Archive for July 2015

Traveling Man

July 28, 2015

This past Wednesday (July 22nd) evening, I acquainted the Huntsville Church of Christ outside of French Camp, Mississippi with an “Overview & Update” of World Evangelism. This congregation is close enough to the World Evangelism Building in Winona to be a frequent participant in various activities to help us along in our labors for the Lord.

The church sent back with me a communion set and collection plates that are no longer in use there. In addition, various pieces of literature that have life left and that also are not in use will be gathered for us, too. We at World Evangelism can evaluate, repackage and deliver usable Bibles, Gospel papers, songbooks, etc. to English speaking people abroad. We match these items up with containers that various churches of Christ are loading for overseas shipment. Every congregation has a dark, out-of-the-way closet in the meetinghouse crammed full of material not being used anymore but too good to throw away. We can take care of that for you; send it to us and we will find a new home for it in the hands of foreign brethren who are starved for Gospel literature.

Farmer's Bootjack

Farmer’s Bootjack

Saturday was a travel day. Five hours of driving placed me in the highlands of Arkansas for a speaking appointment with the Center Ridge Church of Christ. Once more, I was the guest of good friends, encouragers and brethren, brother Garry and sister Melissa Polk. They fed me better than I deserved, both with home cooking Saturday and with a fine Sunday lunch at a Mexican restaurant a few miles from their home. I nearly lingered too long to conveniently drive to my Sunday evening appointment.

For the Bible class hour Sunday morning, I made my PowerPoint presentation “Overview & Update” about World Evangelism. I mentioned also my plans to make a mission trip from late September into November to India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Singapore. During worship, I rehearsed my PowerPoint presentation “The Church in Prophecy.”

Ark of the Covenant for VBS

Ark of the Covenant for VBS

GPS faithfully led me over the hills and through the woods for 2½ hours to be with the Imboden, AR Church of Christ that evening. Due to funeral home viewing for a deceased member, evening worship was moved up to 5 p.m. The downside of that for me was my timely arrival, but the upside was that I could arrive at my way station later that night—my daughter Rebecca’s home in Collierville, Tennessee. Again, I presented my PowerPoint lesson “Overview & Update.”

Both of the churches for which I spoke Sunday are regular supporters of my effort to serve our Lord stateside and especially abroad. Furthermore, members of both congregations also support my world evangelism.

Per my plan, I stayed the night with Rebecca in her home. On the morrow, we had “brunch” together at Cracker Barrel; we shared a pecan pancake breakfast with trimmings. Reluctantly then, I left her house shortly thereafter and headed back home to Winona. Particularly the long drives by myself accentuate my loneliness and bring about sorrow and tears. Around 3 p.m., I pulled into my driveway. That night, the air conditioner broke down!

When not a traveling man, I am working faithfully on Volume 86 of The Voice of Truth International, readying it for the printing company; several of us are doing our various parts to prepare it for production soon. Simultaneously, I have been working on the August edition of Gospel Gazette Online. Besides those projects, I have begun proofing a book manuscript submitted for my review by a Gospel preacher and friend.

Then, there was the lawn mowing, preceded by two hours of picking up tree debris—two wheelbarrows full! The good news is that the air conditioner has been fixed.

I continue working on Gospel Gazette Online, The Voice of Truth International, planning stateside and foreign trips, and proofreading a book manuscript. Late into the night and earnestly by day I thrust myself into my work for the Lord, among other reasons being to distract my sorrow. Thank you for your interest and encouragement.

My Grief Is an Open Wound

July 28, 2015

My grief is an open wound.

The raw feelings of my emotions are ever before me.

They rise up without warning as often as the day breaks anew.

I’m broken, and I can’t be fixed.

Tears and deep sorrow torment me daily.

I have buried my dreams in the tree-crowned meadow.

My loneliness is unending and constantly before me.

My life is precious to me no longer.

How can I go on without my helpmeet and best friend?

Truly, the better half of me has passed away.

Without her I am no longer me.

There is within me a hollowness and an emptiness that cannot be filled.

I cannot be comforted from my anguish.

The wind from my sails has forever gone.

Aimlessly except for the purpose of serving my Lord, I reluctantly continue until I don’t.

