Today I am sitting here at my desk beside a wood stove with outside temperatures expected to be in the 20’s. That is a warm up from the temps we have been having. I noticed that down south at our office in Georgia they had some snow! I hear people all over complaining about the cold and the snow. I like to remember who is complaining about that today, because in a few months they will be the same ones who are complaining about the excessive heat! I have been really convicted recently about how much I complain about things that are not that important. Just like the temperature and snow, my complaining does not change it one bit! I have complained about the cold and it did not warm up at all! Imagine that! Let me encourage you from the start of our letter today, to join with me in trying to praise God more than we complain! It’s more fun, and it’s more productive. Think about this … complaining doesn’t help anyone, but your praise to God brings glory to Him! It is better to praise than complain. We have much to praise the Lord for already in this new year! God has been faithful again to us, and we are rejoicing in all that He is doing and has done. We don’t say it much, but Terry and I are still amazed when we see how you have given to support our ministry so faithfully. We often stop and thank God for you by name. We do that because we are thankful that you help us to do the work we are doing! Thanks.
Words of Wisdom From Dr. Ted Camp
Once upon a time there were three bears, a baby bear – a mama bear, and a papa bear. In Galatians 6 Paul also mentions a story of three bears. The First Bear: “Bear ye one another’s burdens” (V.2). This type of burden is simply too heavy for to bear alone. This burden becomes lighter when it is shared. You learn that two are better than one. When you have a burden to bear, do not resist help, but learn to respond to the help of others. Share your burden with someone who cares. Let the Lord impress you to talk to a certain person you know who really cares. Do not withdraw alone! Pray for a mentor, encourager, and spiritual helper, then let them know you need to share a personal burden with them. Also Christians should be alert and respond to those who need help. Why? Because we are commanded to bear one another’s burdens. As you care, they share, then you help bear it. No one should bear their burden alone. Sometimes you do not need to say anything, but just be “there” in the time of need. The Second Bear: “For every man shall bear his own burden” (V.5) There are some burdens that you must bear alone. It could be compared to a soldier with his knapsack that he alone must carry. It is compared to a mother with a baby in her womb that only she can bear. Others may be aware, but they cannot help. There are some burdens you and others cannot change. You did not cause it, and you cannot correct it. You must accept it as a fact or way of life. Paul prayed three times for a special burden that he alone had to bear. He never once revealed his burden. The Lord did not respond, but said, “My grace is sufficient” (II Cor. 12:9). You may not be able to tell others, but you can tell the Lord. This burden cannot be shared by others, but He can help you to bear it. His grace is e’nuff. God may not still your storm, but He can still you in the storm. As Paul, learn that His grace is enough. Trust the Lord to make all things work together for your good and His glory. The Third Bear: “For I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus” (V.17). You may bear a deep burden from the past. Paul is referring to scars from past hurts. It happened in the past, but the scar (mark) still remains. There are some past pains that may be hard to bear. Do not let the past control your future. Realize you cannot change the past, but you can change the future. During this time; it may seem that God is silent. But He is busy working all things together for your good and His glory. This has been the story of three bears.
From My Desk To Your Heart
Opening my heart—for the Deaf World—Jim Bracelin
Many times we don’t fully understand the plan of God in His direction for our lives. In 2004, I was approached with the idea of going to Ukraine to see if we could help with Deaf ministries there. The first time I went, I was somewhat fearful. I am a home body at heart and love to stay right where I am. I had no idea what this trip would mean to me and how it would affect my heart and life.
Today, the nation of Ukraine is battling to hold on to its freedom and identity. I don’t know if Terry and I will ever be able to return there to minister as we have in the past. Regardless of whether or not we will return, God made a huge imprint on our hearts while we were there. We have dear friends that are more like family than friends. We have seen eternal fruit there through the very first Sign Language class we taught!
We were not sure that we could do anything there (and we did not), but God is doing a wonderful work there. The last time we were there was December of 2013. We were able to be a part of a Deaf Couples Retreat with Bob and Judy VanSant and Pastor Slava Kratko. What a blessing to see people who had been saved the year before when we were there with smiling faces!
What I am trying to tell you is that God is doing a work where it might seem it is impossible to be done. God can use us, when we feel the weakest, and don’t have the wisdom needed. He is simply looking for willing volunteers. You see, the work that was done, and is being done in Ukraine, is not because of what a man is doing. It is because God loves the entire world, and will use normal men/women like us to get His work done!
We praise God for allowing us to go to Ukraine and for what we have seen Him doing there. As I sit here at my desk today, I know the work of the Gospel is going on in Ukraine (not because of me, or even my dear friends Bob and Judy), but because it is His work, and He is the one that gives the increase. Pray for your brothers and sisters in Ukraine; Deaf and Hearing. Pray that they will remain faithful to the Word of God until the Rapture come!
WHERE WE HAVE BEEN … WHERE WE ARE GOING
“For a great door and effectual is opened …” I Corinthians 16:9
What God has done …
Dec 29—I fell 15 ft. from a tree stand and broke four ribs in multiple places. Praise God, there were no internal injuries, but I was hurting for the better part of two months. God is good and allowed me to live and continue to serve.
Jan 10—I spoke at the Fellowship of Christian Farmers breakfast. This is a group of southern New Jersey farmers who have a burden to reach farmers and their families with the Gospel in their area. I spoke to challenge them to invite folks to come to an Outreach Dinner on February 27.
Jan 11—I filled the pulpit for a good friend in one of our supporting churches (First Baptist Church of Calvert County, MD). I spoke three times, and Terry taught the ladies Sunday School class and interpreted for me.
