Archive for June 2014

Bear Creek and Beyond

June 30, 2014

My GirlsBound for Bear Creek, Alabama we were for Sunday morning, June 29, 2014. There were 18 of us present by time for worship, including Bonnie, Rebecca and me. Some were out sick or away, but the Bear Creek Church of Christ is still an aging, shrinking congregation. Nevertheless, we are always enthusiastically received, and the little church helps us financially in our foreign mission work, as well as participates with other mission activities associated with World Evangelism. This Sunday, we received the entire weekly contribution for use overseas to purchase Bibles in the languages of the nations in which we work. The good that this will bring about is immeasurable this side of eternity.

During Bible class, I made my PowerPoint presentation about our 2014 Guyana Mission Trip; I preface it by introducing other World Evangelism team members with whom we are associated and with whom we voluntarily cooperate (i.e., Betty Choate, Wayne and Janet Barrier, Jerry and Paula Bates). During worship, I preached “Understanding How God Communicates with Mankind, Today.” Afterward, it was our good pleasure to spend some time with brother Royce and sister Helen Mann at a diner in Haleyville, AL and in their home.

That evening, I spoke for the Antioch Church of Christ outside of Killen, AL. Counting the three of us, 32 were present. Here, too, some were ill; one was terminally ill in the hospital and another had perished the preceding week. Again, we were received wonderfully well as always. This little congregation has a long history, some of which is depicted on a bulletin board with text and very old pictures. I made my PowerPoint presentation about our 2014 Guyana Mission Trip. This congregation helps us make our foreign trips and is gearing up to get us to Asia in October and November of this year.

Pausing at the Arby’s restaurant in Florence, AL for supper, we bumped into some of the members with whom we had just worshipped at the Antioch Church of Christ. In addition, that little eatery hosted diners from among several local churches of Christ, who without prior planning to do so just happened to show up at the same place, the same day at the same time. The atmosphere was transformed from what it might have been by modestly dressed, polite patrons who purposely prayed for their respective meals before tearing into them. Christians don’t use a very big brush or much red paint to “paint the town red.” I wish everywhere and everyone we encounter were like my fellow eaters at Arby’s Sunday night.

We arrived back in Winona, MS by 11 p.m., and we went straight to bed. Another long day had ended, barely before ushering in the next day.

Highway Tic Tac Toe (across Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia)

June 28, 2014

Warner Robins, Georgia was our destination on Monday morning, June 23, 2014. Specifically, we pointed the car toward the home of Tim and Betty Childs; he is the preacher for the Church of Christ there. I didn’t remember, but we were first acquainted years ago through the Internet as he submitted articles for use in the pages of Gospel Gazette Online. Then a few years ago, we met in person at a preachers’ meeting in northeast Mississippi. From that time, Bonnie and I annually visited the Hillcrest Church of Christ in Baldwyn, MS where he preached.

We were to be guests of brother Tim and sister Betty in their Georgia home for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings. Bonnie and I tried to interrupt their duties and daily schedules as little as possible. That afforded us the opportunity to work on some office stuff from the comfort of their living room. I was able to complete and publish to the Internet the June edition of Gospel Gazette Online (www.gospelgazette.com) – yes, a little late.

Lane's OrchardTuesday, the Childs and we stole a little time between life’s assignments to visit Lane’s Peach Orchards for lunch. Of course, we managed to eat out a couple of more times over the three days in Warner Robins, sometimes just with one or more of the Childs and once with one of the elders and his wife. Christians today put the “e” in “fast” – “feast”! Actually, we Christians seem drawn to fellowship over food; after all, we don’t use a very big brush or much paint to “paint the town red.”

Lane's OrchardThe reason for our presence in Warner Robins, GA was for me to speak on Wednesday evening in the Summer Series of the congregation of the Lord’s church in that city. The Warner Robins Church of Christ dedicated the Wednesday night series to nurturing the family. I spoke on “Rearing Children,” presenting biblical and practical material to help parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, etc. in childrearing. Bonnie and I are not perfect parents, but we are battle-scarred or experienced, as well as acquainted with divine instruction in the Scriptures.