The only slight mitigation of my misery is to lose myself in Christian service.

How long must I persist? Is there a place for me in heaven? Why must I wait?

My life’s companion and fellow pilgrim has preceded me, awaiting my time, I pray.

I cannot bear the pain and the heartache.

A little while yet I must work, but never too soon I must go to my resting place.

Beside my love my body below the boughs and beneath the grass must repose.

A meaningful existence, earthly hopes and dreams are no longer mine to own.

Going through the motions of life I must, but why do I trouble myself with it?

All and everything earthly is vanity—naught but empty nothingness.

I await my passing, too, with eagerness as one too weary to press forward.

Assuredly, no man ever loved a woman more devotedly than I loved her.

From the permanence of my grief I will never recover.

I simply cannot make it alone!

I will not relinquish my love for the wife of my youth though from me she has gone.

I will go to her and to be with the Lord. I am ready!

~ Louis Everette Rushmore

One Day at a Time

July 19, 2015
Director & Speakers of the Mission Lectureship

Director & Speakers of the Mission Lectureship

Wednesday morning (July 15th) began very early. Brother Mark Posey, Gospel meeting speaker for the Old Union Church of Christ lodged with me for the duration. He opted to spend Tuesday night with me per my suggestion and depart on the morrow. Brother Mark decided to leave at 6 a.m.! So, we had breakfast of waffles and sausage at 5:30 a.m. Afterward, Rebecca and I returned to bed for a while as brother Posey headed back to Alabama.

Rebecca, too, left for her home before lunch. That night, she was to meet with team members from her congregation with whom she was going on a mission trip to Guyana, South America. Subsequently, Rebecca along with fellow Christians flew out on Saturday. They will be conducting two Vacation Bible Schools daily for a week, one with about 300 youngsters in a city setting and one with 30 or 40 in a the jungle.

That evening, it was my pleasure to visit with the Crockett Church of Christ west of Senatobia, MS. I acquainted brethren that night with an “Overview and Update” about the efforts of the World Evangelism team overseas.

Thursday and Friday I worked on a future edition of The Voice of Truth International. In addition, sundry other activities filled the days.

Saturday morning, I headed for Union, MS to participate in the 3rd Annual Southeast Mississippi Mission Lectures. It was hosted by the Church of Christ there, and I was pleased not only to participate but to share the day with stateside and foreign missionaries and other interested brethren. It was a good day.

Interesting Window Treatment at the Gary & Anna Free Home

Interesting Window Treatment at the Gary & Anna Free Home

Sunday morning I headed out from Winona, MS to Indianola, MS once more. I had spoken there weeks ago in the absence of the congregation’s preacher, and I was doing so again. For Bible class, I spoke about the age of the earth, deriving information from the Bible and true science, both of which counter the theory of evolution’s astronomical “age of the earth.” During worship, I preached about proper reverence for and awe of God in Christian worship. Sunday evening, I preached about the Ascension of Jesus Christ, a cardinal or foundational doctrine of Christianity and relative to the hope of God cherished by every child of God today.

For the afternoon, I was the guest of brother Gary and sister Anna Free.  Everything on the dinner table was exquisite, especially the beef roast. The meal was complimented with some of the best corn on the cob, green beans and rolls. Lastly, I enjoyed a slice of chocolate pie. Umm! After evening worship, several church members enjoyed one another’s company at Wendy’s restaurant.

Finally, I returned home a few counties away to Winona. A new week lies ahead, during which I must work feverishly on two future issues of The Voice of Truth International before I leave for my fall mission trip to Asia. As a matter of fact, I need to finish fleshing out my travels in October and November to Myanmar, Singapore, Sri Lanka and India. Tuesday, we are scheduled to have a visitor come to the World Evangelism Building. Wednesday, I have another appointment with the congregation of the Lord’s church outside of French Camp, MS. This coming Saturday I will be headed to an appointment with a church in Arkansas. Already, the lonely drives without by Bonnie at my side have proved difficult. I pray for courage and peace of mind in the service our Lord Jesus Christ. As always, your prayers are greatly appreciated.

