So much has transpired in the last two months that it is difficult to know where to begin this update. It makes us realize all the more how we much we depend and rely daily on your prayers. We know there are many of you individually and corporately as a church family pray for us on a regular basis. There is no way we can ever convey our gratefulness to you in a satisfactory manner. Please know that we don’t take for granted the prayers offered on our behalf. We’ve seen the Lord answer your prayers for health, safety, ministry among numerous other requests. It is because of this we will attempt to relay a portion of His working in specifically these three areas.
On Dec. 19, we traveled to Steve and Sherry’s near Kingman for Christmas and to house and pet sit for them as they left the 20th and traveled to the Midwest for Christmas to be with Sherry’s family. On Saturday, Christmas Eve, David became very sick, shaking uncontrollably and eventually vomiting and having diarrhea. This did not subside. After calling 9-1-1 and praying they would arrive quickly, because we were 25 mile from the hospital in Kingman, they were in the house within 10 minutes. (Prayer!) He was transported to the hospital and spent the next 5 days there undergoing numerous tests without a definite explanation other than something had blocked his gall bladder causing his liver to react by driving his bilirubin number to 4, normal being 1. He was jaundiced and extremely weak. This in turn caused atrial fibrilation in the heart.
Having 4 dogs including our two, to care for at Steve and Sherry’s it was necessary to return to the house. The night he was admitted it had turned cold and rainy. Being in a hurry to get inside the hospital I did not pay close attention to where I had parked other than recalling it was under a light. One of the EMTs that had transported David was still in the ER. She suspicioned my dilemma and asked if I knew where I had parked. Admitting to her I didn’t even know what side of the hospital I had parked. After asking a couple of questions she had an idea where to look and walked me all the way to the truck in the cold and rain. Because of the driving conditions it took somewhat longer to get back to the house, but I was confident David was being cared for and knew God was completely in control. (Prayer!)
When we got back home we were able to see our regular PCP and she instructed us to go to our local hospital ER. This was due as a result to an EKG that was done in her office. We were there for 3 -4 hours and after a Diltiazem interveinous drip returned home. (Prayer!) In the following weeks we have found that whatever was in the gall bladder has passed and no longer a problem, liver function is good and after a heart ablation the atrial fibrilation has not been a problem and some prescription meds have been suspended. Again Prayer!
In our last letter November 2016 we asked prayer for several folks. Included in that list was Brian Jackson. This is Lela Jackson’s son. Those of you who have visited the Chapel will probably remember these two. The Lord saw fit to take Brian home January 27. He was a blessing to watch in his spiritual growth. The last six to nine months he was in church faithfully if he was not hospitalized. He had had one leg amputated below the knee and had several bouts with infection. Please remember Brian’s family in prayer. The funeral will be Saturday Feb. 4. Marshall will be doing the church service and David will be doing the graveside service.
Another event that is coming up is the February 25 wedding of J. Ray Cooper and Liz Black. We are having pre-marital classes with them and are excited to know they both love the Lord and are wanting to serve Him in their life together.
Also on schedule for February and March are demolition and remodel at the Chapel. The mobile home we bought when first coming to Arizona has served several families well for these 40 years, but has come to the end of service. It will be taken apart and sold for scrap. The garage on the Chapel property will be given a new facelift and roof. The garage will be used for storage and will be painted to match the church building.
We realize this update has been lengthy, but felt it necessary to have you aware of how important your prayers are to all those standing with you in reaching the world with the Gospel of Christ. Sometimes the details of an experience drive home the need to be in constant prayer.
When the Lord brings someone or some particular need to mind that’s the time to pray.
Prayer Requests: Praises:
Jackson family The many clear answers to prayer
Wedding Feb 25 Physical grow and spiritual growth at the Chapel
Safety for work crews while remodeling
In all the activity over the holidays we received so many Christmas cards and Get Well wishes and we want to thank everyone who sent gifts and well wishes, We tried to do this individually, but we may have missed some unintentionally.
