Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Here's a summary of my comments about the Asrats.
Abebe visited Fairfax last year. He comes every once in a while to worship with us.
Not long ago, he came with his fiancee', Jennifer, and announced that they are engaged.
I also learned that they were living together outside of marriage which is not something the Lord wants. And they wanted to be baptized! I didn't want to diffuse their excitement and joy to be connected to the Lord. Before being baptized, I gave them a choice to live separately until marriage or to do what is right in the eyes of the Lord. They didn't want to live apart because of their love for each other.
They got married on November 25th. Not long after exchanging their vows, they buried their old lives in the Lord and their sins washed away with the blood of Jesus!
Abebe, in the dressing room, came to me and said, "Now, I feel no guilt!!!"
Monday, November 27, 2006
Yeah, yeah.. I guess you could call me a "Daddy-Rock (The wrestler named "The Rock")" or "Conan The Preacher". But it's been years since I last picked up my super-heavy girls now. And I do miss doing that. My girls love it!! They would come to me and say, "Pick me up, daddy. Pick me up.." I was like, "Oh, I do wish but I can't, right now, honey".. I just hated giving this kind of rejection. Every now and then, I go up to people with newborns and love to pick them up to give them a "blubber belly", my signature of giving a "raspberry tickle on their tummies". Sometimes, my shoulder couldn't even bear a 20 lb or less babies.. I forget that I have this problem.
Not only with kids and babies, but helping people I love move from their homes into the new homes. I would arrive home grimmacing with a little pain after lifting heavy loads of furnitures and boxes. I love to help but I hate to feel the consequences of helping with the move. My heart rejoices but my body doesn't. It sounded like a quote that God gave to one of His Disciples, "The Spirit is willing but the body is weak." Exactly!!
Now, I'm ready to get this taken care of!! Why?! So my body can be in step with the Spirit! And, that, I'm eager for a rejoicing shoulder with a rejoicing Spirit!! :)
Please lift me and my family up in your prayers. Remember me this Wednesday at 7:30 a.m. when I will be going under!!
Sunday, November 26, 2006
Awesome! What an awesome weekend we had!! Today in worship, Pedro Gelabert and his family from NYC came for worship and Pedro preached, from his heart, a wonderful lesson on "Transfiguration"!! We praise God for the lesson and he told us, like John, James and Peter, do not forget Jesus!!
In addition to this awesome weekend experience with God, last Saturday, Abebe and Jennifer exchanged their vows before God.. They are one of the most humbling people I know. I love their joy for Jesus. I love their love for our Lord. I love their smiles and do want them to be assured that they keep on smiling for Jesus, not allowing Satan to erase that away from their faces! They decided to make themselves right before God. After the exchange of their vows and rings, I pronounced them husband and wife, Mr. and Mrs. Abebe Asrat!
But the wedding ceremony wasn't over. They had another "wedding" to attend to! They have long wanted to get connected to Jesus. They need to become a "bride" of Christ. They need to be part of the family, the church. Abebe and Jennifer knew they were living in sin. They knew they had to do what is right in the eyes of the Lord. They asked the Lord to come into their hearts and bury their old life in the Lord in baptism. Together, they did! Together, they proclaimed to God and us, as witnesses, that Jesus is their Lord and that Jesus takes away their sins by His blood, burying their old lives in the Lord (in baptism) and now raised as new creations, joined with Jesus and now on the pathway to eternal life!!
Here are a couple of pictures for you to enjoy! Such joyful couple during this joyful time! This is the day we'll never forget!!
Abebe prepares to say the "vows" to Jenni with smiles!!
Mark Lowenstein emphasized the important of keeping ourselves under the authority of God!
Abebe and Jenni prepares to give their lives to the Lord in baptism asking Jesus and His blood to wash their sins away and clothe them in a garment white as snow!
Buried in the Lord (Into His death, Into His blood, Into His freedom from sin)
Joyful celebration!! Me, being stone deaf, I could hear them shouting, "Whooo!".. What an awesome "sound" coming into my "deaf ear"!!! Praise God!!!!
Pray that your clothes are made of eternal linen (spirit), bright and clean!!!
Friday, November 24, 2006
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Michelle and I noticed that each team were struggling to get their iceberg tees thawed! The maroon team managed to get it thawed and got one knot out!! They struggled with the second knot. So we decided to make things interesting by allowing all the teams to use running water. Everyone scrambled to the nearest water faucet to race for first place!!
The, gung ho, MAROON TEAM won the "Iceberg Tees Family Challenge"!! From left to right, Jason Bard, Asrat Kebede, Michelle Lowenstein, Alyson Lowenstein, Dennis Young and Tim Stewart were all smiles!!
