Archive for January 2017

My Martha

January 30, 2017

96-dpi-4x6-amelias-ward-4Today (Monday, January 30, 2017), my Martha and I tagged along this morning with seven other church members from the Amelia’s Ward Church of Christ to visit Christians and non-Christians in the community. We divided up into three groups for studies as well as to visit ill members and non-members. The congregation goes into its municipality three times weekly—Monday, Wednesday and Friday—for about four hours each day. Even if brother Nigel Milo, the church’s evangelist, is unavailable—as he will be Wednesday as he and we attend to the nationwide seminars—Christian workers have the initiative and the training to go into the fields that truly are white unto harvest on their own. This church of Christ is exemplary in so many ways, including taking the Gospel to distant in-country locations at members’ expenses and teaching brethren from afar how to setup and conduct Bible studies and distribute literature in their own neighborhoods. In these matters, I am the student rather than the teacher.
96-dpi-4x6-amelias-ward-5After concluding the field work for the day, brother Milo carted Martha and me to the local market and surrounding businesses in search of a few commodities that we sought for ourselves and our treks in Guyana this year. I was pleased to find two pair of “cargo pants” that fit me—except for being a mile too long for my short legs. Befuddled I was when directed to try them on in the public market—sans fitting room! I found a corner that promised minimal privacy and to my amazement the only size available fit me perfectly—not counting the length of the pant legs. However, a seamstress on site immediately rectified the problem and hemmed my new trousers. (It became apparent that I could not cram satisfactorily into my regular khaki or jean pockets enough items beyond what I could carry in my backpack to be weighed—along with my carryon—in preparation for passage in small planes navigating the jungle interior on the way to distant, remote villages. Cargo pants to the rescue!)

96-dpi-4x6-amelias-ward-3Martha and I each bought a pair of plastic or rubber sandals, too. I was replacing a pair that I had bought the prior year at the same shop because the soles of last year’s purchase were split and winding down their usefulness; I wore them across the globe. While in the bazaar—resembling a small flee market in the USA—Martha took up with a couple of strangers and proceeded to tell them that she and I were recently married on New Year’s Day 2017. The ladies in the market were treated to a full disclosure of our wedding pictures right there under the awnings spanning little shops in the narrow pathway snaking through the marketplace! After a couple more purchases (corded eyeglasses retainer, bottled water, coca cola and fried chicken from Church’s Chicken), we retreated to the Milo residence.

96-dpi-4x6-amelias-ward-6Our late lunch concluded, Martha cleaned up from the oppressive heat of the day, rested some and rehearsed her lesson for teaching ladies’ class later in the evening—from around 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. On the other hand, I refrained from refreshing myself, refusing to soil additional clothes unnecessarily on the same day; perspiration dried and not too aromatically challenging to others around me or to myself, I persisted until end of day before bathing at bedtime.

Martha has turned out to be a real trooper! She is enjoying every aspect of our escapades in Guyana whereby we immerse ourselves in this lovely country and culture as we serve the Lord—encouraging and edifying brothers and sisters primarily and non-Christians, also. Mostly packed, we are anticipating an early morning departure to meet our flight from Ogle to Lethem by yet another small aircraft spiriting us over the jungles and to the border with Brazil. We will remain there for several days as we promote the seminar in yet another isolated village in which brethren joyfully greet us and assemble to feast on God’s Word.

Another Lord’s Day in the Ward

January 29, 2017
preacher for the Coomaka Church at Amelia's Ward

preacher for the Coomaka Church at Amelia’s Ward

The Amelia’s Ward Church of Christ in Linden, Guyana, South America assembled for Bible class and worship today—from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (local time). That’s four hours—non-stop! Martha and I were privileged to be among that number. Though no count was taken, the large, modern auditorium was well populated with members of the Lord’s church from two congregations and visitors. The preacher and some of the members of the Coomaka Church of Christ attended, and the minister preached during morning worship; his lesson was thorough, timely and well presented.

Louis Rushmore

Louis Rushmore

Prior to that, I taught Bible class, presenting my lesson, “Come Meet Jesus Christ as a Historical Person.” That evening for the 6 p.m. worship, I made my PowerPoint presentation, “Come Meet Jesus Christ as Mediator, Intercessor and Advocate.”

The day was accented with a fine meal of roast beef, mashed potatoes, carrots, corn, homemade bread sticks and chocolate cake; sister Jasmine and her mother sister Bernadine made the sumptuous feast. Martha and I topped the afternoon off with a nap—trying to recoup some much needed rest from the past week’s early starts, as well as trying to bank away rest for the upcoming dark-of-night forays to new, distant haunts as our nationwide seminars resume on Tuesday.

