Archive for September 2014

Upended Again!

September 28, 2014

Bonnie RushmoreCome now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. (James 4:13-16 NKJV)

Recently, weeks of intricate planning and coordination with brethren in several foreign countries for our 9-week, fall mission trip to Asia was interrupted by circumstances beyond our control. Bonnie’s routine checkup and CT scan delayed our departure if not cancelled it altogether.

Next, we reported that further procedures would occur to further diagnose abnormalities discerned by the CT scan. Wednesday, September 24, Bonnie was to undergo paracentesis to drain a fluid sac in her abdomen. However, the amount of fluid was too minimal to permit draining or even to subject some of the fluid to further analysis. Frustrated plans once more!

Friday’s scheduled PET scan to more clearly define the irregularities observed in the CT scan was cancelled by our insurance company – it refused to pay for the test. Exasperated again!

Now we wait. Perhaps by Monday we will be apprised of when Bonnie will be scheduled for a biopsy as an alternative route to ascertain if Bonnie’s pancreatic cancer has flared up again. In the meantime, we fully realize that we are not in control of much of anything at this point (cf. James 4:13-16). Meanwhile, Bonnie continues to experience an array of varying degrees of pain in different parts of her abdomen, stomach and back. She persists on taking nothing stronger than an infrequent Tylenol. She is tired, and we are sometimes a little distraught, but well wishes and encouragement by Christian friends bolster us.

It remains to be seen how the next few weeks will unfold and whether we will be able to salvage any of our planned mission trip. We have already missed our appointment in Sri Lanka, and it is nearly certain that we cannot go to Myanmar either. In any case, we remain servants of our Lord and are at His disposal as He sees fit.

Another of Life’s Little Detours

September 23, 2014

Bonnie at the OfficeIt is not as much what happens to one in life as much as it is what one does with what happens to him or her in life. Life is full of little detours over which one has little or no control, and for which course adjustments become necessary.

Sunday, September 21 saw Bonnie and me worshipping with the Old Union Church of Christ, as we typically do when we are not elsewhere across the country for speaking appointments. In addition to worshipping God, we said our goodbyes to brethren there, anticipating departing from Winona, Mississippi on Tuesday and leaving the USA for nine weeks beginning on Wednesday.

However, on Monday Bonnie had a routine appointment for her 4-month oncology checkup in Jackson, Mississippi. As it turned out, though, Bonnie failed her CT scan. I guess she should have studied harder for the test!

The CT scan revealed a sack of fluid insider her abdomen – doubtless contributing to the daily pain in, swelling and protrusion of her stomach. In addition, the test showed swelling on the duct for her pancreas and abnormal tissue on the underside of her scar from pancreatic cancer surgery. For weeks, Bonnie has had an on and off low-grade fever, but the antibiotic she had been taking made her sick and resulted in a severe allergic reaction. Her pains extend into her lower back, too.

Bonnie’s oncologist is very concerned about Bonnie’s current condition, and she proceeded to arrange immediate action. This, of course, stalled if not cancelled our mission trip to four Asian countries that was to begin on Wednesday. Instead, on Wednesday, Bonnie will undergo an outpatient procedure to draw off the fluid buildup, after which it will be cultured over a couple of days to discern if it indicates the resurgence of cancer. Then on Friday, we will return again to Jackson, Mississippi a third time this week for Bonnie to have a PET scan performed on her; this scan is more definitive and more costly, but it may also help determine whether Bonnie’s cancer has returned or if there is another explanation for Bonnie’s maladies.

Finally, Monday, September 29, Bonnie and I return to Jackson, Mississippi for an oncology appointment to meet with the doctor. At that time, we will receive the results of her blood tests, the culture on the extracted fluid and the PET scan. Obviously, some sort of treatment will be required, but the type of treatment will depend on what the tests discover. Only then will we be able to reassess our mission trip this fall to Asia. If possible, either we or I will attempt to resume a portion of the trek, but we know for sure that we cannot meet the appointment in Sri Lanka, and our effort in Myanmar is questionable under the most favorable medical results. Only time will tell if at least I will be able to meet the several appointments throughout India as well as our scheduled appointment in Singapore.

Life is full of detours along the pilgrim pathway. All we can do is try to keep it between the ditches of sin while fixing our view without fail on the heavenly horizon. All either Bonnie or I want out of what life we have left is to serve faithfully our Lord and Savior. We are grateful to our brethren who encourage and pray for us, as well as make it possible for us to serve stateside and abroad.

In the meantime and between upcoming medical appointments, Bonnie and I are back at the office. We are working on The Voice of Truth International (Volume 82), Gospel Gazette Online and other literature. We are packing and shipping requests for literature. Thursday, when the Bates and Betty Choate return to Winona from a missions program, I will help unload a tractor-trailer bringing us Volume 81 of The Voice of Truth International from the printing company. Otherwise, our days between doctor and hospital visits are punctuated with dozens of other routine things associated with our part in the cooperative brotherhood effort of World Evangelism.

My Daughter Preaches!

