Archive for December 2014

Rounding Out 2014

December 30, 2014

96 dpi 8x10 Bonnie RebeccaSunday, December 21, we worshipped with the Old Union Church of Christ in the morning as we like to do when we are in town and not on the road. Our car’s GPS even assumes that is where we are going Sunday mornings without me even consulting it. Sunday evening, we worshipped with the West President Church of Christ of Christ, which we are prone to do when not traveling stateside or abroad.

Christmas was quiet and relaxed at our home in Winona. Our daughter Rebecca has been with us for the break from school – she is a teacher. It has been and is a real pleasure as well as a great assist to Bonnie and me to have her with us. December 25 also happens to be Bonnie’s birthday. We don’t exchange gifts anymore, but we count each other as the best possible gift of all. Frankly, I was at a loss what to buy for her after she advised me that she doesn’t want any more jewelry; we get whatever we need throughout the year, and really, we don’t need or desire anything much. After all, the walls are plastered with hanging things, and the floor space is exhausted. Though not divulging her age, Bonnie will still be three years younger than me when I turn 61-years-old on January 3, 2015.

Friday was the occasion of another chemotherapy in Jackson, MS. Sunday all day, Bonnie and I with Rebecca in tow were with the Indianola, MS Church of Christ. Brother Gene Hill who preaches regularly for the congregation was away, and I was filling in for him.

Saturday night, I found a PowerPoint lesson on which I had worked previously and amended it for use in the Sunday morning Bible class. I must have been cross-eyed when I was working on it as I carelessly and unintentionally merged two lines in a chart contrasting the Old Testament with the New Testament.

For morning worship, I preached From Creation Until Now, starting with the created universe that evidences a Creator/Designer and moving to His written, revealed will in the Bible – comprised of Patriarchy, Judaism and Christianity. That evening, I preached about Rearing Children, to a smaller crowd of mostly elderly folks! Grandparents, aunts and uncles likewise have the potential of favorably influencing the childrearing of grandchildren, nieces, nephews, neighbors, etc.

Once more, Bonnie and I, this time Rebecca, too, were guests of James and Deanie Bradshaw. They had a house full of family and Christian brethren. Two couples who formerly lived and worshipped in Indianola were back visiting. There were 10 of us.

After evening worship and in the cold rainy night, we started our 1-hour trek along US 82 back to our Winona home. First, though, we stopped to fuel the car and ourselves at the new Love’s gas station/restaurant. When I walked into Hardee’s to find my wife and daughter after I gassed the car, a truck driver seated there intercepted me with a hearty welcome and asked how services were. At first I didn’t know to what he was referring, but he pegged me for a preacher I suppose because I was wearing a suit and long-sleeved, white dress shirt (minus the tie that I had already jettisoned). So, I gave him a million dollar bill tract with the plan of salvation on the back of it and proceed to head for the men’s room after locating my family. Bonnie said that I caused a little disturbance (she called it a riot) over the million dollar bill; it has the plan of salvation on the back of it.

Monday and Tuesday, I worked on the January issue of Gospel Gazette Online while Bonnie worked on volume 83 of The Voice of Truth International. We also shipped just under 4,000 copies of The Voice of Truth International to Christians stateside and in some US territories. We expect to enjoy a quiet New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day at home, joined by Rebecca. Her last chore before heading home will be to help us dismantle our Christmas decorations and get them tucked away again in the attic; Bonnie cannot help me get the boxes into or out of the attic anymore. Friday, January 2 Bonnie will have chemotherapy again, and on Saturday I will have my birthday.

Bonnie has good days and bad days; she still manages to put in half days at the office. We think that she is having better days than what she has experienced most of the time over the last few months. That being the case, I need to put plans in high gear for my planned 5-week mission trip to Guyana, South America. January 16, 2015, Bonnie will have a CT scan to help the oncologist determine our next steps in combating Bonnie’s pancreatic cancer. I have misgivings about planning anything presently and hardly no which way to go. Thank you for your interest, well-wishing and prayers, which come to us daily in snail-mail and email boxes, as well as by texts and phone calls. 

