Archive for February 2016

Linden on Sunday

February 28, 2016

96 dpi 4x6+ coffin 2Again today (Sunday, February 28, 2016), it was my good pleasure to worship with the Amelia’s Ward Church of Christ in Linden, Guyana. During Bible class, I taught a lesson about the Ascension of Jesus Christ; though a cardinal doctrine of New Testament Christianity, only three verses of Scripture portray the actual event. Other verses directly or indirectly refer to it. Nevertheless, the Ascension qualifies our Lord to be our Mediator, our Intercessor and our Advocate. At the evening worship assembly, I preached about “Foul Language.”

96 dpi 5x7 coffin 3A curious thing happened following morning worship and prior to the evening assembly. After a.m. worship, members volunteered to personally contribute funds for the funeral of sister in Christ who just died, since the remaining family members are unable to take care of it. Members will also fix a meal for a wake. Interestingly, several male members agreed to and did build her casket this afternoon. If that wasn’t an oddity enough, the coffin is about four feet tall, built to fit the deceased! Building the casket was an effort to be frugal in view of the fact that church members assumed the entire cost of the funeral through the donation of money and items. Of course, leave it up to brothers in Christ to add a little levity to the otherwise sad event.

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Seminar at Underneeming, Guyana, South America

February 28, 2016

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Twice within one week I spoke for the Blueberry Hill Church of Christ, howbeit, those two occasions were at separate congregations hours apart from each other. My alarm sounded at 2 a.m. on Saturday, February 27. It was time to rise, dress, eat and begin the journey to the next in a series of nationwide seminars across Guyana, South America. Brother Nigel Milo and I left Linden in his automobile and drove to Georgetown. There, we crossed the Demerara River Harbor Bridge, a concoction of metal plates welded together and resting on anchored barges. After intercepting and adding to our happy band, we three proceeded to road’s end at Parika on the banks of the mighty Essequibo River. Unlike on past occasions when we rode speedboats to cross the 20 miles or so to the other side, this time we boarded a car ferry. The innermost seating area resembled the interior of a jetliner. An hour later, we disembarked at Supenaam, whereupon we hired a taxi to take us to the Blueberry Hill Church of Christ in Underneeming. Some of the most interesting and many odd-sounding village names dot all over Guyana.

96 dpi 4x6 Underneeming 5The meetinghouse complex is commodious and clean; it is apparent that the brethren meeting here take good care of their facilities. The second floor is populated with a couple of beds on which two out of three of us rested briefly from our long, early morning trip. Refreshments, too, were awaiting us upon our arrival. The annex is a fenced, brightly colored pavilion, which I’m sure serves the double purpose of classroom and fellowship meal hall.

96 dpi 4x6 Underneeming 16All morning and all afternoon, brother Wilbur Vyphuis and I presented lessons about and encouraging evangelism, which we have been teaching at each seminar site throughout the country. Brother Nigel Milo concluded the sessions with a narrated PowerPoint presentation to acquaint brethren with the church meeting throughout the nation; he also charged brethren present to arise to the occasion of evangelizing Guyana, beginning where they live and worship.

96 dpi 4x6 Underneeming 7Several congregations from the region were present; about 85 persons participated in the seminar. The brethren concurred that such a seminar was needed, and another congregation in the area volunteered to host the program next year. Every seminar so far has concluded with another church taking responsibility for hosting a seminar next year.

We hope that all who attend these programs leave having been edified greatly. I know they enjoy fellowshipping with each other and eating together; brethren everywhere certainly like eating. Probably, we three presenters are as much or more edified than any of those who attend the seminars. May God be glorified and praised.

Brother Barrington

February 28, 2016

Brother BarringtonWednesday afternoon, February 24th, I teamed up with brother Sheldon who preaches for the Blueberry Hill Church of Christ on the west bank of the Demerara River in Linden, Guyana, South America. That evening, I assembled with the congregation there and presented a Bible lesson.

