Archive for February 2017

Region 1

February 17, 2017

96-dpi-5x7-estate-12Monday, February 13 came early at 2:30 a.m. in Linden, Guyana, South America for Martha Lynn and me. We hadn’t been in bed probably more than two and a half hours. To say we were less than rested would be a huge understatement.

96-dpi-5x7-estate-13Ambling down the outside stairs from the Milo living quarters, brother Nigel and we, along with a backpack apiece, settled into his Toyota car for the hour and a half ride to the Ogle airport. However, as it turned out, we arrived about an hour ahead of time to check in, and so we slept in the car to a little past check-in time. Checked in, we deposited ourselves in the “departure lounge,” awaiting our flight in a Cessna Caravan to Port Kaituma. It was at that town’s airstrip and outside of the village that several years ago the Jonestown episode unfolded with the suicide-murder of several hundred misguided religionists.

96-dpi-5x7-estate-1All three of us snoozed on the 50-minute flight from Ogle to Port Kaituma as the aircraft first climbed into the sky over the Atlantic Ocean before traveling northward along the Guyanese coastline. Then, it turned inland and flew over jungles and forested hills.

96-dpi-5x7-estate-9Nothing I could say to forewarn Martha could prepare her for what we found upon our arrival. Upon departing from the “airport,” after we registered with the local officials, a local taxied us to our lodging through muddy, boggy craters that passed for the arteries through the community of Port Kaituma. There may be worse roads on planet earth somewhere, but I haven’t found them as yet—and I don’t want to experience such!

96-dpi-5x7-estate-8As it was last year when I came to Guyana alone, this year we took a room at a small and humble establishment dubbed “The Ranch.” The motto on the sign there says, “Stay & Play.” Certainly, the accommodations and amenities were adequate for our purposes, but don’t anyone be misled by the company motto to imagine that we bedded down in some lush resort. The electric to the community was off, and so there were neither lights to mitigate the darkness were we to shut the door (blacked out window) as we fumbled our way to the toilet nor fan to dull the warmth of the day or stir the air. When the electric did come on is when we found that of the three light sockets in the room, only one had a working bulb in it. We literally borrowed a light bulb from the home of our host Kishore Etwaroo, and we procured a second pillow and a second towel.

96-dpi-5x7-estate-3Late afternoon and early evening we three along with other brethren assembled at the Estate Church of Christ in Port Kaituma. Martha taught the ladies for two hours, and brother Nigel and I each taught the men an hour apiece. I was so tired that while brother Milo was speaking, I nearly fell off of my plank bench to crash into the seat ahead of me on my way to the rough, concrete floor.

96-dpi-5x7-estate-14Tuesday morning, after breakfast at the Etwaroo home (we enjoyed their hospitable meals the two days in Port Kaituma), we took a taxi to the port to board the “church bus”—a large boat, since the day’s destination is only accessible from the river. From 9:00 a.m. through 4:00 p.m., we three travelers taught classes in the meetinghouse and on the grounds of the Turu Mission Church of Christ. Several congregations were represented, each bringing boatloads of brothers and sisters in Christ from as far away as 22 miles. Attendance was in the neighborhood of 75. It was a full day of fellowship and edification via prayers, singing and biblical lessons. Brethren made a point of thanking us for it all, as well as for The Voice of Truth International and additional literature made available to all of the churches of Christ in Guyana from our World Evangelism base in Winona, Mississippi. Nearly 2,000 pounds of literature awaits my return to the States to haul to a shipping agent in Nashville, Tennessee.

96-dpi-5x7-estate-10Nigel, Martha and I have a sense of gratification for how these two days in Port Kaituma progressed. We made a concerted effort therein and thereby to glorify God and edify our fellow man. Praise God and may His name only be blessed. Brethren, please continue to pray for us in harness for our Lord Jesus Christ. Tomorrow, we travel by boats up two large rivers as we snake our way through the jungle to our next venue, pausing for a 2-hour seminar along the way. Wednesday night we expect to lodge in Mabaruma, Guyana.

