Summer of Death

Saturday, October 29, 2011 began this way, Bonnie noted:

At breakfast Vijay informed us that Elizabeth would leave tomorrow by bus to her parent’s home (200 kilometers away) as her grandmother is dying. She is the only family member who has not visited. While eating lunch Elizabeth received a phone call that her grandmother has passed away. Because of our visit and her responsibilities tied to us and the three-day program, she was unable to see her grandmother before she died. I feel so helpless and responsible and know the pain she is feeling. Vijay took Elizabeth by taxi car to her parent’s home this afternoon and plans to return for tomorrow’s preaching schedule.

Bonnie washed clothes in our room after breakfast, while I sketched a Bible Lands map on the blackboard outside our room in the prayer hall; the blackboard is a wall that has been painted black, perhaps with some material to accommodate the use of chalk. I taught two segments of the semi-monthly Bible class meeting here, both times on Bible Geography. It went well with both young boys and men participating. They have no maps and have not had this type of material presented in this way before; many were very appreciative.

Rittu Babu 2 years earlier

Rittu Babu 2 years earlier

For me, the most rewarding aspect of the program was when the new Christian, 13-year-old Rittu Babu preached one of the finest lessons that I have ever heard a preacher of any age or experience level present. Both the content as well as the manner of his presentation was flawless and deserving of exposure through a pulpit anywhere among the churches of Christ, including any pulpit among American congregations. This is no exaggeration! He is a prodigy for sure, and well groomed by his father and mother. Rittu was the master of ceremonies for the entire program except when it was time for him to preach, and he chose to preach in English and selected another Indian brother to interpret into the Telegu language. Rittu gave a riveting and challenging discourse on Matthew 22:15-22, “Rendering unto Caesar and Rendering unto God.”

Bonnie, Louis, Rittu, Vijay, Ricky, Elizabeth

The Rushmores & The Babus

After the Babus left for the family home of Elizabeth due to her grandmother’s death, Bonnie and I sat outside in the compound talking with the young boys who would be returning home on the next available buses. About that time a monkey jumped up on the wall and climbed the side of the building. Bonnie started up the stairs to get our camera when the boys intercepted her to keep her from the unfriendly monkey that might scratch and bite her; they accompanied her to our room to retrieve the camera. She did manage to get one nice picture of the monkey before it scampered away. Other monkeys in the distance were too far away to photograph well.

Later in the evening, Bonnie and I were in our room. She was reading a book and sitting on the bed, leaning on the headboard, when all of a sudden I heard her make a noise and jump off the bed; her being startled also startled me. A gecko had managed to get around the bug screen on the window above our bed, and he jumped or fell onto the bed beside her, before hopping off of the bed and speedily secreting itself behind our luggage at the foot of the far wall. There had been two geckos on the opposite side of the screen, and now we see none. She threatened me that if I don’t stop teasing her, something is going to get me after I fall asleep!

Bonnie and I were in Guyana, South America earlier this year when her mother became seriously ill and was moved from the nursing home in which she resided to a hospital (from which she never returned). We did arrive home before her mother died, but assured that she was in no immediate danger and that she might even recover enough to return to the nursing facility, we honored our previously scheduled weekend preaching appointments and headed afterward to Mary’s bedside. However, she worsened and died early in the morning before we arrived. Steve Hogan’s mother-in-law grew gravely ill and passed away before he arrived back home, and Bonnie began grieving again. Then today, Elizabeth Babu’s grandmother died in her absence while she was attending to us as her guests; Bonnie comforted Elizabeth and they hugged and cried many minutes. Death is real, and we all need to make appropriate preparation for it (Hebrews 9:27; 5:8-9).

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