Saturday, April 23 was a travel day from the India Workshop in Vincennes, IN, hosted by the Central Church of Christ. I was the guest of brother Roger and sister Mary Wright in their home for the week, for which I am grateful.
Riding shotgun with me from Vincennes to Madison, TN, which abuts Nashville, was sister Ruth Anne Peyton. After depositing her with a sister-in-law, I continued to McMinnville, TN, where I spent the night with brother Ray and sister Charlotte Weddington. I have been indebted to them over the years for their kind hospitality and participation with me in my undertakings for the Lord.
Sunday morning, it was my privilege to speak for the Smyrna Church of Christ outside of McMinnville, both for the Bible class and a.m. worship periods. I made my PowerPoint presentation about my 2015 Asia and 2016 South American mission trips for class time. During worship, I preached my PowerPoint sermon, “The Church in Prophecy.” These Christians gracious let me speak and also participated financially with me in my endeavors. Afterward, I returned to the Weddington home where I went to bed for a while on account of my ongoing and unbearable mouth pain.
Sunday evening, I spoke for the West Riverside Church of Christ in McMinnville, whereupon I presented my PowerPoint about the 2015 and 2016 mission trips. These brethren were encouraging and contributed to my missionary efforts in a handsome way.
Following worship, in severe pain, I pointed my car toward my next scheduled venue outside of Hamilton, AL. After driving for some time and not able to tolerate the pain any longer, I rerouted my trip to Jackson, MS where my dentist practices dentistry. I got as far as Madison, AL just west of Huntsville, AL where I lodged for the night; I had stayed overnight there at the same hotel recently while on another trip, too.
Monday morning, I drove over five hours to Jackson, MS, arriving a little after 1 p.m. Shortly thereafter, I underwent a root canal. My dentist, brother Andrew Dulaney, who is one of the elders of my overseeing congregation, advised me to spend at least one night in the area before resuming my stateside travels. As it turned out, the root canal was not completely satisfactory in alleviating my intense pain, and a second root canal was necessary; Wednesday, brother Drew Dulaney, brother Andy’s son, performed a second root canal on an adjoining tooth to the one that had recently been the object of a root canal.
A total of three night stays were required to attend to my ailment and to make sure I was satisfactorily treated before going onward. Fortunately, just a few weeks earlier brother W.E. and sister Judy Walker had made available to me a cabin on their property outside of Clinton, MS in which to lodge temporarily when in the area. It came in very handy.
Thursday, I once more pointed my Town & Country van toward Hamilton, AL for the 2016 Maywood Missionary Retreat, which is sponsored by World Evangelism. Each year, this program sees missionaries and interested brethren from around the world come together in a woodsy setting for a little lectureship and fellowship. Short and even shorter this year because of a scheduling error, nevertheless, all who go encourage and are encouraged.
It was good to be there, but for me a flood of memories brought tears to my eyes on several occasions. Last year, Bonnie was fervently doing her best to prolong her fleeting life long enough to assemble one final time with comrades in the ranks of fellow missionaries. She achieved that before passing away a few days later on May 18, 2015.
Friday night following the conclusion of the 2016 missionary retreat, I headed for home in Winona, MS. Again, my mouth was swelling from infection, and pain persisted relative to the two root canals that I had undergone a few days earlier. I did not feel either physically or emotionally well enough to attempt any weekend appointments, so I headed for my own bed, from which I had been absent for two weeks. I trudged on through heavy thunderstorms and flooding along the highways, but I made it home safely.
Upon arrival in Winona, I spent an hour and a half unloading the car and putting most things away. To my disappointment, I could not sleep more than an hour, and I got back up before returning to bed around 3:30 a.m. Saturday. All too soon, later in the morning, I arose for the day because I could sleep no longer.
There was work to be done, though, to which I needed to direct myself: laundry, watering the flowers and a host of things I didn’t feel like doing. The trouble was, however, that I didn’t feel like doing nothing either. Pacing myself and triaging what needs to be done, work provides needed focus to keep me from feelings of loneliness and sadness.
While getting patched up in Jackson, I worked at the Siwell Road Church of Christ’s meetinghouse with my portable office, giving attention to volume 89 of The Voice of Truth International magazine. Other brethren and I also scoped out what is necessary to install a kiosk to keep my sponsoring congregation abreast of my foreign travels. Amidst all of the pain and medicines, I did a fair amount of sleeping and resting, too. I don’t know what I would do with myself or how I would manage without purpose in my life and a commitment to serving our Lord Jesus Christ. As long as physical strength permits, I will continue in such as long as I live (Philippians 1:21; Revelation 22:20).