Saturday, June 25, Bonnie, Rebecca and I left Winona, MS early, en route to Cleveland, TN. Our course had us in four states throughout the day: Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee. We arrived in the afternoon at the home of brother Robert and sister Barbara Wright; they graciously agreed to lodge and feed the three of us. We continue to be humbled by the extension of hospitality to us as we travel weekly; we are indebted to good brethren who take care of us and with whom we develop close relationships. Though appreciated when congregations provide motel lodging as visit them, it is more difficult to grow close to brethren when our time together is largely limited to Bible class and worship.
Sunday morning, we were with the Central Church of Christ in Cleveland, TN. For Bible class, I presented Motivated by the Cross to 4th grade through adults. During worship, I presented Bible Archaeology. Several members expressed appreciation for both presentations, and many of the members took advantage of the good World Evangelism books we had for sale.
We three travelers had multiple opportunities to enjoy the company of good brethren and share meals together. I feel that we make new friends and enhance former friendships, as we did this trip, nearly every time we fulfill appointments to apprise brethren about our mission work or to present other biblical lessons.
Sunday evening, Bonnie, Rebecca and I worshipped with the East Side Church of Christ; this congregation has been a longtime participant with J.C. and Betty Choate in their mission work. With the illness first and later passing of brother Choate, Jerry Bates and I, accompanied by our spouses, visit such congregations, in addition to churches to whom we report for ourselves. After worship, I reported to and showed Motivated by the Cross to the mission committee. Afterward, we three were the guests of Rick and Fay Hinson in their home; he is the go to person for missions at the East Side Church of Christ. Once more, we were treated to precious hospitality; we made new friends. As a sidebar, Rick’s hobby is making high quality, unique ballpoint pens by turning hardwoods and soft metals, combined with things such as rifle shell casings or animal antlers.
Monday was another travel day. Since Rebecca had a narrow window of opportunity to visit her brother Raymond in North Carolina; she and we are going to make a mission trip to Guyana, South America in July, and then she returns back to teaching school in late July (at first, preparatory days before children return). She has to go in for at least a day before the mission trip have her classroom moved from one building to another. During the summer break from school, Rebecca also participates in one or more VBS programs.
We traveled from Tennessee through North Carolina, Georgia and South Carolina to get to North Topsail Beach, NC where Raymond lives while stationed with the Coast Guard in the vicinity. Four states and ten and a half hours later, fatigued, we three arrived. Almost there (within two hours), we encountered severe cloud to ground lightning, heavy rains and pushy wind. We slowed down, but kept going and finally drove out of it.
Rebecca was unable to afford plane tickets and she did not have enough air miles for a ticket, so it was doubtful that she was going to be able to see her brother. Therefore, though Bonnie and I had visited Raymond in April (we used our air miles), we wanted to ferry Rebecca to Raymond’s temporary home for a few days. We will just force ourselves to enjoy the sandy beach across from his condo, the sound of rolling waves, sea breezes and water lapping at our bare feet. I’m just not sure when we will point the car toward Winona, MS. We do, of course, need to get back in time to ready ourselves for our trip to Guyana. If you know Bonnie and me, we will be hammering away on our computer keyboards (e.g., The Voice of Truth International, Gospel Gazette Online, lesson preparation for our mission trips, etc.). Stay tuned for updates between the sunburns and cookouts! (We will be participating in worship and classes with local brethren on at least three different days, too.)