Woodsy Gospel Meeting

July 15, 2015

Old Union Church of ChristThe Old Union Church of Christ in Carroll County, Mississippi hosted a Gospel meeting Sunday, July 12 through Tuesday, July 14. “If you don’t know how to get there, you can’t get there from here.” The white frame chapel and accompanying cemetery is tucked away as if secretively in a clearing amidst dense trees and pervasive kudzu vines in rural Carroll County. The Old Union Church of Christ is the only congregation of the Lord’s church in that Mississippi county, and it can only be reached by carefully traversing a series of gravel roadways and selecting the correct forks in the road. Our visiting song leader was late Sunday morning as he (a precocious high school young man) and his father opted for the wrong fork along the way. Recently, I came to know that one family who had attended my wife’s funeral got lost leaving the meetinghouse and wandered about, finally from house to infrequent house, trying to find their way back to civilization. I joked with the visiting Gospel preacher that I was going to have to blindfold him before I took him to the Old Union Church of Christ so that he would not discover its location and divulge it to others.

Old Union Church of ChristOne of the Old Union members developed an appreciation for the digital podcast sermons of brother Mark Posey from the Austinville Church of Christ in Decatur, Alabama. Subsequently, I provided the contact information for brother Mark, whose articles also appear monthly in Gospel Gazette Online. It was my good pleasure to have brother Posey in my home from Saturday through Wednesday morning to accommodate his participation with the congregation for its Gospel meeting. I was really the beneficiary of it all as my daughter and I were banqueted along with Mark Posey by brethren.

I am indebted to my daughter Rebecca for helping me for not only the occasion of brother Posey’s visit, but for several weeks since her last day of teaching school this past school year. She is leaving today (Wednesday) for her home in Collierville, Tennessee so that she can make final preparation for her mission trip to Guyana, which begins Saturday.

Brother Mark Posey did not disappoint. His refined presentation and years of experience as a student of God’s Word charmed all present with the simple and pure Gospel of Jesus Christ. Typical attendances of 30 or less were bumped up to a full house!

Jerry & Paula Bates

Jerry & Paula Bates

Tuesday morning, Rebecca and I helped brother Jerry and sister Paula Bates load recycled Bible literature and new copies of The Voice of Truth International into a trailer. Periodically, the Bates or I haul literature to some point to be loaded into an oceangoing container for transport to some foreign nation.

Tuesday was also the 42nd wedding anniversary for my late sweetheart and myself. Singing hymns about heaven and death during the Gospel meeting was a near impossibility for me. These days, tears come and go without prior notice. Overall, I am doing as well as can be expected, and life goes on – until it doesn’t. In the meantime, I busy myself as best I know how in the service of our King. Please kindly remember me from time to time in your prayers.

2015 Team Meeting

July 11, 2015

Team MeetingThursday and Friday, July 9-10, 2015 was the occasion of the annual meeting of the World Evangelism team in Winona, Mississippi. Every year in July, Christian brethren who work directly together or who are indirectly associated in stateside and foreign missions congregate in the little, middle-Mississippi town. As usual, additional, interested guests were also present. Collectively this year, we numbered approximately 25 men and women.

Team MeetingPrimarily, we encourage each other, and of course, we eat! Breakfast and lunch meals are enjoyed in the World Evangelism Building where we assemble for our get together. Nobody goes hungry, and there are desserts galore. For supper on Thursday evening, past tradition has us drive around 20 miles away to the Carmack Fish House, and we did so again this year. The specialty of the buffet is catfish, but some of the best tasting chicken also graced the food bar.

Back at the office/warehouse, individuals and couples updated the group respecting what they have been doing over the past year and what they plan, Lord willing, to do over the next several months. Among the areas of Christian labors represented were activities revolving around a Christian Student Center at a local college, efforts in India, Myanmar, the Philippines, Indonesia, Guyana, African nations, Nepal, Viet Nam, Peru, Sri Lanka and China. Particularly interesting were the assessments made by various ones respecting the achievements and progress attributed to their personal involvement in their respective Christian works. In addition, staff of The Voice of Truth International, who live in Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee were enabled to ring around a table and discuss upcoming issues of the quarterly magazine.