Lord’s Day in Linden

February 12, 2017
January 2, 2017 with kids & grandkids at Chuck E. Cheese

January 2, 2017 with kids & grandkids at Chuck E. Cheese

Sunday, February 12, 2017, Martha Lynn and I worshipped once more with the Amelia’s Ward Church of Christ in Linden, Guyana, South America. Again today, morning Bible class and worship continued from 8:30 a.m. through almost 12:30 p.m.—four hours! Then, the faithful or diehards returned for evening worship at 6:00 p.m. This morning for Bible class, I taught, “Come Meet Jesus Christ as Pre-Incarnate God”; tonight I preached, “Come Meet Jesus Christ as Messiah and King.” I was able to use PowerPoint presentations both times, though I wondered if I was going to need to resort to “Plan B” since shortly before class time the electric went off, but it came back on in a few minutes. I always have plans “A” through “D” to try to compensate for unintended circumstances.

Additional congregational activities for the upcoming week include visitation in the community three hours or so Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Ladies’ Bible class meets at 5:30 p.m. Monday. Wednesday evening, “Prayer Meeting” is at 5:30 p.m., followed by Bible class at 7:00 p.m. Friday evening at 8:00 p.m., married couples and others interested in marriage meet; this week, Martha and I are to be the principles, and in class discussion we are expected to share advice, counsel and tips that we have learned from the combined 90 years of marriage (48 for Martha married to Bob and 42 for me married to Bonnie). Not to overlook the present, we are expected to speak to the nearly two months that we have been married to each other as well.

This is likely to be a busy, tiring and challenging week since Monday through Saturday we are scheduled to present seminars at five different venues across a wide expanse of Guyana. Tomorrow at 3:30 a.m., we are to leave by car for the Ogle airport for a flight in a little plane to Port Kaituma—the vicinity of the Jonestown Massacre of some decades ago. During late afternoon and early evening, we will speak at one congregational location in Port Kaituma. Tuesday, we are to travel by boat to another area church of Christ. Wednesday, Nigel, Martha and I are to travel three hours or so by boat up two large rivers to Mabaruma; along the way, we will teach in another seminar at a river village. Thursday, we will have a seminar program in Mabaruma. Friday, we fly back to Ogle. Saturday, we cross the Demerara River at Georgetown to present another seminar along a canal.

Though it is not Valentine’s Day just yet, Martha and I exchanged Valentine’s Day Cards today; we agreed that the timing and logistics were better today than hauling the cards with us by car, plane and boat for giving them to each other on February 14. All I can say is, “What a honeymoon!” Whew! We’re not even half way through our 6-week stint yet. We covet the prayers of our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Bath Settlement Church of Christ

February 11, 2017


96-dpi-4x6-bath-settlement-6Saturday, February 11, 2017
, the Bath Settlement Church of Christ hosted our next seminar in the late afternoon and the early evening. All five of the churches of Christ in that region participated and were represented at this workshop.

96-dpi-4x6-bath-settlement-2Martha Lynn Rushmore taught ladies’ classes for two hours while brother Nigel Milo and I taught men’s classes for an hour each. In addition, Nigel and I each spoke for an hour to the combined assembly of brothers and sisters. We all enjoyed singing hymns together, we prayed together and we were pleased with general fellowship and refreshments. The three of us presenters and the auditors, too, were all edified and encouraged.

96-dpi-4x6-bath-settlement-11Afterward, brother Milo chauffeured us back the three hours or so to Linden, his home and our base of operations for our annual seminars across all 10 regions of Guyana, South America. What a way—and I can imagine no better way—for Martha and me to spend our honeymoon!