While walking about in the neighborhoods surrounding the meetinghouse, we briefly visited brother Barrington. He is a man who is 80-years-old with some health challenges. One of the first members to arrive later for Wednesday evening Bible class, there he was walking carefully on the broken roadway. Using a cane for each hand, he managed to negotiate a difficult, uneven and rocky path from his humble home just to get to a car path. Then, upon his arrival, he had to climb a staircase to the second floor of the old frame building in which the local church meets.

Other members of the church around the world not nearly as mature in age and often with less physical challenges do not put forth as much effort that they might assemble with brothers and sisters in Christ. Other members who have motorized transportation in which to ride can’t seem to bring themselves to services. Other members whose destination is more convenient, maybe ground level or with handicap access, fail to congregate with fellow Christians. Other members who enjoy air conditioned halls and comfortable seating, instead of unscreened, open window casings and benches, cannot find their way to the assemblies.

Brother Barrington was an encouragement to me, and I hope that he likewise encouraged the other members of the church with whom he gathered, and perhaps he even caused some of his neighbors to pause a little as they saw him amble by their homes. Just maybe brother Barrington, though you are unlikely to ever meet him, can encourage you as well (Hebrews 10:25).

Wednesday in Linden

February 24, 2016
Blueberry Hill in Linden

Blueberry Hill in Linden

Wednesday, February 24, 2016 in Linden, Guyana, South America was good to me as I awoke on my 26th day since I left the USA; Lord willing, I have 13 additional days in Guyana before I return to my homeland. Sister Jasmine Milo was experimenting in the kitchen again with a new Internet recipe that she wanted to try out on me – essentially a bacon-wrapped egg baked in a muffin pan. It was pretty good actually!

I fired up my mobile office for a couple of hours before I was called away to go along with brethren into the local (spiritual) fields – which the church does consistently Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. No one was home at our first stop – a Bible study on which I had gone twice before. Our second stop was to show a sister in Christ who lost her mother the day before that her brothers and sisters in Christ care. Her mother was another of those mysterious instances where surgery is deemed successful, but the patient dies! Next, we divided the team in two to attend two home Bible studies simultaneously; I went with half the group to a study on which I had also been previously.

Upon returning to the home of brother and sister Milo, I resorted to my makeshift office atop my bed. I managed to find a workaround to publish the February issue of Gospel Gazette Online to the Internet without the benefit of FTP Internet capabilities; evidently the local ISP blocks the use of FTP. Late, but nevertheless, the February edition of GGO is available for use from around the world. This morning and this afternoon I also made some preliminary preparation for publishing my newsletter upon returning to the States.

Sheldon in Linden

Sheldon in Linden

About 4:30 p.m., I was turned over to the custody of brother Sheldon who preaches for the Blueberry Hill Church of Christ in Linden on the other side of the river. We walked through his neighborhoods for an hour and a half before Wednesday evening Bible class. Eventually, 21 persons were present; evidently, we sing them in, which seems to be a common practice in Guyana. I taught my lesson, “Pain and Suffering.”

Afterward, I took a taxi back across the single-lane former railway bridge to the Amelia’s Ward district. Once there, I caught up with the Amelia’s Ward Church of Christ which had crammed about 40 of its people into a member’s home. Finally, we made our way back to the Milo home, whereupon I had leftover lasagna from lunch, which sister Jasmine had made especially for me. I followed that with a round of leftover chocolate cobbler and strawberry ice cream. Not long thereafter, I retired to my quarters to bathe, brush my teeth and ready myself for bedtime. It was another good day among Christian friends.

