Archive for July 2014

Garden Patch

July 28, 2014
Gibson Garden Patch

Gibson Garden Patch

Wednesday evening, July 23 Bonnie and I moseyed over to the West President St. Church of Christ in Greenwood, MS for Bible class. A sure enough gulley washer pounced on the delta city – literally flooding the street with water above the bottom of car doors. After an hour following class, we ventured out of the parking lot with some uncertainty about the wisdom of doing so. We still had to drive through that deep water for a ways turning away from the deepest area. Next, we had to worm our way around unfamiliar streets to avoid a downed tree that blocked our planned exodus from the area. Though we thought we would not face any more flooding once we made it to the US highway, such was not the case; more cars were stalled on the 5-lane road. After seeing other vehicles successfully navigating the flooded area, we ventured onward, plowing slowly through floodwaters high enough potentially to fill our Town & Country. Remarkably, when we arrived back in Winona, MS – two counties east, we found that no rain at all had fallen there.

Saturday, Rebecca departed Memphis, TN for Guyana, South America. However, she did not arrive in Linden, Guyana until 2:15 a.m. Mechanical problems on the airplane on which she and several others of the mission team were flying stranded them for hours in Port of Spain in the Caribbean Sea. Other than a brief text confirming their arrival and the delay, we have not heard from her or from any of the team since. We trust that she and the other Christians with whom she is traveling will serve our Lord well for the next week.

Early Sunday morning, Bonnie and I left Winona, MS in our Gospel chariot for our daylong appointment with the Indianola, MS Church of Christ. During Bible class, I made our PowerPoint presentation about our 2014 Mission Trip to Guyana, and for a.m. worship, I preached “Understanding How God Communicates with Mankind, Today.” That night I preached “Did Dinosaurs Really Exist?” Several members were either out of town or ill; with visitors, including Bonnie and me, 23 assembled that morning.

We dined for lunch in the cafeteria of Mississippi Delta Community College, which essentially is across the street from the Christian Student Center, operated by brother Gene and sister Madolyn Gibson – our host and hostess for the day. Madolyn is mighty proud of her garden patch, as she should be. She gave us the grand tour, and that evening fed us from the garden with her homemade vegetable soup. Finally, we arrived back at our Winona home around 10:30 p.m.; we were tired and soon turned in for the night.

Monday was another day at the office/warehouse, wherein we interacted with our coworkers, Jerry and Paula Bates as well as Betty Choate. Among other things, we loaded a shipment of books bound for foreign countries on a tractor-trailer; we packaged orders of books and tracts for stateside churches of Christ – some of which would make its way abroad through those churches; etc. I completed the filling out of pages for and proofing of volume 81 of The Voice of Truth International; after Betty Choate reviews it also, Bonnie will put the digital document in book form, and I will digitally package the journal for the printing company. Then, we will send it through the mail to the printer in Taylors, SC.

The Bates leave for overseas this week, and Betty leaves next week for California to be with family. Bonnie and I continue to flesh out our calendars for stateside and overseas appointments through November; we will depart the USA around the first of October and return just before Thanksgiving. In the absence of other Winona team members in August, a tractor-trailer should arrive with graded curriculum all the way from the printer in Hong Kong; Bonnie is unable to assist with warehouse duty, and so, I’ll have my work cut out for me! Other heavy boxes bound for the Philippines should ship during the same timeframe, too. Of course, there will be daily shipments stateside.

These are the highlights. Each day promises to have more in store for us than we can possibly accomplish. We seldom have a reason to get bored. We wouldn’t have it any other way, as we endeavor to serve our Lord the best we can, as long as we can and in every way that we can.

On the Mend

July 19, 2014

duck_tapeHere it is Saturday evening, July 19, 2014. Bonnie, Rebecca and I sit in the living room of Bonnie and my Winona, MS home. We three went nearly two hours to Jackson, MS on this past Wednesday for pre-op preparation for Bonnie’s surgery on Thursday; we spent the night less than two miles from Baptist Health Systems in a hotel paid for with points from previous stays along our routes of travel for our appointments with congregations. Early Thursday morning, Bonnie underwent surgery once more; she’s getting pretty experienced at that sort of thing.

