Archive for March 2014

No Day Off, Yet!

March 20, 2014

Wednesday Night ClassSaturday afternoon of March 15th, Bonnie and I parted from our daughter’s Collierville, TN home and headed for Imboden, AR. We didn’t get all of Rebecca’s backyard cleaned of tree debris (i.e., branches and leaves), but we needed a break anyway. We’ll finish that job another day.

A little after 5 p.m., I wheeled the Town and Country minivan into the driveway of brother Gevan and sister Sharon Murphy. As always, we were wonderfully received, more than amply fed and lodged overnight. Sunday morning, I made the version 1.1 presentation of my PowerPoint about our recent four-week mission trip to Guyana; I finished it up the night before in the Murphy living room. Bonnie had suggested that I needed to make some improvements or adjustments over the PowerPoint (i.e., version 1.0) that I presented the week before. During worship, I preached “Understanding How God Communicates with Mankind, Today.” Whereas the previous night sister Sharon cooked and baked (i.e., I had two pieces of delicious coconut cream pie), the Murphy’s treated us to some sumptuous food at a diner in nearby Ravenden, AR – the home of the 12-foot tall statue of a raven along the roadside. Afterward, we returned the two and a half hours back to our very own bed and breakfast – Rebecca’s home in Collierville, TN.

Monday and Tuesday, we entertained a guest back in Winona, MS; Robin Dunaway had driven in Monday from Alabama, and we had arrived back in town a few minutes before he rang the doorbell at the World Evangelism Building. He is working on the proposed, new Bible school curriculum long envisioned by sister Betty Choate. Brother Dunaway is coordinating the efforts of numerous volunteers, and Bonnie was helping him with a database that pertained to it.

Bonnie worked on The Voice of Truth International, office accounting, answering the phone and processing orders for books and tracts. I continued to work on Gospel Gazette Online for March and help with the shipping of book and tract orders. Wednesday, we spent half a day at the office with office accounting, The Voice of Truth International, shipping and answering a biblical question for a preacher friend in a foreign country. By 2:15 p.m., having shipped orders at the Post Office and made bank deposits, we pointed the silver van south toward the Siwell Rd. Church of Christ on the south side of Jackson, MS; I taught another lesson in the Book of Job.

Right before time for supper and prior to arriving at the Siwell congregation’s building, I was able to publish to the Internet the March edition of Gospel Gazette Online, as well as send out the notifications to nearly 1,500 subscribers.

Brother Mark and sister Michelle Teske, associated with Gospel Broadcasting Network (GBN) were present at Siwell Rd. for Bible class. Bonnie and I with the two of them used each other as an excuse to drive ten miles out of our respective ways to eat some dessert at a diner. They and we have different reasons for being in Jackson, MS on Thursday morning, and we may bump into each other again once or twice tomorrow.

Bonnie and I are thinking about taking a day off sometime at an undisclosed, undecided date in the future. Personally, I don’t remember when we last took a day off. One of these days, though, we’re really going to do it.

Uncommon Exercise!

March 14, 2014

1,820 copies Voice of Truth InternationalMonday through Wednesday, I worked faithfully on preparation of my Wednesday evening Bible class material on the Book of Job that I am teaching at the Siwell Rd. Church of Christ in Jackson, Mississippi. Bonnie worked on office accounting in the absence of Paula Bates, who with Jerry is in India for several weeks. Bonnie also worked on our “Thank You” cards for contributions received for our mission work the prior week. Wednesday afternoon, Rebecca accompanied Bonnie and me as we drove from Winona, MS to Jackson – two hours away.

Tall Box!Our first mission was to locate a compatible replacement battery for the security system at the World Evangelism Building; as far as I know, one cannot be purchased in Montgomery County, Mississippi. Next, we had supper at Cracker Barrel, after which we did a little shopping at Sam’s Club. Finally, we made our way to the Siwell building for Bible class. We arrived back in Winona around 10:30 p.m.

Finishing TouchesThursday, we packed 1,820 loose copies (the contents of 52 boxes of 35 each) of The Voice of Truth International into one box for overseas shipment to Guyana, South America. That humongous box is a little over three feet tall and a little less than two feet per side, and when we were done, it weighed 520 pounds! We had to use tools to stack the lower layers of magazines until the magazines stacked inside rose to meet our extended arms.

Moving the MountainGetting that box into our van was a challenge, which began by just getting it to the doorway. It may appear that Rebecca Rushmore and Betty Choate are trying to take the box in one direction on a handcart while with another hand truck I am attempting to move the same massive box in the opposite direction. Actually, we are all moving it in the same direction; steering was tricky!