Camping in Guyana

February 10, 2017

January 24—We arrived at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport near Georgetown, Guyana, South America about 10:30 p.m. Brother Nigel Milo met us and drove us to his home in Linden, which I call Milo’s Bed and Breakfast.

We were met at the door by sister Jasmine Milo, sporting her beautiful smile while welcoming Louis and me. She also had a late supper of eggs and toast. We enjoyed a couple of hours with lots of laughs as we were getting to know one another. They also have a ten-year-old son Zab; he is the sweetest young man. We are now claiming him, too, as one of our grandsons.

January 25—Now to the camping trips we have been taking. First, we flew to the Village of Paramakatoi, all seven of us—including the pilot. The small plane had holes for air in the windows, but they also let in water from the rain clouds through which we flew. What a new experience for me! Many of the villagers, cows, donkeys, horses and dogs (the scrawniest I have ever seen) came out to greet us. The people in this area are Amerindian.

The first place we saw was the local one-room “Wal-Mart,” post office and airport. One entrepreneur named Sam runs this business. He was very kind to us. We told him we had just gotten married, and he gave us a wedding gift of two pineapple fruit juices.

The Amerindians have very few amenities. We have more in the States when we go camping. At least when we go camping in the US, we have flushing toilets! Instead, we had outhouses. There certainly were no dishwashers either. We took our showers, pouring water on us from a bowl dipped from a bucket; then, we lathered up with soap and rinsed off in cold water—unless we heated it on the stove. Yes, we stayed in a nice corner room with windows on both sides; this was the AC. We also had a mesh mosquito net to use at night to keep from being bait for the insects, especially the mosquitos. They seem to love Louis and me. We must be very sweet! Louis is so glad to share me for their breakfast, lunch, supper and snacks. Isn’t he so nice?

The village guesthouse had toilets, but they did not work because the piping needed to be fixed. So, to the outhouse we went. This was not bad except at night. I did not like going out at night because I was somewhat worried about the slithering reptiles.

96-dpi-4x6-paramakatoi-2On our way to the church building, we had to walk in pouring down rain. We were soaked, even though wearing our rain ponchos—my yellow, Pittsburgh Steelers rain gear prompting Louis to say that I looked like a duck. We spent Wednesday night singing and listening to Louis and brother Nigel Milo who each gave one talk on Jesus Our Example.” The brethren were very welcoming to us. The singing was really beautiful, and we sang old songs with which I grew up. This brought back a lot of childhood memories.

96-dpi-4x6-paramakatoi-12January 26-27—On Thursday and Friday mornings, all three of us taught lessons. I had the ladies, and I really enjoyed them. I had some children, and I did a short Bible story for them to make them seem special and part of the class. I could not leave them out. With the children, I did the “Days of Creation,” and for the ladies, we did the Book of Ruth. The ladies sang the chorus of two songs for me in their native, tribal language. I pray our efforts at Paramakatoi were prosperous for the Lord.

After Friday’s session, we flew from Paramakatoi to Mahdia airport, and then we got on board another plane to fly back to Ogle. From Ogle, brother Nigel was our chauffeur back to Linden—to the Milo B & B. Louis says, “We fly low with Milo.”

January 29—On Sunday, we worshipped with the brethren of the Amelia Ward Church of Christ, where brother Milo is the preacher. Louis taught Bible class, and the preacher from the Coomacka congregation did the lesson. The brethren from this congregation came for worship. Louis spoke Sunday evening.

January 30—On Monday morning, Nigel, Louis and I, along with some of the ladies from church, went out to do some door knocking and Bible studies that were set up. We split up in threes. We worked until about 12:00.

That same evening, I had the pleasure of teaching the ladies’ class for the Amelia’s Ward congregation. We had a very good class, and I had a lot of participation. We also studied the Book of Ruth, and then I asked them some Bible trivia questions. I felt so rewarded.

I cannot believe that while teaching I did not realize how hot it was in the building. I was told by one of my coworkers that I would not realize how hot it was while teaching. She was right. I cannot believe how fast the nervous jitters went away as I started teaching. This has been a great lesson for me.