Most of the update letters we send out to our friends and family interested and praying for the ministry the Lord has given us contain items that we’ve been involved in over a specific period of time. This letter we intend to devote solely on prayer requests for individuals we’ve been in contact with recently. Some will be named, others we will mention a first name only, not because of importance, but for their privacy.
Pastor Marshall Yazzie and his family we’ve known for some 30 years. We’ve seen their children born and raised in a solid Christian environment. We’ve witnessed their grandchildren’s appearance. We love this family as we do our own and ask that you pray with us specifically for their spiritual and emotional needs. Because of the stand they take and have taken, the enemy is constantly attacking. He would have them discouraged and saddened. We would just like to ask that you uphold them in prayer often.
There are four young people that have been coming on a regular basis to Sunday School and Worship Service. They are in their twenties and related to Eric, who was recently baptized. They listen intently to the Word as it is taught and preached. This is a very important time in young adults lives as they are bombarded with the world’s enticements. Please remember these four as you pray.
Please continue to pray for Eric, Verlinda, Brian and Carla They are faithful in services as health and work schedules permit. All are growing and taking active roles in the services.
Lastly, the six year old that we have asked prayer for in past update letters. He is facing an upsetting and unsettling situation at home. He is so close to asking Jesus to come into his heart, but because of his home situation and erratic attendance this has not yet taken place.
David had an allergic reaction to a sulfa drug in May which required a six day hospital stay until the problem was actually diagnosed. He is doing fine and will have to remember he is not designed to take Bactrin. Becky was to have a heart cath and advised of possibly the need for three to four stents Aug. 22. The heart cath was a success in helping doctors realize she did not need stents, and was released the same day. The Lord is so good in caring for both of us.
We thank you for praying for us.
Thank you in advance for praying for the folks listed above, and for your faithful financial support.
Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits. Psalm 103:2
The months of May and June have been awesome as we have been witnessing the Lord’s working in hearts and answering prayer before our eyes.
We were invited to do pulpit fill for Pastor Gary Messick on Father’s Day. It is always a joy to be with these dear folk in the Camp Verde area. We had a sweet time of fellowship with fellow missionaries Paul and Naomi Sondergaard and their three children after the morning service.
The Baptist Indian Chapel has just finished a week of VBS with an 11 member team from Faith Baptist Church in Morristown, Indiana. It was such a tremendous week with 5 young people asking the Lord to forgive their sin and ask for eternal life. The attendance was low with 13 the first three nights, and 11 the final night. It is so exciting to realize God’s working in these young lives. Sunday June 26, following VBS, 3 of these “babes” in Christ were in church. Please pray with us for these young ones that (1 they will be faithful in church and Sunday School and (2 we can encourage them in their new life in Christ.
Also on June 26 a special baptismal service was held for the two adults we had brought to your attention in our last update letter. Both of these adults had invited their families to witness their testimony of their salvation. Attendance, due mostly to these family members, was increased to well over 40. Pray with us for these two; Eric and Verlinda that they will continue to be steadfast in their growth.
We know, as you do, that the enemy in the world would have these tender lives ruined. Please pray for the leadership of the church as we’ve already been made aware of attacks. The attacks are meant to discourage and weaken what has begun.
Continue to pray for the 6 year old that knows he is a sinner, but as yet has not made the critical decision to accept God’s free gift of salvation.
We’ve mentioned our neighbors Jim and Nancy in previous letters. Jim passed away in late June. We would ask that you continue to pray for Nancy. Jim had a good salvation testimony.
“Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever: for they are the rejoicing of my heart.” Psalm 119:111
There are many wonderful rejoicings to relay with this update letter.
To begin with we were excited to be asked to be a part of celebrating 20 years of the Tohono O’Odham Baptist Church building. We have watched this ministry grow steadily under the leadership of Pastor Jay Shannon. There were five of our IBIMI missionary pastors present at the service.
Pastor Marshall Yazzie is well rested after a brief time off. He is preaching each week and planning VBS this June 20 through 24. We look forward to this ministry with Faith Baptist Church from Morristown, Indiana.
