Archive for August 2014

August 2014 Rushmore Newsletter

August 27, 2014

Rushmore NewsletterBonnie and I with the help of Betty Choate spent most of the day (August 27) processing for mailing 989 copies of the August edition of the Rushmore Newsletter. However, we were not able to prepare the mailing in time to get it into the US Mail today. Therefore, we will take the three mailing trays to the local Post Office on Thursday morning. Enclosed in each newsletter is a 2-sided postcard and a return envelope. One side of the postcard depicts Bonnie and me in front of the Taj Mahal in India. The reverse side contains information about how someone can participate financially with us in our foreign mission efforts.

Several states away to the east this morning, our courier received our Myanmar visa application, which she will walk through the Embassy of Myanmar in Washington, DC over the next few days. Also today several states to the west, a travel agent began working on our air travel tickets. In talking with her, we were apprised that there is a problem with our return to Memphis, TN after our 9-week mission trip to Sri Lanka, Myanmar, India and Singapore. Since we are scheduled to begin our return to the States on November 24, we are running into problems getting the flights necessary inside the United States due to Thanksgiving holiday travel. I don’t understand it, but we are being advised that irrespective of in whatever city we land in this country initially upon our return we will be stuck for days before we can get connecting flights to Memphis. I thought the hard part of our worldwide trek would be crisscrossing throughout Asia – not in the US. Stay tuned!

Otherwise today, we packed and shipped some tracts and books. Later, we hand delivered some beta test Bible class curriculum when we attended Bible class at a Mississippi church of Christ. We also mailed dozens of “Thank You” letters to donors who are helping us financially make our fall Asian mission trip. We fielded phone calls and attended miscellaneous other duties, even into the night after returning home from Wednesday night Bible class.

Time is counting down – rapidly – before our September 24 departure to the other side of the planet. We are working feverishly on so many fronts, and we full-well know that we cannot possibly accomplish some of those tasks before traveling 12 time zones away. Yet, we long to renew friendships with foreign brethren, edify them with the Word of God and acquaint Buddhists, Hindus, Animists and denominational people the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Here or there, Bonnie and I remain devoted to each other in the service of our Lord Jesus Christ. We covet your continued interest and prayers.

Until We Pass over the Threshold into Eternity

August 26, 2014

screened porchThursday, August 21 and Friday brother Lester Grimmett, his helper and I applied lumber and fiberglass screen to make a screened-in back porch at our borrowed, Winona home. Mosquitoes and other repulsive creatures just love me – to bite me, that is. This year especially, mosquitoes around our house rival any Bonnie and I have encountered in the tropics of Asia and South America. They are so bothersome that they populate the inside of our house daily, too. I am a virtual mosquito magnet! Maybe now when the heat and humidity retreats a little again, Bonnie and I will be able to enjoy our backyard escape into our miniature garden without the prickly little boogers that leave welts all over me.

volunteers vs. 25,000 booksOne little detour to the satisfactory putting everything back on the little screen patio slab was a minor accident I had Friday afternoon. For many months, particularly in heavy heat or when standing after stooping down, I have been getting lightheaded momentarily. It always passes, except on Friday. Who would believe someone could hurt so much from simply falling from a standing position – as I did on Friday. I have the scrapes and bruises to satisfy that little bit of painful research. Fortunately, I didn’t do any serious damage to myself or to anything else when I passed out and keeled over. The bottom number on my blood pressure was still “47” 40 minutes after the incident. However, Saturday morning, I was able to do some things around outside that were necessary before I resorted to the AC inside for the balance of the day.

volunteers vs. 25,000 booksSunday morning, it was our good pleasure to worship with the Clinton, MS Church of Christ. Since class began at 9 a.m., we had to leave Winona about 7 a.m. – the beginning of a long day in the making. It probably sounds like the proverbial broken record, but I made my PowerPoint presentation for Bible class about our 2014 Guyana Mission Trip; during the worship period, I again preached “Understanding How God Communicates with Mankind, Today.”

volunteers vs. 25,000 booksAfterward, Bonnie and I kicked around Jackson, MS for the afternoon, first dining at and sharing a meal at Olive Garden; despite sharing the meal, we still carted away enough for another meal back at the house for another day. Bonnie cannot eat much at a time, and I have reduced my intake, too, as we share meals; I really like the money-savings bonus that comes along with that strategy. We shopped at Hancock Fabrics and then paused for a couple of hours in comfy seating at a nearby air conditioned mall. We bought gas, some other things at Wal-Mart, of course, and an ice cream cone apiece and a cold drink – as we waited for it to be time to head to our evening venue.

