Archive for July 2011

Youth Workday in Winona, Mississippi

July 27, 2011

Tuesday, July 26, the teen group from Siwell Road Church of Christ in Jackson, MS with youth also from the West President Street Church of Christ in Greenwood, MS descended on the World Evangelism Building for a workday. In all, 24 helped the Bates and the Rushmores in several projects. Boxes of books were packed for preachers in the Philippines as well as preachers in Guyana, South America; a total of 100 boxes were packed in short order through team effort. Others bundled tracts for future shipment; still others readied cases of The Voice of Truth International for shipment overseas. Some other teenagers thoroughly cleaned the apartment and other areas of the building in preparation for the annual World Evangelism Team Meeting next week. In the few hours spent at Winona, these young people made a valuable investment in precious souls abroad that they will never meet personally. May God richly bless each of them.

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Mission Trip to Linden, Guyana in South America

July 23, 2011

Friday, July 15, Bonnie and I departed Winona, MS for Collierville, TN to ready ourselves for boarding the first of several airplanes to Guyana, South America. Around 3 a.m. Saturday, we left Rebecca’s home, the three of us, for the Memphis airport, and our plane flew out at 6:35 a.m. – flying to Charlotte, NC. There, we caught another plane to Miami, FL so we could board yet another plane headed toward the equator. We flew U.S. Airways from Memphis to Miami whereupon we changed carriers to Caribbean Air. Our plane landed en route in Trinidad to let off passengers, take on more passengers and refuel before continuing to Georgetown, Guyana. From there, we rode an hour to Linden, Guyana. Fifteen hours after leaving our daughter’s home, the three of us and nine additional team members arrived at our quarters for the next week.

We were part of a team from the Collierville Church of Christ. Our daughter goes each year to Linden with young people from the congregation, and besides the good work accomplished, the young people grow spiritually. This year, the team was short a couple of people, and we were invited to participate. Last year, Rebecca accompanied Bonnie and me to Myanmar (Burma) for two weeks in addition to her going to Guyana, and so this year, we added Guyana in addition to our scheduled foreign trips. Our team consisted of Christians ranging in age from 10-year-old Jada (exceedingly mature, helpful and related to other team members), 16-year-old Kristian (no less a mature, young Christian man) and the balance of the team ranging from 18-year-olds to twenty-somethings to 40-somethings through the 50’s that Bonnie and I bear.

Jada received this special commendation by our daughter: “Jada, the 10 year old that was with us, did a great job. Jasmine [preacher’s wife at Amelia’s Ward] commented that she was the youngest campaigner ever. I think Jada was the only one the whole week who never made any complaints with words or actions. She did everything she was asked to do, helped with the 2-3 year old class during VBS, helped with the door knocking, and did a great job the whole trip. We are very proud of her and will willing take her again (she says she wants to go again next year).” I wholeheartedly concur.

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Sunday, Randy Gaddy, team leader, preached and taught for the Amelia’s Ward Church of Christ, and I preached and taught for the Burnham Church of Christ. Wednesday, I taught the midweek class for Amelia’s Ward congregation, while Randy taught the class for the Blueberry Hill Church of Christ in Linden. Thursday, I taught the midweek Bible class for the Dora Church of Christ in the jungle about an hour away; half of the crew visited families via boat, and the other half of our team traversed muddy jungle trails (with some slipping, sliding and plopping in the mire due to the rain – in the rainforest) to make visits before Bible class.

VBS materials had preceded our arrival and were prepared by the sisters in Christ of the Burnham Drive Church of Christ in Linden. Our ladies and young men taught Vacation Bible School Monday through Friday and were assisted by our Guyanese brethren. Afternoons, the team and Guyanese brethren canvassed neighborhoods in Linden, setting up Bible studies for the group from the States following us the next week (and we conducted several studies as well); one day, I spent hot, sweaty hours canvassing with the preacher for the Blueberry Hill congregation. Evenings, Bonnie taught ladies’ maturity classes, and I taught men’s maturity classes for a second congregation, the Amelia’s Ward Church of Christ.

By design, we did not leave much time to waste. We endeavored to redeem the time and were mindful of the investment required to be here. The highest attendance for VBS was over 300 youngsters; the attendance climbed daily, peaking on Friday. Over 30 studies were set up, and five studies were conducted. One of the sisters in Christ present in Linden this year was a new convert from last year’s studies, though she obeyed the Gospel after our team left for home last year. Our goal this year was to conduct VBS, set up Bible studies and especially encourage or edify our Guyanese brethren; we were successful in each of these areas.

Our primary contact, minister for the Amelia’s Ward Church of Christ, is Nigel Milo; Cy Walker is the minister for the Burnham Church of Christ, and Sheldon Jones is the young evangelist for the Blueberry Hill Church of Christ. We also met the preacher for the Dora Church of Christ, but I have forgotten his name I’m sorry to admit. Another Christian brother with whom I partnered almost daily in door knocking is Christopher Rose. Brother Nigel informed me that there are about 95 congregations in Guyana, served by about 50 evangelists. I agreed to increase the number of copies of The Voice of Truth International going into the country to provide for the four congregations with which we worked on this trip, and since our return to the US, we have prepared 50 boxes of books and tracts for the preachers in Guyana. Some foreign works are more exemplary than others, and brother Nigel Milo and his labors for the Lord fall in this category; I plan to assist Guyanese brethren evangelize their nation through networking with brother Nigel. Please pray for our brethren throughout Guyana.