It was scheduled as outpatient surgery with an overnight stay in the offing nevertheless, depending upon the scope of surgery and how well Bonnie responded to surgery. We had plan “A” and plan “B.” Plan “A” was laparoscopic, whereas plan “B” was to reopen the previous surgery site if necessary. Despite the doctor having to proceed to plan “B,” Bonnie responded well and after surgery was almost given the bum’s rush out of the hospital – while she was still drowsy and barely able to stand; in all, within six hours we arrived, she had surgery and we were on our way back to Winona.

For the balance of Friday, Bonnie remained sleepy and what little talk she attempted had all the words in the wrong order – and sometimes just the wrong words. Otherwise, Bonnie rested in the reclining loveseat, with me beside her. I worked on and completed the July issue of Gospel Gazette Online; I like the office chair at the house – reclining loveseat – better than my chair at my office down the street.

Each day, Bonnie is improving more. She exchanged the chronic daily pain of a pinched intestine in the umbilical hernia for the temporary daily pain from the incisions – three of them. The doctor had to make two incisions in a failed attempt to do laparoscopic surgery before making a larger, third incision. We will venture out tomorrow to visit the Old Union Church of Christ for worship; we haven’t been there for so long, as we have been traveling elsewhere, that someone mused that perhaps the preacher had made us mad. Not so, of course.

We have been the beneficiaries of the kindness of brethren, through text messages, phone calls and visits accompanied with prepared meals in hand. Though neither Bonnie nor I expected or even thought of someone bringing us food, we are thankful and have dined on those kindnesses.

Rebecca returns home Tuesday in preparation for her mission trip to Guyana, South America later in the week. She has been a great help and encouragement to us, particularly in this difficult time for Bonnie and me. In her weakened and physically compromised condition, more of Bonnie’s domestic duties are now my opportunities; we have always shared each other’s responsibilities, but now I just get to share more. Soon, Bonnie will be able to resume some of those activities, but some activities at the house and at the warehouse/office she will need to relinquish permanently.

Bonnie and I will try to conclude plans for our fall trip to Asia – Myanmar and India, perhaps Singapore, too. One of the decisions we will need to make, depending on how well and how quickly Bonnie mends, is if she is going to accompany me this fall and share in the workload. I am already close to being unable to manage my own carryon bag and computer up and down airplane steps on the tarmac, and Bonnie will not be able to carry either her carryon bag or her computer. We are getting older, and we may be held together with Duck Tape, Super Glue and baling wire, but we press on. We covet your prayers.

New Signage

July 15, 2014

96 dpi 5x7 Car Decal Installed 3Last night, we got to Rebecca’s home from the Memphis airport around 11 p.m. The rain poured from the blackened night sky and flooded the roadways, making for slow going and extreme difficulty spying out the highway striping to not only identify the respective lanes but the road itself. The brunt of the storm had preceded our arrival, and it had battered and broken numerous trees in Rebecca’s neighborhood. Fortunately though, her home was not one of the thousands without electrical power due to the storm. Bonnie and I turned in for the night around 1 a.m.

We three loaded the van once more and headed out, ultimately bound for Winona, MS. First, however, we took breakfast at Cracker Barrel. We still showed up nearly half an hour early for our 9 a.m. appointment with SpeedPro Graphics. In less than an hour, we had three vinyl signs installed on the new van. We retired our former van after 10 years of service, but the more recent minivan lasted but seven years before we thought it best to retire it. Presently, it sits by our mailbox with a “For Sale” sign offering it to passersby.

96 dpi 5x7 Car Decal Installed 2Since we have a new vehicle with many years ahead in service (Lord willing) respecting our labors for Christ, I opted to have it advertise the webpages for World Evangelism and Gospel Gazette Online. Anyone following those Internet links will find a wealth of information, especially in the thousands of studious articles found within the pages of Gospel Gazette Online. The phrase “Mass Evangelism & Follow-Up” provides a brief definition for World Evangelism, and the reference to “Romans 16:16” may signal to members of the churches of Christ that we are members of the Lord’s church – almost a secretive code. At any rate, we cannot afford to put everything on the side of the car.

