Archive for March 2015

Determined to Go with Me!

March 31, 2015

Unfortunately, the days following Bonnie’s Friday, March 20 chemo treatment were not nearly as good as they were the previous week. Still, there have been worse days. Sunday, March 21, Bonnie received another injection to boost her blood counts after morning worship. We are indebted to an RN who is a sister in Christ for administering the shots, which arrive at our house by FedEx. Tuesday, we again returned to Jackson, MS—this time to have a dentist who is a brother in Christ work once more on the last pesky bottom molar that meets an upper molar. Wednesday, Bonnie was too ill to leave the house.

Lincoln Church of ChristDespite not feeling well most of the week, Bonnie was determined to travel with me to a speaking appointment with the Lincoln Church of Christ in Huntsville, AL. We left Saturday, March 28 from Winona, MS to Huntsville by way of Tuscaloosa, AL. Yes, that was a detour that added about 50 miles to our journey. We had arranged to meet a deacon of the Central Church of Christ to hand off several cases of Spanish language Bible study books and Spanish The Voice of Truth International magazines. That congregation will make sure that this literature makes its way to Peru this summer.

The purpose of our visit to the Lincoln church was to report on the portion of World Evangelism in which sister Betty Choate and her sponsoring congregation are involved. Therefore, I invited Betty to accompany us. I would speak publicly during an assembly, and she would have ample opportunity to speak privately to members of the congregation there. This trip afforded sister Choate the occasion to lodge with and visit two of her nieces outside of Huntsville. Bonnie and I were the happy guests of Patricia and Bob Gaffin; he is the deacon of missions for his church.

After supper, brother Gaffin and I set up my display material at the meetinghouse. Another brother met us there so we could make ready my PowerPoint presentation of an overview of the World Evangelism effort.

Sunday morning, Bonnie and I attended Bible class and worshipped with the Lincoln Church of Christ. Numerous brethren, including Betty Choate, converged on the Gaffin residence for a quick lunch before returning to the church building for a special afternoon class and second worship.

Sunday at 1 p.m., I presented my “Buckets of Bible Time” class, which sometimes I do for pew-packers. On this occasion, my youth class was all grey-headed! There were no children present. Everyone seemed to enjoy the emphasis made on noting the chronological order of Bible events and Bible characters. Immediately thereafter and beginning at 1:30 p.m., we entered worship. At the appropriate time, I made my PowerPoint presentation, “2015 Overview and Update.”

We lingered for about an hour after the conclusion of worship before starting our return trek of around five hours back to Winona, MS. It was difficult to part from brethren who were so eager to interact with us, and it was no easier to part from the brother and his wife the day before when we delivered Spanish literature in Tuscaloosa. Finally, we three arrived back in Winona at a little after 8 p.m.

Monday was not an especially good day for Bonnie, though she did well except for fatigue on our outing over the prior two days. That evening, though, we went to Betty Choate’s office in her home, just an eighth of a mile away from where we live, to help her with a computer glitch. She was having difficulty with some files for the upcoming volume 85 of The Voice of Truth International. No easy fix, but we succeeded and were back at the house around 10 p.m.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015, Bonnie and I returned to Jackson, MS so she could undergo another paracentesis—the removal of fluid associated with her cancer from her abdomen. Monday, I was finally able to clean up the debris from storm damage in the yard and mow most of the lawn. Tuesday upon returning from Jackson, I was able to complete and publish to the Internet the April 2015 edition of Gospel Gazette Online. Bonnie continues to work on volume 84 of The Voice of Truth International, and now that Gazette has been published, I also will concentrate on volume 84 of VOTI. In addition, I personally have two books ready to send to printing companies, and I have brother Wayne Barrier’s newest book ready for publication as well. There is never a dull moment, but there are sufficient opportunities that one can easily muse on another necessary task for diversion from another necessary job from which a break is desired.

Friday is a big day for us. Again traveling to Jackson, MS, Bonnie will have a CT scan, meet with her oncologist and have chemotherapy. The oncologist will reevaluate future treatment after comparing the two most recent CT scans. Please remember my dear wife and best friend in your prayers.

A Good Week!

March 20, 2015
All women volunteers so we pressed some of the women into roles into which we normally put men. Here working in the warehouse is the preacher's wife at the West President church of Christ, Sheila Shiers.

All women volunteers so we pressed some of the women into roles into which we normally put men. Here working in the warehouse is the preacher’s wife at the West President church of Christ, Sheila Shiers.

The week beginning Sunday, March 15 was a good week from various perspectives. I am happy to report that Bonnie acclaimed this week the best week health wise that she has experienced in many weeks. That is not to say that health related challenges have not punctuated her daily life, but overall Bonnie has felt better than she has felt literally for months. In addition, it has also been a good week regarding the visitors who have come by the World Evangelism Building in Winona, MS to help us.