(Friday night, my daughter Rebecca and I managed to publish to the Internet the July issue of Gospel Gazette Online. We have approximately 1,650 subscribers with a total of nearly 3,000 souls “following” our undertakings.)

The event triggered spontaneous tears on my part more than once, though. Just two months ago and very shortly before my Bonnie died, she left hospitalization prematurely for the express purpose of spending time with these brethren and others at the Annual May Maywood Missionary Retreat outside of Hamilton, AL. She was very feeble, but she pushed herself to reunite with likeminded workers for the Lord with whom we have interacted for many years. Now, so soon after that, assembled with the same people without her was extremely hard on me. One couple in attendance was marking their 52nd anniversary, and Bonnie and my anniversary is less than a week away also. Every day is difficult, but these two days were a blessing and very tough for me as well.

We press on. Each soul present those two days presses on. The only real retirement that any of us know and for which we long is retirement from life at the end of a lifetime of labor for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We dread the possibility that incapacity may rob us of that joy before we expire.

Aimed Homeward

July 8, 2015

Tesla PumpsSunday, July 5 found Rebecca and me worshipping all day with the Liberty Church of Christ in DeFuniak Springs, Florida. During morning Bible class, I made my PowerPoint presentation, “Overview & Update” about World Evangelism, which is a missions program of the churches of Christ. For a.m. worship, I made the PowerPoint presentation, “The Church in Prophecy”; the visual aspect helped me cover many more verses of Scripture in a brief time than would be comprehensible were they presented just orally. Sunday evening, I preached about “Redemption, Forgiveness, Justification and Sanctification.”

As always, the Liberty congregation treated us royally. These Christians always encourage me greatly – as do many Christians across the country that I visit from time to time.

Before returning to the hotel, I gave Rebecca the once over pass through DeFuniak Springs. This little jaunt included driving the circle encompassing the small lake around which the town was built many years ago. Earlier, Rebecca had read the caption of an aerial photograph of the lake on a wall in the hotel lobby. The lake in DeFuniak Springs and one other similar lake in Switzerland are said to be the only two perfectly round lakes in the world.

Curiously, driving through the “Historic District” of DeFuniak Springs, we spied some odd contraptions poised in front of a sign boasting local “history.” Not exactly sure how they work, if there is a fee involved for their use or if there are any gadgetry, electric cars around town to take advantage of them, we marveled at essentially an electric fueling station.

Monday, we drove the entire distance home. At my age or whatever excuse I think works at the time, our trip was a little longer than I want to drive any more in a single day. However, the distance wasn’t far enough to justify breaking the trip into two days. My daughter Rebecca and I pulled into the driveway at my Winona home about 4:30 p.m. Monday afternoon.

Tuesday was catch-up day at the office; actually every day is catch-up day as we always have more items to attend than there are hours in the day. I simply triage each day and do first whatever demands immediate attention. Wednesday, Rebecca and I mowed the yard, string trimmed the edges of everything, watered the flowers, fertilized the yard, cleaned two cars, proofed and otherwise prepared Betty Choate’s newsletter for sending to a printing company and did some cleaning at the house and at the office in preparation for the annual team meeting, which will begin Thursday. Wednesday, we attended devotional and Bible class with the West President Church of Christ. One night this week, a couple – some good friends and fellow laborers for Jesus – will sleep over. Saturday, I will begin lodging the Gospel meeting speaker for the upcoming event with the Old Union Church of Christ.

I’ll need to sleep fast and get up early. There is some dust at the house challenging me to deal with it, and the carpets really need vacuumed. Of course, there are a few things that need to be straightened up or put away before guests arrive. As time runs out, at some point, folks will simply have to realize that I live here – it is, after all, a house in use rather than a model home.

I like being busy, busy, busy. Among other things, being busy helps distract me from reflecting upon how much I miss my dear wife. I buried any earthly dreams I had when I laid Bonnie to rest, and all that remains for me is to apply myself and see how useful I might possibly be in the service of Christ – until I also join Bonnie, my lifeless body beside hers in an out of the way idyllic, country cemetery and our souls at the throne of God in heaven. Please remember me fondly from time to time in your prayers.

