Archive for June 2016

Florida or Bust!

June 26, 2016
Florida Rest Stop

Florida Rest Stop

Rebecca my daughter and I left Winona, MS on Saturday for Florida. What was projected to be about a 6-hour trek turned out to be more than an 8-hour slog through some stretches of highway swamped with very heavy traffic and frequent roadwork. Our first significant slowdown came on the south side of Jackson, MS, but finally that cleared up.

Later, when we ran out of Mississippi into Alabama, we encountered stopped traffic for many miles as four lanes of automobiles squeezed into two lanes and negotiated a series of stoplights. Finally, we slogged through all of that to unencumbered progress for a few miles – until we fell into more plugged thoroughfares in Mobile, AL. The arteries of the city were stymied in every direction heading toward the underwater tunnels and eastbound I-10. With a little patience we managed to make some progress, and finally the traffic thinned, but not before we had reluctantly surrendered two hours that we’ll never get back.

There was absolutely no shortage of creative driving demonstrated along the way: cars pulling out in front of fast moving vehicles, slow cars in the passing lane, convoys of cars acting as though they were jammers on some roller rink, over confident racers working a slalom as they darted back and forth around cars in both lanes, distracted drivers erratically swerving right and left, etc. There were many opportunities to practice patience as well as hone one’s defensive driving tactics!

After a long day of plying the highways, Rebecca and I arrived at the Best Western Inn in DeFuniak Springs, FL. Bonnie and I had lodged there from time to time over the years, and Rebecca and I stayed there, too, last year. Once more I checked in.

Sunday, I spoke at all three designated assembly times for the Liberty Church of Christ in the absence of its preacher, who was away. Like many congregations, the Liberty congregation is aging and dwindling in size. However, what the church lacked in a large attendance, it more than made up in enthusiasm. We received a very warm welcome. Nowhere I go do a greater number of brethren for their size appreciate our efforts any more than they do. This little flock is especially interested in the literature that I write, help publish and distribute, and every year members buy several titles for themselves.

Tired, but well fed, encouraged and in a comfortable temporary dwelling, we rested for the night before contemplating what the new day and the week ahead of us would bring. The little band of Christians sent along with us a small crate of excess literature and media for repackaging and distribution to brethren overseas. It was a good day, for which we are thankful.

Sister Cheryl & Brother Kishore Etwaroo

June 21, 2016

Kishore & Cheryl Etwaroo & Louis RushmoreTuesday, June 21, 2016, visitors from afar arrived at my Winona home. Brother Ed Ditto drove up into my driveway midafternoon with two passengers, sister Cheryl and brother Kishore Etwaroo. These latter two travelers are a wonderful couple and fellow Christians with whom it is my pleasure to interact for the cause of Christ annually in Port Kaituma, Guyana, South America. Brother Ditto drove them from Huntsville, AL, and tomorrow afternoon, I will take them back to Huntsville in time for midweek Bible class at the Central Church of Christ.

Having my daughter Rebecca with me this summer is special to me. It also meant that brother and sister Etwaroo had a better supper than what otherwise might have resulted from my efforts alone. Rebecca rustled up a delicious meal of homemade pizza and a nice salad. Mmm Good!

It was a delight to have in my home a fine pair in whose home I am regularly when abroad in Guyana. In addition to enjoying one another’s company and pouring over literature at the warehouse, they graciously agreed to help my daughter Rebecca and me process a small mailing of The Voice of Truth International magazines to be mailed later in the week.

My first year in Guyana for a traveling, mobile seminar, brother Kishore was my co-speaker, or I was his co-speaker. Indeed, we are Christian friends, brother Kishore and his dear wife Cheryl. They are not the first to make my Winona home and our warehouse/office at World Evangelism a destination, and I hope they are not the last. Further, I look forward to future occasions when they may be my guests, and when I may be their guest. Isn’t it great to have Christian friends all around the world?

Rushmore Evangelism Display

June 20, 2016

Evangelism DisplayI purchased a curio cabinet recently while up in the Amish and Mennonite country of Ohio. Two of my children, Raymond and Rebecca, helped me modify it for use as a display case of exemplars of foreign mission trips in Asia and South America on which Bonnie and I have been over the years. Not only did I haul it about a 1,000 miles from Ohio to middle Mississippi, I have been carting it around in the back of my van for a fortnight!

