Archive for April 2014

Saturday & Sunday—On the Move!

April 27, 2014

96 dpi 4x6 2nd Annual East Mississippi Mission LectureshipSaturday, April 26, Bonnie and I arose at 5:45 a.m. to enable us to ready ourselves and depart for the Second Annual East Mississippi Missions Lectureship, hosted by the Union, MS Church of Christ. I made my PowerPoint presentation of our 2014 Guyana Mission Trip before those assembled. I spoke at 11:00 a.m., and we remained for the fellowship meal to follow. Everyone enjoyed a good selection of homemade soups and desserts.

Unfortunately, we and some other speakers had to leave so we could travel to other appointments. Bonnie and I pointed the trusty ole van toward Huntsville, AL for the second weekend in a row. One might observe that traveling from Winona, MS to Huntsville, AL by way of Union, MS is anything but direct. Nevertheless, we arrived in time for supper at the home of brother Mark and sister Paula South, and two of their adolescent children. They graciously lodged us with them Saturday night.

Sunday morning, I made my PowerPoint presentation again about our 2014 Mission Trip to Guyana, South America. During worship, I preached “Understanding How God Communicates with Mankind, Today.” Afterward, one of the elders treated Bonnie and me to lunch at a Chinese restaurant, and everything I sampled was very good. Then, we punched through storm clouds and rain to arrive finally back in Winona, MS.

We’ll enjoy our own bed for two nights before launching out for a week of the Annual Maywood Missionary Retreat hosted by the World Evangelism team. It takes place each year outside of Hamilton, AL. When it winds down, Bonnie and I will head for Collierville, TN, where we have a working supper with brethren soon to deploy on a mission trip to Guyana, South America. Sunday afternoon, I will make my PowerPoint presentation about our Guyana trip to the Collierville Church of Christ. Then, Sunday afternoon or Monday morning, we will return to Winona, MS—completing one, big circle a week in the making. Along the way, we must find time to complete layout of the next issue of The Voice of Truth International, prepare and publish the April issue of Gospel Gazette Online, and prepare for my next class where I am teaching the Book of Job. Maybe thereafter, we can find a little relief, slow down a bit and catch our breath!

India Missions Conference

April 25, 2014

Heritage Christian University and the World Evangelism team cohosted the 2014 India Missions Conference. The get-together of India missionaries took place on the HCU campus in Florence, Alabama Tuesday through Thursday, April 22—24. Again this year, brother Wayne Kilpatrick led a Restoration History tour on Friday for some of the conference attendees who lingered for that purpose.

The overall program consisted of discourses, field reports, panel discussions, Christian fellowship, and of course, eating together—lunch and supper. Approximately 71 participants enjoyed the fare. Interaction was frank, cordial, instructive and encouraging, irrespective of differing methodologies and areas of emphasis. Wednesday and Thursday, sessions began at 8 a.m. and concluded at 8 p.m. Tuesday night, we only had the night sessions after supper together.

World Evangelism distributed free samples of our full-color, shirt-pocket tracts, outreach books, the Global Harvest and The Voice of Truth International magazines. We also distributed a dozen cases of 35 to congregations and HCU.

Bonnie and I arrived back in Winona, MS about 4 p.m. on Friday. Before parting from Florence, AL, though, Bonnie and I (with sister Betty Choate who was hitching a ride with us back home) tracked down and visited brother Edmond and sister Maurine Cagle; Edmond is in a nursing/rehab center. Together, they have made a significant impact on congregations of the Lord’s church in Linden, Guyana, South America—where Bonnie and I now also work with their protégé brother Nigel Milo.

Following are some pictures of several of the speakers and others who attended the 2014 India Missions Conference. Next year, the Pulaski Street Church of Christ in Lawrenceburg, TN will cohost the 2015 India Missions Conference with Heritage Christian University once more at the HCU campus in Florence, AL. The Central Church of Christ in Vincennes, IN will host the 2016 India Missions Conference in its meetinghouse in Indiana.

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Good News!

April 21, 2014

Old Union Church of ChristSunday, April 13th, Bonnie and I worshipped in the morning with the Old Union Church of Christ. We went out early enough to take some pictures of the quaint, country setting in the early morning light and the new, leafy green of the trees and bushes. That evening, Bonnie and I worshipped with the Siwell Rd. Church of Christ in Jackson, MS; we had some details to attend with the elders respecting our mission work that they oversee. Monday and Tuesday evenings, Bonnie and I attended the Gospel meeting hosted by the West President Church of Christ.