David has finished a series of Sunday School lessons on Spiritual Gifts and has begun a series teaching basic doctrines of Christian Responsibilities. The Lord has used His Word to prompt two adults to request baptism. It is a real blessing to see these two respond to the Lord’s leading in their life.
Becky has been alternating with Debbie Yazzie teaching Sunday School and Children’s Church. We are seeing the Lord working in one young boy especially as he is realizing what sin is and that God hates it. He asks questions and knows that we all have sinned. Pray with us that we can soon see this sweet one born into an eternal life with the Lord.
Living in east Mesa, we are in close proximity to hospitals and rehabilitation centers which makes it easy for us to visit folks coming in from three reservations where we have ministered. It is a blessing for us to be able to pray with these patients and also be an encouragment to them as they always are to us. Praise the Lord for where He has us located.
Please remember to pray for the two adults desiring baptism, the young boy realizing he is a sinner, plus the ones we had on our prayer request list in the last update letter.
Dear Prayer Partners,
January 2016 we celebrate 39 years of ministry with the Native American folks. We are overwhelmed at the opportunities the Lord has extended to us as a family with three sons in earlier years of ministry. He continues to extend ministry opportunities to the two of us, although not as rigorous and numerous. We are grateful for all He provides for us and for the partnership many of you reading this have had with us. Some have been our partners for all the 39 years.
One of the blessings of the last few months of 2015 have been filling the pulpit through the month of December for Pastor Yazzie. He needed a rest from the responsibilities of the church for a time. He is back in his pulpit now and doing much better after the rest. He has also added a Sunday afternoon service in addition to the regular morning worship and Sunday School classes.
We are looking forward to being with Messicks in February for their Sweetheart Banquet. It is always a blessing to be with Messicks and the church family there. We are also looking forward to visiting with the Sondergaard family. IBIMI’s newest missionary family the Lord has called to help Messicks in the Camp Verde area.
Please remember Kay Z., Brian J., Jim and Nancy M. in prayer. There are various needs in these individual lives as the Lord is fully aware. We need to be faithful in bringing these dear folks before the Lord.
We want to take this opportunity to thank all of you who remembered us with calls, cards, letters, and gifts this Christmastime. We appreciate so much hearing from you. Many dear friends reminded us of their prayers for us in ministry needs. You are encouraging to us and we are grateful.
In His love and ours,
Dave and Becky DeFord
There is much to relate in this update in regards to answers to prayers, blessings and encouragement the Lord has given in the last months.
We had written in our last update that plans were being made to reroof the Baptist Indian Chapel as well as the new arbor. This has been completed in answer to your prayers as well as ours. Also at the same time this was being done the groups from Marshalltown, IA and Morristown, IN painted the entire building. It looks wonderful.
The week after the building was finished we left for a ten week trip which included attending our granddaughter Alyssa’s college graduation from Pensacola Christian College in Florida, on to Murfreesboro, Tennessee to see our grandson Micah attending the Bill Rice Ranch Institute. We then traveled to Shelby, North Carolina to visit Jon, Jackie and Nathan (great-grandson) Cook. After leaving there we traveled to Virginia and visited our supporting church in Hillsville. From there it was on to Ohio where we enjoyed a visit with Norma Daniels. For a number of years Norma and her husband Roy spent their winters working with the IBIMI missionaries on a variety of projects. From Ohio, we traveled to Indiana and spent the bulk of our time visiting all of our supporting churches and visiting some new ones. While in Indiana we were able to see another grandson, Manny as he is traveled with the Pensacola Proclaim team.
We praise the Lord for safety in the nearly 9000 miles we traveled. There were many opportunities to fellowship with family and friends we had not seen in several years. We are so grateful for the words of encouragement, acts of innumerable kindnesses and hospitality the entire trip.
While we were gone from home our friend, Pastor Steve Fox went home to be with the Lord June 12. We ask you to pray for his wife, Treasa as she adjusts to her service for the Lord in his absence.
