Archive for September 2015

Singapore—Island/City/Country

September 27, 2015

Flower in SingaporeSingapore the island/city/country and its people impress me. This time upon visiting Singapore, I was afforded the opportunity to see some of it by car and on foot in daylight instead by the dark of night traveling between the airport and a hotel and back again. Simply put, I am mesmerized by the ultra-modern, pristine clean super-city that pushes boundaries in so many ways: available land surface and determined to fill in the sea to expand its island mass, super skyscrapers, cultural and convention centers, expansive multi-story shopping malls everywhere, ethic eateries galore, economic prowess even in the absence of natural resources, extent of its cultural diversity, universal quest for ultimate education and sheer determination. Singapore reminds me in my limited exposure to the computer game SimCity of that type of predisposed disposition to succeed and prosper.

In addition, my incomplete exposure to Christian brethren Singapore is no less invigorating. This visit was the second time I have been afforded the opportunity to speak for the Lavender Church of Christ. The first time about two years ago, I was accompanied by my wife Bonnie (who since has passed away) and brother Therman Hodge; presently, though, I am traveling alone.

Friday evening for a couple of hours or so, it was my good pleasure to speak to youth and some of their parents about external evidences: the age of the earth, carbon-14 dating, missing links and dinosaurs. I was surprised and pleased both by the willingness of young people to come together for a special event such as this as well by their election to have me speak on evidences. Around 25 were present.

Saturday, one brother gave me a car tour of Singapore, and we walked along the eastern seaside. We also talked for a while, me fielding religious questions and supplying some biblical answers.

Sunday morning, I was permitted to preach during worship, at which time I made my PowerPoint presentation, “The Church in Prophecy”; at the Lavender congregation, worship precedes Bible class, and there is an intermission between the two occasions for “tea,” though I saw plenty of eating going on of rice and various sweets. Interesting also, the worship period is scheduled for an hour and a half, and the preacher is expected to preach for 40 to 45 minutes. Ah, a preacher’s paradise! Bible class is an hour long, and at that time I presented my lesson, “From Creation Until Now.”

Following worship and class, several of the local members and I dined at the second floor food court in the multi-level mall next door. I could tell from the fare that I wasn’t in Dixie anymore! Later for supper, I ate at Burger King across a side street from the V Hotel where I have been lodging. With some difficulty because I didn’t know how to read my travel itinerary correctly, I checked in online from my hotel room for my flight tomorrow afternoon to Yangon, Myanmar (Burma). A front desk employee helped me print my boarding pass from my computer thumb drive.

I distributed tracts of numerous titles to both the youth on Friday and to the congregation on Sunday. Still, I have additional literature for some of the places to which I will be traveling over the next seven weeks in Myanmar, Sri Lanka and India. Your prayers and moral encouragement are greatly appreciated. Through me some of you are my partners in the Gospel as I go to four Asian nations this fall with the Gospel.

The picture gracing this episode of my missionary travels is of a curious looking flower in the perimeter foliage lining the edge of the 4th floor outdoor restaurant where I have been eating my breakfast daily. Wish you were here to enjoy the experience of worshipping with fine brethren on this side of the planet (around 12 time zones away) as well as experiencing the sights and sounds so wonderful.

First Travel Segment

September 24, 2015

Singapore“I’m on my way!” I emailed to brethren in Singapore, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and India. With that warning sent, I boarded the first of three jetliners in Memphis, TN on Wednesday, September 23, 2015. Shortly after that aircraft landed in Minneapolis, MN, I ambled on my second flight, a 12-hour, 20-minute jaunt to Tokyo. I’m convinced that no airplane seat regardless of how cushioned (at least in coach) is comfortable enough for a long haul like that! Three hours after landing in Japan, I began the third leg of my first travel segment to four Asian countries in the fall of 2015.

Finally about 25 hours after leaving Memphis, TN, my jetliner touched down on the island-city-nation of Singapore. In the course of travel that far away, I swapped day for night and night for day, jumping into the future nearly 12 hours. I arrived around the commencement of Friday. After missing my contact person at the airport and an hour interceding during which we could neither find nor communicate directly with each other, we made a short trip to the V Hotel. By 3 a.m., I was showered and in bed for a little nap—though my weary body had succumbed to some shuteye on that last flight of 6½ hours.

Though my hotel room may be among the smallest in which I have ever lodged and Spartan, it is my delightful and fully adequate abode and office for parts of four days. I enjoyed an open-air breakfast on the 4th floor, and then, went for a short walk outside. There is a McDonalds, a Long John Silvers, a bakery and local fare attached to the ground-floor edifice of my hotel; across the street is a Burger King and a 3-story mall. Momentarily I thought to myself, I could live in the V Hotel! However, the menus in overseas restaurant franchises vary significantly from stateside offerings.