Wednesday afternoon April 16th, Bonnie received GOOD NEWS at her oncology checkup. Her blood analysis and physical examination were just fine! That evening, we attended Bible class once more with the Siwell Rd. Church of Christ, whereupon I taught another lesson from the Book of Job to the adult auditorium class.

Saturday, April 19th, Bonnie and I headed for Huntsville, AL to the home of brother Lindell and sister Sharon Smith; he is an elder for the Farley Church of Christ where I was to speak the next morning (Easter Sunday, by the way). Lord’s Day morning, I made my PowerPoint presentation about our 2014 Guyana mission trip, and for worship, I preached “Understanding How God Communicates with Mankind, Today.” Though the congregation does not regularly support our work, their annual help when we visit makes it possible for our work to progress.

The in between days (days between cited dates) and today, we worked on the next issue of The Voice of Truth International; we are running behind, and I have not even started the April issue of Gospel Gazette Online yet. We along with Jerry and Paula Bates (newly returned to the USA and the office after an extensive overseas mission trip) plus Betty Choate prepared for the 2014 India Missions Conference. The World Evangelism team and Heritage Christian University in Florence, AL are cohosting it. We loaded our van, pressed some clothes once back at the house and otherwise prepared for a Tuesday morning departure from Winona to Florence. The program will run Tuesday night through Thursday; there will be a Florence area restoration history tour on Friday.

The highlight of the past several days has to be Bonnie’s good checkup. She continues to recover from pancreatic cancer. Though often tired for the past couple of weeks or so, all appears to be well, and Bonnie is regaining her momentum. Hand in hand, we continue to pilgrimage on God’s green earth with our sight trained on the heavenly horizon. Not only do we hope to arrive at and pass through the white pearly gates someday to walk the streets of gold, we earnestly desire as many as possible to make the same journey with us. We are pilgrims, not homesteaders!

Highlights Here and There

April 12, 2014

cabooseApril is upon us, and Bonnie and I are as far behind as we have ever been in recent memory. If we were any further behind, we would be essentially in the position of the little red caboose on a short, circle track ringing the picturesque old-time Christmas tree of many decades past. “I can see the engine of my own train that (though pulling us along) is about to crash into the back of the caboose.” Our train is about to lap itself!

Wednesday, April 2nd, Bonnie and I journeyed once more to Jackson, MS to teach the adult, auditorium class of the Siwell Road Church of Christ. Late Friday afternoon, Bonnie and I pointed the old, weary van toward Florida; we angled down through Alabama, stopping for the night on the south side of Montgomery, AL. Saturday afternoon, we arrived at the home of Mary Fox in Jacksonville, FL; she and her husband with their family had been missionaries for several years in Thailand. Sunday morning, it was a pleasure to be once more with the Chaffee Road Church of Christ, whereupon I made my PowerPoint presentation “2014 Guyana Mission Trip” for Bible class, and I preached “Understanding How God Communicates with Mankind, Today.” We all enjoyed a fellowship meal afterward. I spoke Sunday afternoon at Taylor Manor, a Jacksonville retirement home. Sunday evening, Bonnie and I worshipped with the Riverview Church of Christ in Jacksonville, at which time I made my PowerPoint presentation “2014 Guyana Mission Trip.” No one ever treated us any better than the brethren there did; several members personally helped us financially in our efforts for the cause of Christ, as well as the congregation itself.

Leaving Jacksonville Sunday night, Bonnie and I drove to Ocala, FL, where we spent the next two nights with our good friend Martha Noland. Martha and her husband Bob work with a small congregation of the Lord’s church in Hanoverton, OH; a sister in Christ from there had accompanied Martha to Florida and was there upon our arrival. Besides spending time together and eating out, the highlight of this side trip was an unplanned trip to Best Buy – twice! The graphic card in each of our new computers, as it turns out, are defective. It took several hours for sales and tech personnel to determine that the graphic card was inoperable—not only in our two, new laptops, but also in their store display models of the same brand and every other brand sporting that same graphics card. Happily for us, Best Buy took back our two defective units and traded them for two other new units of a different brand with different graphics cards from the brand of defective card.

However, that necessitated buying an external hard drive to offload data files from the two defective computers before we made the exchanges. With that, hours of transferring files ensued. Of course, after acquiring the new computers, we had to put the data back on the new computers. The programs, though, were in Winona and could not be loaded just yet.

