Archive for November 2015

Hanging Virtual Paper

November 30, 2015
Wearing Tribal Garb in Myanmar (2015)

Wearing Tribal Garb in Myanmar (2015)

I capped off Monday, November 30, 2015 by hanging virtual paper on the Internet with the publication of two projects: the December issue of Gospel Gazette Online and the December edition of the Rushmore Newsletter. Hopefully, no one has a virtual bird cage and attempts to line it with these virtual papers!

Busy day! Drove two hours or so from Tennessee to my Winona, Mississippi residence. Bought some groceries. Got an oil change for the car. Finished the printed version of the Rushmore Newsletter and sent the digital files to a printing company in Michigan. Did a little bit of office work. Published to the Internet both Gospel Gazette Online and the Rushmore Newsletter, as well as sent notices about both of them to thousands of subscribers. These latter accomplishments were achieved from the comfort of my easy chair in my living room.

It is nearly time to retire for the evening so I can apply myself to a battery tasks for the coming new day, if the Lord wills that both a new day is forthcoming and that I will be alive and able to meet it head on. The hymn, “Work, For the Night Is Coming,” along with the Bible verse, John 9:4, encourages Christians to seize the moment. “I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work” (NKJV). Otherwise, the children of God, of whom I am merely one, must devote ourselves to “redeeming the time” (Ephesians 5:16). After all, “whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going” (Ecclesiastes 9:10).

Hit the Ground Running!

November 23, 2015

Mission EmphasisTuesday evening November 17, my daughter Rebecca retrieved me from the Memphis, TN International Airport and carted me to her Collierville, TN home. For me, it helps to mitigate jetlag somewhat for it to be time to go to bed upon arrival back in the States. Then also, when I awake too soon for the stateside time zone, I force myself to stay in bed and at least rest for the next four hours or so.

Wednesday evening, I happily renewed my Christian friendships with the good brethren of the Collierville Church of Christ, where Rebecca has worshipped for nearly the past two decades, and which is one of my monthly supporters. The auditorium Bible class was taught by a young man who is a student at Memphis School of Preaching, from which I graduated just less than 40 years ago.

Saturday morning, Rebecca and I took the Chrysler Town & Country van on its first outing since I left for my fall Asian mission trip two months ago. However, it got a little warm up as Rebecca used it to pick me up at the airport; with my hurting back, she surmised that the bigger vehicle would be kinder to me than her smaller car.

Eight and a half hours after departing Collierville, we arrived at the home of sister Barbara and brother Robert Wright in Charleston, TN. Annually, they have hosted Bonnie and me before my wife’s passing, and they continue to extend their hospitality to me; this was the second time that Rebecca likewise had enjoyed their gracious kindness, too.

Sunday morning, we all worshipped together with the Central Church of Christ in Cleveland, TN; this congregation also is one of my monthly supporters. After lunch and at the 1:30 p.m. worship period, it was my privilege to speak and present a PowerPoint about my recent 8-week foray into four Asian countries to teach and preach the Gospel of our dear Lord Jesus Christ.

Afterward, Rebecca and I boarded our Gospel chariot and pointed it toward my Winona, MS home, which I had not seen for over two months. Seven and a half hours later, we pulled up into the driveway of my residence. Wearily, we extracted from the car only the necessities and ambled into the house. Shortly thereafter, we were both in bed for some much needed rest and sleep. I could not have made the journey all the way home that night without my daughter driving the last 200 miles. The trip back was a day’s work in itself atop of the aforementioned activities, coupled with lingering fatigue from just recently returning from 12 time zones away on the other side of our planet.

The trek back to Winona in a way resembled travel by plane. We crossed through portions of the states of Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi along our homeward path. Whew! I’d be even more tired just thinking about it if it weren’t that such travel is standard fare for the mission reporting and biblical lessons I present particularly across much of the eastern USA annually. Now, to catch up on a myriad of things that could not be accomplished in my mobile office on planes and in hotel rooms across the globe!

I’m Back!

November 19, 2015
Open Air Bulk Foods with Scale (New Delhi)

Open Air Bulk Foods with Scale (New Delhi)

Whew! Eight weeks behind me, my foray into Singapore, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and India concluded with my return to the USA on November 17 – one very long day! On the calendar and according to time zones, I left Bangalore, India on Tuesday (2:45 a.m. India time) and arrived back in America on Tuesday (7:07 p.m. CST), though there were 28 hours of air travel and layover crammed into the day. I had been up for additional hours the day before without a night’s rest and didn’t get into bed after arriving in Memphis, TN immediately upon touchdown. Altogether, I was up, except for snoozing on the planes, for nearly 50 hours! Being tired and getting back to the United States in time for going to bed has helped me greatly to readjust to the stateside time zones. There is an 11½ hour difference in time zones, a complete switching of night and day between here and there. India gets its days half a day before we do here in the States; for instance, when it’s Saturday night in America, it is already Sunday morning in Asia.