New Beginnings

December 20, 2014
Bonnie with boy in his home (Mandalay, Burma 2012)

Bonnie (Mandalay, Burma 2012)

Saturday, December 13, Bonnie and I were to leave from Collierville, TN for Cleveland, TN. First, though, I had the car serviced at the Chrysler dealership in Collierville, which turned out to be an unexpectedly lengthy endeavor taking 3½ hours; it may be high time to resort to quick oil changes along our routes of travel – the kind where one does not even have to get out of the car.

Leaving much later than I had hoped and having a 6-hour journey, we arrived at the home of sister Barbara and brother Robert Wright around 7 p.m. They waited supper for us, and they treated us to a fine meal at Outback. As always, they treated us royally as they hosted us in their home.

The next morning, we worshipped with the Central Church of Christ in Cleveland, TN. Bonnie as feeling well enough and taught a ladies’ class, while I made our mission trip PowerPoint presentation to the auditorium class. I presented a biblical lesson during worship. Afterward, an elder and a deacon, with their wives, and the Wrights treated us to lunch at O’Charley’s. After visiting some more with the Wrights in their home, Bonnie and I departed for our evening appointment with the Ooltewah, TN Church of Christ.

We were guests overnight with sister Cathy and brother Winston Stringfield; he is one of the elders. This family always invites us into their home and makes us part of the family. Again, I made my PowerPoint presentation about our 2014 foreign mission work. Monday, we meandered through Tennessee, a piece of Georgia and across Alabama back to Winona, MS; we arrived after dark.

Wednesday evening, we attended Bible class with the West President Church of Christ in Greenwood, MS. Bonnie was exhausted and in pain. She fared better on our weekend jaunt than she was faring since our return. Of course, each day, we spent part of our time at the office/warehouse, post office, banks, etc. Bonnie is putting in a third to half days before she resorts to the house for rest. Each evening her health weakens.

Friday, Bonnie resumed chemotherapy in Jackson, MS. Her blood counts have returned to near normal. The oncologist made some more adjustments to Bonnie’s medicines in hopes that some of the pain can be alleviated without side effects. In about four weeks, Bonnie will have another CT scan to reevaluate the cancerous tumor on her pancreas.

Resuming some of our stateside appointments during a slow time of the year is one of the new beginnings, and we will be able to evaluate how well Bonnie is going to be able to travel in the states by car. The second new beginning was the resumption of chemotherapy. Time will tell how long these treatments will continue, as presently no decision has been made.

Bonnie has been working on the next issue of The Voice of Truth International, and I have been working on my new book about fundamentals of the faith. Our daily efforts have been ongoing with whatever modifications have been necessary and are not part of new beginnings. A happy note, the insurance company with which we insured our mission trip tickets refunded the purchase price, which permitted us to recover the entire ticket costs and return the funds to the foreign travel account. Between the cancellation of the tickets and the insurance refund, we recovered nearly $10,000; only the visa expenses and, of course, the cost of the insurance was lost.

Thank you for your continued interest in us and our efforts for the cause of Christ. May God richly bless you and us, too.

One Step at a Time

December 12, 2014
Bonnie & Louis on a Jungle Path (Myanmar, 2012)

Bonnie & Louis on a Jungle Path (Myanmar, 2012)

“One Step at a Time” is an old timey hymn that so adequately describes the march on which we humans find ourselves as we come nearer to eternity with every passing moment. The first stanza reads, “One step at a time, dear Savior: I cannot take any more; The flesh is so weak and hopeless: I know not what is before.” These words describe our halting steps of late as Bonnie and I tackle her treatment to battle pancreatic cancer – again! The third stanza speaks, “One step at a time, dear Savior: O guard my faltering feet! Keep hold of my hand, dear Savior, Till I my journey complete.” Reminiscent of Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (NKJV), Bonnie and I trudge forward. The fourth stanza concludes, “One step at a time, dear Savior: Thou knowest all of my fear; One word from Thy heart, dear Savior, And Heaven’s mansions appear.”

