Archive for May 2012

Wonderful Day!

May 28, 2012

Sunday morning, May 27, Bonnie and I with our daughter Rebecca in tow made our way from Winona, MS to Jackson, MS to be with the Siwell Rd. Church of Christ. Always want to be a little early and for sure not late, I inadvertently arrived at Siwell Road much before time. I had wanted to be there a half hour before Bible class began to set up items for display, etc. However, we arrived an hour early, and the doors were locked. Not long after, though, along came one of the elders to grant us entry.

The two roses accompanying this thorn from Winona to Jackson caught up on a little beauty sleep. They both objected when I suggested that I might do the same. After all, I was the designated driver! About the time for me to get up and preach during the morning worship period, I found myself yawning and maybe in need of a little nap, too.

I’m sad to say so, but involuntarily I preach more enthusiastically for larger gatherings of God’s people than I do for smaller groups. It must be a psychological thing. Sometimes with a little more effort I can heartily belt out the message. It does make a big difference in that both the biblical material and the mission presentation that I make are lessons about which I am excited.

Sunday morning, I preached Worshipping Almighty God Acceptably and with Godly Fear. It was one of my better presentations, and the elders and several brethren appreciated the encouragement to worship God earnestly and as He stipulated in Scripture.

We can nearly predict where we will eat depending in whose custody we are at mealtimes in various places to which we travel. Sunday lunch was at the Chinese restaurant in Byram, MS. It is a family run establishment, and I remembered the little girl there. Last year I gave her a million dollar bill tract. She is still arguing with me that it is not real!

For the afternoon, we were guests of W.E. and Judy Walker in their home. We talked and talked about mission work. Sitting there, I received some email messages on my phone, and one of them caught me completely off guard. I received feedback on my morning sermon from eastern Tennessee! How was that possible? Unknown to me, the Siwell Rd. Church of Christ installed a camera in the auditorium since I was there a year ago, and they stream their services live on the Internet. Imagine my surprise!

Sunday evening, I gave my PowerPoint presentation Into All the World in 2011. Despite having worked out all of the kinks in the morning in preparation for the evening lesson, we had technical difficulties. First, there was no signal to the projector. Then, the clicker to advance the images did not work. I reverted back to voice cues to a brother in the back at the computers, and everything thereafter proceeded satisfactorily. We traveled 30,000 miles round trip in about 30 minutes! Fortunately, everyone held on to their pews and no one spilled out on the floor.

Several brethren expressed an interest in our books that the three of us displayed in the foyer. We received much encouragement from many brothers and sisters. We leave June 1 for Guyana, but another team from Siwell was leaving on Monday for a foreign mission trip.

Bonnie and I are members of the Siwell Rd. Church of Christ, though we reside in Winona, MS when not on the road traveling or abroad. The elders are our sponsors in our mission work, and two deacons assist us as well. This is a good congregation with a bright future in the kingdom of Christ.

After evening worship, once more we were graciously fed by the Walkers. Finally, we returned to Winona, arriving shortly after 9 p.m. If we had been anywhere else, we could have been arriving home around midnight as we often do, or further away, we would have arrived on Monday.

Monday, Memorial Day, we went into the office anyway. Bonnie and I are still trying to finish preparation for teaching in Guyana, South America. Time is running out!


May 26, 2012

From time to time, volunteers come to Winona, MS to help us at World Evangelism. Recently, members from several different congregations over a few weeks came to help package and process for mailing thousands of packages. Betty Choate’s project for producing a new Bible school curriculum for all ages is foremost in her mind every waking moment, and she probably dreams about it as well. So far, about 175 brothers and sisters in Christ have agreed to help write the individual lessons. She is looking for about 125 more writers plus a talented brother in Christ to organize and bring to fruition her longtime vision.

Over the last two weeks, nearly 5,000 packages were mailed through the Post Office to sisters in Christ throughout the nation. Each package contained the most recent issue of The Voice of Truth International, which highlights the Bible school curriculum project. In addition, Betty sent a copy of her book, Eternal Sacrifice; a DVD by her to the women about this effort and a letter of explanation.

Every five packages were banded together, and 50 packages were placed in mail sacks. There was work for all ages and skill sets. Labels for addresses and indicia needed to be applied. Envelope packages needed to be stuffed and sealed. Van load after van load hauled about 20 sacks at a time to the Post Office mail dock. Following are some of the pictures of the flurry of activity recently.