Finally today (Monday, June 20, 2016), following my dental cleaning in south Jackson, MS, Rebecca and I proceeded to the meetinghouse of the Siwell Road Church of Christ to offload and set up the exhibit in the congregation’s large foyer. Brother Derek and sister Hannah Broome were there, with their two little ones in tow, to meet us. Mom and dad were terrific and indispensable helpers, and the little sir and his big sister were delightful playmates for me. We snapped three pictures of the finished, lighted exhibition, and I opted to use the one with Emma inspecting our efforts. Both youngsters were drawn to and curious about it, also being gracious enough to give us their approvals signed with their fingerprints on the front glass – the first of many, I’m sure – and I hope.

June 2016 Edition of Gospel Gazette Online Published

June 14, 2016

Gospel Gazette OnlineToday, my daughter Rebecca and I completed the 210th edition of Gospel Gazette Online and published it to the Internet. The June 2016 issue of GGO is now ready for the reading pleasure of Christians and non-Christians alike from around the world. With this edition of GGO, we are now half way through the 18th year of its publication on the Internet.

Besides sometimes authoring articles for inclusion in the pages of Gospel Gazette Online, Rebecca is my proofreader. Sometimes we are so behind and pressed for time that I have published past issues before she would find time to proofread them, only afterward to make the needed corrections. Lately, we have been getting the proofreading done ahead of publication, especially if we are a little late in publishing. We are a little later in publication this time owing to the thousands of miles that we have been traveling in the first half of June. My mobile office can fire up about anywhere, but when my hands are wrapped around a steering wheel, their fingers cannot pound away on the computer keyboard. It is needful, too, to keep my eyes on the roadway as we traverse the highways.

Brother Rodney Nulph, our Associate Editor, and I are happy to provide not only the current edition of Gospel Gazette Online, but also we want to remind you of the thousands of pages for past issues that are maintained in the Archive. There are over 1,700 subscribers to GGO besides the many people who also freely use this valuable resource. Any good that has and continues to result, any glory to God and whatever edification for the Readers that may occur make the effort and the expense to produce this monthly journal more than worthwhile.

We are thankful for the occasional words of encouragement. We are indebted to the Christian men and women whose articles they lend for inclusion in GGO.

Delta Destination

June 13, 2016

Accompanied by my daughter Rebecca, I had a Mississippi River Delta Destination for Sunday, June 12. In the absence of its preacher Gene Hill, I spoke for the Indianola Church of Christ at the Bible class hour and for both morning and evening worship services (“2015-2016 Mission Trips,” “The Deity of Jesus Christ” and “Come Meet Jesus Christ as Creator”). The Bradshaws entertained and fed us that afternoon, and following the evening assembly, several brethren convened at Wendy’s for supper and general Christian fellowship.

Rebecca and I paused on our return trip to Winona, MS to visit sister Madolyn and brother Gene Gibson in their Moorehead, MS home; Gene has been seriously ill.

Finally, we arrived back home around midnight. It was a long day, though we were only an hour from the house.

Monday, I didn’t go to the office; I only left the property to fetch some gasoline about half a mile away to feed the lawn equipment. The grass had not been mowed for at least three weeks, and it was about time. Within three hours, I had tackled the job with a wheelbarrow, a riding lawn tractor, a walk behind mower and a string trimmer. Other areas needing attention can wait for another day.

Despite not going to the office, I did attend to a lot of office work, much of which will have to be completed tomorrow and the following days. In addition, we rested somewhat to recuperate from the nearly two weeks we had been traveling through half a dozen states and living out of our suitcases. Tomorrow promises to be a worked-filled day of its own, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Bouncing Around Ohio

June 11, 2016

My daughter Rebecca and I have been bouncing around Ohio like some kind of accelerated Ping-Pong ball careening off the interior walls of one humongous, irregular-shaped box. We drove from Pennsylvania, where we had visited family, to Ohio on Saturday, June 4. Quality Inn in Elyria, OH provided us lodging that evening, and on the morrow, we completed our journey to be with the Vermilion, OH Church of Christ. This congregation stepped forward to be the initial sponsoring congregation for Bonnie and me regarding our mission work. It was always intended to be a temporary arrangement, but that congregation received funds on behalf of our missionary labors for about three years. To this day, these Christians continue to be a great encouragement to me as well as to participate with me financially in my endeavors for our Lord Jesus Christ. I’m thankful for all that this church has done and continues to do in relationship to me; these brethren got in on the ground floor of my mission activities.