volunteers vs. 25,000 booksSunday evening, we worshipped with our sponsoring congregation, the Siwell Road Church of Christ on the south side of Jackson. I slipped up and got us there about an hour ahead of time; worship began at 5:30 p.m. I preached about “Rearing Children.” Services concluded, Bonnie and I headed in the direction of home – two hours north on I-55. However, on the way, we made two detours and brief stops. First, we visited Kroger in Madison, MS to buy groceries. Secondly, we grabbed sandwiches, shared a fry and soda at Arby’s in Canton, MS along the highway. Upon arriving back in Winona, we retired to bed as soon as we got the car emptied and cold items in the refrigerator or in the freezer. We were bushed.

volunteers vs. 25,000 booksMonday, Bonnie spent a lot of time on the phone trying to pin down the delivery of eight pallets of literature to the World Evangelism building in Winona; we have been waiting for over a week for the shipment to make its way from a dock in Los Angeles to us. It already travel all the way from Hong Kong where we had it printed in color throughout – mostly the new Bible class curriculum. There was ample office work to keep us both hopping – accounting, packaging book and tract orders to take to the Post Office, trying to hammer out our itinerary for our upcoming travels abroad, and doing all that is necessary to apply for our visas to Myanmar.

volunteers vs. 25,000 booksTuesday, a tractor trailer finally pulled up out front. Eighteen volunteers representing three congregations (West President Church of Christ in Greenwood, MS; Liberty Church of Christ in Dennis, MS – three hours away; and Huntsville Church of Christ outside of French Camp, MS) showed up just in time to help me unload and put away 25,000 books – in the blistering hot, highly muggy Mississippi summer day. It’s dark as I compose this, but without all that help, I’d still be working on that job!

Some boxes were damaged in shipment, but we only lost about eight books. Several ladies came along with men, and so they collated several different pieces of literature to ready it for shipping out, beginning on Thursday. Some congregations will be beta testing two different age groups of material this fall.

Otherwise, we shipped book and tract orders. We prepared for doing our mail out of the August edition of the Rushmore Newsletter; it arrived from the printing company the day before. Wednesday, we will attempt to fold, stuff, tab, label and mail nearly 1,000 pieces. Perhaps by Wednesday, Bonnie and I also can send out the numerous “Thank You” cards from those who recently sent monetary gifts to fund our labors stateside and overseas.

There are dozens of additional tasks just begging to be addressed, too. In due time, they all will move to the forefront and receive our attention (e.g., preparation of lessons for the seminars and Gospel lessons we each will present over nine weeks abroad, making appointments for stateside travel before and after our fall overseas mission trip, working on Gospel Gazette Online, working on The Voice of Truth International, etc.). We are making progress on all fronts, but we don’t expect to be done or wholly caught up until we pass over the threshold from our earthly existence to our heavenly reward. Come go with us!

Whew! Glad That’s Done

August 20, 2014

The week of August 10, Bonnie and I were still the lone team members in town. Our week was consumed with various office duties, including shipping out orders daily to individual Christians and congregations, preparing our newsletter digitally for sending to the printing company we use, and a BIG mailing. Wednesday and Friday combined, we had prepared and mailed 995 letters to Christians and churches of Christ, encouraging them to participate financially with Bonnie and me in our upcoming nearly nine-week mission trip to four Asian countries. Over the next four weeks, we need to gather sufficient funds to permit us to labor in the Gospel at several venues in Myanmar and India, plus single sites respectively in Sri Lanka and Singapore. It is quite a puzzle trying to schedule all of the activities, flights, land travel, lodging, etc.

Saturday morning, I was able to finalize the digital files for the next issue of The Voice of Truth International and get it mailed to the printing company. Saturday afternoon, Bonnie and I aimed the Gospel chariot toward McMinnville, Tennessee, where I was to speak at two congregations on Sunday; however, we lodged that night in Manchester, TN.

Sunday morning, Bonnie and I assembled with the Pleasant Cove Church of Christ, one of our monthly supporters. I showed the PowerPoint “2014 Guyana Mission Trip” during Bible class, and then for a.m. worship, I preached “Understanding How God Communicates with Mankind, Today?” Afterward, the congregation and we enjoyed a fellowship meal together. Often, we manage to visit a congregation (unwittingly) on potluck Sunday, or as in this case the brethren used our visit as an occasion to get together and eat. Either way, it works for me!