September 20, 2014

Rebecca RushmoreWhen our daughter Rebecca was about 3-years-old, she wanted to be a preacher. One day I found her standing on a miniature wooden chair, curlers in her hair under one of my hats, right hand outstretched, just preaching her little heart out. That’s when I told her that girls don’t preach, and she promptly and profusely cried.

Well, I was wrong. Girls can preach – to other girls or ladies. Decades later, Rebecca musters some of her schoolteacher skills and training, combines that with her Bible study and dedication to the Lord, and has taught ladies on three continents. My daughter preaches!

Today (Saturday, September 20, 2014), Rebecca was the featured speaker at a Ladies’ Inspiration Day hosted by the Huntsville Church of Christ outside of French Camp, Mississippi. She made three presentations, and according to my wife Bonnie and our coworker Paula Bates, Rebecca excelled. Apparently, all of the 64 ladies in attendance from 10 congregations were pleasantly edified. The program commenced with breakfast and concluded with lunch to feed physical bodies. In between, the sisters in Christ enjoyed a spiritual feast. Yes, my daughter preaches (cf. Acts 21:8-9).

Passing through Your Neighborhood?

September 20, 2014

Traveling BillboardBonnie and I may have just passed through or near your neighborhood. Wednesday, September 17, we traveled from western Pennsylvania south past Pittsburgh and took a right turn at Washington, Pennsylvania. Turning westward from I-79 onto I-70, we paused in the Wheeling, West Virginia area for lunch and to spend a couple of hours with brother Emanuel and sister Judy Daugherty. Continuing westward into Ohio along I-70, Bonnie and I turned south once more onto I-77. Several miles south of the Ohio River (the third time today that we crossed it) in West Virginia, eventually we turned onto two-lane roads through the countryside to the meetinghouse of the Sandyville Church of Christ. That evening, I acquainted the congregation with our 2014 Guyana mission trip with a PowerPoint presentation, and I apprised the brethren of our soon departure for nine weeks to four Asian countries.

Once more overnight, Bonnie and I were the guests of brother John and sister Sue Balis; he serves as one of two elders. They are great encouragers of our efforts on behalf of the cause of Christ. The following morning, sister Sue cooked up bacon, eggs and toast prior to the resumption of our journey and our return to Winona, Mississippi.

Throughout the day, we traveled through West Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee until we arrived at our daughter Rebecca’s home in Collierville, Tennessee. A week and a half earlier, we traveled from Mississippi through the same states, though by different routes. We made a big, big circle, passing through countless neighborhoods. Drop me an email or give me a call, and Bonnie and I will make your congregation a destination – instead of merely passing through or near to your neighborhood. Have Gospel, will travel! Email: rushmore@gospelgazette.com Finally, Friday around noon, we arrived back at our Winona home.

Kinfolks Holler

September 16, 2014

HeadstoneSeptember 15 – 16, Monday and Tuesday, Bonnie and I visited family in Pennsylvania. Monday, we drove from Hanoverton, Ohio where we had lodged for several days to Sharon, Pennsylvania. There, we visited Bonnie’s sister Dianna. A little later, we drove further in to the state to the outskirts of Greenville, Pennsylvania to visit with Bonnie’s brothers Jim and Larry, with their wives, who congregated at Larry’s home. After a little catching up, we all drove to the local Pizza Hut to continue our fraternizing over tasty fixings. Later, we drove to Mercer, Pennsylvania where we had the misfortune to select the Comfort Inn for the next two evenings’ lodging; Comfort Inns lately where we have stayed have been all over the place relative to any standard of hospitality, and this one turned out to be the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.

Tuesday morning, Bonnie and I first drove to the Rocky Glen Cemetery on a wooded hill overlooking Adamsville, Pennsylvania. It took a while, but we finally located the graves of Bonnie’s various family members, including her parents, a sister and a niece.

Next, we drove to Martin Rushmore’s home in Jamestown, Pennsylvania; Tuesday was largely dedicated to visiting my surviving family members whereas the day before we visited Bonnie’s surviving family members. After leaving Martin’s place, we drove toward Greenville, Pennsylvania once more and stopped at my brother Michael’s home. Late in the day, we drove to Hadley, Pennsylvania and visited my father Clifford. We usually see our families no more than once annually, and we opt to make the long drive before snow and ice make traveling more difficult. We make this trip each year right before going overseas on our mission trips to Asian countries. A week from tomorrow, Wednesday, September 24 we begin this year’s saga to four Asian countries: Sri Lanka, Myanmar, India and Singapore.

Pymatunig DamBonnie and I paused between visits to Rushmore brothers in a park overlooking a small dam. There, we ate some Ritz Crackers and cheese we purchased in Amish country – Berlin, Ohio – last Saturday. Between visiting my brothers and visiting my dad, Bonnie and I snagged a sandwich apiece from Arby’s en route. Then, just before returning to our inhospitable hotel, we stopped briefly at Dairy Queen for two small vanilla-chocolate twist soft serve ice cream cones.

It was a good day overall. Cleaned up and ready for bed, we look forward to some rest and sleep before launching out toward West Virginia on Wednesday.