Second place, GREY TEAM!! From left to right, Jasmine Bard, Jennifer Fox, Jason Jr (Bard), Liz Creamer and Amanda Lowenstein.
Third Place, GREEN TEAM!! From left to right, Darrin Forshay, Neil Ferris, Melanie Williams, Bev Young, Brandi Young and Christy Pomnitz.
Fourth Place, BLACK TEAM!! From left to right, Coral Kaplan, Kali Kaplan, Fred Orr, Matt Sickon, Kathy Flavin and Abebe Asrat.
Fifth Place, ORANGE TEAM!!! From left to right, Robin Forshay, Cario Stewart, Angela Lowenstein, Julio Rodriguez, Mark Lowenstein and Juber Cadima.
Sixth Place, YELLOW TEAM!! From left to right, Cindi Cesone, Joe Kaplan, Patty Ann Melnikas and Steve Williams.
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
David Hinckley (left) and Dennis Cesone (right) cooking up some grubs for lunch!
Tim and Cario Stewart led us in awesome singing of the song, "You Are Holy, Prince of Peace"
The kids were fantastic over the weekend!! In the picture, they're playing "Shoot The Elephant" game..
Brother Jason Bard leading us to God in closing prayer..
One of the five keynote lessons on "Family", Joe Kaplan stresses the importance of praying for each other..
During Sunday's Worship (Lord's Supper), we followed "Jesus" in a re-enactment of Jesus' walk from the scourging to Golgotha (where Jesus was crucified). In the picture is Darrin Forshay carrying the wooden cross while Dennis Cesone and Neil Ferris, holding a whip, mock "Jesus".
(Re-enactment) "Jesus" being crucified and lifted up before beginning the Lord's Supper. What a great way to visualize how Jesus suffered for the sins of humanity!!
Fairfax Family circles around the cross observing the Lord's death and remembering that Jesus gave His body (bread) and shed his blood (wine) to cover the sins of the world!
A wonderful visual reminder of all Jesus did for us!!
Friday, November 17, 2006
Tonight, we'll be at Camp Wamava for our long anticipated Deaf Family Retreat with Joe Kaplan (North Carolina) speaking!!
I'm excited about this weekend! The theme of the retreat is, "Together In Christ".. We're getting some TIC experience from Joe's lessons, the fellowship and games!! In addition to this, we're going to have a new addition to the Fairfax church family!! I'm anxious to have him share his testimony then the church family will gather around him to welcome him to the family in prayer!
Well.. I'm outta here now!!
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Aww man! This is such a sweet, sweet animation.. At first, I wasn't sure what the purpose of this bird was until... He/she wanted to know what it is like to "fly" past the trees..
Make sure you watch the end where tears flowed from his/her eyes knowing he/she will die but knowing what it is like to fly past the trees..
Such a sweet and sad story. I can think of many applications from this story in a spiritual perspective!
This is one of the most important Scripture to keep in heart. From here, a couple of things pops out of this Scripture:
1. A great conceit of themselves, and of their own goodness; they thought themselves as holy as they needed to be, and holier than all their neighbors, and such as might serve for examples to them all. But that was not all..
2. They had a confidence in themselves before God, and not only had a high opinion of their own righteousness, but depended upon the merit of it, whenever they addressed God, as their plea: They trusted in themselves as being righteous; they thought they had made God their debtor, and might demand anything from him..
3. They despised others, and looked upon them with contempt, as not worthy to be compared with them. Now Christ by this parable would show such their folly, and that from there, they shut themselves out from acceptance with God.
In addition to this, I read a commentary that explains this Scripture well:
"That he trusted to himself that he was righteous. A great many good things he said of himself, which we will suppose to be true. He was free from gross and scandalous sins; he was not an extortioner, not a usurer, not oppressive to debtors or tenants, but fair and kind to all that had dependence upon him. He was not unjust in any of his dealings; he did no man any wrong; he could say, as Samuel, Whose ox or whose ass have I taken? He was no adulterer, but had possessed his vessel in sanctification and honour."
If Jesus were to appear to this Pharisee, again, what do you think He would quote?
"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves." Philippians 2:3 (niv)
"For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted." Matthew 23:12 (niv)
Keep in mind that there are two different hearts that God sees.. One heart consist of passing out accusations like the Pharisee while the other heart is broken and contrite like the tax collector!
Proud men, who exalt themselves, are rivals with God, and therefore they shall certainly be abased. God, in his discourse with Job, appeals to this proof that he is God, that he looks upon every one that is proud, and brings him low, Job 40:12.
Humble men, who abase themselves, are subject to God, and they shall be exalted. God has preferment in store for those that will take it as a favor, not for those that demand it as a debt. He shall be exalted into the love of God, and communion with him, shall be exalted into a satisfaction in himself, and exalted at last as high as heaven.