Thursday morning, Bonnie and I headed back to Winona, MS. It was an all-day trek, arriving home at around 5 p.m. Friday afternoon, Paula Bates, Betty Choate and I unloaded three pallets of The Voice of Truth International (Volume 80) from the back of a tractor trailer. Jerry Bates was in Africa, and Bonnie is excused permanently from warehouse duty owing to her past and pending surgeries related to her recovery from pancreatic cancer. Saturday at about noon, Bonnie and I along with Rebecca who drove in to join us, pointed the Gospel chariot toward northeast Alabama, where I have Sunday appointments; we will return to Winona after dark Sunday night. Just maybe when I get up on Monday, it will not be raining and I can mow the hayfield where my lawn used to be!

A 3-State Leisurely Drive

June 24, 2014

meetinghouse of the Westside Church of ChristSaturday, June 21st, Bonnie and I embarked on a leisurely, 7+ hours, 3-state drive from Winona, Mississippi to Griffin, Georgia. Saturday and Sunday, we were the guests of brother John and Laura Youmans; he is an elder of the Westside Church of Christ in Griffin, GA. It was as though we had known these good Christians for decades – we clicked.

Brother Youmans had prepared his specialty pulled, barbeque pork, and sister Youmans fixed a legion of trimmings. We four were joined by brother James and sister Patsy Lane; brother Lane is another elder of the congregation there.

One of the reasons for my appointment that weekend in Griffin was for them and us to compare notes on our respective mission works in Guyana, South America. The Westside church sponsors the congregation in Tuschen, Guyana.

Our visit also coincided with the vacation absence of their preacher. I presented my PowerPoint presentation on our “2014 Guyana Mission Trip” during Bible class on Sunday morning. For morning worship, I preached “Understanding How God Communicates with Mankind, Today,” and that evening I preached about “Rearing Children.” I presented both of those lessons repeatedly in February while in Guyana for a month. The latter lesson is also my assignment for an upcoming Summer Series session on Wednesday elsewhere in Georgia.

Bonnie and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves among these brethren. Apparently, the saints at Westside enjoyed our presence as well since there was talk of us visiting again next year. We look forward to that occasion in 2015.

Sunday Worship in Vincennes, IN

June 15, 2014

Old TruckSunday, June 15, 2014 found Bonnie and me in Bible class and attending worship with the Central Church of Christ of Vincennes, Indiana. It was my distinct pleasure to be afforded the opportunity to teach a combined Bible class in the auditorium at 9:30 a.m. I presented my lesson entitled, “Understanding How God Communicates with Mankind, Today.” During worship at 10:30 a.m., I preached, “Did Dinosaurs Really Exist?” Then, I was asked to make my PowerPoint presentation about our “2014 Guyana Mission Trip” for the 6 p.m. worship hour. Nothing is more enjoyable for me than to be permitted to teach and preach, and I thoroughly enjoyed being with the Central congregation.

Our host and hostess, Roger and Mary Wright are dear to us, and apparently we are dear to them. May our association and fellowship in the Lord and for His church continue throughout our lifetimes! Everyone has been an encourager of Bonnie and me. Though not yet departed from Vincennes, we already look forward to our next interaction with dear brethren here.

The picture accompanying this short blog entry is one of three fabulous photographs of a very old truck in the weeds on the Wright property. I am always on the lookout for exceptional, classic pictures to snap, and this was one such image, at least for me.

It was a long way up here from Winona, MS, and it will be a long way back as we return tomorrow. Despite not being from Indiana, Bonnie and I still can identify somewhat with Hoosiers since we share some commonality with others from the northern states (e.g., speed with which we talk – and listen, menu items, geography, topography, vocabulary words, etc.). Nevertheless, it will be good to get back to our “Winona Home.”

Bible Geography VBS

June 15, 2014

June 14 was the Super Saturday VBS for the Central Church of Christ in Vincennes, Indiana, and Bonnie and I were guest teachers to participate with brethren and young people in that endeavor. The theme was “Bible Geography,” and the event kicked off at 8:30 a.m. and lasted until 3:00 p.m. By then youngsters and adults were completely exhausted.

Each child was given a “passport,” which contained the child’s picture and on which ink stamps were applied upon entry to the respective classrooms throughout the day. The children went to Egypt, Bethlehem, Nazareth and Cana, Jerusalem, and Rome. Outdoor activities in the morning included Pony Express races (i.e., contribution of the Persians) and Chariot Races (i.e., human wheelbarrow races). The outside activity for the afternoon was an “Archaeological Dig” in two large sandboxes and one pile of sand.

