Archive for January 2012

Cat Haven (Heaven)

January 31, 2012

Sunday, January 29 found Bonnie and me at the Mastin Lake Church of Christ in Huntsville, AL. The night before, as usual, we were the happy guests of sister Joyce and brother Howard South – at their home and cat haven (maybe even heaven). They have their downstairs cats, upstairs cats and outside cats (and a couple of raccoons). Even the fraidy cats have gotten used to us and don’t secret themselves away from us when we visit. One even tapped me on the elbow with her paw while we were at the table, trying to persuade me to share some of my vittles.

The attentive crowd for the 9:30 a.m. auditorium Bible class responded with questions after I made the PowerPoint presentation about our 2011 mission trips abroad. For the worship, I preached Worshipping Almighty God Acceptably and with Godly Fear – maybe running a little later than we meant to extend the services. Quickly downing some Subway sandwiches in the basement of the meetinghouse, afterward we scurried to a nursing home in the area for an afternoon worship service; some members of the church reside there.

Bonnie and I did some shopping, the likes of which cannot occur in Winona, MS before aiming the Gospel chariot towards home. We meandered the four and a half hours homeward, pausing for supper at one of the last opportunities for supper other than fast food. We rode into the carport at around 9:30 p.m.

The day was very encouraging both from the opportunities to worship with God’s people and to renew friendships. Several brethren ceased not to encourage us, and some provided monetary gifts for the work in addition to uplifting us in our labors. Bonnie and I are resolved to take the light even as brethren enable us by their determination to send the light.

Two Tuckered Out Pilgrims

January 23, 2012

Sunday, January 15, Bonnie and I worshipped with the Lake Forest Church of Christ in Walls, MS, where David Fisher is the preacher. During worship, I presented Into All the World in 2011 PowerPoint presentation about our mission trips abroad. Imitating some black Gospel preachers that I have heard do this occasionally over the years, I finally uttered aloud before the assembly, “Amen, walls!” What made it amusing to me was that I was standing in Walls, Mississippi when I said it; I had secretly wanted to do that ever since I first spoke at the Lake Forest congregation. Of course, I explained myself and the unlikely dialogue to the congregation present that morning. David Fisher, Gary Wilburn and a couple from the congregation shared lunch with Bonnie and me at a country buffet in Horn Lake, MS.

After a little shopping, Bonnie and I headed for Batesville, MS where I was to speak for the Sunday evening worship of the Lord’s church there. Since we were early, we did a little more shopping and followed that up by resorting to Cracker Barrel for dueling hot fudge sundaes. Still early, we waited in the car at the meetinghouse for the Batesville Church of Christ for the key holder to let us in. I was getting a little antsy while we paused before evening services were to begin, anticipating the arrival of the audio/visual person to facilitate lining up my PowerPoint, Into All the World. Honestly, Bonnie and I do not – I repeat, do not – plan our annual visit to the Batesville congregation based on what time of the month it hosts an evening fellowship meal. However, every year we come, the church is having a fellowship meal, to which we are invited to stay and enjoy. Some of the members are joking about and suspecting that our visits purposely coincide with their potluck feasts. In our defense, this was not the church’s regularly scheduled evening for the fellowship meal, and so we had no way of knowing about it.

New Face on an Old KitchenMonday morning, Bonnie and I began deconstructing the kitchen at the house. We have undertaken painting the wood paneling and cupboards; our aim is to lighten the walls so that what little light makes it through the roof-shaded, single window reflects better. Doubtless, the overhead light will be more effective, too, with lighter walls. In addition, we plan to lay porcelain tile on the kitchen floor and sink countertop. We are doing everything ourselves, which in some instances makes for some new experiences.

To be frugal, we used leftover paint from painting bedrooms, the hall, living room and dining room for the base coat. Consequently, the kitchen walls and cabinets were indiscriminately pink, blue and peach at the same time! (The kitchen has been in total disarray for a week during the painting and repainting process, but it is beginning to come together.)

We put progress on hold temporarily to meet and greet guests at the warehouse/office for World Evangelism. Arthur and Shirley Burnett from Hamilton, MS called me that they were on their way to Winona to pick up some books for their ministry. Pleasant interaction concluded after a while, they left and Bonnie and I resumed putting a fresh face on an old kitchen back at the house.

Tuesday, Bonnie and I finished tweaking Volume 71 of The Voice of Truth International magazine. Wednesday, we turned the digital material over to Betty Choate for her final adjustments before being sent to the printing company. I find myself behind again respecting Gospel Gazette Online; I am working on the January 2012 issue – the commencement of year 14 of publication on the Internet. Thursday, we loaded a trailer full of literature to be taken by Jerry and Paula Bates to a container in Texas, which will eventually make its way to Tanzania.

Friday afternoon, Bonnie and I drove nearly four hours to Killen, AL to be in place for the School of Missions on Saturday, hosted by the Killen Church of Christ. We chanced to make a last minute arrangement with Wayne and Janet Barrier to enjoy supper together as they were out and about in Tuscumbia. We retired for the night to a little Indian-run motel on the threshold to Killen. Saturday morning, we were at the School of Missions by 8 a.m. Perhaps 50 or so missionaries and would be missionaries were crammed in a little room where we edified each other respecting missionary preparation. Several men presented interesting and uplifting lessons over the course of the morning and through 12:30 p.m.