There was concern that the terrorist attacks in Paris, France and the subsequent closure of the country’s borders would derail my return to the USA since I was to fly through Paris. However, not only did my scheduled flight fly on time, there was no difficulty changing planes in Paris either. The ride from Bangalore to Paris, though, was an extremely rough 10½-hour flight as we skirted the war zones of Syria and Afghanistan while aloft over Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, etc. and above some of the world’s tallest mountains. The 9-hour journey from Paris to Atlanta, GA was smooth flying, but the landing of a commuter jet in Memphis, TN was shaky at best as severe winds tossed the craft violently about even as we approached the tarmac. The only snags in the trek home were my sharp back spasms and my checked back didn’t fly with me from Atlanta to Memphis.

On part of the flights homeward, I was able to work on the December issue of Gospel Gazette Online. Sometimes I seem to get more office work accomplished while overseas than I do in a comparable amount of time in the USA. Any down time abroad I have few options with which to occupy myself in my lodging in the mornings before the day officially begins or at night before I sleep. Therefore, I turn to writing and proofing literature (e.g., The Voice of Truth International, Gospel Gazette Online, books, tracts, etc.). In addition, there are fewer distractions competing for my attention.

I am recuperating at my daughter Rebecca’s home for a few days before my stateside travels resume on Sunday with a trip to Cleveland, TN. There are plenty of things on which to catch up here on which I will be working my mobile office from her living room until I return to Winona, MS.

I’m back! Over the next few days I will be making appointments to speak at churches of Christ from state to state, finalizing my newsletter for publication, preparing books for printing, publishing to the Internet the December edition of Gospel Gazette Online and attending to a myriad of ordinary and routine things.

Homeward Bound

November 15, 2015
Church of Christ (Bangalore, India)

Church of Christ (Bangalore, India)

September 23rd, I left my homeland for Asia, stopping first for parts of three days in Singapore. Upon leaving there, to Myanmar (Burma) I went, whereupon I stayed for three weeks. From there, I traveled to Sri Lanka and was there parts of three days. Lastly, I flew to India, whereupon I traveled by car, train and plane to various locations. Now on November 15th, I am on the verge of returning to the USA; I am homeward bound. Strangely, it took parts of three days to arrive in Asia, but it will only take one calendar day to return to the States – with no less hours involved than when I came to this side of the planet.

My homeward route of travel will have me circumnavigate the world – travel all the way around the earth. In addition, upon leaving Bangalore, India the plane on which I’m to be a passenger is scheduled to fly to Paris, France – the site of a recent terrorist attack and the subsequent closure of France’s borders. If everything works according to my itinerary, I will fly from Paris to Atlanta, GA, before continuing onward to Memphis, TN. That one long, long day is supposed to be November 17th. I’m ready to return home, though shortly, I must prepare for my next overseas foray, this time to South America for five or six weeks.

Brother P.R. Swamy

Brother P.R. Swamy

Today (the Lord’s Day, November 15, 2015), I met with the Lord’s church in Bangalore for Bible class, followed by worship just as Christians observed in accordance with divine instruction nearly 2,000 years ago. I was afforded the opportunity to preach (“Worshipping Almighty God with Reverence and Godly Fear”). Afterward, brother P.R. Swamy and I dined at his favorite Chinese restaurant (and one of the few eateries in India that does not necessitate setting my taste buds and stomach on fire with Indian spices). Don’t tell anyone, but we each (both of us diabetics) treated ourselves to one scoop of Baskin Robbins ice cream before returning to his home.

For the balance of the day, I expect to open my mobile office – working on the December edition of Gospel Gazette Online, working on my December newsletter and making a PowerPoint presentation to highlight my work and the recent 8-week endeavor in four Asian nations. My first appointment upon my return is the very first Lord’s Day after I get back to the United States. Of course, I will have to at least think about packing for the flight home. Hopefully, a package of Chin language Bibles will arrive Monday so I can take them back with me, as a precursor to taking them with me next year to Myanmar for distribution; my second checked bag will, then, be a box of Bibles.

Thank you friends, brethren and churches who not only have sent me abroad, but who also have made it possible for me to return home, too. In another sense, I am homeward bound, not to the USA, but the residence of our Heavenly Father. Let none of us become so attached to God’s green earth that we could better be characterized as homesteaders instead of as pilgrims on the march, looking for a city whose builder and maker is God. Let’s go to our Father’s home together!