My prayer and my goal is always to glorify God. My second goal is to edify those around me.

Beginning 2017

February 9, 2017

96-dpi-wedding-25Since this is my first blog, I will start with January 1, 2017. Louis and I were married at my home in Ocala, FL between services with five of our children, three of our grandchildren and a few close friends present. Colin Williamson tied-the-knot, and he did it very tightly.

We did not have time for a honeymoon. After church services, we spent Sunday evening with our family since we do not get to see them very often as we live so far apart. It was good laughing and enjoying one another—bonding the two families together even though we have known each other for over 25 years.

On Monday, we shuttled Rebecca, Raymond, Bob, Carla and Bryan to the Orlando International Airport so they could fly to Tennessee and Ohio—back home to work. They had quite a lot of interesting experiences before getting home. Rebecca’s flight was delayed, but she did make it home that evening. The other four’s flights were cancelled until the next day because of heavy fog and mechanical problems with the plane. Needless to say, lots of prayers were said, and patience was needed.

Louis and I started our marriage on the run, and this is how we like it. We are now in Guyana, South America for six weeks—working for the Lord and enjoying every day with which the Lord has blessed us.

Monkey Mountain Church of Christ

February 9, 2017

96-dpi-4x6-monkey-mountain-4Since my last blog entry, Martha Lynn and I have completed two more venues in our 6-week foray across all 10 regions of Guyana in our annual nationwide seminars. Of course, the director of the program and national of Guyana, the esteemed brother Nigel, was our co-speaker and brothers’ keeper—no one could take better care of us. On Saturday, February 4, the three of us headed out from Linden to the village of #77 Housing Scheme on the country’s southern coast abutting the Atlantic Ocean—about a 4-hour trip by car—literally, flying low with Milo!

96-dpi-4x6-77-housing-scheme-2Several congregations of the Lord’s church converged in the bright pink meeting house for an afternoon and evening program. Nigel and I spoke, but the occasion did not afford Martha an opportunity to speak to the ladies who were present. This site enlisted participation by some brethren and congregations who had not previously participated in the seminars in former years; brothers and sisters in Christ who join us annually for these workshops attended, too.

96-dpi-4x6-77-housing-scheme-1
Afterward, we three drove back to Georgetown and deposited ourselves in a hotel for the night, owing to a morning departure from Ogle by small plane to the country’s interior destination of Monkey Mountain. Had we returned to Linden, we could have quite possibly met ourselves coming and going at the same time, and there would have been no time for rest over the night. We slept about 15 minutes from the quaint, little airport.

96-dpi-4x6-monkey-mountain-1Sunday, February 5, Nigel, Martha and I along with a few other passengers set out for the bush aboard a small single-engine aircraft. Not everyone on board was headed to the same place. Therefore, the flight landed first at Mahdia, second at Paramakatoi and finally at Monkey Mountain. That being the case, next year, we may try to hop a flight between Paramakatoi and Monkey Mountain, which is not a scheduled route. That would save time if not be a better use of funds also, since ordinarily passengers would need to use Ogle on the coast as the pivotal point for flights to both endpoints. (I don’t think we will save money—only time—because the posted rates on a placard show fees comparable to flying back to Ogle anyway.)

96-dpi-4x5-monkey-mountain-1The cloudy sky hung low on Sunday. I was fully aware from previous flights in past years over the mountainous jungle terrain that foreboding summits below punctuated the unseen landscape under our permanently fixed landing gear. Guyanese pilots fly no higher than necessary to clear the highest peak over which the intended route takes them. While sometimes the dense forest canopy lies thousands of feet below as we glide across the horizon, at other times the earth rushes to greet our craft as we sashay over a mountain top. At other times, we fly adjacent to a mount that was not necessary for our puddle-jumper to hop. In the dense fog, I was hopeful that we would see the ground before the ground found us.

