaf culture and interact with the deaf primarily and I am here to assist with teaching music for the WAVE Team, which is primarily made of deaf students, preach at a church, host a couple of meetings and plan for the summer.

2016-01-04 16.13.41-1We plan to disburse the school supplies to several groups of people since the primary school we were going to give them out at has closed down. These school supplies were collected from Christ Fellowship in Palmetto Bay last October while I was there for Spiritual Emphasis Week. We brought down three suitcases of glue, pens, pencils, markers, etc. and still have more to bring back in June.

Because the school were going to go to has closed down, we thought we would have the students all deaf, along with their siblings come over and spend time with us at the mission house. So for three days last week they came over and we worked on music, signing songs, playing games and watching Netflix. They have loved it. Most of the don’t get to do things like this, so it’s a big deal for them to be able to come and have fun and build community as well.

As we met and talked about the things that happened with the closing of the deaf school we explored the idea of having the students meet at the mission house for some of their educational needs. It was a wonder to me why couldn’t we do this? So after talking a bit and finding out what the real problems might be, we decided to move forward with using the mission house as a temporary location for these students to gather, learn, continue their education and get tutoring on the weekends, until they find a different location sometime in the future. School technically is just starting back so the timing is perfect! God knows what He’s doing! Because we were here, I was able to use some of our ministry donations to help provide the chairs, tables and school supplies they will need to use this facility. We give God praise for what He’s doing!

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Another thing that is really coming together is the work Daniel is doing with several children teaching them English and of course sharing the gospel. These kids all live in the area where Daniel grew up and are faced with gang-related violence everyday. If you didn’t know, El Salvador has about 40 people killed each day!!! We have been supporting Daniel with his college education and now he’s investing in the lives of others. We are very pleased to see and hear of all he is doing. He’s given me a budget and we are going to have the Love Feast Fundraising event on Valentine’s Day weekend, a 30-hour fast to generate some funds for his program.

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I was able to get a filling for one cavity while here, which was a huge blessing as I had started to feel some pain and discomfort from it. Also one of the local church plants had me speak and share the message yesterday, which was very well-received.

Last night I met with some of the Vision 2 Hear El Salvador staff and a couple of missionaries from Oregon who support the work here. We had a great open and honest talk about the future work in Suchitoto, which is growing tremendously. Some of that work includes helping with water irrigation, discipling families by providing special meetings for men, women and children. Jorge and his whole family are deeply involved in this work there and they have seen God’s hand moving in people’s lives. So please keep that ministry in your prayers. They travel to Suchitoto twice a month for programs. Only twice because it’s a couple hours away in the mountains.

So that’s a quick update with what’s been happening here. Thanks for your prayers. Another update to come soon!

George

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Africa 2014 Building Pics

George just returned from Ututu, Nigeria. Here are some pics of the work project. More pics coming soon of other things that transpired over the 12 days.

Back To School Basics

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Back To School Basics To Remember

With school starting, here are 4 very basic things to remember to help you have the greatest influence and impact this year.

1) Your teachers and principals are not your enemies.

Even though they enforce rules, give out homework, and in some cases exercise discipline, they really do want the best for you and the entire student body. Get to know them, pray for them and model godly character. In doing so, you might be surprised how God will open doors for ministry.

2) Prayer is still possible in school.

You may not be able to stop the class and offer an audible prayer but no one can stop you from offering up prayers to God all day long. Whether you are in math, walking from class to class, or in the cafeteria, your prayers can and do make a difference. By-the-way, you can also take and read your Bible at school! It’s not against the law! Use your time in school to silently disarm the powers of darkness with your two most powerful tools: prayer and scripture.

3) Where you are assigned to sit, the teachers that you have, are all ordained by God.

As crazy as it may seem, God is going to place you in exactly the classroom, with the classmates he wants you to influence. Don’t forget that God is ultimately in charge as you follow him into science labs, tutoring, or onto the field. Let God use you to influence the people around you. Allow God to have you as an ambassador right there in algebra.

4) This mission only lasts 180 days, so make the most of them!

Some days may drag but in the bigger picture, this mission is short. Please don’t underestimate the value that your influence can have in someone’s life on a daily basis with a basic smile, help with homework, conversation at lunch or ride home from school. Your years in school are prime time for you to have significant impact for the kingdom of God!

V2H Celebrates Grads

This year Vision 2 Hear is happy to see several students who have long been part of our ministry graduate and prepare for the next steps in their faith journey with God. It has been such a joy to serve alongside these young men and women in various ways over the course many years and some for as long as 6 years! We praise God for His blessing in your lives and we are so very thankful for your years of service and faithfulness. May God continue to use you even more as you go. We love you all: AJ, Alicia, Buddy, Emily, Kaylee, Olivia, Rachel, Porschia, and Tristan!

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Don’t Let Spring Break Break You!

Synonymous with partying are the words Spring Break! In fact, many will be venturing to the warmer climates over the next couple of weeks to drink, party, hook-up and have the “time of their lives”. It’s no secret that for many, Spring Break proves to be a time anticipated and eagerly awaited to break free from parents and cut loose of restraints. But what about the Christian student? What does he or she do in this situation to maintain a high level of integrity and morality? How can a Christian maintain their testimony during Spring Break? Here are a few things to consider as you make your way to “vacation”.