Eldridge, Alabama

July 11, 2011

Louis Rushmore at Eldridge, AL Church of ChristSaturday after lunch, July 9, Bonnie and I headed for Eldridge, AL where I would speak three times on the Lord’s Day. The brethren arranged for us a hotel room at the Winfield exit to US 22. We ate supper at a local eatery, and the food was very good. Bonnie and I drove for miles to survey what our choices might be for supper, and we opted for the restaurant that by far had the busiest parking lot – judging that this was the best indicator available to us as to how much we were likely to enjoy the food. Except for fast food some miles away, all the restaurants were locally owned and unfamiliar to us. Nothing fancy by any means, we selected Yamptown for supper. The meal was one of the tastiest we have experienced.

Littlest Song LeadersSunday, I met for the first time the Eldridge Church of Christ. It was my pleasure to teach during the auditorium Bible class What Is Jesus’ Plan for My Life? and to preach during worship What Is the Mission of the Church? Following, we enjoyed a fellowship meal, after which was singing and a devotional that I led. We distributed a case of my book Beverage Alcohol to the families. Again, we made new friends, not the least of which was a cute, 2-year-old girl who flirted with me. Then there were two little, song leader boys without any bashfulness who willingly led songs not only during the singing, but happily during the meal and later in the empty auditorium. They are sweethearts!

Only two and a half hours from the house, the bonus for Bonnie and me was to get home not only before midnight, but to get home before dark! How often does that happen? Saturday night in the motel and after returning home, Bonnie and I worked on our lessons for Guyana, South America as well as on The Voice of Truth International and Gospel Gazette Online. Remember those dueling, twin laptops that Bonnie and I have? Our office is truly mobile!

Monday, we finally finished The Voice of Truth International and readied it for shipment to the printing company. It takes us about a quarter to get the quarterly magazine ready! We are about a week late getting it to the printer this time. We also completed the July issue of Gospel Gazette Online and sent out the email notifications that it is ready for use. Besides these tasks, other smaller matters received some much needed attention, too. Overall, today was a good day.

June 28 through July 6, 2011

July 7, 2011

June 28 through July 6, 2011. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, our son Raymond worked during the day with his Coast Guard unit at Camp Lejeune; he arrived back at his rental home each afternoon. In the interim of his absence, Bonnie, Rebecca and I explored the strand of sand between the condos on the other side of the road and the Atlantic Ocean. Behind Raymond’s home away from home is the Intracoastal Waterway. We gathered shells and shark teeth on that beach (and on the Camp Lejeune beach as well). Since there was little public access to the beach on this part of the island and the homes were populated chiefly with families, there were few people on the shoreline, and nearly everyone was dressed in shorts and T-shirts – a far cry from the density of people and skimpy attire characteristic of spring break type destinations. The water lapping the shore and caressing our feet, the sound of the sea and salty breeze were pleasant and mitigated the searing sun. With such natural scenery, Bonnie and I walked miles for hours on the eastern edge of North Topsail Beach, NC. My sinuses must agree with the seaside climate as I could breathe without the assistance of my prescription. Raymond and the other three of us occasioned some meals out, enjoying seafood, pizza and burgers; one day, Raymond grilled burgers, hot dogs and corn on the cob – in the spirit of family, good food and holidays. We watched the simultaneous firework displays of several landside communities July 3 and 4, and we watched them all from the second story perch of Raymond’s home.

Raymond became our scout and tour guide as we traveled to the North Carolina Aquarium and near to that an earthen fort dating back to the Civil War. We saw more crawling-along traffic than we ever hope to see again, but that was forgotten especially in view of the gators, snakes, other reptiles, sharks and fish we observed at the aquarium. We all enjoyed ourselves.

There seems to come a time in life when children begin acting more like the parents and the parents begin to assume the psychological posture of the children. I think I had one of those moments (or more) during the week. Once when I suggested (and I suggested more than once during the week) that we stop and get some ice cream, Raymond essentially rebuked me for proposing we eat ice cream before supper; it sounded like a parent correcting the child – and I was the child! Raymond, though, did introduce us to a very nice and tasty little ice cream cone shop – and I saw that we availed ourselves of its wares on two occasions.

As earlier in the year, Bonnie and I plus Rebecca this time assembled with Laura and Thaddeus Ferguson on Wednesday evening and on the Lord’s Day in the hall rented from the women’s club in Hampstead, NC. This couple has been trying for three years to establish the church in the community in which they live, and they continue to face disappointment for the lack of lasting success in such. Thaddeus graciously permitted me to speak three times on Sunday. Laura and Thaddeus opened their home to us as they do to any Christians in the area each Friday evening for refreshments and fellowship. Tuesday, Rebecca’s birthday (July 5), was a travel day, as was the following day, too. I made sure that brother and sister Ferguson received some biblical books and pamphlets for their personal enrichment and encouragement.

We faced some inclement weather coming and going. The day we arrived at Raymond’s, we had to pass through a violent storm with severe winds, torrential rain and widespread cloud to ground lightning. Both times we have visited Raymond, there have been forest fires in the area. Wednesday on the way to Bible class, a bad thunderstorm forced the soot from the forest fire downward, gummed up our car windows and destroyed by windshield wipers; at other times, even without rain the smoke was so dense and heavy and low to the ground that breathing was impaired even inside the house.

Bonnie and I travel a lot of places stateside and abroad, and we enjoy the travel and the brief occasions along the way to stop and smell the flowers. Yet, we do not often take days off or go on a genuine vacation. This delightful visit with our son and providing Rebecca an opportunity to see her brother was more of a vacation for Bonnie and me than to which we are accustomed, and though I do not often do well without directing my attention to work and activity, Bonnie and I both enjoyed the temporary slower pace and relaxation afforded us that week.

We were not, however, completely forgetful of tasks awaiting our attention. We worked on The Voice of Truth International and Gospel Gazette Online, besides working some on our lessons for our upcoming mission trip to Guyana, South America. Of course, I thoroughly enjoyed teaching and preaching for the Hampstead Church of Christ.

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