Martha teaching at Paramakatoi

Martha teaching at Paramakatoi

Monday morning through lunchtime, Martha and I intend to accompany brothers and sisters on door knocking and home studies. Monday evening, Martha is slated to teach the weekly ladies’ Bible class. Tuesday, Lord willing, we fly by small plane to the border of Brazil at Lethem, Guyana—where we will be for a few days.

Happily, Martha is enjoying Guyana and the brethren here as much as I have through the present. The joy we derive from serving the Lord abroad amongst such loving brethren who relish every opportunity to immerse themselves in deeper Bible study is all the reward that either of us want. We are having a blast! Martha and I are undergirding each other’s spirits and experiencing happiness that we had not known for quite a while since the passing of our beloved spouses. All of this and having been friends already for about 25 years, it seems as though we have been married for years rather than less than a month, and we have found our niche in harness for our Lord.

Honeymoon Where?

January 27, 2017

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Early on January 24th, Martha Lynn (Noland) Rushmore and I boarded a small aircraft in Memphis, Tennessee. We winged our way down to Miami International Airport in Florida to catch our next flight, a bigger airliner, which would take us to Georgetown, Guyana, South America. Since the Memphis airline company and the one we used leaving Miami do not have “code share,” we had to retrieve our two checked bags and then get in line at the ticket counter for the next air carrier to check our bags to our final destination. Between arrival and checking our bags, we were afforded time to have our “last meal” prior to exiting the USA—hamburgers, fries and cola.

96-dpi-4x6-paramakatoi-19We departed Miami late afternoon that day and arrived in Guyana around 10:20 p.m. local time. Brother Nigel Milo, as always, was there and waiting to greet and to cart us to his home in Linden—also our home away from home and base of operations for the following six weeks. As we were leaving the next morning—once more up and about before sunrise—we unpacked and repacked for the next morning’s flight to the interior of the country. Lastly, we bathed before retiring at 2:00 a.m., only to arise at 4:00 a.m. for our journey to begin.

96-dpi-4x6-paramakatoi-15Off to Paramakatoi, Martha and I were accompanied by a plane load of about six persons—including the pilot. A little over two hours of skipping through the clouds over the dense jungle canopy, we passed our airstrip, banked left and dropped from the sky to land at an Amerindian village for which I have a special place of endearment in my heart. Of course, aside from the mountain landscape that I adore so much—identifying with it because of having been reared in a similar environment—Paramakatoi is so special to me because of the dear Christian brothers and sisters that I have come to love more and more with each new visit.

96-dpi-4x6-paramakatoi-4Martha enjoyed the mountains and the people as much as did I. Yet, we were there for a reason—the first of 16 seminars that are to take us from border to border and parts in between throughout the 10 regions of Guyana. Hand in hand and with heartstrings securely attached, Martha and I can do anything nearly anywhere for our Lord Jesus Christ. Over the next three days with our brethren, Martha taught ladies five times and taught the children twice; I presented six lessons to either the men or to the entire group.

96-dpi-4x6-paramakatoi-2Martha had many “new experiences,” which she decided to document daily in her journal. Among the occasions reminiscent—but not fondly—of days gone by—not the good ole’ days—were outhouses. Of course, to add to the moments was the daily and spontaneous rain showers, but she braved even that—proudly—in her Steeler’s rain poncho!

96-dpi-4x6-paramakatoi-5These Christians are active, not only in their own village, but they have already of their own accord and owing to their own initiative begun evangelizing distant settlements. Brother Nigel and I participated with these Christian men in reflecting upon how to proceed further and in what ways either Christians from Amelia’s Ward Church of Christ in Linden or American Christians may be able to be of assistance. Whatever is undertaken, brother Milo encouraged the congregation to carefully consider “sustainable” growth that includes primary local Christian responsibility for continuity in these new works.

96-dpi-4x6-paramakatoi-10Sadly, Martha and I had to leave Paramakatoi on Friday morning for the coast, from which we began this jaunt. The mist each morning that rises from the ground upward in the hills is breathtaking; all of the scenery is spectacular. Not least, the local “Walmart-Post Office-Airport” counter is manned ably by Sam; upon learning that Martha and I are newlyweds, he gave us a “wedding present” of two free fruit drinks. Like me, Martha happily befriends especially the little ones, and after we amply spoil them rotten, we give them back to their parents!

96-dpi-4x6-paramakatoi-7However, returning is easier said than done, because one must travel first to another mountain town of Mahdia and wait for the little planes to finish shuttling freight to mining camps and hamlets before hauling passengers.