Sunday between Bible class and worship with the Old Union church of Christ, the preacher inquired of me regarding the possibility of forthcoming assistance to Bonnie and me with our mounting medical expenses. Likewise, before Wednesday evening Bible class with the West President church of Christ, an elder approached me regarding the same subject and the possibility of the congregation also helping us with our burdensome medical bills—mostly relative to Bonnie’s ongoing battle with pancreatic cancer, but this year also my emergency surgery for an inflamed and enlarged gallbladder. Though we have not been campaigning for medical funds, we appreciate the thoughtfulness of individual Christians and congregations of the Lord’s church who voluntarily have offered to help. Furthermore, the non-stop flow of get well cards, texts, emails, etc. uplift our spirits in a very trying time to our morale.

Tuesday, a sister in Christ representing the Old Union congregation came to the World Evangelism Building to help Bonnie and me to process for mailing our most recent Rushmore Newsletter. Sister Betty Choate helped, along with sister Barbara Oliver and a sister in Christ visiting from Tasmania. Besides our mailing, we finished preparing for shipment single issues of Volume 83 of The Voice of Truth International; that included double rubber-banding packets of 10 envelopes and placing them into mail sacks.

Thursday, sisters in Christ volunteering from the West President church of Christ met us at the office/warehouse to help with additional mailings. Many of the ladies processed sister Choate’s newsletter for mailing. A couple of other ladies helped me prepare about 75 packages (mostly cases of The Voice of Truth International) for shipment throughout the States and to American territories or military posts abroad; one of those sisters in Christ helping me is from Nigeria. We also packaged hundreds of Spanish books and Spanish editions of The Voice of Truth International magazine that eventually will make their way to Peru; I made arrangements to hand off this literature to a congregation in Tuscaloosa, AL in a few days on my way to a speaking appointment in Huntsville, AL.

Throughout the week we have fulfilled orders for English and Spanish language Christian literature, which we have packed and taken to the local post office. Thankfully, the day I took around 75 boxes, two of the ladies helped me load the van as well as unload it onto the post office’s back loading dock. Bonnie has worked on Volume 84 of The Voice of Truth International and I have worked on both the April issue of Gospel Gazette Online and a new book of mine on sermon outlines.

Friday was a medical treatment day an hour and a half away from our home in Jackson, MS. First, we had a 9:30 a.m. appointment for yet another paracentesis for Bonnie; another 3+ liters of fluid was drained from her abdomen. Following that, we shared a sandwich at a hospital eatery (it has several) before heading for her next appointment for chemotherapy. Between the distances we travel each way and the appointments, we certainly consume a whole day. We also use these outings to do some necessary shopping and, of course, the car wants fed, too. Since Bonnie’s appetite came back this week, too, and she was hungry, we shared a nice meal at Olive Garden on the way out of town.

Overall, Bonnie is trudging forward with its accompanying emotional ups and downs. She and I are both thrilled that she may be on the verge of feeling a little better more often. Bonnie still tires easily and continues to lose weight. On April 3, she will have another CT scan to compare with the previous CT scan, by which the oncologist will reevaluate future treatment. We continue to covet the prayers of our brothers and sisters in Christ around the globe. Thank you.

Another Week Whizzed By

March 15, 2015
Louis & Bonnie at Gospel meeting in Paramakatoi, Guyana 2014

Louis & Bonnie at Paramakatoi, Guyana in 2014

Sunday, March 8, after worship with the Old Union Church of Christ, a sister in Christ, a registered nurse, gave Bonnie her second injection of a medicine to boost her blood counts. This is necessary following each chemo treatment on Friday to enable Bonnie to have the next chemotherapy session. Bonnie is having chemo treatments every other week.

Our daughter Rebecca came down Friday for the week she was off for spring break from teaching school. She accompanied us to worship, kept us company and helped us at the house and the warehouse/office.

Tuesday, the three of us headed back to Jackson, MS for Bonnie to undergo another paracentesis. On this occasion, 3 liters of fluid were drained from Bonnie’s abdomen. Unfortunately, this did not make her feel significantly better, and most of the week has been rough for Bonnie.

Wednesday, the highlight of the day was waiting for a tractor-trailer to arrive so we could load a pallet of books on it. Eventually, those books will make their way to various locations in India. Finally, the truck arrived about 5:50 p.m. Rebecca and I loaded between 500 and 600 pounds of books onto a wooden pallet and wrapped it with plastic. The inclement weather throughout the day, the question of whether a truck was actually going to show up and whether the freightliner would have a lift gate precluded preparation of the shipment before the truck came. (We do not have a loading dock, and the entrance of the World Evangelism Building cannot easily permit movement of a pallet prepared ahead of time inside to the outside.)