Jan 13, 20—I preached in Chester County Prison. We saw 13 ladies saved in these two services!
Feb 6—Met with Jon Barr and David Bennett to discuss the beginning of a new arm of ministry for SWM. Will keep you posted.
Feb 8—We had our annual SWM Board meeting in Trenton, GA. Great time seeing all our Board members and enjoying the report of what God is doing.
Feb 9-11—We had our Executive Operating Board meeting. It was a very productive time of meeting and a great time of fellowship.
Feb 13—I was asked to speak at a Sweetheart Banquet at Church of the Open Door in Westminster, MD. Terry and I sang as well. There were four people who trusted Christ as Savior! A great time of renewing friendships from years ago.
Feb 17—I spoke at Chester County Prison and saw 5 ladies saved!
Feb 23—I spoke at our home church (Valley Forge Baptist) gym night. There were over 40 men there to play basketball, and 7 trusted Christ at the invitation!
Where we are going …
Mar 4-5—We are helping in a Missions Conference at First Baptist Church of Elmer, NJ. We will be working with the children on the 4th and presenting our work on the 5th.
Mar 17— I preach at Chester County Prison.
Mar 22—I am preaching the pm service at Valley Forge Baptist.
Mar 29—I am preaching at Graterford Prison.
Apr 3—I am preaching at the Good Friday service at Valley Forge Baptist
Apr 11—I am preaching at Somerset Prison Apr 14—Chester County Apr 19—Camp Hill Prison
Apr 25—We will hold our first Fantastic Saturday of 2015 at Central Baptist Church in Southington, CT
We are working on things in the office during these colder months. The northeast has been hit hard with snow and ice this winter. As a result we try to use our time wisely and stay active. You will notice an increase in prison preaching … they are always open! Thank you for praying for us as the Lord opens doors, even in the prisons for us to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We appreciate you and need your support!
FROM A WOMAN’S PERSPECTIVE – Terry Bracelin
February is the shortest month in our year, but I believe it is one of our busiest months. There are 7 birthdays and 2 holidays (Presidents Day / Valentines). It is a fun month for us. God taught me something this month. I know Valentine’s Day is the 14th, so I try to plan ahead. I like to make a little treat for all our grandchildren and a card to give them. They look forward to it (our one granddaughter asked for hers early). I also try to get a little gift for our girls and daughter-in-law to let them know I love them. Then the day comes and I give them all their little goodie bag and card, or gift. I Corinthians 13 is the love chapter and explains love to us. Verse 8 says, “Charity never fails.” Love can do many things to encourage a heart, strengthen a relationship, or show forgiveness. That night my sister called (her husband passed away recently). I had forgotten to call her—I did not show love to someone who was hurting! My heart was heavy for her and grieved that I had forgotten to call. Family really is important—even extended family! I realized it is important for me to reach out to others; not just my own family. I asked the Lord to help me to see those who need encouragement and to do it. Reach out today to someone who needs a hug, a smile, a card or word of encouragement. God is waiting to use you and to show others His great love.
TRUE AND FUNNY MINISTRY STORY
Sometimes there is a lack of communication between all of us, but it is a special challenge sometimes between Deaf and Hearing. Recently I fell 15 ft. from a tree while hunting. I broke four ribs in multiple places and was laid up for a bit. As the Deaf started to hear about it there were some very interesting stories that came. They were funny and interesting at the same time.
One Deaf friend posted on Facebook that I was knocked out of a tree by a deer and fell 15 ft. and broke my ribs. When I heard this story, I laughed as hard as a man who has been run over by a deer and has broken ribs can laugh.
One Deaf person asked a friend of mine, “What was Jim Bracelin doing up in his Christmas tree anyway?” Again, I pictured myself climbing up my Christmas tree and falling … I laughed again!
Communication break-down is common with all of us (especially between husbands and wives sometimes). It seems that this breakdown in communication can be very funny when working with the Deaf. One of my real joys is laughing with my Deaf friends. I think that they enjoy laughing more than Hearing people because they don’t have the opportunities to do it as often. Whatever the reason, we laugh a great deal together! What a blessing!
BRACELIN FAMILY NEWS
My wife celebrated her ___ birthday this past Sunday. She got the greatest birthday gift she could ask for … all of her family came home (except one son-in-law who had a meeting). It is important for us to realize that the greatest gifts cannot be purchased (even at Kohl’s). The greatest gifts we have after our salvation are the family members that God has given us. Please understand that we are not a perfect family. We have our challenges and problems just like your family, but we are so thankful that God has allowed us to face these challenges together.
There have been many times where the only people we felt we could turn to was our family. That does not happen by accident. Let me encourage you to invest in your children and grand-children. When they all come home and sit around your dining room table and love on you, it will be worth it! I watched my wife that day … and thought to myself; there is no happier woman on the face of the earth than she was on that day.
Oh, yes, she was cleaning and changing diapers, and wiping noses, and listening to stories she had heard a hundred times before. But … she was surrounded by the people who love her the most on this earth! Each of our kids commented on what a great day it was to be together. Take time to make memories with your children and grand-children today while you have the ability, energy and life! You will not regret it. A few extra dollars in your bank account cannot compare! Hug your family today!
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A full listing of our materials is in our newspaper; or by requesting an order form from our office at: P.O. Box 889 — Trenton, GA 30752 or check the Silent Word website at www.silentwordministries.org
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Because of your prayer and financial support, we are thankful, and committed to minister to the Deaf on your behalf until the Lord returns