We were wonderfully received in Vermilion on Sunday. I made my PowerPoint presentation for Bible class Sunday morning about my “2015 – 2016 Mission Trips” to Asia and South American, entailing 13 weeks abroad in five countries. During worship, I preached about “The Church in Prophecy”; a technical glitch midway through my sermon necessitated disregarding the PowerPoint presentation of this lesson and resorting to narration alone. When “Plan A” fails, I move on to “Plan B.” I’m just glad we didn’t have to resort to plans “C” or “D”! Following worship that morning, we enjoyed a fellowship meal in our honor; brethren will use any excuse to eat together and to enjoy one another’s companionship!



I wish that I had had time to drive by the shore of Lake Erie at Vermilion, but we needed to leave town immediately for my evening appointment with the Norval Park Church of Christ in Zanesville, OH. Under ideal circumstances, my GPS said we needed three hours and fourteen minutes for the trek between the two locations; Google Maps, though, claimed that we only required two hours and forty-three minutes for the journey. In reality, in part due to traffic congestion because of a broken-down motor home ahead of us, a construction detour and nasty weather, we had little time to spare upon arriving in Zanesville.

Initially, we paused just a few minutes at the Zanesville home of sister Barbara Harris, ever an encouragement to me and a participant with me in my foreign labors. If we had arrived earlier, we would have been her guests for a fine meal that she had prepared, but that we were unable to enjoy before time for evening worship.

This was my first visit to the Norval Park Church of Christ, and I must say that no congregation of the Lord’s church has ever been more gracious and kind to me than this church. I was honored to extend a devotional invitation and afterward to narrate my PowerPoint presentation, “2015 – 2016 Mission Trips.” Many Christians commented favorably, and the minister and elders interacted sympathetically with Rebecca and me following worship. At least on this occasion the congregation opted to participate financially with me in my efforts for Christ.

Rebecca, her Nook book & Raymond's cat

Rebecca, her Nook book & Raymond’s cat

Within an hour of leaving Zanesville, Rebecca and I arrived at the home of one of my sons, Raymond, in Newark, OH. Since he was off from work on Monday and Tuesday, this was an ideal opportunity to spend precious time with him – and mooch off of him for lodging! We spent most of one day perusing and cruising through the Amish countryside between Millersburg and Sugar Creek. Bonnie and I always ventured into Amish country each time we came to Ohio, and I still enjoy doing so. Whenever I buy a belt, I buy a good leather belt in one of the many shops scattered in town or rural area, and I bought another one on Monday. My pass through Amish land is never complete until I feast at the Dutch Valley Restaurant in Sugar Creek; I left that establishment filled and satisfied, as well pleased with the good company of Raymond and Rebecca.

Not in Kansas anymore!

Not in Kansas anymore!

As a sidebar, it was evident, as Dorothy in the “Wizard of Oz” uttered, ‘we were not in Kansas anymore’ once we entered Amish-land. The horned fish seemed to be a little bizarre. We also paused in our passage to muse over the longest covered bridge in Ohio; motorized vehicles are prohibited under penalty of a hefty fine, but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t some horsepower traipsing across it. We three took a timeout at a display of the vestige of the old Erie Canal. Raymond and Rebecca were as interested in a large catfish swimming near the canal boat.



If I spent money daily like I did that day and sometimes recently, I’d be broke in short order. I convinced myself to make an investment in a small curio cabinet for the purpose of displaying in the foyer of the Siwell Road Church of Christ some of the artifacts relative to my foreign mission work. This congregation oversees my missionary work, and in a very fine way, too. Desiring to maintain a good rapport with the congregational members despite my frequent absence, the elders, the associate minister and I have arranged for a television in the large foyer to keep brethren abreast of my mission trips and destinations overseas. Tuesday, Raymond, Rebecca and I adapted the Amish made curio cabinet into a display case also to place in the Siwell congregation’s foyer beneath the TV. A drawer on top will exhibit foreign currency and coins, whereas lighted shelves below that will highlight carved items (e.g., elephants), a parasol, bowls and jewelry, among other possible objects. Rebecca and I will carefully haul the display back to Mississippi and set it up at the earliest opportunity. Of course, we had some family time, too; we made a point to have a meal out together once more, especially since there is nearly 1,000 miles between us, and visits are infrequent. Rebecca and I also did some shopping respecting our return trip shortly down south, and I had the oil changed in the Town & Country as well as some other minor service work.