Tamil Nadu Trip

November 14, 2015
assembly of blind people

assembly of blind people

Tuesday, November 10th, brother P.R. Swamy and I traveled by car several hours from Bangalore, India in the state of Karnataka to Namakkal in the state of Tamil Nadu. On Wednesday in Namakkal, we assembled with several dozen HIV positive women in the morning and with dozens of Christians later in the day at the 5th floor (no elevator or lift) rented hall of the Lord’s church in that city. In each case, hours were devoted to the presentation of messages from God’s Word. Several persons in the afternoon session expressed a desire to be baptized into Christ.

96 dpi 4x6 Triuttani 1

seminar assembly

Thursday morning, we met with a very large contingent of blind people in the same location as the day before. Once more, hours were devoted to the proclamation of the Gospel. That afternoon, we drove to Paramathi-Velur to meet another congregation of the church, whereupon again we imparted Bible messages for hours. Here, too, some opted to be immersed into Jesus Christ. That evening we drove a considerable distance in dangerous rain (that resulted in the deaths of scores of people) to another city on our way to the site for Friday’s efforts with the Gospel.

96 dpi 4x6 children 1

pretty precious little one

Friday morning after continuing our journey, we met with the Tiruttani Church of Christ. Once again, several hours were allotted to us for teaching the Gospel of Christ. There also several volunteered to be baptized.

In the middle of the afternoon, we pointed the car toward Bangalore, arriving back at brother Swmay’s home around 8:30 p.m. local time. Lessons presented by me over those days included “Male Leadership,” “Male Leadership in the Home,” “Understanding How God Communicates with Mankind Today,” “Pain and Suffering” and three lessons on the “Parables of Christ.”

Approximately 20 precious souls put our Lord on in baptism, and we contributed to the edification of Christians, too. I fulfilled my undertaking as a mailman for God, and some of you provided me with the opportunity to do so by your moral support and financial participation. Thank you.

 

Travel Days

November 9, 2015

96 dpi 5x6 India landscape 1Monday, November 9, 2015 was a travel day to be followed by another travel day, too. A little after noon, I traveled by car about an hour from Kakinada, India to the airport at Rajamundry. From there I flew aboard a turboprop plane to Hyderabad to catch another flight to Bangalore. Each segment of my journey was an hour long: to the first airport, first flight, second flight and ride from the destination airport. Add to that a couple hours of layover between flights and that was my day.

The dinky Rajamundry airport was trying extra hard today. First, my checked bag had to be searched. Then at another security checkpoint my carryon bag had to be searched as well. I had a hard time getting everything in those respective bags without jumbling the contents about and trying to shove them back in and zipper them shut. Uuugghh! I really started talking to myself, telling me to exercise patience and remain calm.

At my lodging in the home of the Swamy family, cleaned up for bed, from my room I finished the November issue of Gospel Gazette Online and sent out reminders to nearly 1,800 subscribers.

Past midnight now, I’m about to turn in for the night. Tomorrow (later today), brother P.R. Swamy and I will travel nearly five hours to Namakkal in the state of Tamil Nadu. Wednesday through Friday, I will speak to three congregations of the Lord’s church, a group of blind people and to a group of women with HIV. Saturday, we will return to Bangalore; Sunday, I will worship with the church there.

It won’t be long that my eight-week foray into four Asian countries will come to a close, and I will return to the USA. I love what I am doing and earnestly hope that thereby I am glorifying the name of God and edifying all those with whom I come in contact. Many of you make my efforts possible; thank you.

Dateline: Kakinada, India

November 8, 2015

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Kakinada on the Bay of Bengal became my home for a week of teaching in the annual lectureship there. Abreast of Telegu and Tamil speaking preachers, along with brother Roger Wright from the USA, I was privileged to present seven biblical lessons. Several hundred attended each session right to the very last speech, and over the course of the week, over 4,000 brethren sauntered in and out according to their opportunities to be there.

Several denominational preachers in attendance decided to be baptized. In addition, of particular tender interest to me was the baptism of a blind man. He had to trust someone to lead him to ascend masonry steps on the outside of the outdoor baptistery and descend similar steps on the inside. Then, he had to rely on the one baptizing him to submerge him and resurrect him from the watery grave. That kind of faith, not only in Jesus Christ but in the genuineness of ones leading him into and out of the water, is very humbling. We all so confidently respond to the Gospel call.

Saturday, I accompanied brother Wright to a village where an Indian preacher lives that he and his wife have been supporting for several years. On the Lord’s Day, I taught the adult Bible class in the second-story auditorium – an “upper room” (Mark 14:15).

Tomorrow, it is on to the next venue. It will be a travel day, some by land on either end of the trip and aboard two small planes as well in the middle of the trek. Nine more days to go before returning to the USA, and still there remains much ahead in the Indian states of Karnataka and Tamil Nada.