My game plan for the day is to rest (compensate for jetlag somewhat), do some office work and beginning at 7:30 p.m. tonight to teach several lessons on evidences to Christian youth of the Lavender Church of Christ here in Singapore. The young people chose lessons on evidences from among the several topics I offered for their consideration. I’m already impressed with that.

Stay tuned. Whenever time is available and Internet connection is conveniently available, I will offer updates over the next two months. I humbly solicit your prayers on my behalf and for the furtherance of the Gospel of Christ. My goal is glorify God and edify as many souls as possible with whom I come in contact.

P.S. Indonesian forest fires have shrouded the whole country of Singapore in a smoky haze. The temperature at midnight was 82 degrees, and by nearly 11 a.m. it remains the same, accented with a pleasant sea breeze.

Boomerang

September 21, 2015

Just this past Wednesday (September 16), I traveled the three hours one way from Winona, MS to an appointment in Bear Creek, AL, before making my way back to Winona around midnight the same day. Before assembling with the Bear Creek church of Christ that night, I had a supper appointment with fellow preacher Robin Dunaway at a Mexican restaurant in Haleyville, AL; he bought my late wife Bonnie’s computer to replace his ailing machine. At Bear Creek, I made my PowerPoint presentation, “Overview & Update,” about World Evangelism.

On Sunday, I traveled four and a half hours back to Alabama to be with the Antioch church of Christ (outside of Killen, AL) for all three services. In the absence of the congregation’s minister, I once more presented “Overview & Update” for Bible class, and I preached “The Church in Prophecy” and “Redemption, Forgiveness, Justification & Sanctification” respectively for a.m. and p.m. worship periods. During the afternoon, it was my good fortune to be the guest for lunch and relaxation afterward of brother and sister Peck of the Antioch congregation.

Following evening worship, I journeyed two and a half hours to my daughter’s home in Collierville, TN. Wednesday morning, I will board the first of three jet airplanes in succession that will whisk me away to Singapore, arriving on Friday, September 25 just after midnight their time. Before leaving on Wednesday, there are some details that I must attend in last minute preparation for my fall mission trip. Lord willing, I will return to the States on November 17.

After teaching and preaching in Singapore for a few days, I will travel to Myanmar (Burma) where I will teach and preach for two weeks. From there, I will go to Sri Lanka via Malaysia aboard an infamous of over the last two years airline’s craft. Upon completing my teaching and preaching in Colombo, Sri Lanka during the span of a weekend, I will fly to New Delhi, India. There, Indian Christians and I will ride a train for 24 hours and a car for three more hours to arrive at my next preaching and teaching venue. Days later, we will retrace our steps to Delhi, whereupon I will teach for a few days in that city.

Leaving New Delhi, I will fly as close as I can to Kakinada, India on the Bay of Bengal, but the last little bit will require an hour’s ride in a car; the same is true respecting nearly any airport into which or out of which I fly often in the States or abroad.

A week and a half later, I will fly to Bangalore, India. There the plan is to ride about eight hours by car to Namakkal, India where I will teach and preach for about a week. Finally back in Bangalore, Lord willing, I will finish this year’s trip around the world by flying to Paris, France before flying onward to Memphis, TN.

Soon, then, I will be off on a two-month excursion to four Asian countries. Brethren, your prayers, moral support and financial participation are much appreciated.

Breaking News: Two of my flights in October were just cancelled by the airline. Perhaps Tuesday (one day before I leave the USA) I will know which flights will replace them and at what cost. Apparently, that snafu will take from me a day in Sri Lanka!

55+40+65+75+24+59+459+20+359+82=?

September 14, 2015
Trevor (Caribbean Shipping), Darlene & Tom Primm

Trevor (Caribbean Shipping), Darlene & Tom Primm

No, the answer is not 1,238. All except “82” are Interstate highway numbers involved in my humongous warped-circle trek over the last four days northward from Winona, MS to Nashville, TN to Chattanooga, TN and back to Winona. US-82, a couple state routes and city streets rounded out the numerical formula.

Wednesday (September 9) most of the elders and the preachers with their families from the Siwell Road Church of Christ and I convened at a Jackson, MS diner before evening Bible class. Wednesday Bible study was the last opportunity to assemble with my sponsoring congregation prior to my departure on September 23 for my Asian mission trip. I was greatly encouraged and appreciated very much the moral support.

The first leg of my journey started Thursday afternoon as I made my way to Rebecca’s, using her house as a way station on my way to Nashville. Wednesday morning, Jerry Bates and I loaded nearly 3,000 copies of The Voice of Truth International into my van along with thousands of tracts, hundreds of Gospel magazines, a communion and collection plate set, communion cups and Bibles. Friday morning, I drove to Caribbean Shipping Service in Nashville to send that payload to Guyana, South America. The literature will be distributed to every congregation of the churches of Christ in the country through the efforts of the Amelia’s Ward Church of Christ in Linden, Guyana. Brother and sister Primm from the Crieve Hall Church of Christ in Nashville met up with me and helped unbox the magazines and pack them into round, 75-gallon shipping barrels. The shipment left Nashville Saturday for the Port of Miami to go by container ship to South America. The Primm’s also treated me afterward to one of the finest pulled-pork barbeque sandwiches that I have ever enjoyed (at Jack’s Barbeque in Nashville).

