Archive for November 2014

Thanksgiving Week

November 29, 2014
Medals for Mettle encouragment

Medals for Mettle encouragment

Sunday, November 23, Bonnie and I worshipped with the Collierville Church of Christ. Not only because this is where our daughter Rebecca worships, but especially because Bonnie wanted to be with these dear brethren, we had driven to Rebecca’s home on Friday. So, after Bonnie’s radiation treatment in Jackson, MS on Friday, we drove 1½ hours north to Winona, MS, paused there briefly, and then, drove another 2¼ hours further north to Collierville, TN. That’s a lot of driving, but Bonnie missed these Christians who have been so good to send cards and offer prayers on her behalf. We thoroughly enjoyed interacting with these brothers and sisters and worshipping Almighty God together.

Sunday evening, we returned to Winona, MS so that on Monday morning we could go on to Jackson, MS for radiation and chemotherapy treatments. We were slow getting around before departing, and we gathered several books to give to staff and patients of Hope House, where we are lodging during weekday treatments. Behold, we thought we were supposed to be in four Asian countries to encourage and edify brethren as well as to acquaint non-Christians with the Gospel. However, since our 9-week mission trip had to be cancelled so that Bonnie could receive medical treatment for pancreatic cancer, perhaps God’s providence is providing other necessary opportunities for one or more souls with whom we may come in contact. Therefore, we amassed numerous titles and duplicate copies of Bible study books to share with residents and staff at Hope House and hospital radiation and oncology departments where Bonnie is being treated. In addition, not going to Asia this fall has enabled me to write a first principles Bible study book, which I was asked to write two years ago.

This was to be a short week because the Thanksgiving holiday interrupts treatment Thursday and Friday. However, though Bonnie received radiation Monday, but the balance of radiation treatments for the week were cancelled because of Bonnie’s low white blood cell count. Consequently, after eating lunch, we travelled back to Winona, MS with plans on returning to Jackson, MS on Wednesday for chemotherapy. Bonnie vacillates from moments of feeling well, particularly soon after awaking in the morning, to bouts with nausea and pains. As one might imagine, this is discouraging to both of us, but more so, of course, for Bonnie. The least little bit of activity or eating something exhausts her or hurts.

Tuesday, Bonnie rested most of the day. What little activity she attempted or whenever she tried to eat something, Bonnie became nauseated.  In addition, she was very tired. I worked all day on the book I am writing, Walking with Christ.

Wednesday morning Bonnie awoke feeling well, but as soon as she ate some oatmeal, she was ill again. Later in the morning, we, with Rebecca accompanying us, made our way to Jackson, MS for Bonnie’s chemotherapy. Each visit to the oncologist begins with blood work before chemotherapy. Bonnie’s white blood cells and platelets both were too low for her to receive chemotherapy, so we returned once more to Winona, MS. Consequently, the oncologist cancelled the rest of Bonnie’s chemotherapy for the time being, until radiation treatments are complete. Tentatively, Bonnie has nine more treatments; we will return to oncology radiation on Monday, and if Bonnie’s blood counts have improved enough, we expect radiation to resume.

Thursday – Thanksgiving Day, was a good day. Bonnie only experienced a little pain and discomfort, mostly toward end of day. Rebecca, Bonnie and I combined our fixings with Jerry and Paula Bates in their home. They had graciously invited us as they wouldn’t visit their children until the following day. We had a pleasant meal and time with each other. Bonnie, Rebecca and I brought some favorites of ours to the Thanksgiving spread – real mashed potatoes, bread stuffing or dressing, thick gravy and homemade bread. Paula prepared the turkey, deviled eggs, a delicious cheesy broccoli soup, cornbread dressing, pumpkin and pecan pies and other garnishments, such as pickles, olives and cranberry sauce. While sitting and talking, we viewed pictures of Jerry’s recent mission trip to Vietnam; we also saw some of the trinkets that he brought back from there. Upon returning to the house, I finished answering a question that will appear in the December edition of Gospel Gazette Online; I placed it in the magazine on page 16.