Long covered bridge

Long covered bridge

Wednesday, Raymond left for work around 4 a.m., and later, Rebecca and I drove to the Hanoverton, OH Church of Christ for me to address the evening Bible class about my mission work. Once more, I showed the PowerPoint formerly shown on this trek in Vermilion and Zanesville. The minister for the congregation and his wife graciously invited us to dine with them at their supper table preceding class time. Several families encouraged Rebecca and me, as well as participated financially with me regarding my mission work. These brethren are dear to me also for the hospitality they have shown me repeatedly over the years, including inviting me into their homes and notes of encouragement.

Erie Canal Boat

Erie Canal Boat

Incidentally, I purchased a compact, lighted travel mirror, especially for use in foreign travels by which to shave when neither mirror nor light are available. I’m accustomed to few purchases in life working as well as advertised, but this buy was a complete flop. Not only does the mirror portray a fuzzy image, but no matter how the mirror is held or turned, the image is upside down! Granted, I may be a little out of focus at times, but I have not mastered standing on my head yet. Return and refund coming! That’s when I found out that magnified mirrors require one to nearly touch them with one’s face for the reflection to show properly. Nah, I don’t think that will work well for my purposes.

Erie Canal

Erie Canal

With management’s permission, just before 2 p.m. on Thursday, Rebecca and I left the Comfort Inn in which we lodged. That gave us time to do a few office things (e.g., Gospel Gazette Online, catch up finances, etc.). Besides our next appointment wasn’t until 6 p.m. only about an hour away, and we needed to be somewhere during the day. Still, we were afforded time for two detours along our route of travel. One of those was to walk around Lehman’s Hardware in Kidron, OH. A tourist trap for sure these days, there are lots and lots of things to see – new merchandise of all kinds from over the past three centuries and many, many antiques. We didn’t buy a thing, but the side excursion was pleasant as well as taking up some slack in our day.

Lehman's Hardware

Lehman’s Hardware

We rendezvoused with the Rodney and Julene Nulph family (including Joshua, Brielle and Steven) at the Pizza Hut in Wooster, OH. He is the Associate Editor for Gospel Gazette Online, Julene also writes for the Internet journal. In addition, sometimes I place their writings in The Voice of Truth International. We had a very pleasant time together, and especially the children were much interested in my mission trips. Therefore, I set up my laptop on a table, borrowed a little electric and reviewed my PowerPoint presentation “2015 – 2016 Mission Trips.” Afterward, we resorted to the parking lot where the Nulphs pored over foreign language and Braille books with amazement. The whole family likes to read, and so I made sure that each family member had his or her books to read in the days ahead. It was my pleasure to leave a couple of jade bracelets and a miniature dugout canoe in their hands before continuing my journey.

It could have been worse!

It could have been worse!

All that remained was to wind our way back through Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee and Mississippi to my Winona home. Friday, Rebecca and I traversed parts of Ohio and Kentucky in a southwesterly slant across those states, finally coming to rest for the night in Cave City, KY. Heavy rain hampered travel and doubtlessly contributed to a couple of traffic accidents that we passed – one of which involved a tandem tractor-trailer and two cars. Fortunately, we traveled safely. Finally, we drove into blue skies and sunshine, and the temperature increased over 20 degrees!

Incidentally, the elevator in the hotel in which we stayed – every time its doors opened or closed – sounded how I imagined that a banshee would screech! Aside from that, after supper, we resorted to our room, and I spent my time laboring on the still unpublished June edition of Gospel Gazette Online.

Saturday was an uneventful, daylong ramble through the balance of Kentucky, Tennessee and Mississippi all the way back to Winona. After unloading the Town & Country van, we restocked it with literature for the next day’s appointment, visiting a congregation in Mississippi whereupon I will speak at the three service times.