Back in Winona, we returned to the office. Tomorrow, we will head to Jackson, MS for Bonnie’s pre-operation preparation for surgery on Thursday. Bonnie is scheduled to be hospitalized overnight, but the extent of surgery needed, etc. will determine how quickly we return home; we expect to return to Winona on Friday.

Bonnie and I are both anxious for correction of her umbilical hernia that brings her daily pain presently. Her light to medium duty afterward will probably be lifelong, considering this upcoming surgery as well as the previous Whipple Surgery for pancreatic cancer. Otherwise, Bonnie is cancer free, and though slowed a bit and tired frequently, she and I press ahead. Thank you for your interest and prayers on especially her behalf.

Like Precious Faith

July 14, 2014
Anniversary in an Airport

Anniversary in an Airport

Sunday, July 13 was a little more relaxed for we three (Bonnie, Rebecca and me), and it was a good buffer between the vacation venues of the preceding days and Monday’s daylong travel toward our homes in Tennessee and Mississippi. Of course, the highlight of every first day of the week is the opportunity afforded God’s people of worshipping Him “in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). This we did, as we had the prior Wednesday evening upon our arrival in South Dakota, with the Rapid City Church of Christ. Truly, we found these brethren on the Internet through the church’s webpage. Two other congregations vied for visitors through their websites as well, but each of the three sufficiently identified themselves whereby we are able to find those of “like precious faith” (2 Peter 1:1). We always opt for biblical balance over extremes either to the left or to the right.

We felt like we had always known the saints of the Rapid City Church of Christ. The worship was reverential, and there were neither surprises nor disappointments. One ought to fairly well know what to anticipate even when meeting with faithful Christians in an assembly not previously visited. I heartily recommend the Rapid City Church of Christ to Christians who may visit the area.

It was also my good pleasure to speak to the congregation Sunday evening; I always feel more comfortable on the speaking side of the lectern than seated on the other side – because I want to serve to the fullest at every opportunity as long as I live. Given a choice between a biblical lesson and a PowerPoint presentation about our mission work, the eldership opted for the latter. I showed pictures and narrated them respecting our month-long mission trip in February of this year.

We were very well received, and we certainly have made some new friends. Bonnie, Rebecca and I were lunch guests of the preacher and his wife (brother and sister Chuck Taylor). He is facing some serious health problems, which to the best of his ability in the near future as well as for the balance of his life he hardly allows it to detour him in the least from serving our Lord Jesus Christ. He is a writer, too, whose articles I hope to introduce shortly to The Voice of Truth International and Gospel Gazette Online.

Monday has been a long, leisurely travel day from Rapid City Regional Airport to Minneapolis/St. Paul to Memphis, TN. This is also Bonnie and my anniversary (#41), and we are spending it together in airports and on airplanes; Rebecca is with us. We had a very delicious lunch meal at the Northern Lights Grill; Bonnie and I shared perhaps the best pot-roast plate we have ever had, and the portions were gigantic. Rebecca had a similar meal in sandwich form, piled HIGH! As I write this, we are in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport at our Gate, which we will board in just a little while; because Delta cancelled one of our flights, we have an extended layover here of FIVE HOURS! We are vacationing at the airport, too! It’s all good. We should arrive at Rebecca’s home before 10 p.m., we think.

The protracted layover has afforded me some valuable time to work on the July issue of Gospel Gazette Online. Among other things, we certainly are not rushed-more.

Badlands Loop

July 12, 2014

Saturday, July 12, 2014, Bonnie, Rebecca and I headed for the South Dakota Badlands. No, we were not on the lam as outlaws seeking some hole in the wall from which we could hide from a pursuing posse. We were merely day visitors, along with perhaps hundreds of others who ventured into the federal park for an outing or as workers. However, we did spy some regular residents inside or just outside of the reserve – mountain goats and prairie dogs.

On the way to the Badlands, we paused at Wall, SD for the purpose of moseying through the famous Wall Drug complex.