Friday, I worked on the manuscript for the book Walking with Christ that I am writing; I am coming ever closer to finishing the first draft, going back and filling in the outlined areas that I passed over previously. It may prove as difficult to progress from here as it was to get this far along in the first place.

Bonnie was feeling marginally well. She did some straightening up in one of our rooms that has become a drop and run depot since she became ill and our plans changed. Sometimes we are barely home enough from receiving treatments to do much more than wash clothes and reload our suitcases. Bonnie worked on our personal and Rushmore Evangelism finances, and Rebecca and she prepared lunch; Bonnie has been sidelined largely respecting domestic activities because of illness, though she is ever eager to resume what she can. Our daughter Rebecca is a big help and a tremendous encourager to both of us – by her mere presence in addition to whatever else she helps us do.

Friday evening, Bonnie and I as well as Rebecca were guests of Betty Choate for supper. Some of her family was in and sister Choate thought to include us, too. We appreciated that very much.

Friday and Saturday, I visited a local pharmacy. As it turned out, I needed an insurance override to obtain the first order of my diabetic supplies for a new meter since some lances remained for the previous meter that quit working; therefore, I was able to get a prescription for Bonnie on Friday and myself on Saturday.

We and Rebecca went to the office for an hour and a half to attend to things that we can’t do otherwise (e.g., print and prepare for mailing “Thank You” cards to supporters, package religious books to give to oncology radiation and oncology chemotherapy staffs; I already prepared a box for staff and patients at Hope House of Hospitality where Bonnie and I are staying weeknights during Bonnie’s medical treatments. We three capped our little Winona, MS outing by having lunch at one of the best Mexican restaurants in the world – right here in Winona.

I worked on the new book, and Bonnie and Rebecca worked on a Rushmore Evangelism spreadsheet. Rebecca helped us with numerous tasks that either we haven’t gotten to or that are difficult for me to do by myself (e.g., mopped the kitchen floor, brought holiday decorations down from the attic, move some furniture around, did laundry, etc.). Since it was a warm day, I seized the opportunity to fertilize the lawn with a vision of healthier grass next year. Rebecca and I made a couple of shoe tying apparatuses to help one of her school students learn to tie his shoes. After the houseplants were watered, I ironed a couple of shirts for next week in Jackson, MS. All of the little things sometimes become bigger challenges, and Bonnie and I appreciate the assistance, especially that Rebecca has provided us over the last few days. She is a sure blessing in our lives for so many reasons.

Thank you for your interest, encouragement and prayers. We remain your servants in Jesus Christ. Most of the days this week have been at least more good than bad days for Bonnie. She perseveres through the pains, nausea, discomfort, weariness and tears. We view ourselves as pilgrims marching toward home, all the while hoping to be useful tools in the hands of God along the way – all the way!

Weekly Update

November 22, 2014
Hearth at Home Bible Study

Hearth at Home Bible Study

Monday, November 17, Bonnie and I went to the World Evangelism Building office early in the morning so we could pack and ship a package of books to fulfill an order that arrived via email over the weekend. Having already packed our clothes for the week and loaded the car, then, we headed to Jackson, MS for Bonnie’s 11:30 a.m. radiation appointment. Along the way, we stopped for some soup so Bonnie would not receive treatment on an empty stomach. Afterward, we checked in at Hope House of Hospitality where we are lodging weekdays for the duration of Bonnie’s radiation treatments. Radiation occurs daily Monday through Friday, and Bonne receives chemotherapy on Wednesdays.

Tuesday evening, we were once more guests of Adam and Melanie Fowler for supper. This time, they introduced us to a local eatery with which we were unfamiliar – Trace Grill on US 51 in Ridgeland, MS. The food was good and the company was pleasant as always.