Loading the Big BoxI backed the van nearly into the warehouse, and I got so close that I crawled through the van to make my entrance into the building. Bonnie and Rebecca Rushmore, Betty Choate and I barely managed to tip it across the threshold of the van’s rear door, lift it and push sufficiently to clear the car’s cargo door so it would close. Then, we added another six boxes of sermon outlines for the preachers throughout Guyanese churches of Christ. The Amelia’s Ward Church of Christ ladies will parcel out The Voice of Truth International and other books for delivery to all of the congregations of the Lord’s church in their country. Brother and sister Nigel and Jasmine Milo work with that fine congregation in Linden. Packing and especially moving the massive box proved to be uncommon exercise that had all of us huffing and puffing, hoping we hadn’t harmed ourselves or shortened our lives.

Voice of Truth singlesWe also packaged and sacked the single subscriptions of The Voice of Truth International that go forth from Winona through the USPS (snail mail). Betty took the sacks to the local Post Office on Friday. Thursday evening, I worked a little on Gospel Gazette Online.

Friday, March 14, 2014, Bonnie and I with Rebecca riding with us spent all day hauling our heavy freight to a shipper in Nashville, TN. In a sense, we dragged it! We dragged exiting my driveway (as I dragged the night before entering my driveway). We were riding so low that I had to change all three mirrors to correspond with our new view of the world as the 700 pounds or so in the cargo hold of the Town and Country changed the tilt of the vehicle.

We finally arrived back in Collierville, TN at our daughter’s home around 9 p.m. On Saturday morning, we will help Rebecca clean up her yard of fallen leaves and branches as thick as my arms; she helped me clean out gutters and clean up our yard in Winona. Saturday afternoon, Bonnie and I will make our way to Imboden, AR where we will spend the night with good friends and brethren of the Imboden Church of Christ. Sunday morning, I will update that congregation about our foreign mission work and preach during worship. We will return, Lord willing, to Rebecca’s home for the night, before returning to Winona early Monday morning. We have an all-day appointment in at the World Evangelism Building on Monday.

A Week in Review

March 11, 2014


Crockett Church of Christ

Since Monday morning, March 3, Bonnie and I have been overwhelmed with trying to catch up from our month-long absence while we were in Guyana, South America. We are working on Gospel Gazette Online and The Voice of Truth International. We are fulfilling orders for books, tracts and magazines. We also put together our March edition of the Rushmore Newsletter. We published the electronic version to the Internet, but we will have to wait several days for the printed version to arrive in Winona for processing. We also drafted a postcard insert to encourage additional financial participation with us in our mission work.

Of particular importance was preparation I needed to make for Wednesday night teaching the Book of Job to the auditorium class of the Siwell Road Church of Christ in Jackson, Mississippi. Then, I worked diligently on preparation of class material for a class I was teaching on Thursday night for the Mississippi School of Biblical Studies, also hosted by the Siwell Road Church of Christ; I finished my preparation at about 3:45 p.m. Thursday! Our lives are triaged on the basis of whatever is next, we will work on that. Sometimes the deadlines and our preparation come together on the same day!

An aside regarding our Wednesday-Thursday venture to Jackson was a two-night stay not far from the Siwell Rd. congregation in a motel. Bonnie and I opted to take partial days for ourselves and relax a little bit (while still working on lessons!). Though we had been together crisscrossing Guyana by van, boat and plane for a month, it wasn’t a relaxing adventure at all.

Unlike usual when I am teaching in Jackson, we didn’t dress for the class, but we were going to change our clothes in time to make our way from the motel to the class on Wednesday night. To my surprise, I had forgotten one important ingredient to my wardrobe—my pants! Well, since I was going to have to wear my faded blue jeans, I opted not to wear my tie either. Nobody complained, but one sister observed that she had never seen me wear jeans before. The next day, I bought an $8.00 pair of pants on a closeout rack at a department store, permitting me to look a little bit more like the speaker of the hour for the Thursday evening class. All of the auditorium classes and Biblical Studies classes are streamed live to the Internet and archived, too.

Friday morning, Bonnie and I returned to Winona in time to receive a tractor-trailer and one pallet of books coming in from the printing company. Triage demanded that our next task was to prepare a PowerPoint presentation about our recent work in Guyana for our Sunday appointment. We also invited sisters Barbara Oliver and Betty Choate to supper at our home; Rebecca was also in for spring break for a few days.

A large part of Saturday was spent cleaning up the yard from months of accumulation of tree debris; we needed to get the layer of broken branches and the carpet of pine needles up before the grass would grow intertwined into the mess.

Sunday was the first day of daylight savings time for 2014, which meant that we lost an hour’s sleep. Compounding that, we had about an hour and a half travel time from Winona to the Crockett, MS Church of Christ. Since their Bible class began at 9:30 a.m. and we wanted to be early enough to go in as soon as the doors were opened, we left home at 7:30 a.m. Brother and sister Rawson were absent owing to the death of Jane’s sister in Arkansas. Nevertheless, the brethren were gracious to us, and we enjoyed our time in class and worship with them again this year.