96-dpi-4x6-monkey-mountain-5

Descending to a few hundred feet, low enough to clear the white fluffy obstruction afforded by fog and rainy weather, we banked left and lined up for touchdown on the dirt landing strip of the Amerindian village of Monkey Mountain. Aside from the cows, donkeys, chickens, sheep and people adjacent to or often on the runway, we were greeted first by the wreckage of a twin-engine plane that had crash landed some months before just off the airstrip, coming to rest in the high Savannah weeds.

96-dpi-4x6-monkey-mountain-696-dpi-5x6-monkey-mountain-2We were greeted by brothers and sisters in Christ who had interrupted their Sunday morning Bible class to meet us at the plane. First, we registered at the police outpost, manned by two coastlanders, who were as much out of place and conspicuous as were we three travelers. Then, we scurried over to the weathered and worn, blue wood-framed meetinghouse of the Monkey Mountain Church of Christ for a.m. worship. Brother Paul Daniels, a native of the next village over of Paramakatoi, is the local preacher, and he ably preached the Word of God. All ages were represented in the small gathering of the faithful, who greeted us and remembered me from a previous visit, as well as from The Voice of Truth International of which I am now the Editor. I see to it that about two tons of Gospel literature are shipped to Guyana annually, and brother Nigel Milo and the Amelia’s Ward Church of Christ in Linden with which he labors for our Lord distributes it—including The Voice of Truth International—to congregations throughout the country.

96-dpi-4x6-monkey-mountain-10The village guesthouse was not ready for us upon our arrival; the caretaker may have been somewhere on the mountainside tending to the subsistence crops on which villagers largely depend for their sustenance. Therefore, Nigel, Martha and I camped out for the afternoon in the church house; Martha stretched out on the rough, narrow plank of a primitive “pew” with her feet sticking out of a window port—no screen or glass therein, but only wooden shutters for protection and for security when no one is around. (She has forbidden me from posting that pic!)

96-dpi-4x5-monkey-mountain-2Monday and Tuesday, we three spoke mornings, afternoons and evenings. Over the course of the two calendar days, Martha taught four ladies’ classes while Nigel and I each taught about lessons apiece either to the men or to the combined group. Once more at this venue, we together presented about 18 lessons before readying ourselves for our journey onward and elsewhere.

96-dpi-4x6-monkey-mountain-396-dpi-4x6-monkey-mountain-796-dpi-4x6-monkey-mountain-9Our lodging accommodations were improved over my last visit to Monkey Mountain. This year, an outside brick shelter had been constructed, which contained a shower stall as well as a toilet in its own stall; water was available from a storage tank. Sleeping quarters were similar to a tractor shed in the USA—concrete slab, exterior walls open to the inside at the eaves and partitioned rooms inside with half-height walls (over which someone more agile than I am could foreseeably climb). Whereas previously there were no doors on the rooms, homemade wooden doors now complemented single-bed sheets slung over a wire atop the doorways. Our room would not securely bolt. Inside, a simple bed with a clingy mosquito net was the only furniture. (Over the years, it seems that everything crawling, slithering and flying wants to bite me. This year, however, I have a secret weapon—Martha! They like to bite her even more than me. This year, I brought along bait with me!) Wood window shutters when opened provided our only light during the day; at night, a solar-panel-fueled battery powered two strategically placed florescent bulbs hanging from the highest rafter and lighting each cubicle below.

96-dpi-4x6-monkey-mountain-12Martha and I simply loved being at Monkey Mountain as well as communing and fellowshipping with precious Christian brothers and sisters, who are now dearer friends to us than the mere acquaintances they had been to me upon the conclusion of my last visit years ago. I am married to an Indian princess, or so it would seem, after I purchased a feathery headdress for her. One of the incidental perks for such short persons as Martha and me is that, comparatively speaking, we are tall among many of the Amerindians. Like Bonnie and me previously, Martha and I love little children and babies—to borrow, spoil and give back when they cry or need fed or changed.

