Holidays slow our traveling schedule a little. However, that gives time to pause and commemorate Bonnie’s birthday as well as the national holiday of Christmas – both on December 25. Our daughter Rebecca spent her time away from teaching school with us. We got the Christmas ornaments and imitation pine out of the attic and set up before she arrived, but she delayed her return home long enough to help us take everything down and stow it back in the attic. Of course, New Years is another close national holiday, but we all retired to bed early – though the neighborhood fireworks ensured that we did not fall off asleep before 2012 arrived. January 3 is my birthday, though we celebrated it early so Rebecca could be with us before school resumed for her. If we were hearty partiers, we could revel nearly non-stop from Christmas through the New Year to my birthday!
Friday afternoon we had a welcome visitor, Winsome – all the way from Myanmar (Burma). She is such a dear one to us, a sister in Christ and instrumental in so much that we and others do throughout each year in her country. Recently, we spent all day daily for many days together traveling throughout her nation. We were privileged to have her as guest for a couple of days.
She had been horribly mistreated by American brethren for the nearly two weeks before her arrival in our home. She exclaimed that she had not had rice for 10 days! Paula and Jerry Bates, coworkers of ours, as well as Betty Choate plus Bonnie and I fed Winsome breakfasts, lunches and suppers – some of which included rice. However, she also was introduced to French toast for breakfast and Bonnie’s homemade pizza for lunch; Winsome opted for a modest second helping of pizza.
Sunday, January 1, 2012, Bonnie, Rebecca and I with Winsome in tow left our home at 5:30 a.m. departed Winona, MS for Dennis, MS – about a three-hour car ride. I spoke at the Bible class of the Liberty Church of Christ, the longtime sponsor of the late J.C. Choate and still the sponsor of Betty Choate. It was my good pleasure to present a PowerPoint of pictures of Bonnie and my 2011 foreign mission trips, and I introduced Winsome to the congregation.
After seeking out lunch at a local eatery, we returned to the parking lot of the Liberty church. Before that, though we drove through Tishomingo State Park and got out for Winsome to inspect a frontier cabin along the roadway. Back at the church property, Jamie and Katie Barrier retrieved Winsome for the next leg of her US journey; surely, she must feel somewhat like a baton – passed from one to another. Winsome has traveled by car throughout middle to north Alabama and into Mississippi – shopping or visiting brethren. Her whirlwind tour – her first visit to America – will end shortly. She will return to Yangon (Rangoon) where with her mother they have hosted the Lord’s church in their home for the past 30 years.
Bonnie and I headed back toward Winona, stopping for some necessary shopping in Tupelo, MS along the way. Given the time of our arrival back in the part of Mississippi in which we live, and given the service times of various congregations, we happily worshipped Sunday evening with the Huntsville Church of Christ outside of French Camp, MS; few churches welcome us more graciously than this country church.
Wednesday, we assembled with the West President Church of Christ in Greenwood, MS as we often do for midweek class. During the days, we are feverishly working on the next issue of The Voice of Truth International (volume 71) and various end-of-year matters; today I wrote my article for the next issue of Global Harvest, too. Correspondence has spanned the globe; oh, what a blessing email can be. Plans are being made for stateside and foreign travel even now. Gospel Gazette Online for January must wait its turn. Sticky notes on my computer screen (electronic ones!) each cry for their attention, and it seems that never will all of them be exhausted before more tasks appear alongside of items not yet completed. That’s a good thing in a way, because it means that there is always plenty of work for the Lord to do. We wouldn’t have it any other way!