And our awesome Lord desires each of His children to always remain humble, forgiving others for their arrogance and sins, and consider others better than self.. Let us stop trusting self and despising others for the glory of God!
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Take your time in digesting the article and comments made. It's a bit difficult to understand but worthy of reading...
Check out this blog @
I believe G. Brandon Hoyt's response to Phil's blogpost made a good point:
"I don't buy these argument because scripture is cross-cultural (*and remember 2 Tim 3:16, told to someone NOT WHOLLY OF the scripture producing culture...*) and because many of the things that Christians (and even Jews) are commanded are against the culture of their day..."
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
As Michelle and I came into the office this morning, Ellyn saw us and jumped right in front of us to tell us some stories of perseverance. Keep in mind that we do not "hear" these stories like most members do. We have to "see" it in our language. So we're very thankful that Ellyn was able to take the time to share with us and the stories journeyed into the very core of our hearts!
To be honest with you, I cannot explain this in words what we "saw" in the stories of perseverance. But, like fire that burns in our body, we cannot contain this in! It must be shared. Our jaws just dropped! Our hearts pounded! Our bodies just shiver with the "fear" that there is a God who continues to be in control. Some of you may know three of our members (hearing) are still battling with terrible diseases (cancer). While they're still battling their diseases, Michelle saw Bob at church just this past Sunday. Someone told me that Scott came to worship God while his wife lie in bed recovering from several brain surgeries. Ellyn continues to tell us these stories of what is happening in their lives right now. I can see that nothing hinders their walk with God! They're an inspiration, not only to us, but to many of those who loves them. Scott's wife, according to Ellyn, accepted the affliction and wanted people to know that it was for the glory of God!! This is heavy!
Again, I'm just speechless today! I think you know the rest of the story now. I just don't feel like doing anything here at the office but to give God my undivided attention and to say, "Glory to God! Glory to God!" I just personally don't know how I would do if I were in the spouse's shoes. Regardless and whatever the Lord wills for their lives to be (whether to continue with life or when death comes), I just wanted to take the time to thank them for sharing their struggles with us. When they learned that cancer has taken toll of their bodies, they fell before God saying that they continue to love Him regardless of the situation. They continue to pray to God to rescue them out of this horrible mess. Apostle Paul did the same thing asking that the Lord take away the "thorn in his flesh" in 2 Corinthians 12:7 (niv). But they continue to persevere through this trial. It is the food we need to eat. It's the drink we need to drink. They help us look at life differently.
Keep in mind that we continue to be amazed by the faith and perseverance of Scott's wife, Sarah!!! We didn't hear any, "Why me, God? Why not others suffer? Why didn't you choose someone else?" or any other questions pointing a blame to God.. She said, "I accept this and I do this to glorify God!"
"Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us." Romans 5:3-5 (nas)
Monday, November 13, 2006
I just wanted to take a few minutes to jot down a few people that I have been watching and was filled with admiration and am blessed to be around with such godly people. Though, I cannot include everyone, just a few that really touched my heart in the past week..
(I just hope they don't mind my mentioning their names!)
Last week, I met with two wonderful people who just lights up my heart! Abebe Asrat and his fiancee', Jennifer, just couldn't stop smiling. I believe there's one of the most humble people I have ever met. They are hungry to serve God. Jennifer has been reading the Bible and Picture Bible. She has never gone to church until now. She's only 18 years old and such a sweet, sweet woman. I just pray that no one in the world, even in the church, will diffuse that light out of their hearts! They're eager to be baptized into the Lord's death and be risen with a new life soon! We continue to be in touch so be an example to them and pray!
Hazel Taylor is a joy to be around with. I'm just appalled in how she continues to persevere through her times of trials. She continues to fight to stay healthy. One time, she wanted to just die, die, die and go be with her late husband, Harold. Smile. But she continues to simply move on by saying, "Well, the Lord said, 'It's not time for you to go, yet.' I'll just sit and twiddle my thumbs until He calls me home." Man! I love her!! I love this sweet ole lady and she really inspires me so much! She knows some songs by heart and sometimes sings them to me. Then I join in with the singing! When she sings, she closes her eyes and smiles as if she can literally see God. And I have no doubt that God is also smiling. Everyone ought to follow her example! Really!
Another wonderful lady that also puts a smile on my face is Dorothy Eckert. She worked so hard to learn ASL and to communicate with deaf people like me. She continues overcome many obstacles including several surgeries to remove several cancer-causing cells. She's been so, so faithful worshipping God with the deaf. I hardly ever remember her missing a single Sunday except when she just returned home from the hospital or on vacation. Again, she's an awesome lady who loves to serve the Lord!
