Archive for December 2015

Staying Local – Almost

December 22, 2015
Rebecca, Louis, Bonnie (Myanmar 2010)

Rebecca, Louis, Bonnie (Myanmar 2010)

Friday, December 18 I completed most of the January 2016 edition of Gospel Gazette Online, now beginning its 18th year of publication on the Internet. Furthermore, I directed my attention to two new books of mine to be published over the next few weeks, and I also worked on preparation and layout for some articles to be published tentatively in volume 88 of The Voice of Truth International. Volume 86 just arrived a week or so ago, and volume 87 is at the printers now. So, it is time to work on the next edition. Not only so, but due to my absence again from the States January 30 through March 8, as well as Betty Choate’s absence from the Winona office February 8 through May 15, we may have to prepare for publication up to three future editions of VOTI before we respectively leave the country. Sister Betty is headed abroad to Asian countries, New Zealand and Tasmania, while I on the other hand am heading, Lord willing, to Guyana, South America for five weeks of seminars throughout the entire nation.

Friday evening, my daughter Rebecca finished up teaching school until after the holiday break. She left from school and came to my house, where she will be for the duration of her off days. Monday evening, my son Raymond surprised me by driving all the way down to Mississippi from Ohio. Tuesday, we three cleaned up the massive yard debris contributed by around 20 mature pine trees dotting the property – about five wheelbarrow loads of branches and numerous bushels of leaves and pine needles. While my children raked, I pulled a lawn sweeper behind my tractor lawnmower. That’s the most physical activity I have had since my nearly debilitating back pains had curbed all unnecessary physical exertions. Fortunately, after four months of increasingly heightened pain, finally it has subsided to the point I am hardly taking any pain medicine presently, and only over-the-counter meds are needed right now.

Most of Monday was consumed first by a bone scan at the hospital in Grenada, MS and secondly by grocery shopping, also in Grenada. The store in Winona burned down a few months ago, and it is scheduled to reopen a completely rebuilt structure on the same site in the middle of January. Not wanting to get tangled up in the retail melee at Walmart this time of year, we opted to forgo that venue for a couple of other grocers; we visited Save-a-Lot between my 9 a.m. injection with a radioactive substance and later returning for an hour bone scan beginning around 1 p.m. We purchased non-perishable items and surveyed whether we were content with its offerings. Following my procedure, we bought perishables and some additional grocery items at the Grocery Basket. We drove by Spain’s grocery earlier, but we decided not to stop there because it was one big, chaotic traffic snafu of cars in the lot, and the walkways were awash with a sea of shoppers. Evidently, many people are enamored with that store, but I was far from impressed on this occasion at least with the crush of fellow humans – which is what I was trying to avoid by distancing myself from the Walmart Supercenter at this time of the year.

Sunday morning, I had an appointment with the Tenth Avenue Church of Christ in Columbus, MS. It was my good pleasure to make my PowerPoint presentation about my mission work during the Bible class session. At the worship hour, I preached, “The Church in Prophecy” through the use of another PowerPoint presentation. I have always been well received by these brethren and I have always felt completely at ease and at home with them. When brethren who love the Lord commune together in worship, the fact that they are black and I am white does not even enter into any equation. Everyone with whom I work overseas is of a different race than me, and on one occasion after having spent a month all day and all night with some of those brethren, I identified with them so thoroughly that when someone leveled unwarranted verbal abuse on their race and nationality, I was offended, too – ever so briefly forgetting that I looked more like the misbehaving man than did I resemble the brethren with I was enjoying such an intimate relationship – in Christ.

Sunday evening, Rebecca who accompanied me on my appointments this weekend and I made our way to Baldwyn, MS. We arrived way early for my appointment at the Hillcrest Church of Christ. Part of the time awaiting time for evening worship, we rode through the town of Baldwyn, which really didn’t take very long at all. Back in the parking lot, I fired up my computer and did some office work. Once more, I made my PowerPoint presentation about my mission work, specifically updating the congregation about my recent 8-week mission trip to four Asian nations. Here, too, we were wonderfully received and encouraged.

Every segment of travel on the Lord’s Day was from two to two and a half hours – Winona to Columbus to Baldwyn and back to Winona. We arrived home around 10 p.m. Rebecca is a sports fan, and so we watched her beloved Pittsburgh Steelers win over the Denver Broncos; she had recorded the game that occurred earlier in the day.

One might observe that we stayed local, comparatively speaking, this past Sunday – at least traveling within a relatively close circuit all inside Mississippi. Often and recently, too, I travel out of state on my weekend speaking appointments.