Wednesday was a full day for Bonnie and me with radiation and chemotherapy treatments and Bible class that evening with the Siwell Road Church of Christ. It was questionable whether Bonnie could receive treatment because this week her white blood count was low, but she received treatment with the warning to stay away from sick people. We were both refreshed in spirit from interaction with caring friends and brethren at and after Bible class.

To address the ongoing digestive issues she has continued to experience since her Whipple surgery months ago, Bonnie received a new prescription from the oncologist. We took it to a local pharmacy so she could use it right away, but we were shocked to discover that a 30-day supply of this medicine sells for $1,500! Fortunately, our insurance paid about $1,200 of it; $250 of the remaining about was the annual deductible, since most of Bonnie’s medicines are generics, affordable and not covered by insurance, then. Next month with insurance, we anticipate an out-of-pocket expense for a month’s supply of this drug to be about $25. However, the $250 deductible for medicines (and $5,000 deductible for treatment per person) begins again January 1.

Thursday and Friday, of course, were radiation treatment days. Bonnie made brownies from scratch on Thursday, to the delight of all at Hope House who availed themselves of them. Friday, we moved radiation up a little so we could make the return trip back to Winona, MS a little earlier.

During the week, Bonnie experienced ups and downs respecting how she was feeling; some days are good, some fair and some days are bad days. Every day, Bonnie paces herself, eats little amounts throughout the day and night and takes naps. Otherwise, she and I engage ourselves in a number activities associated with our efforts for the Lord. Bonnie worked on three months of Rushmore Evangelism financials in preparation for our next newsletter, thank you cards and The Voice of Truth International. I worked on the December edition of Gospel Gazette Online and a book that I am writing about first principles for non-Christians and new Christians, presently titled, Walking with Christ. I also finished a new PowerPoint for Hope House of Hospitality on which I had been working from time to time over the past two weeks.

Friday afternoon, Bonnie and I arrived in Winona. We retrieved a week’s worth of mail and proceeded to the office/warehouse to package four copies of our new book, Noble Ladies. After mailing the books at the local post office to supporters who had requested them, we headed for Collierville, TN. Bonnie wanted to visit dear brethren and friends of the Collierville Church of Christ. We paused at our favorite steakhouse in Horn Lake, MS, meeting our daughter after school at the Texas Roadhouse for supper. Later in the evening, we attended a study group of Collierville church members in one of their homes.

This morning, we had a donut apiece from a little bakery conveniently located not far from Rebecca’s home. This is wash day, and we are taking advantage of Rebecca’s washeteria; it’s time to reload the suitcases for next week.

Sunday, we look forward to worshipping God with friends and brethren of the Collierville Church of Christ, before returning to Winona in preparation for returning Monday to treatments in Jackson, MS.

Bonnie and I continue to be grateful for the prayers and moral encouragement we receive from friends and brethren as we go through this medical ordeal. Particularly my recent study of the Book of Job has helped us meet the occasion of this current illness, without losing sight of the heavenly horizon.

The Week in Review

November 14, 2014

 Sunday morning, November 9, Bonnie and I worshipped with the Old Union Church of Christ in Carroll County, Mississippi. For the balance of the day and all night, Bonnie was very sick. Hence, we did not go out again for evening worship, and there was precious little sleep to be had overnight.

Small RefrigeratorMonday morning, we drove from Winona, MS to Jackson, MS in time for Bonnie’s radiation appointment. Bonnie was some improved and slept most of the day after her radiation treatment. It was also on Monday that through the generosity of the Old Union Church of Christ I was able to purchase and haul to Hope House of Hospitality 12 dorm-size refrigerators, for each of the patient rooms in the primary building. Tuesday, Bonnie began to feel a little better.

