Archive for the ‘Family’ category

My Three Aren’t Wee Anymore

August 3, 2019

A few days ago, I surrendered over 150 old slides to Walmart (it farmed it out to one of its contractors, apparently). I wanted to explore converting numerous trays of slides into digital photographs to preserve them as well as to use some of them perhaps in upcoming publications. They’re not all family pictures, but there are scenery pics and teaching material (e.g., archaeological slides). The first batch recovered an old photo of Bonnie and my three children on the brink of Niagara Falls on the US side. How things have changed. I suspect Rebecca will be the least amused, but that will amuse me.

16 Days on the Road

June 15, 2019

Tuesday, June 11, Martha, Rebecca and I returned to Ocala, Florida from 16 days on the road; Rebecca was 18 days on the road, counting her 2-day journey to us in Ocala. During the 16 days, we met with brethren and family in Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and New York. Whew! We were like an out of control ping pong ball, crisscrossing our own travel in Ohio.

Bobby’s wedding on Saturday, June 1 to Sharon, both members of the Ashland, Ohio Church of Christ, proceeded as planned. The following day, we three travelers assembled with the Vermilion, Ohio Church of Christ for a.m. class and worship; there I spoke about missions and presented a biblical lesson. Without delay, Martha, Rebecca and I made our way to Hanoverton, Ohio for a 4 p.m. worship with the Lord’s church in that farming community. The Hanoverton Church of Christ is vibrant with young offspring populating the pews; corn and cows aren’t the only avenues of farming there. That evening, we met with Martha’s grandchildren in Chester, West Virginia.

Monday and Tuesday, we visited with my father, my brothers and one of my late wife Bonnie’s brothers in Pennsylvania and New York; James and Kay Reed and we three, per Martha’s request, visited a causeway where we fed fish and geese that congregate near a spillway between sides of a large lake. Wednesday we made the second of two visits to the grave of Martha’s late husband Bob Noland in Calcutta, Ohio. That evening, we assembled with the Chester, West Virginia Church of Christ, whereupon I spoke about missions again.

Thursday, June 6, we three drove to Mineral Wells, West Virginia to meet with several of Martha’s siblings and a brother to Bob Noland. Friday through Sunday afternoon, we lodged with my son Raymond and his family in Pickerington, Ohio. Sunday morning, we assembled with the Pickerington Church of Christ. That afternoon, we all enjoyed the combined birthday party for two of Raymond and Crystal’s children—our grandchildren, of course. Our visit to Ohio also afforded us the opportunity to see, hold and spoil our newest grandchild of about four months.

Sunday afternoon, Martha, Rebecca and I began our return journey to Ocala. Finally, we arrived Tuesday afternoon.

Whenever and wherever we go, Martha and I make sure that we visit brethren, even if we are also traveling to spend some time with family members. We are ever conscious of being a servant to our Lord Jesus Christ, at home or while traveling stateside or abroad.

The grass was really high and thick upon our return to our home. Between spurts of rain, finally, I was able to bully it back into being a law and flowerbeds. Maybe sometime soon Martha and I will able to establish a routine in our new home, but interruptions of foreign and domestic travel over the last six months has prolonged our adjustment in that regard.

I continue to submit myself to a battery of medical tests and examinations; most of my ailments thus far are simply inconvenient rather than serious. Martha is experiencing significant pain beyond the ordinary daily pain. We hope to have some satisfactory diagnosis and remedy soon.

Our next stateside travels are planned for July, whereupon we return to Winona, Mississippi for the annual World Evangelism team meeting. We will plan excursions to congregations within a radius of there or along our route of travel. Lord willing, we are still looking forward to foreign travel beginning in late September and through most of October. We are to travel to be with brethren in Myanmar (Burma) and India.

Of course, we remain diligent in the production of Gospel Gazette Online and The Voice of Truth International. Others and I are working currently on volume 101 of VOTI. We rely on Christian families and the churches of Christ for underwriting financially our livelihood and labors for God. Thank you.

Happy Days!