We are settled back into our routine at home and have a good time all over again as we recall all the fellowship and laughter we enjoyed for the past ten weeks. We are making plans with Pastor Yazzie as the Baptist Indian Chapel will be hosting the annual IBIMI Mission Retreat scheduled for the first weekend in October. This is always a highlight of our ministry year when all the Mission families can come together for refreshment, rest and encouragement from God’s Word. Pray with us for wisdom in making this a special time for our missionaries.
Thank you to each church and individual we visited with this trip. Thank you for your continued financial partnership with us in the Native American harvest. A special thanks to Alma Wells and to the Brock families for allowing us to park our trailer in their yards.
We want to thank each individual and church that sent cards and financial gifts this past Christmas. We appreciate each one that remembered us in this way.
Beginning last fall we have been working to secure a lease renewal for the Baptist Indian Chapel. Monday (Feb 2) we got the call from Pastor Yazzie telling us that indeed the lease has been renewed and for a period of 50 years. Thank you for your prayers for the lease renewal. We can see the Lord’s direction in the timing of the entire transaction.
In late January, Bud and Connie Wells along with Don and Leslie Otto and their adult son, Cameron came to demolish the rest of the burned out modular that was used for the school. Salvaged steel framing was then used to erect a frame for an arbor. Plans are to put a new metal roof on the church building as well as the arbor in April. Gene Absher will be overseeing this project. We could use some volunteer workers for the second week of April to help with this project. February 1 it was great to have Dr. Glen and Mary Jaspers ministering at BIC. They were with 4 of our Indian churches this winter.
Please keep the Baptist Indian Chapel family on your prayer list as well as the Yazzie family. We enjoy worshipping with them and pray the Lord will use the church as a bright light on the Gila River Reservation until He returns.
New lease for BIC Pastor Steve Fox (on hospice)
70% of needed funds for new roof Volunteers for roof project
Safety in travels each week Health of Lela Jackson (charter member of Chapel)
In February we were able to visit with Gary and Beverly Messick at Living Waters Baptist Church. It was so good to see Gary much improved health wise and to visit with their church family briefly. Their new building is progressing. It will be such a blessing to this church family to have the new facilities finished and in use.
The Ladies Bible study at Ferguson Memorial continues to be a blessing. Attendance has maintained steady and it is such a joy to hear the ladies’ comments about Job’s trials at the ’ash pile’, then relate the study to their own personal lives. Applying Scripture to everyday life is more than reading and studying, they are learning it is doing.
March was filled with traveling. It was a blessing to fill in for Steve and Sherry while they took some well deserved time for Spring Break. The Hualapai Baptist Church is a very loving and caring church family. They are truly a blessing. We were able to attend Thursday and Friday nights of their revival services with the Adrian Burden family. David preached the next Sunday a.m. and p.m. and the following Wednesday night. Sherry invited Becky to go with her and another lady from the church to the Tribal jail on Friday. Two in-mates were there that evening. After the devotion was given from Daniel 1:8 around the theme of “Making Wise Choices”, one of the ladies asked the Lord to save her and to help her make wise choices in her life. Please pray for Piceeta Walema as she is released and returns to her family. Pray she will have a real desire to attend church and grow. She faces many obstacles and temptations.
While at Peach Springs David had opportunity to attend the Men’s Conference at Bill Rice West Branch with Steve and the men from Hualapai Baptist. Following the conference Evangelist Bill Rice III and his wife, Mary spent the weekend with Steve and Sherry. We all had a good visit together.
Please remember to keep Pastor Steve Fox and Treasa in prayer. His voice is weak, although he is able to preach short messages along with Neil Price who has been voted as Associate Pastor.
Prayer Requests: Neighbors, Pastor Steve Fox, Gilson Wash Baptist Church, Baptist Indian Chapel, Travel in April and May (from one end of the state to the other) new Christian Piceeta Walema.
Praises: Safety and continuing good health, Opportunities to preach and witness
We’ve much to praise the Lord for as no doubt you have as well. We want to share some of our bless-ings with you this month. We were blessed to receive many cards, calls and monetary gifts during the Christmas season. We attempted to send individual ‘thank you’ notes, but realize we could have inadvert-ently missed someone. Please accept our gratefulness for each one who sent gifts to us as well as calls and cards.