Wednesday was a good day for Bonnie, despite radiation, chemotherapy, a dinner appointment in the home of Melanie and Adam Fowler, and attending Bible class at the Madison, MS Church of Christ – where the Fowlers are members. Thursday after radiation, we had lunch at Cracker Barrel as guests of brother Rob Salley; he is also a member of the Madison Church of Christ and the Director of Sunnybrook Children’s Home in Jackson, MS. Though this was a good day for Bonnie, too, she rested for much of the afternoon and evening. Between occasions of rest, we cleaned our room – our bedroom, living space and office – all-in-one!

Friday morning, Bonnie received radiation a little earlier so we could head back to Winona some sooner than otherwise would be the case. I keep getting lost in downtown Jackson – unable to find various locations even with the ?help? of GPS. However, on the way to the cancer center on Friday, I found a shoe repair; I was beginning to think that I was going to have to go back to Burma where I bought my leather sandals so I could get them repaired.

We arrived back in Winona around 1 p.m. After unburdening the van of our luggage, we proceeded to the World Evangelism Building – to the office. I prepared two packages of literature for mailing and later took them to the local post office. In addition, I gathered other literature for personal distribution while in Jackson next week. Bonnie and I prepared the “Thank You” cards to donors whose financial support had arrived recently at the Siwell Road Church of Christ for our mission work; we took these to the post office as well, stopping at the bank to make a deposit on the way back to our Winona home. Back at the house, it was time to do the washing so we would have clothes to pack to do everything over again next week in Jackson.

During the week in Jackson, we worked on the upcoming edition of the Rushmore Newsletter, the December issue of Gospel Gazette Online, a book on first principles that I am writing by request (primarily for use overseas) and I wrote a religious article about Cain’s rejected worship. Bonnie also worked on the accounting for the Rushmore Evangelism Fund and our personal finances, too. We are having a positive interaction with the denominational staff of Hope House.

Holly Wright PaintingBonnie and I donated to Hope House of Hospitality a special painting that was given to us over a year ago when Bonnie was fighting pancreatic cancer the first time. Sister Holly Wright, preacher’s wife and member of the Huntsville Church of Christ outside of French Camp, MS, is an artist and painted the picture. Hope House graciously received the picture and promptly hung it in a place of prominence in the main thoroughfare of the home. There it will not only bring brightness into our lives but also into the lives of the numerous outpatients who cycle in and out of Hope House of Hospitality.

Nearly every waking moment we are attending to medical treatments or some aspect of the Lord’s work (edification, evangelism, etc.) – of course, though Bonnie – rightfully so, is getting a little more rest than me as a consequence of the medical procedures, medications, side effects and subsequent fatigue. Neither of us got much sleep Sunday and Monday nights, and Bonnie experienced some difficulty sleeping other nights, too, but most of the time I slept sufficiently well. Bonnie made up for sleepless nights with daytime naps. In any case, we are still plugging away and serving our Lord.

First Week at Hope House

November 8, 2014

Hope House of HospitalityMonday, November 3, Bonnie and I began our first week of residency at Hope House of Hospitality in Jackson, Mississippi. We drove down from Winona, MS an hour and a half for Bonnie’s radiation treatment, after which we checked into Hope House. Monday was a bad day for Bonnie.

Tuesday and Wednesday were better days for Bonnie. She felt well enough to go out Tuesday evening to hear brother Tom Holland in a Gospel meeting at the Clinton, MS Church of Christ. After radiation on Wednesday, the two of us walked once around a local mall on both floors before returning to Hope House. Wednesday evening, she and I attended midweek Bible class at the Siwell Road Church of Christ on the south side of Jackson. Bonnie received radiation both of those days, too.

Wednesday, I was able to publish to the Internet the November edition of Gospel Gazette Online. I continued to make it ready for publication even after we checked into Hope House. Access to WI-FI at Hope House made it possible for me to publish GGO to the Internet.

Hope House of Hospitality is a non-profit organization that provides a residential service to seriously ill outpatients who live beyond 30 miles from the hospitals here; Bonnie and I reside 90 miles away in Winona, and daily travel for radiation would be a wearisome proposition for Bonnie and me as well as very costly.