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Otherwise, Bonnie and I continue to work ardently on preparation of our lessons for teaching in Guyana, South America. We leave June 1. We are not ready yet!

Work, Work, Work

May 22, 2012

We had barely arrived home Saturday evening from the Maywood Missionary Retreat outside of Hamilton, AL, and we returned close to the same area on Sunday evening. Bonnie and I pulled the trailer back to Winona and unloaded its burden of books, displays and excess food.

Sunday morning, May 13, we were with the Coffeeville, MS Church of Christ. Don Roberson who preaches for the congregation there was away in the morning, and I was filling in. During the Bible class hour, I presented my PowerPoint Into All the World in 2011 about our foreign mission trips last year. For the worship period, I preached Worshipping Almighty God Acceptably and with Godly Fear. After the assembly concluded, a good sister in Christ hosted Bonnie and me at her home for a sumptuous lunch.

That afternoon after we parted from the sister’s hospitality, Bonnie and I traveled northeastwardly about two and a half hours to Baldwyn, MS where I was to speak that evening during the worship of the Hillcrest Church of Christ. There I for the second time the same day presented Into All the World in 2011. Tim Childs is the Gospel preacher with this congregation, and he is a friend and a participant in the monthly Internet journal, Gospel Gazette Online. In addition to his fine articles that appear therein, most months he shares an audio lesson with readers (and in this case, listeners) of Gospel Gazette Online. He is talented with the preparation and presentation of good, Gospel lessons especially suitable and interesting to non-Christians.

Late Sunday evening, Bonnie and I finally arrived back in Winona, MS. Monday through Friday, we worked on sundry things all relative to our overall ministry. Two days and part of one night were consumed largely with the production and mailing of our newsletter. We sent about 560 copies of the Rushmore Newsletter through the Post Office. In addition, we sent email notifications to 333 brethren about our PDF version of our newsletter, which is available online. We are also working feverishly on our lessons for Guyana, South America. We leave June 1. A couple of days, groups came into the warehouse/office from sister congregations to help with the preparation of a mailing of nearly 5,000 small packages. Betty Choate is mailing materials about the Bible class curriculum on which she is working with other volunteers. As often is the case, someone else’s project manages to steal us away to help out in some way, such as hauling many hundreds of these parcels in our van to the local Post Office. Along the way, I made contacts or attempted to contact various representatives of several congregations to arrange upcoming Sunday appointments. Many days are involved by the time contact is established and brethren consult with their elders before getting back to me. We are always pleasantly surprised when a church is proactive and contacts me first!

Saturday, Bonnie and I headed for Bear Creek, AL where Sunday I was to speak for two congregations. We lodged that evening with Helen and Royce Mann, as we did last year, too. They, Ruth and Admiral Tidwell, and Bonnie and I ate supper together at a diner in a nearby town.

Sunday morning, May 20 we worshipped with the Bear Creek Church of Christ. For Bible class, I made my PowerPoint presentation Into All the World in 2011. During worship, I preached Worshipping Almighty God Acceptably and with Godly Fear. Attendance is usually 16 to 18. The congregation was receptive and helped us financially for our upcoming mission trip to Guyana, South America (June 1). Lunch was served, courtesy of Helen back at her home.

For the evening appointment, we traveled 20 minutes or so out in the woods to the Barn Creek Church of Christ. We arrived early, but the doors were open. Last year when visiting this little church, storms came with tornadoes. This year, we were no than more in the meetinghouse when thunder, lightning, hail and heavy rain descended. The power flickered out and back on – doubtless with a surge that for a while confused the PowerPoint projector and my computer. Surprise, surprise! The elders forgot to tell the preacher, Jamie Long, that we were coming. He had a pleasant attitude, though, saying that he was “one up” on sermon preparation for next week. I presented one more time Into All the World in 2011.

We conversed with some of the brethren afterwards as they milled around the foyer, eating and drinking some of the leftovers from refreshments for the Bible Bowl participants who had attended earlier in the day. Bonnie and I were given a 20-pack package of assorted chips to take with us. Bonnie mused for two days that we received chips for our remuneration for traveling to and from Barn Creek and for me speaking that night. Barn Creek, as well as Bear Creek, participate financially with the program of work begun by J.C. Choate. Since his passing, Jerry Bates and I visit those and other such churches. Neither of these two congregations typically contributes financially to Bonnie and me, though, Bear Creek did this time. Individual Christians from Bear Creek sometimes give or send us monetary gifts for our work.