Jerry and Paula Bates have left the country, and there is much physical labor to which I need to attend back at the warehouse. I missed unloading the truck that arrived recently, but I must tend to some of the mailing of the newest issue of The Voice of Truth International. Hopefully, in the upcoming week I will also publish to the Internet the June edition of Gospel Gazette Online. A few other matters cry for attention, too.

Wild, Wonderful West Virginia

June 4, 2016
View out Balis' Bay Window

View out Balis’ Bay Window

The State Motto for West Virginia is “Mountaineers Are Always Free.” From 1975 to 1991, the official slogan of West Virginia was “Wild, Wonderful West Virginia”; that sentiment still persists on sundry official sites as well among the residency in general. Wednesday afternoon, June 1st, Rebecca and I arrived at the home of brother John and sister Sue Balis outside of Sandyville, WV.

As we entered the grounds of the Balis family farm, I spied sister Sue mowing the lawn astraddle a riding mower. It was then that I recalled from having lived in West Virginia that mowing grass in that state is “women’s work”!

Brother and sister Balis have hosted me before, along with Bonnie, of course, and at least once my daughter, too. Once more, Rebecca and I were graciously received, lodged and amply fed. Besides this, the Balis’ are an ever encouragement and participants with me in my missionary efforts.

That evening, it was my good pleasure to speak to the Sandyville Church of Christ. I made my PowerPoint presentation about my “2015-2016 Mission Trips” to four countries in Asia and one country in South America.

96 dpi 4x6 WartherThursday morning, after breakfast, Rebecca and I once more mounted the Town & Country and traveled onward. We stopped en route to northwestern Pennsylvania in Dover, OH to have our paring knives sharpened at Warther’s Museum, Gift Shop and Knife Factory. The company will sharpen our knives, which we bought from them, for life.

Finally, we arrived in Hadley, PA at the trailer home of my 86-year-old father for a short visit, which included being bitten on the leg by his little housedog. For a moment I had passing thoughts of playing football with that toothy fur ball and punting him toward some unseen goal post! He broke the skin, which eventually drew blood to the surface, right through my jeans.

After leaving my dad’s home, we dropped by my brother Mike’s (and Donna his wife) home between Greenville and Jamestown, PA. He is confined to a bed or a chair; he only gets out for doctor’s appointments usually. We happened to stop by on a day between appointments. Recently, he had another stroke. He is my youngest brother, four years my junior.

Next, we dropped by the home of my brother Martin (and his wife Mary and his daughter Sammy) in Jamestown. The five of us enjoyed dinner in a local eatery. Afterward, Rebecca and I resorted to our lodging in Meadville, PA.

Friday morning, we slept too late to sample the hotel breakfast. Hence, we “forced” ourselves at Cracker Barrel to share pecan pancakes, crisp bacon and cheesy hash brown casserole, accented for me with orange juice and with chocolate milk for Rebecca. With time on our hands, we headed to the first oil well, which birthed the oil industry, in Titusville, PA. It was a pleasant day (the snow melted about two weeks earlier), and the visit to the museum and grounds was equally pleasant.

For about an hour we rested back at the hotel, once we returned, before visiting some of Bonnie’s family at the home of James and Kay Reed in Cochraton, PA. Bonnie’s brother Larry Reed and his wife Donna also stopped by, and all of us had a home cooked meal together.

Saturday morning, we checked out of our hotel and moved toward the next venue. We reserved a room in Elyria, OH and headed that direction. Sunday morning, I am scheduled to speak for the Vermilion, OH Church of Christ; that evening if our Lord wills, I will speak for the Norval Park Church of Christ in Zanesville, OH. Monday and Tuesday, we will visit my son Raymond in Newark, OH, and Wednesday, I will speak for the Hanoverton, OH Church of Christ. Thursday evening, we will have supper with the Rodney Nulph family; he is the Associate Editor of Gospel Gazette Online, an Internet Gospel magazine now in its 18th year of publication. Friday and Saturday, Rebecca and I will return to Winona, MS. All day Sunday, I will speak for the Indianola, MS Church of Christ.

Life in general can be wild and wonderful. West Virginia proudly embraces that slogan.