September 2, 2018

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Martha and I have enjoyed some happy days of late. Of course, we’re always glad when Rebecca can visit us in Winona, Mississippi. Sometimes, though, we visit her in Collierville, Tennessee—often using her home as a waystation in travels for speaking appointments west of the Mississippi, north and east. For a few days, however, Raymond and his wife Crystal with two precious grandchildren in tow came by to visit us. Oh, how we played with the little ones—4-years-old and 2-years-old. There was some liveliness in this little cottage, the likes of which unknown in recent time. Balls, firetrucks, sidewalk chalk, bubbles, dollhouse, wooden blocks, cornhole, Scrabble and such provided merriment for one and all. A side trip to a small, local park amused all of the kids—of all ages.

Rebecca made brownies and pizzas—with “help” from Elaina and Bryson. Each child made a personal-sized pizza, too. Sunday, we worshipped together at the Old Union Church of Christ. On our trek across gravel roads and through the woods on our way to the meetinghouse, we dodged—not wildlife—but a stray, young steer that seemed to have nowhere to go except to mosey down the center of the country lane. I thought we might see some deer or wild turkeys, but the domesticated critter was a surprise. Returning to Winona, we reconvened at the Chinese restaurant for a delicious buffet meal. All too soon, having finished lunch, Raymond, Crystal, Elaina and Bryson headed toward their home in Ohio. Later, our son Robert called from Florida to top off the day. “Family” is another word for “love.”

Bonnie’s Earthly Remains

August 29, 2018

Today, Martha and I visited the earthly remains of my beloved, late wife and Martha’s dear friend, Bonnie. Her lifeless body lies beneath the tufts of weedy grass and mud in the forest clearing adjacent to the meetinghouse for the Old Union Church of Christ. Memory of her is closer—in my heart and on my mind—every day. Her soul is in the custody of a righteous but merciful and loving God.

This morning, Martha and I set out with bucket, rags, soap and related items to clean Bonnie’s (someday mine also) headstone. It wasn’t a big job, and we retained our composure better than sometimes there or even at other places when grief yet crowds its way into ongoing life.

Some of my children are coming to visit tomorrow, and we will worship with the Old Union congregation on the coming Lord’s Day. We will visit Bonnie’s earthly remains once more, as family members. We will embrace what she has meant and yet means to us, which we preserve in good memories.

Before Martha and I departed from the Old Union Church Cemetery, Martha placed seasonal flowers in both of the urns affixed to the tombstone. I’m so fortunate to have Martha as my wife and as my friend. Without her I would be adrift in so many ways.

Banshee Hotel

June 28, 2018

Arriving back in Winona, Mississippi from weeks in Florida, we commenced June by processing and mailing our newsletter. June 10, Martha and I worshipped with the Oil Trough Church of Christ in Arkansas; it was my privilege to speak twice on Sunday morning. We also recovered boxes of used songbooks, which we will ship to Guyana, South America for our brethren throughout that nation.

The following Lord’s Day, we assembled with the Quitman Church of Christ in Mississippi. Once again, I spoke for Bible class and preached during worship. The next day, Martha and I, along with my daughter Rebecca, headed for West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio. Of course, we traveled through Tennessee and Kentucky on the way.

Martha’s sister-in-law, through her late husband Bob, slipped into a coma before we could get to her home in Parkersburg, West Virginia. Only a few days before, Martha was able to talk with her sister-in-law Shari on the telephone. We visited the family for parts of two days, after which sister Shari passed away.

Wednesday, June 20, we met with the Harmar Hill Church of Christ in Marietta, Ohio, whereupon I was delighted to teach Wednesday evening Bible class. Martha’s sister and brother-in-law labor with that congregation, and we lodged with them.

Thursday, we were also afforded an opportunity visit one of Martha’s brothers in New Cumberland, West Virginia. Currently, he is battling cancer that has invaded his body. The same day, we visited the grave of Martha’s late husband, Bob Noland, in Calcutta, Ohio. We set flowers and changed the batteries in the ‘eternal flame’ lamp. We also met up with another sister in Christ and longtime friend of us both, Vera Groves.