On Thursday, December 11, Bonnie concluded 28 weekday, daily radiation treatments; the effects of the radiation may continue working as well as producing side effects for up to another six weeks. For parts of seven weeks, Bonnie and I were residents of Hope House of Hospitality in Jackson, Mississippi so that we did not have to experience the wearisome and costly trek 90 miles each way, back forth daily between Winona, MS and Jackson, MS for Bonnie’s radiation and chemo treatments. The days were characterized by pain, fatigue and nausea, punctuated with time spent on office type duties accomplished with the aid of our two laptop computers.

Chemotherapy commences once more on Friday of next week, December 19. The punishment inflicted on Bonnie’s body by simultaneous treatments of radiation and chemo resulted in fallen blood counts, which led to the temporary suspension of both types of treatment. After that, she continued to receive radiation, but chemo was suspended until after the completion of radiation. We are hoping that without radiation therapy and only receiving chemotherapy, Bonnie will begin to feel better. Some of the ongoing problems are related to her original cancer surgery, and doctors and she are still attempting to find a happy resolution through the balance of medicines, etc.

This week, we managed to accomplish several feats. Shortly after our arrival back in Winona on Thursday, our printed Rushmore Newsletter for November arrived at our doorstep. Thursday afternoon and evening plus Friday morning, we were able to process it for mailing and take it to the Post Office; we mailed 950 pieces. I was able to finalize preparation of several tracts for printing – to be printed in India for use primarily in the USA. Bonnie and our daughter Rebecca wrote the final two articles lacking for the publication of the December edition of Gospel Gazette Online, and I published it to the Internet this evening; in addition, I prepared and sent emails to over 1,600 subscribers to Gospel Gazette Online, who live across the planet. I also published to the Internet the November Rushmore Newsletter and sent emails to over 600 subscribers to it.

Bonnie and I also restocked our suitcases for a weekend trip, which means we first had to launder the clothes that we had been wearing during our final week at Hope House in Jackson, MS. We, likewise, stocked our car with literature and loaded the equipment with which we travel to acquaint congregations stateside with our mission work and teach or preach biblical lessons, too. We drove to Collierville, TN to have supper with our daughter and spend the night. Tomorrow, we will get the oil changed in the Town and Country before heading to Cleveland, TN.

Sunday morning, I will make a PowerPoint presentation about our mission trip in February to Guyana, South America to the auditorium class of the Central Church of Christ in Cleveland, TN. During morning worship, I will preach a biblical lesson. If Bonnie feels healthy enough, she will teach a ladies’ class that morning, too. Later, we will travel to the Ooltewah, TN Church of Christ whereupon I will make my PowerPoint presentation about our mission work once more. This will be our first and longest car trip to visit stateside congregations since Bonnie relapsed with pancreatic cancer. The holidays always interfere with making appointments this time of the year, but after this journey, we will reassess Bonnie’s ability to accompany me on these outings as we schedule more appointments in the near future.

Bonnie feels the best and does well especially when she sleeps. The many hours of driving tomorrow and the days to follow on this jaunt will afford her plenty of rest time as we travel. As long as I don’t join her in a little shut eye along the highways and byways, and as long as we stay out of everyone else’s way and they stay out of our way, Lord willing, it will all be okay. Thank you for your continued interest in us and your prayers as well, particularly regarding my dear wife Bonnie.


December 7, 2014
Bottom-Loading Water Dispenser

Bottom-Loading Water Dispenser

Monday, December 1, Bonnie and I drove to Jackson, MS once more for a week of radiation treatment. As in the previous weeks, we stayed at Hope House of Hospitality so we do not have to drive back and forth from Winona, MS daily. Bonnie has begun in earnest counting down the last days of the anticipated 28 days total of oncology radiation. The estimated size of the cancerous tumor on what’s left of her pancreas from previous surgery is about the size of a golf ball; radiation therapy is targeting an area the size of a softball.