Going to the Bear Creek, AL area and returning to Winona, MS, Bonnie and I seized opportunities for shopping not available back in Winona. We ate going and we ate returning. We shopped at Sam’s Club in Tupelo on Saturday, and we shopped at Wal-Mart in Columbus, MS on Sunday night. Finally, we arrived back in Winona, MS between 10:30 and 11:00 p.m. Such is our life – just two pilgrims winging our way from earthly romps to the heavenly home.

Lectureship in the Woods

May 12, 2012

May 10-12, Thursday through Saturday, 96 missionaries and other brethren interested in missions met for the annual Maywood Missionary Retreat. The camp is outside of Hamilton, AL, and each year, brethren descend on this wooded vale from stateside and abroad. One first-timer showed up wearing a tie, and we promptly de-tied him. A camp setting with nailed lumber benches and a woodsy setting is hardly conducive to wearing fine clothes, but the quality of the lessons, panel discussions and Christian fellowship is unsurpassed anywhere on the planet. Those present represented many different missions programs from across the brotherhood that take the Gospel into many nations on several continents and islands.

The World Evangelism Team from Winona, MS and the Double Springs, AL Church of Christ sponsor the annual missionary retreat. Missionaries recharge their batteries, give field reports and share information on methodologies that successfully reach into the neighborhoods of millions of precious souls worldwide.

Bonnie and I along with a handful of others arrived on Wednesday to clean the camp and otherwise prepare for the retreat. After plenty of sweat, cleaning the grounds, toilets, sinks, cabins and the cafeteria, many of us resorted to a supper meal together at a local restaurant. Afterward, we assembled for Bible class at the Hamilton Church of Christ.

All ages are represented during the retreat, and activities commence on Thursday afternoon and last until after 9 p.m. Friday, sessions began with breakfast at 8 a.m. and went to after 9 p.m. again. Saturday morning concludes the retreat after a light breakfast and devotional before parting. Then Saturday, we all scattered for our Sunday appointments or mission works. The annual Maywood Missionary Retreat is a boost and encouragement to each attendee. May God bless each of us with many more years of active service in the kingdom of our Lord, whether stateside, abroad or both.

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Outbound Literature

May 3, 2012

Outbound LiteratureWe almost need a container ship for Winona, MS because we are so far from the rest of the world – even other parts of the US. Last week on Thursday, Estes truck company was scheduled to pick up three pallets of literature on Friday. However, on Friday, the trucking company spokesman said, “We don’t have a truck going to Winona, today.” They acted like it was a surprise to them that there was something in Winona to be loaded aboard one of their trucks! Therefore, we rescheduled for early afternoon on Wednesday so loading the truck would not interfere with attending Bible class in the evening.

Jerry and Paula Bates as well as Bonnie and I were all out of state on Monday, returning from Sunday appointments with congregations, when Estes wanted to pick up the pallets of literature. No, we can’t load trucks from 100 or miles distant. Betty Choate advised the firm to come on Wednesday.

Wednesday, the trucking company could not verify what time of day the tractor-trailer would arrive, but it was scheduled to arrive and have a lift gate. Though the clouds were darkly ominous, the Bates and the Rushmores put over 200 boxes of books and tracts on three pallets in front of the World Evangelism Building. As we were wrapping plastic around the first completed pallet, the sky showered us with light rain – and at about the same time, the truck arrived. Bonnie snapped the picture with me in it and Paula nearby; Jerry was just beyond the frame of the picture.

Annually, hundreds of thousands of pieces of literature come to Winona from printing companies far and near. Later, hundreds of thousands of pieces of literature – books and tracts – leave our office/warehouse for destinations stateside and abroad. Most of the literature ends up overseas in 80 countries. We can pay for a lift gate, but getting a truck with a lift gate to Winona is another story. Usually, we have to unload incoming boxes as well as load outgoing boxes – one box at a time, since we do not have a truck dock at the World Evangelism Building. Christians and non-Christians throughout the world benefit from good Christian literature through the cooperation and financial participation of Christians and churches of Christ in America. We are thankful to be servants to help facilitate the distribution of the printed word.

Otherwise, Bonnie and I are preparing for the upcoming Maywood Missionary Retreat next week in Hamilton, AL, preparing lessons for our soon departure for Guyana, South America, printing thousands of envelopes and labels for a World Evangelism mailing, and I am working on the next edition (May) of Gospel Gazette Online. There is never a dull moment!