December 13, 2015

If you stop and think about, the so-called weekend – any weekend, is really “weekends,” forasmuch as each “weekend” is comprised of the end of one week and the beginning of the next week. However, occasionally I see a calendar somewhere that portrays Monday as the beginning of the week and Saturday and Sunday as the last two days of the week, as though those two days were in actuality as we commonly speak of them “the weekend.”

Well in any case, let me tell you about my “weekend” or “weekends.” Saturday once more I had a disturbed night’s sleep because of acute pain in my back and awoke in significant, unrelenting pain – the kind that time and time again makes it nearly impossible for me to even get out of bed. However, sometime after taking a prescription pain killer the pain eased enough for me get up and around, and the more I moved about the better I felt. I was almost giddy because I felt so well in contrast to most of the last two months. Later though, the pain returned and I could not bring it under control. Once more pain forced me from my bed to a recliner in the living room. With another dose of pain meds, I was able to function. Otherwise, I wasn’t sure that I was going to be able to worship God (Sunday, December 13, 2015) with the assembled saints.

Training the little ones right

Training the little ones right

Not only did I manage to get up, I cooked food for a fellowship meal at the Old Union Church of Christ – meatballs, 5-cheese ravioli and Ragu tomato sauce. It was also my good pleasure to speak for the congregation in Bible class and the morning worship. For class, I showed my PowerPoint presentation “2015 Fall Asian Mission Trip,” and for worship I preached about “Redemption, Forgiveness, Justification and Sanctification.” The night before, I made a PowerPoint presentation to go along with that lesson, and my proverbial guinea pigs (figurative reference to test subjects) were the brethren at Old Union. It worked out well, an improvement over previous occasions teaching that lesson – despite trying to keep my wits about me operating two computers simultaneously – one for my sermon notes (a mini computer at the pulpit with me) and a second one at a distance and manageable with a clicker for the PowerPoint.

Eating together is about as riotous as Christians get.

Eating together is about as riotous as Christians get.

Following worship, the full house – inclusive of local members, members from sister churches of Christ and community folks – feasted together. Young and old enjoyed themselves.

Bonnie's headstone amidst a sea of fallen leaves

Bonnie’s headstone amidst a sea of fallen leaves

Before departing the Old Union premises, briefly I visited my wife’s grave. This time of year, fallen fall leaves blanket the graveyard except for the tombstones that protrude up from the sea of brownish and reddish leaves.

This evening I stayed home, owing to bad weather and severe back pain that made any movement nearly impossible. Apparently, I can keep the pain at bay when reluctantly I resort to some prescription pain killer, and repeat the process about every five hours. My brother four years my junior is confined to a wheelchair, and I am going to do my best to keep moving by whatever means necessary until I lie down and die. There is work to be done on every front (e.g., The Voice of Truth International, Gospel Gazette Online and other literature and books to format for publishing, lessons to write, etc.) prior to my departure on January 30, Lord willing for five weeks in Guyana, South America. The e-tickets have been purchased, and all systems are go, as long as I succeed at pain management.

My blog is essentially “my dear diary” and self-inflicted therapy, I suppose. Yet, it does help me keep my friends, family, Christian brethren, encouragers and supports abreast of happenings related to me and efforts put forth respecting the cause of Christ. In any case, the price is right for a personal outlet and may serve some other purpose as well.

Busy Days

December 11, 2015

96 dpi 4x6 truck driver and palletYesterday (12/10/15) the main focus of the day for us in Winona, MS was the arrival of thousands of pieces of literature (i.e., The Voice of Truth International #86, books and tracts). Volunteers from the Huntsville Church of Christ outside French Camp, MS and from the West President Church of Christ in Greenwood, MS were on hand to help unload the truck and place the items in the various locations where they were to go in the warehouse. The brethren who helped us do that also assisted in some additional areas (i.e., stuffing envelopes with copies of The Voice of Truth International for mailing, etc.).

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96 dpi 8x10 volunteers 3I, though, stood around like a light pole, unable because of back problems to do little more than snap some pictures of the real workers. I tried to cut strapping and plastic wrap off of a pallet, but I quickly retreated when my back objected. Nevertheless, when it was time to feed the helping hands, I participated heartily as though I had earned my wages, too. Christians really work for food!