Susan Scholtz and Henry Cardenas, are both completing their "internship in ASL study" with us at Fairfax. They are another wonderful people whom are dedicated to bridge communication gap between the deaf and hearing in this world. They've been working real hard to bring themselves to the level of ASL certification requirements. We've grown fond of them and they're always in my heart and prayers! Please lift them up as they continue to work their way to become interpreters (secularly and religiously).
Finally, I met with a wonderful man today for lunch. His name is Asrat Kebede, a deaf man from Ethiopia. We only had one hour to chat and I learned a whole lot more about Asrat in that hour than knowing him since last Spring (off and on). I told him that I look forward to having more fellowship with him. If you haven't had a chance to meet Asrat, I encourage you to do so!And, what is more? Something exciting will happen this Sunday, Lord willing! :)
"For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you,.." 2 Thess. 3:7 (niv)
And, remember, the eyes in the world continue to watch you, your example and your influence.
Thursday, November 09, 2006
1,325,668 voted "Yes" (57%) to ban same-sex marriage
1,003,967 (47%) voted "No".
1,003,967 is a lot of votes against banning same-sex marriage. And I see a strong Genesis', Sodom and Gomorrah, in the world today! And over a million people in the state of Virginia, alone, are against the amendment to ban same-sex marriage. God designed marriage to be only a "husband & wife; male & female".
"For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh." Genesis 2:24 (nas)
And here's a very, very strong verse the Lord provided through Apostle Paul:
"Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error." Romans 1:24-27 (nas)
God takes marriage seriously:
"Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge." Hebrews 13:4 (nas)
Not only Virginia did the votes on "same-sex marriage ban" but alot of other states did. South Carolina had a 78% and Tennessee a whooping 81% of the votes were "Yes" to ban "same-sex marriage" while Arizona had 51% "No" vote to ban same-sex marriage.
How much work do we have to do in this world today to bring God in schools, in the Senate, in the House, in the White House, in the workplace, in our homes, and among our friends? I pray the Lord will increase our fervor to bring the gospel to both dying hearts (spiritual fire) and lost souls!
Monday, November 06, 2006
This morning, I did my sixth Cycle 45 (a cycling class I'm taking at Gold's that requires 45 minutes of rigorous cycling exercise led by an instructor).. I'm really enjoying the "pain & misery" of cycling! I know it does a whole world of good to my heart and my life!!
I was running out of time. Needed a quick shower and get ready for the "teacher's conference" to discuss the progresses of our three girls at school. Just before showering, I could almost hear the "blood" rushing in my whole body. My heart was still beating hard. I was still sweating. My "Under Armor" shirt was tremendously soaked as if I jumped into the water. Though, tired, it was an awesome feeling. I just loved hearing the rushing blood in my body..
And it made me think the moment of "hearing" the blood rushing in me.
Seriously.. When I devote my time in reading the Word of God (bible), talk to God in prayer, serve the Lord in our community, commit with all my heart, my mind, my soul, and my strength in worship to God, reaching out to the hurting, the poor, the sick, those who are "spiritually blind" and the lost souls for Christ Jesus, the rushing blood of Jesus continues to pour from within me out to others in dire need of His forgiveness for their sins! Otherwise, the "rushing blood" isn't overflowing from within us because we're not imitating Christ. Of course, only through Christ, we have the forgiveness of sins. Only through Christ, we receive the propitiation for our sins. Only through Christ, we're able to allow the world to see Him through our example in life, in love, in purity and in speech!
Not only that I love the feeling of the "rushing blood" in me after I do my exercises, but the "overflowing of Christ's blood" from within me as I do His Divine Will!
I feel His nails.
I feel the crown of thorns.
I feel His 39 minus 40 whip-lashed scars.
He did it for me and the world. Now, what are you doing for Him?
Is the "blood of Christ" rushing out of you?
Lord, have mercy on our souls!
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
Blogger wouldn't let me post the pictures last Monday morning. Today, I'm able to post the pictures. There are more pictures on our website at www.fxcc.org/deaf. Feel free to browse through them.
Last Sunday, we did our first "We Are The Sermon" leaf raking service in our community. Though there are plenty of leaves up on the trees, there are still plenty of leaves on the ground too! We all had such a wonderful time. A total of 30 adults and children donned in "dirt-ready clothes" raked 5 houses in almost 2 hours!!! And, know what!!? They preached the best sermon yet!! :)
Hard working kids raking and bagging leaves!
Cario Stewart sweating it out by gathering the leaves!
Muscular Dan Robinson hauling the bags away from the house.
Brian Baell working at it with all his heart!
Is it quitting time yet, daddies?
The Aftermath: Two hours, Five Houses, All Joyful Smiles!
Many thanks to each of those who came to be the "sermon" in the eyes of our community! I'm already excited about the next community service project! May God bless you all!