A Day with the Hanoverton, Ohio Church of Christ

September 14, 2014

96 dpi 5x7 Tractor at Hanoverton CoCSunday, September 14, 2014, Bonnie and I had the good pleasure of worshipping with the Hanoverton, Ohio Church of Christ. During Sunday morning Bible class, I made my PowerPoint presentation about our 2014 Guyana Mission Trip. For the morning worship period, I preached “Understanding How God Communicates with Mankind, Today.” Following lunch, I attended a devotional conducted by the Hanoverton congregation at a nursing and personal care home in Lisbon, Ohio. Brother Bob Noland and I left our wives back at the Noland home to rest; Martha Noland was coughing, and Bonnie was tired. That evening, I preached about “Rearing Children”; I went overtime, which I promised I wouldn’t do next week – that is, in Hanoverton! That lesson lays out biblical and practical applications for childrearing; I have presented it overseas and in various venues in the USA, for which someone always expresses enthusiastic appreciation.

Hanoverton, Ohio is a farming community – dairy and beef cattle, with the accompanying necessary crops to feed them. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised, then, that one of the members – a farmer – drove up for evening worship on a farm tractor. I was happy that he was there irrespective of the mode of transportation or farm clothes. As Bonnie and I travel to foreign countries, we see even more diverse cultural manifestations differing from American norms (e.g., longyi on men and women plus bare feet in worship). The tractor was a nice, amusing touch to rural Ohio parking lot amongst other vehicles delivering their worshippers to the meetinghouse.

P.S. I have never had better hamburgers and meatloaf than derived from the family Angus cattle farms among members of the Lord’s church there. Umm, good!

Traveling Along

September 13, 2014
Barrel Train

Barrel Train

Monday, September 8, Bonnie and I continued our northeastward 2014 journey to Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. We have financial supporters, dear friends and family in those states. No trip Bonnie and I make is wholly recreational or solely a vacation, so again we alternated between speaking to brethren from various congregations of the Lord’s church and visiting family and friends. Monday night, Bonnie and I lodged in a motel in LaGrange, Kentucky.

Young Hostess

Young Hostess

Tuesday, we moved forward throughout the day, arriving in Hanoverton, Ohio early in the evening. Our host and hostess for the next few days are our friends and brethren Bob and Martha Noland; he preaches for the Hanoverton Church of Christ. That evening, we were supper guests with Jake and Angela Marshall and family.

Tortoise

Tortoise

Wednesday, Bonnie and I worshipped with the Medina, Ohio Church of Christ. However, we had an early supper with the Rodney and Julene Nulph family; Rodney preaches for the Medina congregation, and he is the Associate Editor of Gospel Gazette Online. Bonnie and I always enjoy spending a little time with this wonderful couple and their three delightful young children. That evening, I made my PowerPoint presentation “2014 Guyana Mission Trip.”

Thursday and Friday, Bonnie and I enjoyed the company of Bob and Martha Noland. Every year when we visit, we look forward to dining at the Mexican restaurant in Salem, Ohio, which we did once more.

Alpaca

Alpaca

Saturday, Bonnie and I parted temporarily from the Nolands and drove to Sugar Creek, Ohio. We met our son Raymond at the Dutch Valley Restaurant. I relish the Amish cooked roast beef that falls apart; the sweet, mustard-yellow potato salad and some of the best coleslaw I have ever eaten. Of course, it was nice to have the good companionship of my wife and son. We only get to see him once a year when we venture up this way.

People were everywhere! Cars were bumper to bumper stopped from time to time all over Amish country. There was also a little Amish fair going on at Dutch Valley with goats, a camel, alpacas and a huge tortoise. We observed an Amish couple making brooms. There was a trackless train pulling children around the lot in train cars made from 55 gallon drums.

Miniature Church Building

Miniature Church Building

Raymond & Louis

Raymond & Louis

Leaving there, we made our way to Heini’s Cheese Chalet outside of Berlin, Ohio – another must visit location in Amish country every year we come up this way. We had to stand in a 150 foot long line just to get to and through the cheese retail area. After picking up some cheeses and fudge, we went to another area in the Chalet to purchase Amish cake mixes – a must buy each year for Bonnie; of course, I like the end result later when she transforms them into delicious cakes.

Bonnie has felt better today than she has felt in weeks. However, she was tired, and so we headed back to the Noland home in Hanoverton, Ohio. Throughout the week, Bonnie has been suffering with abdominal pains, nausea, vomiting, kidney back pain and a low-grade fever. If those maladies were not bad enough, she experienced a serious allergic reaction to the antibiotic; she swelled up, one of her eyes swelled shut and she had a rash everywhere. With a little Benadryl and a few days’ time, her body began to return to normal. We’re hoping and trying to get her in sufficient shape to make our 9-week Asian mission trip, starting Wednesday, September 24, 2014.

During our down moments now and as we travel in the states and overseas, we operate our mobile office, working on things like Gospel Gazette Online and The Voice of Truth International.

Thank you for your interest in Bonnie and me. We covet the prayers of our brethren respecting the efforts we put forth toward the cause of Christ stateside and abroad.