96-dpi-4x6-paramakatoi-1When we finally arrived back in Linden, there were duties awaiting, though for Nigel and not for us at this time. Brother Milo was called upon to participate in the opening of a new day school. Afterward, a package had to be delivered from Paramakatoi to a person in Linden; a mother had sent some Amerindian foodstuff to her daughter who is away temporarily. Lastly, Martha and I tagged along with brother Nigel as he taught a Bible lesson at the local youth hostel; high school age children come from the outlying areas to board while they complete public school grades that are not available where they live in the interior.

96-dpi-4x6-paramakatoi-6We received one complaint from our dear brethren in Paramakatoi—we didn’t spend enough days with them! They are jealous for our time, and they convinced us to spend several more days with them in 2018 when we return, Lord willing. Martha and I are devoting six weeks in Guyana to permit us to hold seminars with and for brethren in every region of the country, but especially Christians in remote areas hunger and thirst for “more” lessons, whereas often in metropolitan communities, even Christians seem to be almost “too busy” to take time for spiritual matters.

96-dpi-4x6-paramakatoi-8Honeymoon! What honeymoon? Yes, Martha and I wed on January 1, 2017, but we “have hit the ground running” with appointments in various stateside venues as well as 16 settings in Guyana from January 24 through March 9. Upon our return to the United States, immediately, we have appointments in Arkansas, Kentucky, Georgia and Florida. Since we will not have any “free time” until March 22, just maybe we will construe time spent in the exotic, tropical paradise of Guyana, South America as at least a precursor to such a thing as a “honeymoon.”

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Somerville, Tennessee

January 23, 2017

96-dpi-4x6-martha-louis-somerville-tnToday (Monday, January 23), Martha and I attended the first annual mission workshop hosted by the Somerville, TN Church of Christ. We set up a display to represent publications (books, magazines and tracts) of World Evangelism as well as our foreign mission labors. It was also my privilege to be one of the speakers, during which I made my PowerPoint presentation “2016 World Evangelism Media & Missions.”

Beginning at 10 a.m., the program continued through 4 p.m. Dozens of missionaries and interested brethren assembled to encourage each other and update one another about our mission activities. It was an uplifting and encouraging day. Even lunch was a “working lunch” as three speakers spoke while the rest of us munched sandwiches and chips and slurped soup, before crowning mealtime with delicious desserts. Numerous speakers in the auditorium were followed by an open forum and a panel discussion.

Early tomorrow, Lord willing, Martha and I will fly from Memphis, TN to Miami, FL to Georgetown, Guyana, South America. We intend to speak in the annual nationwide Guyana seminars; to date, 14 venues throughout the 10 regions have been confirmed. We will be there through March 9 before returning to the USA.

May God be glorified in all that we and others like us attempt in service of our Lord Jesus Christ. Secondly, we hope to contribute to the edification of all who we encounter. We covet the prayers of the saints.

Collierville, Tennessee

January 22, 2017

96-dpi-4x6-martha-louis-1Sunday, January 22, 2017 Martha and I worshipped with the Collierville, TN Church of Christ where our daughter Rebecca has been a member for decades. Consequently, the Collierville congregation is one that I have visited frequently over the years, and it is also one of my supporters in my stateside and foreign ministry. I say, “Our daughter,” because upon marrying the former Martha Lynn Noland on New Year’s Day, I added to the lot three additional sons and their wives, 12 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren (plus one on the way). Martha added two sons, a daughter and two grandchildren from me. Hence, Rebecca is “our daughter.” In no way, though, do we intend to diminish in the least my dear late wife Bonnie—the mother of my daughter and her two brothers.

During the Bible class time, I made my current PowerPoint presentation about my ministry, entitled, “2016 World Evangelism Media & Missions.” For the two worship periods, I preached PowerPoint lessons respectively, “Come Meet Jesus Christ as Pre-incarnate God” and “Come Meet Jesus Christ as Lawgiver and Prophet.” It was a good day of Christian fellowship as we worshipped God “in spirit and in truth.”

Later, Rebecca, Martha and I set up displays in the facilities of the Somerville, TN Church of Christ in advance of the congregation’s “World Missions Workshop.” Monday, I will participate with other speakers and attendees in a mission program. Many are the Christians and their congregations who maintain a genuine interest in lost souls at home and abroad.

We’re Outta Here!

January 21, 2017

Working feverishly in so many different directions simultaneously, well, we’re outta here anyway. Over the past few days, I finished preparing for printing Volume 91 of our quarterly religious journal The Voice of Truth International; its files are available now for printing companies in several nations. We established a cloud-based transmission portal that enabled, for instance, VOTI 91 files to be viewed instantly in India. Now, attention must soon be directed toward the production of Volume 92. The team effort to do this will require nearly a quarter to complete.