The non-stop motion of the all-day vacation Bible school was draining for both the adults hosting the program as well as for all of the participants. In addition to instruction and activities, the day was punctuated also with lunch, snacks and desserts. A good time was had by all, and the Central Church of Christ touched the lives of several families with the Word of God. The following pictures give a hint of how the day unfolded.

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Going North and South – at the Same Time!

June 14, 2014


Memorial
Wednesday morning, June 11
, Bonnie and I left Winona, headed south for Jackson, MS – before turning around and heading northeast for Littleville, AL. Just to make things really interesting, our car broke down Tuesday (i.e., the master brake cylinder and the power steering pump failed). That necessitated renting a car, which turned out to be easier said than done. We could not rent a car in any of the three nearest towns to which we reside, and we ended up traveling two hours to rent a car in Jackson, MS.

Therefore, sister Betty Choate drove us to Jackson with a carload of luggage, books and other materials to transfer to our rental vehicle. Once the transfer of our cartage was complete, we kept Bonnie’s medical appointment – a conference with her surgeon. Surgery is in Bonnie’s future, whenever we can arrange it and have it fit our active schedule.

Next, we aimed the car toward Littleville, AL for a Wednesday evening appointment with the Church of Christ there. This little congregation has been helping us the last few years to make our foreign trips with the Gospel of Christ. Bonnie and I were received in royal fashion; the brethren encouraged us.

Roger & Mary WrightThursday was a day trip – all day – to Vincennes, IN. Our host and hostess were brother Roger and sister Mary Wright; he has preached for the Central Church of Christ for 28 years. Friday, the four of us put finishing touches on an upcoming all-day Vacation Bible School (VBS) and bought items for a simulated archaeological dig. In the afternoon, the Wrights and we drove by some of the historical sites around Vincennes. That evening, Bonnie and I were the guests for supper with brother John and sister Nancy Ford; he is one of the elders of the congregation there.

The occasion of our trip to Vincennes was to conduct a Bible geography VBS on Saturday, as well as to speak a couple of times on the Lord’s Day. The Central Church of Christ participates with Bonnie and me in our mission work in north India. Stay tuned to our next blog entry for text and pictures about our Vacation Bible School.

Alabama Weekend

June 10, 2014

Homemade QuiltsSaturday morning, June 7, Bonnie and I loaded the van and headed for Piedmont, AL. We enjoyed the hospitality of Bob and Peggy Rogers as they lodged us and fed us in preparation for our annual report to the Highway 9 Church of Christ. Brother Bob and sister Peggy have opened their home to us now for several years, even before we became World Evangelism team members. Bonnie and I slept in twin beds; the beds and the wall are decorated with homemade quilts.

Sunday morning, I made my PowerPoint presentation “2014 Mission Trip to Guyana” for Bible class and preached “Understanding How God Communicates with Mankind, Today” for a.m. worship. Afterward, two elders and two ministers as well as their families and we dined at the local Mexican restaurant.

Next, Bonnie and I pointed our chariot in the direction of the Prattville, AL Church of Christ, nearly three hours away. Upon arrival in the area, we made our way to our “bed & breakfast” for the night, the home of brother Jerry and sister Mary Cantrell; he is one of the elders of the congregation. I spoke informally about 10 minutes about Guyana in a Bible class, and we fielded questions then and during a casual gathering around pizza for those about to venture into Guyana, South America.

Brother and sister Cantrell have gone for many years into Guyana to teach the Gospel, and they lived there for a while, too. One of their sons and his wife and children lived there as well for a few years. Now, the Cantrells, and others helping them, primarily teach via Skype seven of the coastal congregations in Guyana that are fortunate enough to have Internet with capable bandwidth for that purpose. His ministry and our ministry share the goal of edifying Guyanese brethren and empowering them to function more fully in taking the Gospel to their countrymen. Our efforts complement each other, and our respective efforts also help stabilize congregations to which the spiritual harvest of other Christian workers who primarily evangelize may be added.

Bonnie and I arrived back in Winona, MS Monday night. Wednesday morning we head south to Jackson, MS so Bonnie can meet with her surgeon to possibly schedule additional surgery. After the appointment, we head north to Littleville, AL for an appointment. Thursday, we travel to Vincennes, IN where we will be for several days for appointments. Scheduled events include an all-day VBS on Saturday as well as teaching and preaching on Sunday. Later in the month, we have additional appointments in Alabama and Georgia. Whew! I’m weary already!