It so happened that we arrived just in time for a small town parade – the smallest and most locally spun we’ve ever experienced – all of one block long! Wall Drug itself is one block long and two blocks deep – packed with tourist-trap merchandise, fine art, food, and various curious amusements for young and old. It is a destination all its own. Remarkably, though, we didn’t buy anything. Before leaving we did the once over of the Wounded Knee Museum gift store and Native America crafts as well as a nearby novelty and touristy shop.

Like yesterday, today, we made a giant circle in the process of following the scenic drive through the Badlands National Park. The topography over which and through which we traveled varied from Great Plains prairies to irregularly eroded, layered, jagged mountains. The mountains through which we traveled the past few days were completely different in every way from these; today’s mountains seem atypical to mountains generally.

Bonnie, Rebecca and I enjoyed a picnic lunch at a shaded park table. The nearly treeless landscape afforded us no respite from the abusive sunlight beating down upon us, although the temperature was moderate at 78 degrees. Nevertheless, repeatedly, we parked the car and strolled along walkways before getting back in the car and driving to the next viewpoint.

It was another good day on God’s marvelous earth. Moreover, I spent it with my two best friends – my wife of four+ decades and our oldest child.

Big, Big Circle in the Black Hills

July 11, 2014

Mt. RushmoreBonnie, Rebecca and I launched out from Keystone, South Dakota on Friday, July 11, 2014 to make one humongous, all day in the making, circle through the Black Hills. First, we drove the two miles from our hotel to the Mt. Rushmore National Memorial. We snapped some more pictures of the colossal monument in a different light from the day before. In addition, we toured the museum, which was underneath the balcony seating where we sat the night before. Incidentally, we were rewarded later in the day with bonus pictures of Mt. Rushmore from highways near and far.

Crazy HorseOur next destination was the Crazy Horse Memorial. There was a thoroughly engaging Native American exhibit that filled a small campus, besides the monument under construction in the near background. There was a very accommodating restaurant on the premises in view of the ongoing work on the tribute to American Indians; we three enjoyed a relaxing and satisfying lunch.

TunnelFor the balance of the day, we drove and we drove. We disembarked from the rental car time and time again to see spectacular views and to chronicle some of them with our digital cameras. We drove through the Black Hills in general and through Custer State Park in particular. We climbed mountains on roads terraced in series of U-turns; we squeezed through barely one-lane tunnels; we spiraled through highway pigtails twice to descend rapidly down the mountainside; and we observed all manner of terrain from rolling high plains to needled rock spires projecting into the South Dakota sky to massive, jagged mountain rock faces.

BuffaloIt was with delight that we began to enumerate the various wild creatures that we spied along the way: red squirrels, chipmunks, wild burrows, pronghorns (antelope), deer, beaver, and with great enchantment herds of buffalo. They crossed the road, piercing traffic approaching from both directions – bringing it to a halt while the passengers in the vehicles were mesmerized by the uncommon critters.

Mountain MeadowsThe day was one well worth the time spent as we enjoyed one another’s company, shared these experiences and were awed by God’s creation – both planet and beasts. We have zillions of pictures to document the adventure this day has brought our way. Tomorrow our destination is the Badlands. Stay tuned!

Keystone, South Dakota

July 10, 2014

Uncle MountAfter a restful night of recharging at the Roosevelt Inn in Keystone, South Dakota, Bonnie, Rebecca and I ambled the sidewalks on either side of the touristy main drag beckoning for visitor’s dollars. Thus, we began for us Thursday, July 10, 2014 our vacation and Bonnie and my anniversary trip. (I’m not sure whether we brought Rebecca along as chaperone or caregiver for her aging parents! Really, she aside from my dear spouse of 41 years – on July 14 – is my best friend.)

I did manage to part with a few dollars before boarding our train to yesterday – running between Keystone and Hill City and back. We bought some commemorative magnets and some Mt. Rushmore hats; Rebecca bought some books.

I whispered some advice into Abe's ear.

I whispered some advice to Abe.

Between Rebecca and us, we snapped 219 photos, mostly along our train ride. However, we went to Mt. Rushmore in the evening to take some pics of the national monument with night lighting; in the morning, we will return to Mt. Rushmore for a more extensive tour and daylight pictures.