Another blessing we’ve received is the answer to your prayers as well as ours for the Bible study with the ladies at Ferguson Memorial. Attendance has been great as well as interaction with the ladies. We’ve aver-aged eleven each month and are increasingly aware of the growth in the ladies spiritually as the study is focused on personal trials as we look at the book of Job. Please continue praying for these ladies, two of whom were not always faithful in church services.
Dr. Glen and Mary Jaspers have visited with several of the IBIMI churches in January and continue into February. They are always received well and are continually an encouragement to the church families as well as the missionary families. Pray with us for their safety in travels from one end of the state to the other as well as their health.
We praise the Lord for continued strength and health for us both. It is a wonderful experience to be able to serve the Lord especially as we witness the condition of man’s attitude toward God, Christian principals, morality and God’s Word. Please continue to pray the Lord will use us as testimonies in our neighborhood, and on the reservations.
We praise the Lord for you, our faithful friends and prayer partners and those who stand with us finan-cially. Many have stood beside us for thirty five years plus. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
Prayer Requests: Neighbors, unnamed for privacy reasons
Praises: Financial provision, faithfulness of ladies in Bible study, health and safety for us both.
We are experiencing some of the ho7est days of the year as this le7er is wri7en. We’ve already had temps of 119. The overworked phrase of ‘it’s a dry heat’ emphasizes the dry, but when it is 119 degrees….it’s HOT. Residents adjust schedules and seek the comfort of air condiAoning leaving outside work and acAviAes for mornings and early evenings. We are grateful for A/C.
We especially want to thank each of you who prayed for David as he had surgery April 3. The Drs were anAcipaAng he would be in the hospital a minimum of three days and possibly 5. He progressed so well he was released aCer the second day. Healing has been quick and steady and he is back to a normal rouAne, able to finish the remodeling of our uAlity room and kitchen.
Becky had an epidural injecAon which has relieved the pain in her back. She has a ruptured disc that conflicts with a swollen sciaac nerve causing the pain down the leg. We’re grateful the epidural is at least a temporary remedy.
The highlight of the last month was VBS at Ferguson Memorial. June 9—12 we had a program called “ShooAn’ Straight”. The church folks put on the Bible School themselves. For some of them it was their first Ame doing a VBS. David taught the Bible lesson each evening and had the privilege of leading 3 young people to the Lord the final night. Please pray with us for spiritual growth in the lives of Adam, Jessica and Titus. They are not regular church a7enders, but friends of our church folk. All the
workers were excited with the results of the week and sAll menAon how much they learned.
Our foremost prayer request this le7er is for Pastor Steve Fox. His cancer has grown with new spots on his liver and lungs. As a results his doctors have him on a chemo therapy every Monday which takes a very heavy toll on him physically. A week is hardly enough to recoup his strength until its Ame for another treatment. As you remember him, please include his wife Treasa in prayer as well. Pray also that we could be used of the Lord to encourage them both through a very difficult Ame .
It has been good to have been able to visit services at BapAst Indian Chapel with Marshall Yazzie, Tohono O’odham BapAst with Jay Shannon and preaching for Pastor Barthel at Gilson Wash BapAst in San Carlos.
Please conAnue to pray for the neighbors we menAoned in our last le7er. Some of them are winter residents and some are year round residents.
We are looking forward to IBIMI Mission Retreat in August at Camp Verde with Pastor Gary Messick. Each year this is our ‘family’ reunion with encouraging messages and great fellowship with the Mission family. This year we are excited to have three new missionary families join the mission, one family will be with us that work the Six NaAon Reserve in Canada. Two families are on deputation and hopefully will be able to be with us another Ame. So thankful for more laborers!
Thanks to each of you for faithful prayers and financial support for the work here in this corner of the Lord’s harvest field. We pray for you daily and ask the Lord’s blessing in your lives and area of ministry.