Around 4:45 p.m. EST Friday I arrived at the home of brother Winston and sister Cathy Stringfield in Chattanooga, TN. He is one of the elders of the Ooltewah, TN Church of Christ where I spoke for a.m. Bible class and worship on Sunday, September 13. Saturday, I tagged along with brother Winston as other church members and he served refreshments to a women’s shelter. Sunday morning for Bible class, I made my PowerPoint presentation “Update & Overview” about World Evangelism of which I am a team member, followed by my PowerPoint “The Church in Prophecy” for the worship period. Journeying home later, I retraced my steps southward on I-75 and I-24 until turning off on I-59 and so on.

The circle was complete Sunday evening when I arrived back in Winona, MS, happy to sleep in my own bed once more. The return trip of some six hours plus stops took me through parts of Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi.

Wednesday, I will return to Alabama for an appointment with a congregation, and I will be all day Sunday with still another church also in Alabama. Between appointments, I need to finalize a myriad of things in preparation for an absence of two months on the mission field – in four Asian countries. Jerry and Paula Bates left ahead of me also to Asian countries, but we will not bump into each other abroad. Sister Betty Choate, Jerry and Paula Bates, and I consistently busy ourselves in the service of our Lord, stateside and abroad, through mass evangelism and follow up, and we would not have it any other way. Please pray for our feeble efforts at Christian service whereby we endeavor to glorify God and edify those with whom we come in contact, both Christians and non-Christians, too.

 

Digital & Print Publishing

September 5, 2015

Tribute to Bonnie RushmoreYesterday (Friday, September 9), I finished and published to the Internet the September issue of Gospel Gazette Online. Also yesterday, I completed the first 2016 edition of the quarterly print journal The Voice of Truth International (volume 87). As soon as sister Betty Choate completes the cover, I will send it and the other files pertaining to it to the printing company. Last week, I sent the completed files for volume 86 to a printing company in Hong Kong. We can print color on the inside of the magazine as cheaply as printing black and white stateside by having the journal printed abroad and shipped back to us. Crazy, I know, but it’s true! The back cover of volume 86 is a tribute to my dear, departed wife and friend, laborer for our Lord, Bonnie Rushmore.

In addition, I made available on the Internet The Voice of Truth International, vol. 86 for free reading or download – months before it will be ready in its printed version. Simply go to my website for Gospel Gazette Online at www.gospelgazette.com. Once there, select the digital library link in the masthead. You will find all of the past issues of The Voice of Truth International in PDF format, as well as about three dozen PDF books – all without charge.

Today, Rebecca, who is visiting me over the Labor Day Weekend, and I cleaned the pine tree debris off the roof, out of the gutters and from the ground where it fell. That was a long, tiresome job. Errr! Pine trees! Before that, I sprayed black rubber from a can at the outdoor base of my woodshop in the ongoing attempt to dissuade water from going under my shed walls and destroying them. That job has been on my “to do” list for maybe a year! That’s how long I’ve had the can of rubber at the ready, only lacking a ready body to apply it – me.

Now that we are all cleaned up and satisfied with ourselves, we are settling down for the balance of the day under the blessings of AC. Rebecca has brought school work with her, as well as her still incomplete PowerPoint for one of her upcoming ladies’ days at which she will be speaking. Before she returns home on Monday, we need to repot some of her plants for which I have been caring this summer and make some preparation for moving my houseplants inside before my departure for overseas in a couple of weeks from now. She may help me load the van with literature bound for Guyana, South America before I turn her loose sometime Monday. I need to haul a load next week to Nashville to place with a shipper for a Saturday, September 12 shipment. It will take about a month to arrive, after which brother Nigel Milo’s congregational sisters will prepare it for distribution to every Church of Christ in their country.

I continue to receive straggling condolences from members of the church from around the world and non-members, too, as they become aware of Bonnie’s passing. So far, around $12,000 in memorial funds have been given for the purchase of Bibles and literature to be distributed in foreign fields where she labored for the Lord. Other donations have been made to various hospitals, mission works and a university in her honor. I never imagined that we, mostly Bonnie I’m sure, have impacted or even have been noticed by so many people around the globe.

My sadness is put aside as long as I fully immerse myself in work for the Lord mostly. Those idle moments (e.g., waking in the early morn alone without her at my side, long lonely road trips to stateside appointments, songs on the radio about love, hymns about heaven or death, etc.) that trigger my despair and wet eyes. I realize that though the pain may never leave, with the passing of time, the unbearable pain will become more bearable. In the meantime, I intend to be the best servant of Jesus Christ that I possibly can be, though I am anxious for the return of the Lord or my passage beyond the threshold between the here and the hereafter.