Tuesday after lunch, Bonnie and I parted from Martha’s home, and we headed for Jackson, MS where I was to teach Bible class again on Wednesday evening. We made it as far as Pensacola, FL before we sought a motel for the night. After checking in at the Quality Inn along I-10, we sauntered down to the local Sonny’s Barbeque restaurant; this was our second time to eat at one of those eateries, and we were amply satisfied both times. With a hotel Internet connection, Bonnie and I were able to begin downloading to our newest laptops some subscription software that we use in the production of literary works like The Voice of Truth International, Gospel Gazette Online, tracts and books.

The first half of Wednesday, April 9 was spent traveling through Florida, Alabama and Mississippi to Jackson, MS. Upon arrival, we visited hurting brethren in two Jackson hospitals. In the interval between those hospital visits and Bible class, Bonnie bought some groceries and got gas so we could expedite our trip home later after class at the Siwell Road Church of Christ. Finally, I concluded the 42nd chapter of the Book of Job! However, we are not quite done just yet; I want to spend a little more time treating standout verses throughout the volume as well as short studies about “Satan” and “Pain and Suffering.”

After Bible class, Bonnie and I started our trip back to the house in Winona, MS. We punctuated the two-hour ride with grabbing a bite to eat and buying some perishable groceries, and Bonnie and I arrived back in Winona ten minutes before 11:00 p.m.

The times between the “highlights” through end of day on Friday have been very tedious—the jaw and neck tightening kind of details—mostly trying to install computer software, some of which says, “What is Windows 8.1? No, I will not work with that!” Don’t get me started about trying to get two computers and two (so-called) smart phones to talk to each other. At one point, I lost my digital appointment calendar; I hope that we didn’t have any appointments this Sunday!

We shipped several packages of books and tracts to individuals and congregations. We are way behind on the next issue of The Voice of Truth International. I haven’t started the April issue of Gospel Gazette Online. The 2014 India Missions Conference (April 22-25) is nearly upon us, and there are details and schedule changes that need my immediate attention. On the heels of that, we have the Annual Maywood Missionary Retreat the following week. Peppered in there, too, are speaking appointments and daily work at the office/warehouse in the World Evangelism Building.

Whew! I think the caboose and the train engine are about to meet—in a bad way!

Runaway Train!

April 1, 2014

Train1 CLIPARTCOMLike a runaway train, the hours and days have been rushing by so rapidly that Bonnie and I have hardly been able catch our breath. Consequently, we are way behind in posting our blog. You, the Reader, may not have missed the words herein as much as I at least need the therapy from jotting it down.

Thursday morning March 20th, Bonnie and I both had dental cleanings scheduled in Jackson, Mississippi. Rather than return to Winona, Mississippi following Wednesday evening Bible class at the Siwell Road Church of Christ, we stayed over in a hotel not far from Thursday’s appointment; we steal our down time whenever and wherever we can snatch a few precious moments. Besides, staying overnight in Jackson saved us four hours of driving time.

train wreck1 CLIPARTCOMAfter working around the office Thursday afternoon and all day Friday, Bonnie and I packed the car and headed for Rebecca’s home once more. Gluttons for punishment I guess, we worked for hours in our daughter’s yard that night and Saturday. I think we raked and hauled to the curb over two weekends two or three years of leaves and yard debris – enough to keep the city busy besides what the whole neighborhood had to offer.

Sunday morning March 23rd, Bonnie and I were pleased to worship with the Collierville, Tennessee Church of Christ. Rebecca has been an active member with these good brethren since her graduation the first time from Freed Hardeman University. We ate at one of our two usual haunts for Sunday lunch out – McAllister’s. That afternoon following second worship from 1:30 p.m. to about 2:30 p.m., we struck out for Walls, Mississippi and the Lake Forest Church of Christ. It was my good pleasure to make my new PowerPoint presentation about our recent month-long mission trip to Guyana, South America. Afterward, Bonnie and I enjoyed a fellowship meal with the congregation; it had been two years since we had visited them, and we were glad to renew our fellowship with them. Parting from them, we made the lonely, nighttime drive down I-55 back to Winona.

was another day at the office, buried under the usual, unending workload of behind the scenes activities that make the visible aspect of our work possible. Tuesday and Wednesday, we had another visitor in Winona – at the office and in our home. It was our privilege to host brother Ken Upchurch, who has undertaken acquainting churches with various facets of the World Evangelism work. He hopes to persuade brethren to participate financially, particularly regarding the new Bible curriculum – the dream and pet project of sister Betty Choate for a couple decades now, but now a work in progress.