Bonnie and I lunched at a fabulous and affordable restaurant (Demos) in Florence, AL. The food is terrific, reasonably priced and the service is courteous as well as efficient. We did a little shopping (as we customarily do when out of the anti-metropolis of Winona, MS) and defended ourselves from the cool midafternoon with hot chocolate drinks and Crispy Crème doughnuts. Shopping and eating establishments plus more spoils me when I am in Florence; I feel like a little boy in a candy shop!

Antioch Church of ChristSunday, January 22, Bonnie and I spent the day with the Antioch Church of Christ, which assembles in the countryside outside Killen. For Bible class, I made my PowerPoint presentation of Into All the World in 2011 about our mission trips abroad. For morning worship, I preached What Is Jesus’ Plan for My Life? Sunday evening, I preached Worshipping Almighty God Acceptably and with Godly Fear. Between services, we were hosted to a tasty country plate dinner on the outskirts of Rogersville, AL. Thereafter until time for evening worship, I worked on the January issue of Gospel Gazette Online.

About four hours after worship services of the Antioch Church of Christ concluded, Bonnie and I rolled up into the carport of 705 Devine Street, Winona, MS. It was nearly 11:00 p.m. Just when we thought that we would transition for an hour before going to bed by watching a little television, an explosion outside our home simultaneously signaled the loss of electricity – so we went to bed! What else was there to do on a dark, stormy night for two tuckered out pilgrims?

Winona Work Day

January 14, 2012

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What did you do with your Saturday? Today, 27 people, from kindergarten age through retired adults, worked about 4½ hours at the World Evangelism buildings in Winona, MS. They helped Jerry and Paula Bates and Louis and Bonnie Rushmore do what they cannot manage to do along with the daily activities of World Evangelism.

Literally, the teams visiting from the Collierville, TN Church of Christ and the Union, MS Church of Christ did in a matter of a few hours what would have taken the Winona bunch many days to complete. Four mailings were prepared, three for the USA and one for overseas. Boxes of books were packed for preachers abroad. Shrubbery in front of the building was cut back. A tract rack of bins was built and filled; tract box shelves were built and loaded. Two exterior lights were replaced. Pallets were custom cut to get books and packing material off the floor to protect from moisture. More labeling and entry into a computer database of archived printed material occurred, preparing for shrink wrapping and shelf storage. Shelving was cleaned and materials organized on the shelves. One of the warehouses was inventoried. The two youngest workers and an adult supervisor shredded old financial documents. Various other odd jobs were attended to as well.

One of the highlights of the day was lunch. Paula and Bonnie offered three homemade soups: chili, potato soup and vegetable soup, and they made four desserts. Bonnie made homemade bread. This was a wonderful opportunity for brethren who had never before met from congregations in two states to converse and enjoy a meal together.

Participation by brethren who drive great distances to help do the things we can’t get to is a great help to us and even greater encouragement. With all of us doing what we can, the churches of Christ can more likely accomplish good things for the Lord. This was an opportunity, too, for young and old to see some of the behind the scenes work that goes on toward the more visible activities related to mission work.

The Voice of Truth International is published quarterly and goes into about 80 countries in English plus several foreign languages and Braille. Global Harvest is published semi-annually, and it chronicles missionary activity by the churches of Christ. Gospel Gazette Online is published monthly on the Internet and is read worldwide. World Evangelism publishes about 350 books and tracts, which it ships stateside and around the planet. The Bates and the Rushmores travel thousands of miles monthly in the States, acquainting brethren with our mission work and presenting biblical lessons. In addition, they travel tens of thousands of miles abroad, teaching brethren, denominational people, Buddhists, Hindus, Animists and others.

Thank you to all who make possible what we do and to what we have dedicated our lives. May God bless you and us as well.

Early to Rise, Again!

January 11, 2012

Sunday, January 8, Bonnie and I got up early once more, but not quite as early the prior week, for our trip from Winona, MS to our appointment destination. Clinton, MS to which we went was an hour closer than was Dennis, MS last week. Still, we had to leave the house around 6:30 a.m.

Members of the Clinton Church of Christ received us in a stellar way. I presented Into All the World (PowerPoint) for Bible class. For worship, I preached “Worshipping Almighty God Acceptably and with Godly Fear.” Two families gave us generous gifts for our mission work. The eldership also volunteered to consider us for monthly support. Afterward, Ken and Johnnie Gardner treated us to Chinese food for lunch. Then, they entertained us in their Brandon, MS home for the afternoon.

Siwell Road Church of ChristAt 4 p.m. Sunday, Bonnie and I met with the elders of the Siwell Rd. Church of Christ in Byram, MS – a suburb of Jackson, MS. Also present were a couple of deacons and the preacher. We hurriedly brought them all up to date regarding our ministry – stateside and foreign. The Siwell Road Church of Christ is our sponsoring congregation.

After evening services (where we were attendees rather than me being the speaker on this occasion), W.E. and Judy Walker took us to supper. Parting from them, we bought groceries before heading back to Winona. We arrived home around 10:30 p.m.

No Rice for 10 Days!

January 5, 2012

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.

Paula, Winsome, Rebecca, Betty, BonnieShe 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.

Bonnie, Winsome, RebeccaAfter 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.

Winsome at Liberty Church of ChristBonnie 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!