Today, I mailed 995 individual newsletters to congregations and Christians across the country. The newsletters had just arrived the day before from the printing company. Unfortunately, the final fold applied to them so they would be ready for mailing was done incorrectly – placing the mailing block on the inside! At day’s end yesterday, I started refolding each newsletter by hand, stuffing each one with a postcard and a return envelope, applying two tabs to everyone, and putting a mailing label on each one. I worked until 11:30 p.m. last night and resumed this morning; Paula and Jerry Bates helped me finish that job. Incidentally and speaking of The Voice of Truth International #86, this volume memorializes my late wife Bonnie on the outside back cover.

Preparation continues for my upcoming mission trip to Guyana, South America (January 30—March 8). Brother Nigel Milo of Guyana has several appointments arranged already, and I have purchased my airline tickets. I have lessons to prepare, among other daily duties and weekend speaking appointments. Several literary projects in which I’m involved are ongoing, including the #88 edition of The Voice of Truth International, the January issue of Gospel Gazette Online and a couple of my books (i.e., Preaching the Whole Counsel of God to the Whole World, vol. 1 and Christianity: An Explanation). Busy, busy days, and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

X-Rays, CT Scan, Plus Secular and Religious Appointments

December 6, 2015
Mobile Office Aboard an Express Train in India (2015)

Louis Rushmore’s Mobile Office Aboard an Express Train in India (2015)

Thursday, December 3, I rendezvoused with my doctor once more this year – again regarding pain in my back and side. At the start of the year, intense pain led to emergency surgery for a severe gallbladder attack. Three times now later in the year I sought relief for a different malady – nagging, reoccurring, sometimes acute back pain. Once in the spring and again while aboard a flight between India and France I could barely move at all due to intense pain. This summer I also fell in the bathtub and severely bruised my ribs on the tub side. So Thursday, the doctor sent me for x-rays to determine the source of my ongoing pain.

Friday, began with a fast, except for the two bottles of contrast liquid I drank in preparation for a CT scan. Leaving the local hospital where both the x-rays and the CT scan were obtained, I headed up the Interstate toward Horn Lake, MS. Arriving at the school where my daughter teaches at about 1:30 p.m., I happily acquainted a couple of classes and staff with foreign culture through a PowerPoint presentation and a display of foreign clothes, money and other items. I had just returned from eight weeks abroad in the Asian countries of Singapore, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and India.

Following the close of the school day, I followed up on missed phone calls that came in during the PowerPoint presentation at school. The results are in! My medical tests confirm that I have degenerative arthritis in my lower back and pelvis. For the next 30 days at least, I will continue to pursue the least powerful over-the-counter pain medicine that can address most of my pain. In one month, my doctor and I will reassess my circumstances and decide how we will move forward. In any case, I do not intend to voluntarily stop moving and working for the Lord as long as I can push through. Yet, I realize that I am going to have to stop helping to load and unload tractor-trailers of literature at our World Evangelism warehouse, and a truck is due any time! I am going to have to find some serious help with yard maintenance, especially the embankments. It will all work out.

Sunday, it was my pleasure to assemble with the Collierville Church of Christ, one of my supporting congregations and where my daughter Rebecca has worshipped for nearly two decades. I made my PowerPoint presentation about my 2015 fall mission trip to four Asian nations. During morning worship, I preached my PowerPoint sermon, “The Church in Prophecy.” After lunch and prefacing afternoon worship, I worked with young people through my novel approach to learning Bible maps and my Buckets of Bible Time. Then, during afternoon worship, I preached, “Did Dinosaurs Really Exist?” We considered biblical and extra-biblical historical evidence respecting the coexistence of mankind and dinosaurs. The conclusion was that one’s confidence is correctly and well placed in the Bible – God’s Word, which does, in fact, speak about dinosaur-like creatures.

Sunday night, I slogged through some sluggish websites to purchase airline tickets for my next overseas trip – this time to Guyana, South America. Lord willing, I leave January 30 and return to the USA on March 8. Over those five weeks, typically I speak in 15 seminars distributed throughout that country, preach two Gospel meetings, teach in a high school boarding house, tape television programs, teach Bible classes and preach on the Lord’s days.

Monday, I will make my way back to Winona. On the way though, I look forward to visiting brethren and enjoying their company over a meal out together. However, it will be a working lunch as we collaborate on ways to be of better service in the cause of Christ.

Next Sunday, I will be with the Old Union Church of Christ in rural Carroll County, MS, whereupon I will make my mission presentation and preach during worship. The following Sunday, I long for the renewed opportunity to do the same with dear brethren of the 10th Avenue Church of Christ in Columbus, MS. I covet your prayers as I travel stateside as well as overseas, endeavoring to glorify God and edify all with whom I have contact, especially brethren.