Thursday morning, two sisters in Christ from the Old Union Church of Christ visited Bonnie to bring her cheer. That evening, a Christian couple from the West President Church of Christ came by with supper and ate with us.

Friday, Rebecca, Betty Choate, and Bonnie and I processed for mailing Paula and Jerry Bates’ newsletter. The Bates left a few days ago for about six weeks of mission trips in various Asian countries. The outgoing shipment that was loaded on a truck on Wednesday was arranged by Jerry, too, but he had to leave before a truck could come to Winona. I took the mailing to the local post office, along with boxes of The Voice of Truth International; sister Choate has been taking most of the recently mailed boxes of VOTI to the post office.

As she could, Bonnie worked on the next issue of The Voice of Truth International from time to time. She also prepared labels for mailing Betty Choate’s newsletter next week; our newsletter will also arrive next week and be mailed back out to nearly 1,000 Christians and churches of Christ. I have been working on layout for a book of sermons for use stateside and abroad. Some of our preaching brethren overseas have not had much training or experience; therefore, full sermon outlines that thoroughly treat a host of biblical subjects will be helpful for them. This effort is the outgrowth of over 40 years of preaching and has been requested. The volumes will be translated into other languages as needed to make them effective in foreign countries.

One of the nice things about having more to do than one can easily accomplish is that should one thing become tiresome, we can simply give it a rest and apply ourselves to something else that needs to be done. There is never a reason to be bored regarding either necessary domestic duties or serving our Lord Jesus Christ. We covet your prayers.

Flurry of Activity

March 7, 2015

Bonnie & Louis RushmoreThis week, Bonnie and I collectively worked on volumes 84 and 85 of The Voice of Truth International; volume 83 arrived in Winona, MS on Friday while Bonnie and I were away in Jackson, MS for her chemo appointment. Bonnie is doing the primary layout for VOTI 84 while sister Betty Choate is doing the layout for volume 85, which will be in color throughout. I also started work on the April issue of Gospel Gazette Online and readied two books for future publishing—one by brother Wayne Barrier and one of mine. The Barrier book is an outreach book, whereas mine is a class book and resource material; together, the books take one from becoming a Christian to providing a solid foundation in the Christian faith.

Along with the delivery of The Voice of Truth International #83 came also reprints of a couple of book titles. Brethren from the Huntsville Church of Christ outside of French Camp, MS helped Jerry and Paula Bates as well as Betty Choate (all fellow Winona team members) unload the tractor-trailer and reload it with boxes of books destined for delivery abroad. Aside from the stateside and foreign travel, we keep literature flowing to brethren and non-Christians in this country and to numerous overseas destinations. We have around 500 titles between books, tracts, booklets and magazines in our warehouse that we keep in print and share around the world.

I devoted several hours this week to formatting and submitting printing to a printing company for team member newsletters (Betty Choate, Jerry and Paula Bates as well as Bonnie and mine, too) and business cards. By the time the Bates’ newsletter arrives, they will be on a mission trip in India; so, Betty Choate and we will process for mailing all three newsletters. Of course, Bonnie and I worked together in writing our newsletter and reporting income and expenses.

Friday, Bonnie had full blood work, met with the oncologist and received her one-two-three-four punch of two chemo drugs, accompanied by two additional medicines. The doctor also prescribed three new, additional prescriptions for Bonnie and scheduled another paracentesis for Tuesday to drain fluid from her abdomen. April 3, Bonnie will have another CT scan, after which, the oncologist and we will regroup and plan what treatments we will pursue. CT scans will be compared, as well as cancer markers in various blood tests will be reviewed, too. Please pray that all indications will be favorable.

Bonnie has lost much of her hair and wears scarves to compensate, especially in the cold, winter weather. Most of her days are painful or punctuated with nausea, and she is very tired. Still, she applies herself to the fullest possible, mostly doing computer work from her side of the loveseat in our living room; we purchased a printer to use at the house to increase our productivity when Bonnie doesn’t feel good enough to leave the house.

Today (Saturday), I officiated for a funeral, which was conducted at the meetinghouse for the Old Union Church of Christ, back in the woods, reached by traversing gravel roads through the woodlands and kudzu in rural Carroll County, MS. Burial followed immediately in the church cemetery nearly abutting one corner of the little chapel nestled in a serene surrounding away from hustle and bustle or major thoroughfares. No place is more ideal to be the temporary repository for one’s spent body while awaiting the general resurrection at the return of Jesus Christ.

Looking ahead, tomorrow, Bonnie will receive an injection to boost her blood counts so that she can continue her chemotherapy without interruption. A sister in Christ who is a nurse will administer it following a.m. worship with the Old Union Church of Christ. As mentioned already, Tuesday we will travel once more to Jackson, MS for another paracentesis.  We will continue to work on VOTI 84, in conjunction with its Editor, Byron Nichols, in Springfield, MO, and it should be ready to send to the printing company within two weeks.