Rainbow Springs

July 3, 2015

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

There must be a reason for naming the state park “Rainbow Springs,” but I was unable to personally observe such a motive upon my visit to it today (Friday, July 3, 2015). The Internet webpage concerning it boasted of magnificent red and purple hues.

Nevertheless, it was a satisfactory excursion for my daughter Rebecca and me, and I hope also for our temporary charge, the granddaughter of our dear friends Bob and Martha Noland. En route along our 20-mile trek to the park, we gathered up some vittles at a Subway restaurant and carried them along with us. The park was filled to capacity, and cars were admitted one by one as cars exited.

As it turns out, a wide variety of foliage abounds. Apparently, much of the oddly blue-green basin – likely freshwater spring feeding the waterway – was completely saturated with swimmers, cooling themselves from the high heat of the day.

After we consumed our subs, chips and beverages, we wandered about for a while, viewing small manmade waterfalls and watery pools nestled among trees and bushes of all kinds on the hillside. Amazed previous days at other locations where we noticed few people congregating, Rainbow Springs was quite a different story. People were everywhere.

Tired of walking and soaked in perspiration, we happily waddled back to the car for our exit to Ocala once more. Late last night and into the wee hours of the morn, earlier in the day and for hours upon returning to the Noland’s bed and breakfast (so we made it to be for us), I performed office work: financial accounting, proofing and editing a book manuscript, and putting together the July edition of Gospel Gazette Online. Tomorrow we move along our way, depositing the young lady in our custody with her grandparents at the hospital in Gainesville, FL, after which heading for my next speaking appointment on Sunday outside of DeFuniak Springs, FL. Today, though, Rebecca and I paused to smell the proverbial roses besides attending to daily duties.

Common Denominator

July 2, 2015

300 dpi 4x6 St Augustine7Once when the children were young and on one of the occasions the family went tent camping, we pitched our little tabernacle in what turned out to be the downhill wet-weather wash for rainwater. A tornado came through the area of northern Michigan one night and sent a little gully washer our way, not particularly dangerous as it turned out, but certainly making our encampment a little soggy. It seemed that anywhere the Rushmores camped in a tent that we were the immediate solution for dry weather and an instant help to folk’s low water table. Camped in Michigan; it rained on us. Camped in Pennsylvania; our sleeping bags sopped up a monsoon. Camped in New York; a thunderous storm rolled in over us off of the Great Lakes.

300 dpi 4x6 St Augustine5A couple of years ago, Bonnie and I spent a week in southern Colorado, and of course, it rained and rained some more. Now in 2015, my daughter Rebecca and I visited Florida for a week of daily squalls. I have finally realized that I am the common denominator. My late wife and our dear children are off the hook; I must be the one responsible for the inclement weather that seems to follow me. I’ve been accused of that before, but I never imagined that it were so.

300 dpi 4x6 St Augustine3Today, July 2, Rebecca and I along with the granddaughter of our dear friends Bob and Martha Noland made our way to St. Augustine, Florida. Naturally, it rained – complete with thunder and lightning. Nevertheless, we were able to tour the ancient stone fort on the coastline, though we could not walk the ramparts atop the structure because of the danger posed by possible lightning. We further walked part of Old Towne.

300 dpi 4x6 St Augustine6Famished upon our arrival, we made an all-important visit to a local eatery. We dined well at Burger Bucket, and each of our meals was actually served in a low-slung galvanized bucket. The service was good and the food was even better. To cap off our day’s activities before exiting St. Augustine, we three found the local Dairy Queen and indulged ourselves.

300 dpi 4x6 St Augustine4Rebecca got a little rowdy, if pictures are evidence of anything, and was temporarily detained – behind bars! The most handsome sergeant of arms dutifully manned his canon to guard his charge from escaping until the bail money was scraped together.

300 dpi 4x6 St Augustine2Yes, we smelled the roses a little today between firing up the mobile office before our mini adventure and upon our return to Ocala, FL. I’m happy to report that brother Bob Noland fares a little better today as he remains in Shands Hospital in Gainesville, FL – with sister Martha Noland his loyal wife at his side. Thank you for your interest in my travels and efforts to serve our Lord Jesus Christ.300 dpi 4x6 St Augustine8 300 dpi 4x6 St Augustine1