Sunday, February 26, 2012 found us worshipping in the morning with the Leighton, AL Church of Christ. The afternoon before, Bonnie and I made our way to the home of Daniel and Joan Counts of Tuscumbia, AL. This farm family hosts us annually, lodging us and feeding us too well the night before our Sunday visit with the congregation over which brother Counts serves as one of the elders. Joan mothers us both, and we exchange gifts each year.
For Bible class, I made my PowerPoint presentation Into All the World in 2011, apprising the congregation of where Bonnie and I had gone abroad last year for the cause of Christ. Thoughtful questions punctuated the session. During worship, I preached Worshipping Almighty God Acceptably and with Godly Fear. Despite its dwindling size, as members gradually depart the home congregation for churches of Christ nearer where they now live, the Leighton Church of Christ continues to be a significant participant financially in our mission work.
The youthful preacher family of Kyle Mashburn, who graduated from Heritage Christian University in Florence, AL, is a fine specimen of Christianity from parenting to Christian service. The elders and other members go out of their way to encourage Bonnie and me in our efforts. Truly, we benefit much more from our annual visit than does the congregation, though we both long to reacquaint ourselves with each other every year. We are coworkers in the vineyard of our Lord.
Following lunch at a local eatery in Leighton, Bonnie and I did some shopping before meandering toward Winona, MS. We had the tires on the van rotated at Sam’s Club, and picked up a few items while that was being done. On the way home, down the Natchez Trace, we paused in Tupelo, MS to buy groceries and grab a sandwich apiece at Subway. Bambi, Rudolph and all of their friends were grazing the length of the Parkway in the darkness, only illuminated by the car’s headlights and their reflection in the eyes of the potential moving hazards.
A brief stop at a gas station convenience store and restroom in Euphora, MS made us aware of a local tragedy – a missing 2-year-old. Hundreds of volunteers, safety officers and even a helicopter with an infrared camera failed to discover the whereabouts of the tyke. Sadly, only the next afternoon was the toddler’s body recovered from a pond. A similar loss occurred the same day in a neighboring county, too.
More tragically in a real sense, are the billions of people on planet earth who are lost spiritually – headed for an unthinkable eternity without Christ as their Advocate (1 John 2:1). It is important beyond power to communicate effectively that the pure Gospel of Christ be heralded near and far; we must turn the world upside down with the message of Jesus Christ. Bonnie and I are willing to do our part personally, at home or abroad, teaching or writing – anyway in which we can be useful to the Lord. Many are they who help make what little we do possible, for which we are grateful.