Guess what? Despite my surname “Rushmore” being plastered nearly everywhere from Rapid City to Keystone, being a Rushmore garners for me neither discounts nor a percentage of the action. Imagine that! (I kept telling people that I was here to visit family – my uncle – Mount, as in Mt. Rushmore. I’m positive that I’m just a chip off the ole block.)

World Evangelism Annual Team Meeting

July 10, 2014

96 dpi 4 x 4 CAR DECALSSeveral World Evangelism Team Members converged on Winona, Mississippi for our annual occasion of fellowship and comparing notes on the various worldwide missions to which we devote ourselves. Some arrived as early as Saturday, July 5 for field reports and fellowship over food, of course, on Monday through Wednesday morning. Saturday was also our daughter Rebecca’s birthday; she has been visiting us between finishing teaching summer school and her impending mission trip to Guyana, South America.

Daily, Betty Choate, Jerry and Paula Bates, and Louis and Bonnie Rushmore interact in Winona. Numerous other Christians with whom we are loosely associated live in various places stateside and overseas. Each of us work under our respective elderships, and we voluntarily cooperate to provide mass evangelism and follow-up around the world. Several countries on six of the seven continents are among those in which team members labor for the Lord.

In a sense, unless one has been there and done that, he or she cannot fully identify with the lives we live as missionaries. Hence, we are a great uplift to each other; we provide some small recharge before resuming our respective and ongoing efforts for the cause of Christ. Yet, we could not do what we do without the moral support and financial participation of our brothers and sisters in Christ. Thank you!

One final observation: Looking around at ourselves, we are graying (and some of us are balding), which means that more younger brethren need to begin working with us, to whom we can pass the baton of missions sometime in the future. Our daughter, who has reached a significant milestone birthday, was about 20 years younger than the youngest of the rest of us! We covet the well wishes and prayers throughout the churches of Christ.

Charleston, Mississippi

July 7, 2014
Louis & Bonnie aboard a Guyanese water taxi

Louis & Bonnie aboard a Guyanese water taxi

Sunday morning, July 6, 2014, my preaching appointment was with the Charleston, Mississippi Church of Christ. For worship, I preached “Understanding How God Communicates with Mankind, Today.” For Bible class earlier, I made my PowerPoint presentation “2014 Guyana Mission Trip.” The congregation is graying, and shrinking in size, in part due to old age and illnesses; including Bonnie, Rebecca and me, about 14 assembled for worship. This spiraling decline, unfortunately, is too commonplace for numerous little congregations around the country where job opportunities lag and travel routes have adjusted accordingly.

Nevertheless, Bonnie and I are always received royally, the saints with whom we commune annually in Charleston, MS participate in a significant way with us financially in our ongoing mission work. We thank God for them and ask God’s special blessings for them spiritually and physically.

Brother Raymond and sister Sarah Jones labor with the Charleston Church of Christ, though they live in Water Valley, MS. They and the three of us enjoyed a noon meal together at an eatery in Batesville, MS. Afterward the Jones and the Rushmores headed for their respective homes.

Bonnie rested upon our arrival back in Winona. Every day she experiences fatigue as well as pain. Later this month, she undergoes the knife once more, this time to repair an umbilical hernia. We hope that she can return to a life without daily pain and that she continues to recover. However, she does have a permanent exemption from warehouse and truck duty at World Evangelism, and some modification at home in her physical involvement is necessary. Still, it is hard to keep a good woman down. Rebecca and I help, and doubtlessly we nag her to ease up and let us help more. Just so she doesn’t begin to like too much not doing more, we’ll merely redistribute the workload and continue to press forward as a team for the cause of Christ.