Sunday afternoon, Bonnie and I enjoyed the hospitality of brother Ray and sister Charlotte Weddington in their living room. They have been long time encouragers and supporters of Bonnie and me in our efforts for the Lord. Brother Ray especially likes Gospel Gazette Online (Website: and has been a faithful reader for many years of its 16-year history.

Sunday evening, the West Riverside Church of Christ was gracious enough to permit me to make the PowerPoint presentation about our 2014 mission trip to Guyana, South America. We are always cordially received there, too.

After grabbing a sandwich apiece in Manchester, TN, we continued a little further to Tullahoma, TN where we lodged for the evening. Heavy rain fell overnight and continued throughout the following day as we journeyed onward. We stopped for a few hours in Florence, AL where we met up with brother Wayne and sister Janet Barrier. We all conversed over a tasty meal at Red Lobster. Next, we stopped by Heritage Christian University in Florence, whereupon we unloaded two boxes of books for Joey Barrier to use in a new mission studies over which he is the director at HCU. It was good to see his sister Jenny, too, who came by. Finally, we continued toward Winona, MS, arriving back after dark on Monday.

Ditch DiggingOver the last three weeks, I have been digging a ditch to lead rainwater away from our carport and woodshop, which have been flooding. Actually, I think the ditch has been working on me as well; I’ve about come to the conclusion that at my age I have dug my last ditch! Of course, much of the time found me swinging an ax to displace pine tree roots the size of my upper thigh. If that were not daunting enough, the ground was so hard that I had to use a pickax to break up the ground. Wednesday morning, I was able to put the last of the pea gravel atop the perforated pipe that I buried and connected to other underground pipe installed last year. Lastly, I applied silicone caulk to seams in downspout connections to buried pipe, which had been leaking severely and contributing greatly to flooding in the woodshop. Whew! Glad that’s done.

Bonnie continues to face medical challenges on a daily basis. The extensive surgery under which she went to combat pancreatic cancer has left her with the inability to eat and digest her food properly. Day and night she experiences pains over which she cannot gain control. Nevertheless, she and I persist in the work for the Lord that lies ahead of us. We hope to remain tools in the hands of God as long as we live. Please pray for us.

First Weekend in August

August 4, 2014

To my surprise, I was able to publish to the Internet on Friday evening, August 1 the August Edition of Gospel Gazette Online. It is not uncommon for the publication to be late, available well into a new month, and it has been several months behind sometimes in the past. Then, we notified the nearly 1,500 subscribers that it was ready. Immediately, hundreds begin poring over the pages, followed by the arrival of new subscription requests as well as subscription cancellations. This is a labor of love to which Bonnie and I have devoted ourselves for 16 years so far.

Saturday, one phone call that I received commended Gospel Gazette Online and requested a digital copy of my book The Spirit Summarized. It has long been out of print, but it is available in PDF format. I walked him through the procedure of going to the website ( and following the link for the Digital Library. There, one can find 80 issues of The Voice of Truth International and about three dozen books (i.e., study books, commentaries and sermon outline books) at no charge to the user. Simply call up any title in which one is interested, and then save it to one’s hard drive or other storage device. That’s all there is to it!

Once more this Sunday, and I traveled to assemble with the Indianola, Mississippi Church of Christ. For Bible class, I taught about the topic of “Pain & Suffering.” For both worship periods, I preached about “The Ministry of Angels.” During the evening, we took a look at the biblical references to “the angel of the Lord.”

Monday, Bonnie and I both dined with preachers and their wives in Clinton, Mississippi. Afterward, we all retreated to the meetinghouse, and I spoke to the brothers while Bonnie addressed the sisters who were present. I have more personal delight teaching and preaching (and writing and foreign missions) than anything else I could imagine – certainly more enjoyment than I could derive from such things as amusement parks and traditional recreational activities.

Tuesday, we will be back at the office. Bonnie and I are the only ones of the Winona World Evangelism Team in Winona for the month of August. The Bates are oversea, traveling to countries on two continents. Betty Choate is in California. A tractor-trailer with seven pallets of books is coming in the middle of August, but Bonnie cannot help me, and the rest have scattered. We will be calling upon interested brethren to help – or it will just take me a little while. Wednesday, we will be in Jackson, MS again for a follow up appointment with Bonnie’s surgeon. We keep keeping on with an eye on the heavenly horizon while busying ourselves as best we know how in the service of our Lord.