Cautiously, we are beginning to populate our upcoming calendar some. The last Sunday of March, I will be speaking at a congregation in Huntsville, AL, and I may speak at a second church that day, too, also in Huntsville. We have marked our calendars to participate in the next India Missions Conference in Florence, AL in April, as well as to be a part of Missions Day in April at the Siwell Road Church of Christ in Jackson, MS. We are looking ahead to the annual Maywood Missionary Retreat in May outside of Hamilton, AL. Furthermore, Bonnie’s oncologist has given me the go-ahead (and Bonnie has concurred) for me to go on a foreign mission trip of one or two week duration sometime in the future—as long as I make sure that someone (likely our daughter Rebecca) is available to be with Bonnie while I am gone.

In the meantime, we have sent thousands of dollars in the hands of fellow missionaries or by registered mail to ongoing mission works in which we participate in various parts of India. Money ultimately provided by Christian families and churches of Christ will provide tracts, Hindi language Bibles and Hindi language TV programing in New Delhi, India. Thank you for making it possible for Bonnie and me to serve our Lord on your behalf in these ways.

The many cards, the emails and the visits are a great source of encouragement to both Bonnie and me, particularly as we continue to fight her pancreatic cancer. Imagine our surprise that one church of Christ overseas is fasting and praying for Bonnie’s improved health. (We are also thrilled at the several pieces of correspondence praising our work stateside and abroad in various media and literature that brethren say is making a real difference in their lives; all we desire is the opportunity to glorify God and edify precious souls as we serve the best we can to the fullest we can.)

The picture of Bonnie and me on this page is our most recent and best. It is one of the better photos of us lately.

These Days

March 1, 2015

Depth of the SnowLast week, Bonnie and I worked on future editions of The Voice of Truth International, and I worked on the March 2015 issue of our Internet magazine, Gospel Gazette Online. Volume 83 of VOTI will arrive via tractor trailer this week; the same truck will bring two book titles – reprints of books we have nearly exhausted, mostly shipping overseas. Yet today, I hope to publish the March GGO to the worldwide web.

Storm Clean UpFriday, Bonnie and I made our way once more to Jackson, MS to have more fluid drained from her abdomen – about 3 liters this time. Each days remains challenging, but the calls, visits, emails and cards help to lift our spirits and encourage us. This coming Friday, Bonnie will have another chemo treatment. The following Sunday after morning worship, a sister in Christ and member of the Old Union Church of Christ will administer an injection to Bonnie that is intended to boost her blood counts to enable her to continue with chemotherapy unabated; sisters who are nurses at the West President Church of Christ are in the waiting as backups when needed.

Bibles for GuyanaBibles for Guyana300 dpi 4 x 6 Bibles 3Saturday, we had a pleasant surprise at our residence. A stranger knocked on our door and volunteered to remove the fallen branches from the snowstorm on our roof, lawn and driveway area. Pickup trucks, trailers and chainsaws in hand, a covey of adults scurried about and made short work of either cutting and hauling away the bigger offenders or taking it to the streets on either side of the property. Whereas I imagined that some enterprising fellows were out to earn a little extra cash, they were doing this without charge. I could tell by their speech and actions that they were religious, and I inquired of them where they worshipped. They were from the North Winona Baptist Church; I hope that members of the churches of Christ somewhere showed the same initiative to reach out in their respective communities. These religious neighbors were more impressive by their thoughtfulness than most any advertising, VBS or suchlike could have been. I was humbled to be the recipient of their kindness, and I gave one of the senior gentlemen a copy of The Voice of Truth International and apprised him of other literature that we have and would be delighted for them to have.

300 dpi 4 x 6 Making Space 1300 dpi 4 x 6 West President Teens 1Today, Sunday, about 3:30 p.m. we had 18 visitors from the West President Church of Christ come to the World Evangelism Building in Winona; they came to work for an hour and a half. These teens and adult chaperones worked on three warehouse projects: (1) consolidating boxes of literature to capitalize on space in preparation for an incoming shipment later in the week, (2) applying strapping tape to boxes of The Voice of Truth International in preparation for shipment abroad, and (3) inserting tracts in nearly 200 Bibles that were purchased by the Collierville, TN Church of Christ for distribution in Guyana, South America. We made sure that teens and adults were afforded some of the hundreds of books, tracts and magazines for their own consumption in appreciation of their help – behind the scenes in foreign mission work.

My AngelBy the way, I was experimenting with Adobe Illustrator along with some online tutorials, trying to learn a little about the program. In the course of such, my experiment turned out this, respecting my life’s partner, best friend and my wife – Bonnie. We remain in the service of Christ, helped along in that through your prayers and financial participation with us.