Monday after treatment and our subsequent arrival at Hope House, Bonnie and I set up the water dispenser that I had ordered the week before on behalf of the Siwell Road Church of Christ in Jackson, MS. It is a bottom-loading unit so that neither the female staff nor patients need to hoist a jug of water atop the machine. This model has water at room temperature, cold water and hot water.

Oncology Radiation Christmas Tree

Oncology Radiation Christmas Tree

Tuesday was radiation per usual. For the evening meal, we met up with Melanie and Adam Fowler again, and this time they treated us at Piccadilly for a scrumptious meal. We took a good portion of Bonnie’s meal back to the room to share for another meal the next day, since she can eat very little food at a time.

Wednesday morning began well enough, as Bonnie typically feels the best she will feel all day upon waking in the morning. However, she soon became ill. Bonnie recovered marginally, and we attended evening Bible class with the Siwell Rd. congregation. The balance of the evening afterward was difficult for Bonnie.

Thursday following radiation, we returned to the room at Hope House. Bonnie worked for a while on an article for a future issue of Gospel Gazette Online, while I proofed, edited and formatted articles for the December issue of Gospel Gazette Online. Due to pain, Bonnie resorted to the bed once more, which is common practice, to rest. That afternoon, we donned dress clothes and headed for the Siwell building to have photographs made for the next pictorial church directory. Leaving there, we had a breakfast meal of pecan pancakes and bacon for supper at Cracker Barrel. Bonnie was experiencing pains that only increased and drove her to bed again upon our return to Hope House.

Friday in preparation for radiation and our return, we packed up the dirty clothes and suitcases, and we loaded the car. Bonnie scheduled the appointment a little earlier Friday so we could head back to Winona sooner. In Winona, we went to the World Evangelism Building office/warehouse after we unloaded the car at home. We prepared bank deposits, processed “Thank You” cards for support that came to the Rushmore Evangelism Fund the previous week and prepared a package for mailing. Subsequently, we made stops at two banks and the Post Office before retiring to the house once more. Bonnie’s pain and general discomfort continued to increase, contributing to not turning in for the night until nearly 2 a.m. Friday night was difficult for Bonnie.

Our Christmas Tree

Our Christmas Tree

Bonnie was very ill the first half of the day on Saturday. Plans to have Jerry and Paula Bates over for lunch – homemade or delivered pizza, depending upon how Bonnie felt – had to be cancelled altogether. Bonnie spent the afternoon in her pajamas in the recliner and felt better, only very tired; with her supervising, I spread some Christmas decorations around the living and dining rooms. Of course, Friday evening and Saturday are wash days for us of late so we can pack our suitcases again on Sunday or Monday morning before returning to Jackson, MS for treatment.

I left Bonnie for about three hours in the afternoon to help the Bates and Betty Choate load the Bates’ car and cargo trailer with literature that they will take to a Texas site for shipment to Tanzania. Afterward, sister Choate stopped by to visit with Bonnie. Still later, I continued to work on the next issue of Gospel Gazette Online.

Throughout the week, we worked on various office type duties on our respective laptop computers, blazing away in our home away from home these several weeks. Bonnie worked on financial matters and an article. I worked on Gospel Gazette Online and a PowerPoint presentation for Hope House. Besides setting up the water cooler, we also ordered a tabletop, buffet type food warmer for Hope House. Between the refrigerators, water cooler, original artwork, donation of bedding, food warmer that we have been able to see installed at Hope House (through the cooperation of various congregations) and the PowerPoint presentation I prepared, we and brethren who love us have exhibited appreciation to Hope House for its gracious hospitality in lodging Bonnie and me for about six weeks. That doesn’t begin to return compensation for what blessings we received, but it is a token anyway. We have been wonderfully blessed. Thank you.