I’m sorry to say, “Something had to give!” We simply could not get everything done in a timely fashion. Gospel Gazette Online for January 2017 is not ready, and it will not be published for several days yet. Nevertheless, Lord willing, we will get back on schedule with the production of Gospel Gazette Online as soon as possible.

96-dpi-8x10-martha-guyana-shipment-1Triaging everything, it was finally time to devote the bulk of our available time to finishing preparation of our lessons for overseas in Guyana, South America. At least minimally, Martha and I are prepared, finally! Next, we directed our attention to packing our bags.

96-dpi-8x10-martha-guyana-shipment-2However, before leaving Winona, MS on Friday, January 20, brother Jerry Bates and we packed, marked, stacked and made a manifest for an upcoming shipment, chiefly of literature, to churches of Christ throughout Guyana. We amassed nearly 2,000 pounds or about two pallets. The first opportunity, though, for Martha and me to haul this freight to a shipping agent in Nashville, TN probably won’t be until late April or May 2017.

Late Friday afternoon, Martha and I departed Winona and traveled northward along I-55 toward Memphis, TN. We attempted to meet our daughter Rebecca at Cheddar’s, only to find it is no longer in business! So, we scurried into JC Penny and unceremoniously used it for a much needed “rest area.” Hello, Cracker Barrel—always a favorite of mine.

Lord’s Day, it will be my privilege to speak three times for the Collierville, TN Church of Christ. Monday, we will attend a Mission Workshop in Somerville, TN, where it will be my pleasure to participate. Early Tuesday morning, the plan is to board the first of two flights in Memphis, TN, as we wing our way to Georgetown, Guyana, South America. So far, we have 14 confirmed venues at which Martha will be teaching ladies and at which I will be speaking to men, women, children and whatever else hops in, flies through or otherwise makes its presence known. We can hardly wait; I cherish the opportunity annually to spend precious time with dear brethren in all 10 regions of the country. Martha and I are scheduled to return to the USA on March 9. The following two weeks from then will take us to congregations of the Lord’s church in Arkansas, Kentucky, Georgia and Florida. Whew! I’m tired already just pondering it all.

96-dpi-8x10-martha-collierville-cabinBy the way, there’s been no time for a honeymoon since Martha and I wed on New Year’s Day. We did stop by an old, old cabin—with no electricity and lacking a mattress atop the bed’s rope lattice. No toilet either, and no running water. The real reason, though, that we did not rent it is because it sits in the town square of Collierville, TN as an exhibit. Honeymoon, maybe later! Just perhaps I can convince Martha that trekking through the jungles of South America, riding fast boats up humongous rivers and cloud hopping in teeny airplanes classifies as a honeymoon to remember.

“Thank you” to the many brothers and sisters in Christ who either help us along our way stateside and abroad or extend to us moral encouragement and offer precious prayers on our behalf. To Jesus Christ our Lord and all of the Godhead be the glory!

Arkansas X 2

January 9, 2017

Saturday, January 7, my wife Martha and I traveled from Collierville, Tennessee to Imboden, Arkansas. We had gone from Winona, Mississippi to Collierville on Friday evening and lodged with our daughter Rebecca. Martha and I had just popped into Winona around 8 p.m. Thursday from our 2-day trip from Ocala, Florida. We did not have much more time at our Winona home than to unload the van and pack it again for the weekend.

Our host and hostess Saturday night and half a day Sunday were brother Gevan and sister Sharon Murphy. Martha and I were comfortably tucked away in the newly refurbished guestroom. As usual, sister Murphy cooked a delicious supper for us.

The next day—the Lord’s Day—we all worshipped with the Imboden (AR) Church of Christ. I made a PowerPoint presentation during Bible class about my ministry and missions, while for worship, I preached via PowerPoint, “The Church in Prophecy.” Martha and I were very well received and encouraged. After a sumptuous lunch at the new and local Mexican restaurant, we pointed the vain toward my evening appointment to speak.

Sunday night, I preached for the Center Ridge (AR) Church of Christ with the aid of a PowerPoint, “Come Meet Jesus Christ as Savior.” As always, the brethren were very gracious and kind.

All day Monday was a travel day back to Winona in Mississippi. Traveling with my good friend and new wife Martha made for a pleasant day through an otherwise bleak, winter landscape and a very lonely jaunt had I been by myself. In just two weeks if the Lord wills, we will take our travels together to a new height as we labor for the cause of Christ six weeks in Guyana. South America. Though there are no pictures today to accompany this post, pictures will be forthcoming, especially upon our return from South America. Thank you for permitting me to speak extensively stateside and abroad for our Lord Jesus Christ.