Guyana by Way of Russellville

July 3, 2014
North Highlands Meetinghouse

North Highlands Meetinghouse

Just before noon on Wednesday, July 2, I was able to complete proofing of all the pages available to me (62 8½ x 11 pages) for the next edition of Global Harvest magazine. Bonnie, Rebecca and I grabbed a quick lunch at the house of grilled cheese with bacon bits sandwiches before running some errands in Winona prior to departing for an evening appointment. We made passes through the drive-throughs of two local banks before attempting to plate our car. That last errand was a merry-go-round of confusion, exasperation and profound disappointment but successful – I guess – in the end. It took two separate attempts within an hour to acquire the plates, since we had to return to the house to recover the old license plate from the previous vehicle to turn in as well. Sadly, Mississippians are at the mercy of exorbitant personal property taxes on vehicles, which certainly must work against the state economy in the long run; it is no wonder that clunkers and junkers are not uncommon on the highways and byways of the Magnolia state. To add insult to injury, the government has the gall to designate in the breakdown of charges, “late fees” and “penalties” for plating a new car in Mississippi. There appear to be a number of penalties exacted by the various levels of government in Mississippi upon its citizens for the privilege of residing therein. Grrr!

Finally on the road, we aimed the Gospel chariot for Russellville, Alabama. We had an appointment for a fellowship meal and a meeting with the elders of the North Highlands Church of Christ, after which, of course, we would stay for the midweek class. This congregation is heavily involved in an outstanding mission work in Guyana, South America. For a number of years, it has supported brother Nigel and sister Jasmine Milo in their labors with the Amelia’s Ward Church of Christ in Linden, Guyana. I know of no finer or of any more effective Gospel preacher for local work anywhere in the world – including in the USA. Nigel Milo is also one of the two televangelists for the churches of Christ in Guyana.

Brother Milo has built up a congregation numbering in the hundreds Sunday mornings. He has trained the brethren with whom he worships to canvass every home in Linden once each year, with or without his participation. The Amelia’s Ward congregation practices all of the New Testament teaching, including church discipline when needed – which results in restorations as well as removal of spiritual contamination from the balance of the church even when restorations are not forthcoming.

Several Christians at Amelia’s Ward save their scarce money every year for two in-country campaigns whereby they travel to other congregations and help them canvass their communities, provide seminars to edify brethren and conduct Gospel meetings (or “crusades” as they call them).

Each July, the North Highlands Church of Christ leads several campaigners from the USA to Linden to work with the congregations in or outside that second largest city in the country (i.e., Burnham Drive Church of Christ, Blueberry Hill Church of Christ, Amelia’s Ward Church of Christ and the Dora Church of Christ). Groups of Christians from various churches in the USA rotate in and out over the four weeks of the month. Our daughter Rebecca has been in the group from the Collierville Church of Christ for the past several years; she will be there beginning July 26.

Paramakatoi Plane

Paramakatoi Plane

Annually for the entire month of February, Bonnie and I travel throughout the country of Guyana, primarily to edify brethren. Thereby, we increase the Bible knowledge of Christians, encourage them and equip them to shoulder some of the responsibility of evangelizing their own nation. Our efforts contribute to the stability of the Lord’s church in Guyana, to which converts resulting from other efforts by American Christians can be added.

Ladies' Day

Ladies’ Day

In 2014, 85 of the 99 known congregations participated with Bonnie and me as we went to all 10 regions for our seminars and Gospel meetings. In addition, Bonnie spoke at a Ladies’ Inspiration Day with 300 Christian women present. I taped a TV program and spoke twice to teenagers at a high school boarding house. We completed the distribution of boxes of religious books to every Gospel preacher throughout the nation. After our return to the USA, we shipped 1,820 copies of The Voice of Truth International and 300 sermon outline books (i.e., three titles), which have been distributed. Preparations are underway to publish a website to promote brother Nigel’s TV program, elicit responses and provide literature to those who respond.

Bonnie, Rebecca and I met with the elders of the North Highlands Church of Christ to compare notes regarding our respective efforts in Guyana, especially since we rely on Nigel Milo to direct our program. It was a pleasant and encouraging exchange. We also passed to the elders a box of books and tracts to supply to responders to the TV program, a phone and funds for the dedicated phone associated with the TV program. The groups from North Highlands will carry these things to Guyana shortly as they soon depart to teach VBS at the Amelia’s Ward Church of Christ.

A little over three hours to and a little over three hours back from Russellville, AL meant that we arrived at our Winona home about midnight. Exhausted, we speedily retired for much needed rest. The real rest awaits every faithful Christian – an eternal rest (Hebrews 4:9-11).