Industry, Guyana, South America

February 23, 2016
Industry, Guyana Church of Christ

Industry, Guyana Church of Christ

Industry Church of Christ building

Industry Church of Christ building

Industry Church of Christ building

Industry Church of Christ building

Wilbur Vyphuis

Wilbur Vyphuis

The Industry Church of Christ hosted today’s seminar, and about 75 Christians from several Georgetown area congregations attended the all-day program. It was very hot, but we were thankful for the many fans that moved air about. Altogether, brother Wilbur Vyphuis and I presented five lessons on evangelism. Everyone seemed to be encouraged and appeared to appreciate the material offered. Throughout the country in these seminars this year, we have been calling upon Guyanese brethren to help shoulder the responsibility to evangelize this nation, and the response has been favorable everywhere we have gone so far. Brethren have acknowledged that now is the time for Guyanese congregations to work toward two long-term goals: becoming self-supporting and saturating their respective communities with the Gospel of Christ. In both instances, achievement of these goals would represent transition from American money and American missionaries to Guyanese money and Guyanese laborers in the vineyard of our Lord. Already, one or more churches are self-supporting, and brethren are cooperating and at their own expense (i.e., individual Christians are saving money and paying their own way) to travel hundreds of miles each way in some instances to encourage and assist sister congregations in remote places, as well as near places, too. The future is bright for the Lord’s church in Guyana, especially now as Guyanese Christians arise to the occasion of nationwide Christian service.

 

A New Week

February 22, 2016
Nigel Milo

Nigel Milo

Yesterday, Sunday, February 21, I worshipped with the Amelia’s Ward Church of Christ in Linden, Guyana, South America. It was my privilege during morning Bible class to present a biblical lesson about “The Ministry of Angels.” During evening worship, I acquainted the congregation with my recent travels in four Asian countries. No, I was not attempting to raise mission money from the church, but I familiarized Christians with similar evangelistic efforts on the other side of the world to the labors being put forth throughout Guyana in parts of January, February and March this year. When I talk to brethren in Asia about Guyana, they want to come and see for themselves the land and the people about whom I speak so highly. Likewise, I hope to engender a sense of community among Guyanese brethren for a part of the brotherhood far offshore to them.

Brother Nigel Milo is an exemplary evangelist largely without peers anywhere on earth. I am fortunate to sit at his feet and work alongside of him in field work, though he is decades my junior. Sunday morning was an opportunity for me to seek my own edification as he proclaimed the Gospel to the Amelia’s Ward congregation. In addition, I am learning better as he permits me to accompany him on local Bible studies in people’s homes. Today (Monday), brother Nigel conducted two such studies, and I tagged along. Also today, I finally completed the February edition of Gospel Gazette Online, though I may not be able to publish it from here; I may need to wait until I return to the USA on March 8.

Tomorrow, we launch out to a suburb of Georgetown for another seminar. Later in the week and for the next two weeks, we have additional seminars in which brother Milo, brother Wilbur Vyphuis and I will encourage and edify preachers and members of numerous congregations in Guyana. It has been and continues to be a gratifying experience to serve our Lord in this way here in this nation. My frequent prayer daily is that God will be glorified and that souls will be edified.

Canal #1

February 20, 2016
Youth Hostel

Youth Hostel

Friday evenings February 12 and 19, brother Nigel Milo and I presented lessons at a local youth hostel for young people who have come in from the bush to finish their public education. Each year I have about two opportunities to teach at the boarding house for these youth.

Canal #1

Canal #1

February 12, I showed a PowerPoint presentation, “The Church in Prophecy,” and the following week, I presented the PowerPoint, “Understanding the Covenants.” The former date, I also showed Asian and Guyanese culture via a PowerPoint presentation; the latter date, brother Nigel acquainted those present with the cultural variables within Guyana, relating some observations from our series of seminars in hinterland areas (e.g., Lethem, Mabaruma, Port Kaituma, Paramakatoi).

Louis Rushmore at Canal #1

Louis Rushmore at Canal #1

Saturday, February 20, 2016, Nigel and I joined up with brother Wilbur Vyphuis at the Canal #1 Church of Christ’s meetinghouse on the far side of the Demerara River. About 40 men, women and children took time out of their weekend to feast on spiritual lessons presented as part of the nationwide seminar that we are conducting. The program ran from about 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.

I am seldom happier than when teaching or preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Today was a happy day in that regard.