That night, not having an appointment, we worshipped with the West President Church of Christ. They have befriended us and inquire about us even when we are traveling and unable to assemble with them.

Monday and Tuesday, I worked feverishly preparing my class on the Book of Job for Wednesday evening’s class with the Siwell Road Church of Christ. (Monday and Tuesday evenings, Rebecca helped her dad clean the gutters, removing overflowing amounts of pine needles clogging them.) I have other projects awaiting attention, and Thursday and Friday, I will attend to them (triage, don’t you know).

Weary Trip Home

March 3, 2014
Parika to Bartica

Parika to Bartica

By the time we got to bed upon our arrival in Collierville, TN, USA, we had been without sleep for two days. We were busy all day long in the final seminar at the Amelia’s Ward Church of Christ in Linden, Guyana, South America. Then, we tied up loose ends respecting the mobile seminars that cover all 10 regions of the country. After packing for the return trip home, we barely had enough time to lie down before leaving for the airport.

We were early, as the airport had not opened yet. Finally in, we just underwent the usual preliminary hurdles, obtaining replacement boarding passes, persuading the counter person to check our luggage (against her will) all the way back to Memphis, TN, paying our exit tax ($8,000 Guyanese Dollars), scanning luggage, scanning ourselves, pat-downs, redressing upon exiting security and waiting for our plane. When the boarding began, everyone riots toward the doorway, and so we just push our way into the glob of people, too. All of us walk outside about 300 feet to our super puddle jumper and climb the plane stairs to the cabin seating.

Upon taking off, we headed for Port-of-Spain, whereupon we had an on plane layover of an hour or so. Then, we had hours of flight time before landing in Miami. After checking through Immigration and reclaiming our checked bags, we proceeded through Customs. Unfortunately, from there, after we put our bags on the re-check belt, we were let out in the unsecure part of the airport. We had to fight no less of a chaotic mob to get boarding passes for our stateside flights.  Regrettably, my boarding pass failed to indicate that I was TSA Pre-check approved, which delayed us almost to the point of missing our next flight. We just made it to the gate as the last of the passengers were boarding our flight.

We flew from Miami to Charlotte, NC on US Airways (which claimed to be part of American Airlines). Finally, we were afforded an opportunity on the layover in Charlotte to get something to eat for the first time that day. When we boarded the next flight bound for Memphis, TN, things didn’t go as planned—the plane broke down. Is it important to be able to shut all of the doors securely? Evidently, it was, so we were delayed an hour and a half on the plane while maintenance attempted to fix the problem. At one point, three rows of passengers in the middle of the aircraft had to deplane so maintenance workers could rip up some of the floor to access parts also being approached from underneath. Eventually, we took off way late.

Upon arrival in Memphis, we discovered that the carryon bag that was too big for the regional flying machine on which we rode, and which had been stowed in the belly of the bird, made the trip with us as expected. However, our two checked bags did not fly with us. After standing in line at the American Airlines baggage complaint counter, we were turned away to another office in the airport that is run by US Airways (the two airlines are not completely merged yet). It was then that we found out that our bags were on the next airplane. So, at last, an hour and a half after arriving in Memphis, we were able to acquire our other two pieces of luggage.

We traveled, then, to Rebecca’s home (our daughter) in Collierville, TN. By 2:30 a.m. Guyanese time (on which we had operated for the past month), we got to bed. Sunday morning came early! We worshipped with the Collierville Church of Christ, and after that, we hastened back southward another two hours to Winona, MS—trying to stay ahead of wintery weather descending on the area. We had to buy groceries, too. Weary, we retired eventually in our own bed. Given the cold, winter weather battering the nation and the trouble of travel, it would be tempting to stay just a little longer in Guyana. However, we were weary often in Guyana, too, such as on a long, speedboat jaunt from Parika to Bartica on the humongous Essequibo River.

The Seminar Finale

March 1, 2014


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Bonnie & Little Ones

Bonnie & Little Ones

Friday, February 28 was our last seminar in Guyana for 2014, and it was hosted by the Amelia’s Ward Church of Christ in Linden. We put on two programs, one during the day and one that evening so that we could accommodate Amelia’s Ward members who worked different shifts or came from area congregations. Joe Latchmenarine, Bonnie and I taught numerous times between the two sessions.

We finished packing for home and showered starting at 11:30 p.m.! All of that addressed, we had about 30 minutes to rest before leaving at 1:30 a.m. Guyanese time (i.e., two hours different from CST) for the airport. We ended up arriving 45 minutes before the airport opened, even though check-in for the international flight was supposed to be three hours prior to departure.

In a couple of days we will post a summary of our trip. Our next task is to travel three airplanes over the course of a very long day to land within two hours of our Winona home.