Train2 CLIPARTCOMAfter lunch on Wednesday, Bonnie and I traveled back to Jackson, Mississippi. Our first stop upon arrival in the capitol city was to visit brother Gene Gibson in a rehab hospital. He was asleep, and his wife Madolyn had stepped away. Earlier in the day, we had stopped by their Winona home to pick up clothes and other items to bring them.

Next, we sauntered into the Best Buy store not far from there. Our laptop computers – the only computers that we use and that we cart around stateside and abroad – have been giving us warning signs of failure (e.g., broken and missing pieces off the external cases, error messages about failing USB ports and graphics card). Reluctantly, we purchased two replacements. Our reluctance pertains to the expenditure as well as the heartache of transferring data and programs from computer to computer times two. Compounding our misery, we replaced our three-year old dinosaur-like cell phones that thrust us into the 21st century; goodbye Blackberry!

For days after we stumbled through setting up computers and smartphones! I’m afraid that we’ve permanently burnt out some brain cells ahead of time over all of that. Both the computers and the phones were valid upgrades that will help us do our work more efficiently, but in the future, we would be well-advised not to do computers and phones at the same time. Doing both at the same time makes about as much sense as having both feet operated on at the same time!

For Bible class at Siwell Road Church of Christ that night, I taught my lesson, “Did Dinosaurs Really Exist?” (This involved Job chapters 40 and 41.) I jumped ahead a little bit from where we had been studying in the Book of Job. We also finished the last of the discussions between Job and his so-called, three friends.

Train3 CLIPARTCOMThursday March 27th, some sisters from the Huntsville Church of Christ in French Camp, Mississippi helped Bonnie and sister Betty Choate process her newsletter for mailing. Later that afternoon, sister Choate helped Bonnie and me process our newsletter for mailing. Friday, Bonnie and I continued processing the Rushmore Newsletter for bulk mailing. We were able to send most of it out that afternoon, but we had to leave 289 pieces for the following Monday. Saturday was cold and rainy, so we didn’t leave the house; we worried ourselves over transferring information between computers and fretting about installation of our programs into the Windows 8.1 operating environment.

Sunday morning March 30th, Bonnie and I wended our way through the tar and chip as well as gravel roads to the Old Union Church of Christ. During Bible class, I made my PowerPoint presentation about our Guyana mission trip this February. Later, I preached about “Understanding How God Communicates with Mankind, Today.” Despite some regular members being absent, the meetinghouse was full; brethren from sister congregations, family, friends and neighbors attended worship and stayed for a fellowship meal together. The setting is shrouded delightfully by forest around a clearing in which an old, white frame church building stands, surrounded by an equally old cemetery. Sunday evening, we worshipped with the Batesville, Mississippi Church of Christ, whereupon I once more made my PowerPoint presentation about our Guyana mission work this year. Covered by the darkness of night, we made our way wearily back to our Winona home.

train wreck3 CLIPARTCOMMonday throughout the day, Bonnie and I finished preparation of our newsletter mailing. Altogether, we sent out between Friday and Monday around 1,000 printed accounts awash in color pictures of our February month-long mission trip to Guyana. We also just about completed transfer of information to the new computers; we have yet to install or replace and install crucial programs for our work in publishing The Voice of Truth International magazine and other literary works. Proverbially speaking, we are pulling out our hair to the point of baldness (figuratively) – more dead brain cells! We shipped several packages of books and tracts, both stateside and abroad, too.

If that wasn’t enough, when we went home for the evening, Bonnie and I dug up flowers for transplanting; worked new, rich dirt into the front flower bed adjacent to the driveway and planted 12 blooming flowers. We had purchased the new dirt and flowers a week ago, and we were trying to keep the plants from freezing to death by keeping them in the carport shed. Guess what we will be doing tomorrow evening – with all of the plants that need to be transplanted and eight more cubic feet of new dirt.

train wreck2 CLIPARTCOMOur train may be running at full tilt – a sure enough runaway, but we are trying our best to keep it from jumping the track. Famously, we would look for the light at the end of the mythical tunnel, but we are certain that all we see is the oncoming headlamp of a freight train bearing down upon us! We’ll not have a train wreck on our watch if we have anything to say about it.