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Thank You, God, for 2013

01 Jan Posted by in Message from Gary | Comments
Thank You, God, for 2013

by Gary Barrett ~ 

HAPPY NEW YEAR – 2013 in Review.

Gary&RhondaSeattle

As Rhonda and I talked about the past year we realized that so much has happened. It was wonderful having visitors stay with us.  We all enjoyed the times of fellowship, prayer, and encouragement together.

It was great having Eugene Gehm and John Gehm here last February. They were a big help as we organized the office, especially the many boxes of Bibles, literature, and Gospel Bags that we mail out and, also, give away at DeafNation Expos.  In  addition, they joined with the team at the Tampa DeafNation Expo on March 2.

A big thank you to our dear friends Eugene Gehm, John Taft, and John Gehm who organized the Portland, Oregon DeafNation Expo.

A big thank you to our dear friends Eugene Gehm, John Taft, and John Gehm who organized the Portland, Oregon DeafNation Expo.

In October, Eugene and John helped, along with John Taft, to organize the Portland DeafNation Expo that took place on October 19.  Thousands of Gospel Bags were distributed at those two events in addition to the many Gospel Bags we mailed throughout the year.

It is a special blessing to talk with friends and co-workers in the ministry week after week on the VP.  One of my dearest friends and co-workers, Bert Reins, went home to be with the Lord in September after courageously battling cancer.  He is greatly missed by his wife, children, and church.  Every week we’d talk on the VP.  My goal was to encourage HIM when we saw each other on the VP, but HE always encouraged me.  I miss my brother in Christ.

We had a ministry trip to Seattle planned in December, however we made a special trip in August, after finding out that Rhonda’s Aunt Patsy (Rhonda’s mom’s sister) was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer.  The doctors gave her weeks to a few months to live.  (Rhonda’s mom passed away in 1980, and Rhonda and her aunt were close.  She was affectionately called “Grandma Patsy” by our sons.)  It was a bittersweet time of being together at Aunt Patsy’s home and going on brief outings as often as she physically felt up to it.We asked Patsy if there was any specific place she wanted to go and she responded, “The Seattle Zoo”.  Finally, on the last day we were together, Patsy felt well enough to go to the Zoo.  We had so much fun.  It truly was a highlight of our time together.  Patsy knew we would be back in December, but there was no promise she would live that long.  We said our good-byes.

One of the last pictures of Rhonda with her Aunt Patsy.  Patti, Aunt Patsy's daughter is also in the picture.  Rhonda shares, "Life is made up of bitter/sweet moments."

One of the last pictures of Rhonda with her Aunt Patsy. Rhonda’s cousin Patti (Aunt Patsy’s daughter) is also in the picture. Rhonda shares, “Life is made up of bitter/sweet moments.”

December arrived and Patsy was still alive.  Patsy had moved in with her daughter and was in hospice.  Our first stop when we arrived to Seattle in December was a visit to Patsy.  It was wonderful to see her again.

Rhonda and I enjoyed the times we were able to teach during the year.  However, it was a special time of ministry in December when we returned to Washington State.  Washington is where Rhonda and I were saved back in 1978.  It is also where I pastored my first Deaf church.  Even though we moved from Washington back in 1986, we still have many friends in the Northwest, so it is always a joy to go back “home”.

On December 7, Rhonda shared at the Annual Deaf Women’s Christmas Brunch and the following Saturday, December 14, I shared at the Deaf Men’s Christmas Brunch in Bellevue, Washington.  One Sunday, we shared with a Deaf group in Mt. Vernon–Rhonda taught Sunday School and I preached.

Seattle South Group

Some of our friends we were able to get together with while in Seattle. Many we’ve known since the 1980’s.

The Deaf in the area organized two separate get togethers, one in the south-end of Seattle and another in the north-end of Seattle.  We were able to fellowship with many of our old friends, and we also made some new friends.

While in Seattle, in between the ministry outreaches, we visited Patsy.  The last day we saw Patsy we talked about family here and family in Heaven; we talked about the Lord and shared Psalm 23.  We prayed together, said our final good-byes and hugged.  Patsy was laying in bed and very weak.  As we were leaving she, amazingly, sat up in bed and with both hands signed, “I love you”.  That was the last time we saw her.  Patsy went to be with the Lord just hours before Rhonda and I flew back to Florida.

As I think about the past year, I feel like Ecclesiastes 3:1-14 sums up the year for us and for the ministry.  I encourage you to read it in your Bible; below are a few selected verses:

  • To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven (verse 1).
  • God makes everything beautiful in His time (verse 11).He has put eternity in the hearts of men (verse 11).
  • Nothing is better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives…and enjoy the good of all his labor—it is the gift of God (verses 12-13).
  • I know that whatever God does, it shall be forever (verse 14).

As Rhonda and I, along with the DMW Board, look at the year ahead of us––with teaching opportunities, DeafNation Expo opportunities and everything in between––we rejoice and enjoy the gift of laboring for the Lord as we realize more than ever before, “A person plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps” (Proverbs 16:9).  And that is exactly what we want.  We want the Lord directing our every step for we know whatever God does, it shall be forever.

We covet your prayers and ask you to prayerfully consider joining with us in 2014.

Your prayers and financial support are a blessing to this ministry as we continue Sending HIS Light and Truth to Deaf people everywhere.  You may make a secure online donation now by clicking the “DONATE NOW” button. THANK YOU!

 

 


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