1) It’s not a vacation. It’s not a break. At no time can a Christian take a “break”. We have Sabbath, a time of rest and reliance upon God but not a “break”. Christian students who are going to a “party” location need to be careful in letting their guards down while in this scenario. I’m not against Christians going to the beach or exotic locations for Spring Break. What I’m saying is that this can be viewed as a “mission” instead of a vacation or break. This is a time when Christians will have their beliefs, faith and morality put to the test. This is a time when everything will be tried. Christians, don’t let down your guard while on “break”. The evil one will have no greater delight than to see you stumble big time.

8 Be serious! Be alert! Your adversary the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour. 9 Resist him and be firm in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are being experienced by your fellow believers throughout the world. 1 Peter 5:8-9

2) Pray often and everywhere. As you meet and greet friends and make new acquaintances be prayerful. No meeting is just by “chance”. God may very well intend to use you as a “witness” to those you are with. Be attentive to conversations and the Holy Spirit who lives inside of you. Listen to and watch for opportunities to share your faith and hope in Christ. I’m not saying be obnoxious, I’m saying be discerning. Giving words of encouragement and reasons why life can be lived differently is a great way to not compromise and influence your friends. Christ is with you everywhere you go and you bring Him with you as you go. Stay in communion with him as you encounter others.

17 Pray constantly. 
18 Give thanks in everything, 
for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 
19 Don’t stifle the Spirit. 
20 Don’t despise prophecies, 
21 but test all things. 
Hold on to what is good. 
22 Stay away from every kind of evil.

 23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely. And may your spirit, soul, and body be kept sound and blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it. 1 Thessalonians 5:17-24

3) Beware of lust. There is no doubt that in many cases for most young men and many young women, lust can become a huge factor during Spring Break. Even though the heart may be the residing place of lust, it affects our minds, bodies and decisions. Guard your eyes and thoughts during Spring Break. Beware of taking lust lightly. Don’t allow yourself to be in a compromising situation on the beach, in a hotel room, or even in a crowded party where you can be hidden. The point is that lust will be present during your Spring Break trip and if you don’t take the necessary precautions to protect yourself, this could be a major problem. Remember that all actions do not have immediate results.Galatians 6:7-8 Lust and it’s affects may not be readily seen but it can alter your entire life for the rest of your life.

10 For wisdom will enter your mind,
and knowledge will delight your heart.
11 Discretion will watch over you,
and understanding will guard you,
12 rescuing you from the way of evil—
from the one who says perverse things,

Proverbs 2:10-12

1-4“I made a solemn pact with myself never to undress a girl with my eyes.
So what can I expect from God?
What do I deserve from God Almighty above?
Isn’t calamity reserved for the wicked?
Isn’t disaster supposed to strike those who do wrong?
Isn’t God looking, observing how I live?
Doesn’t he mark every step I take?

Job 31:1-4 The Message

4) Beware of drugs and alcohol. Partying would not be partying without drugs and alcohol many would say. As a student, Christian or not,  make sure you are not involved in any illegal activity. If you get to a place where you sense drugs and alcohol are present, find an alternative place to go. Don’t stay in a location that could lead to other compromises, danger or police involvement. It’s important to be safe in having fun. Once alcohol and drugs are involved the partying goes from being safe to potentially deadly. For those over 21, obviously you are no longer “students” in the traditional sense of the word but may I urge you to take your life and actions seriously also and do not allow alcohol and illegal substances to ruin your testimony or life! Be responsible!

So watch your step. Use your head. Make the most of every chance you get. These are desperate times!

 17Don’t live carelessly, unthinkingly. Make sure you understand what the Master wants.

 18-20Don’t drink too much wine. That cheapens your life. Drink the Spirit of God, huge draughts of him. Sing hymns instead of drinking songs! Sing songs from your heart to Christ. Sing praises over everything, any excuse for a song to God the Father in the name of our Master, Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 5:15-20 The Message

5)Stay connected. Check in with your parents and friends often. Keep track of your cell phone and don’t give out tons of personal information to people you don’t know. Stay in groups with your friends and don’t travel alone anywhere! Set up times to connect so that people will be able to track you and you can track your friends. I know it sounds childish but so many people have gotten in life-threatening situations because they didn’t do these type of things! Leave a trail and make sure people know how and where to find you! Don’t change your plans without notifying someone!

6) Read your Bible. I know this sounds too “Christian” right? But as a Christian, the Bible is essential to our everyday lives. We have to saturate ourselves with the Word. Even though you may be out of your “normal” routine, make sure you set aside time to soak in the Word as well as the sun. God will use His word in your life during Spring Break to teach you. His Word will strengthen you and even protect you as He uses it to lead you. Read and heed God’s Word during Spring Break. Knowing God’s word isn’t a guarantee that the Christian won’t mess up but it’s much less likely when we are spending time in his word!

 How can a young person live a clean life? 
      By carefully reading the map of your Word. 
   I’m single-minded in pursuit of you; 
      don’t let me miss the road signs you’ve posted. 
   I’ve banked your promises in the vault of my heart 
      so I won’t sin myself bankrupt. 

Psalm 119:10-11 The Message

For the Christian student who wants to make the most of Spring Break, decide what your boundaries and values are on these issues before you step out of your residence. Before you head off to Spring Break make some definitive decisions and contracts with God, yourself, your friends and parents. Don’t let Spring Break break you!