96-dpi-4x6-monkey-mountain-896-dpi-5x6-monkey-mountain-1Martha and I both were reared in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in the eastern part of the United States, and though she has an affinity for sandy, coastal beaches, too, we both love mountains. Paramakatoi and Monkey Mountain rise to a maximum of 3,000 feet.
When it came time to leave Monkey Mountain on Wednesday, we waited endlessly it seemed at the police compound adjacent to the runway for the flight scheduled to arrive “TBA.” The announcement of the plane’s arrival was the sound of its engine as it approached in the sky. When it landed, it was greeted by people pouring from their homes and schoolchildren vacating their classrooms on the far side of the “airport” to watch and wave. Waiting and waiting for about five more hours was our lot as we were ushered from our plane in another mountain town of Mahdia while our aircraft was de-seated and the void replaced with barrels of fuel to be ferried to mountain villages and mining camps; other planes carted all manner of merchandise and goods. Before dark, the fleet of varying sized planes returned to Mahdia to transport the final cargo—passengers—to Ogle on the Atlantic coast outside of Georgetown.

96-dpi-4x6-monkey-mountain-11Finally, dirty and tired, a couple of hours or so later, we arrived back in Linden, our base of operations and the home of the Milo family. Thursday and Friday are down days, during which we will do some much needed laundry and fire up our computers and attack some “office work”—Gospel Gazette Online, The Voice of Truth International, etc. Saturday, we’ll be off again! We are having the time of our lives, and Martha and I are delighted to contribute to the edification of fellow Christians and non-Christians, too. Most of all, we purpose to glorify God!

Moco Moco Village

February 3, 2017

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Martha Lynn and I were in Lethem and Moco Moco Village in Guyana, South America from January 31 through today, February 3. Before boarding our Cessna Caravan for the return trip to the coastland, Martha and I crossed into Brazil long enough to have our picture snapped beside signs marking the international border between the two nations.

We lodged for several days in the Takutu Hotel in Lethem, which is undergoing major renovation and expansion. Tuesday evening after our arrival in Lethem as well as morning, afternoon and evening for the next two days, Martha and I communed with the Moco Moco Village Church of Christ, which hosted our seminar in that area this year. Several visitors from that Amerindian village and brethren from other congregations of the Lord’s church attended, too. This time out, Martha taught ladies classes on two occasions, as well teaching children within the larger classes also. It was my pleasure to speak nine times, and brother Nigel Milo presented about the same number of lessons as I did. Our theme this year is “Emulation of Jesus Christ.” Before leaving on Friday, we also visited the Lethem-St Ignatius Church of Christ.

We have now completed two of our 16 confirmed locations for 2017 for our seminars throughout all 10 regions of Guyana; additional venues are pending. Tonight, we are washing clothes, but tomorrow we will travel to #77 Housing Scheme along the coast and south of Georgetown—about a four-hour automobile ride from Linden, which is our base of operations. Tomorrow evening, Lord willing, we will lodge in a Georgetown hotel to position us for a morning departure on Sunday by small plane to be with the Monkey Mountain Church of Christ for several days for our seminar.

Other than being tired—I hate to admit that our ages may be slowing us down just a little—our only other complaint is a probable urinary tract infection, which we are treating with antibiotics brought from the USA for such or a similar scenario. We will increase our water intake, too, and drink down some cranberry juice.

Well, it seems that Martha Lynn and I are honeymooning in tropical Guyana, having wed on New Year’s Day. We have not only adjusted well to each other, since we have been friends already for decades, but we have thoroughly enjoyed everywhere we have gone. We are particularly elated with the warm reception that we have received from brethren in each congregation that we have visited. Yes, we are spoiling a few children along the way before returning them to their parents. We are still having a blast!