The facility is a little worn from much needed use and offers basic lodging and meals. Hope House serves outpatients from the local hospitals and is solely supported by donations. Guests are able to stay here without charge to them. Bonnie and I will probably be here through December 9, though we return to Winona each Friday after radiation before going back to Jackson before the next Monday’s radiation. Hope House is a blessing to Bonnie and me.

Thursday was a bad day for Bonnie, even before we got to her radiation and chemotherapy treatments. Radiation was later in the day than usual to pair with the chemotherapy to follow. However, it turned out that Bonnie’s blood platelets dropped to half of what they were the previous week, and thus, she did not receive chemotherapy this week. Leaving the cancer center, we stopped at a pharmacy to buy more medicine to address some of her other maladies, before returning to Hope House.

Bonnie having had a rough day, we opted not to attend the class of Mississippi School of Biblical Studies, hosted by the Siwell Road Church of Christ. We stayed in. We worked some on our next Rushmore Newsletter.

Before Bonnie’s Friday radiation, I attended to a few business matters. I sent an email respecting the upcoming publication of volume 82 of The Voice of Truth International to confirm that the printing company had received and was processing the files I had provided to them electronically. In addition, I made four DVD-R copies of the files for that issue of VOTI, for the office and for use in three overseas nations to print VOTI as well. After manipulating the digital files into a single PDF, I uploaded volume 82 to the Internet – before it is available in print form! You can find it by selecting the Digital Library on the bottom of the masthead of Gospel Gazette Online (Website: Dozens of Bible related books and all editions of VOTI are available there at no charge as well.

Bonnie’s radiation treatment was brief and uneventful, after which, we returned home to Winona. We stopped for sandwiches and to buy a few items on our way homeward.

Saturday, we finished out the week by preparing a mailing to nearly 200 addresses so that they can receive the newest issue of Global Harvest magazine, which arrived at the World Evangelism Building in our absence this week. Of course, only being home from Bonnie’s treatment Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday, we need to wash clothes and pack for our return to Jackson, MS and Bonnie’s medical treatment.

Aside from the above, I am and will be working on new book about first principles. We are working on our next Rushmore Newsletter, too. Noting some needs at Hope House of Hospitality, which has graciously provided us lodging and meals for the duration of Bonnie’s radiation treatments, I am doing some consumer research and contacting a couple of congregations of the Lord’s church about paying for some needed items for the facility’s patients. Time is a wasting, and I don’t want to waste any of it before the Lord returns or I go to meet the Lord (Colossians 4:5).

Good Days and Bad Days

November 1, 2014

Louis while Bonnie receiving chemoBonnie closed out the week of October 26—November 2 with three radiation treatments and one chemotherapy session. For several weeks to come, she will undergo radiation five days a week and chemotherapy once weekly. After about two dozen radiation treatments, chemotherapy will likely continue for months. Bonnie’s medications have been adjusted, trying to combat various consequences of the return of her pancreatic cancer and the side effects of medical treatment. Some days are relatively good and pain free, though Bonnie can barely eat anything. Other days and nights are comprised of pain, nausea, fatigue and such like. For instance, Friday was a good day, but Saturday was quite the opposite.

The first week of the resumption of medical treatment for Bonnie’s cancer found us as houseguests of brother and sister Leggett; he is one of the elders of the Siwell Road Church of Christ, our sponsoring congregation. Beginning November 3, Bonnie and I are slated to stay at Hope House in Jackson, MS. That home is associated with Baptist Health Systems and reserved for patients who reside at some distance from the cancer center and who are receiving daily radiation. This will afford us a close proximity between lodging and treatment, provide some private time for caregiving and not overly burden families who otherwise might invite us into their personal homes.

Bonnie snapped a picture of me working on a mini computer while she was receiving chemotherapy. She thought that it was only fair to adorn this blog entry with a picture of me since I have been including pictures chiefly of her with blog entries. Thank you for your ongoing prayers.