Friday, Martha, Rebecca and I drove north to visit my father in Hadley, Pennsylvania. We also visited two of my brothers and their wives respectively in Greenville and Jamestown, Pennsylvania.

Saturday, June 23, we three spent the day with my son Raymond and his wife in Ohio. We rendezvoused with them in Berlin, Ohio—a major destination in the largest Amish settlement in the USA. We went together to a few sites in the area before dining at the Dutch Valley Restaurant in Sugar Creek, Ohio. Each trip to the region, I am elated if we can visit Amish country, especially if I can eat at Dutch Valley—an eatery that is a destination itself. Repeatedly and astonishingly, we kept bumping into brother Garry and sister Melissa Polk at the hotel in which we spent a night and at various tourist stops. He serves as an elder of one of the congregations in Arkansas which participates with us in our mission work, and I have roomed with them several times when I visited the church there.

It was at Dutch Valley that we met up with Martha’s son Bryan and his wife. The seven of us investigated more of the area before Raymond and Bryan returned to their homes.

The Lord’s Day on June 24, we gathered for Bible class and worship with the Church of Christ in Hanoverton, Ohio. Martha and Bob Noland labored with this country church for several years, and through my friendship with the Nolands, I have been speaking there from time to time since 2008. This little congregation participates with us in our mission work, and they in the past as well as on this occasion gave us used songbooks for distribution to English-speaking brethren abroad. The Hanoverton congregation had a fellowship meal especially for us. I spoke three times; the second worship began at 4:00 p.m. in this farming community. Sunday night, we rendezvoused with another of Martha’s sons at a fast-food joint in Mansfield, Ohio. We also used the stop for our supper break.

Monday, we started for home. Our return route to Mississippi took us through Cincinnati, Ohio. Immediately across the Ohio River lies Newport, Kentucky. There we paused for a few hours to go through that city’s Aquarium. Then, we continued homeward.

Tuesday afternoon, we stopped in Collierville, Tennessee to visit with the Gootam family. Ronnie Gootam recently completed theological training at a nearby school of preaching, and not long ago, Ronnie and his wife marked the birth of their first child. Though mother and father are citizens of India, through birth in the USA, their baby is an America citizen—making for some interesting circumstances in preparation for and upon the family’s return India. Visiting with them are Ronnie’s parents, Joshua and Kabita Gootam from Kakinada, India. All of the Gootams, including Ronnie’s brothers Ricky and Robin back in India, are outstanding and hardworking fellow-laborers in the kingdom of Jesus Christ.

Tuesday evening, we three weary travelers arrived back at my parsonage in Winona, Mississippi. We had made a whirlwind trip to West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania and back to our Mississippi home.

Wednesday, brother Therman and sister Sadie Hodge dropped by for a brief visit on the way back to their home in Meridian, Mississippi. Also on Wednesday, coworkers and I finalized Volume 97 of The Voice of Truth International magazine and made the files available for the printing company in India. Volume 95 is the most recent edition to be circulated, and Volume 96 is in transit from India to Winona.

Thursday, Rebecca and I devoted the day to lawncare, while Martha busied herself indoors with preparing a very nice supper and other household duties. We’re bushed—tuckered out!

Throughout our travel, we lodged mostly in hotels—some satisfactory and at least one that we want to cross off doubly from our mental list of lodging places. We don’t ever want to stay there again! We slept in Mineral Wells, West Virginia; Calcutta, Ohio; Alliance, Ohio; Dover, Ohio; Grove City, Ohio; and twice in Cave City, Kentucky. Not its real name, we dubbed the lodging in Cave City as the Banshee Hotel because the elevator there screeches each time and on every floor when its door opens or closes. Not a bad stay, the Banshee Hotel provides a little extra via that amusing oddity. Incidentally, a former hotel once stood on the footprint of the current inn before it burnt in the night!

Replica of the Yesterday

June 27, 2017

Today (June 27, 2017), two of my children, Martha and I made the little jaunt from Lexington, Kentucky to Williamstown, Kentucky to see the “Ark Encounter.” It was a good, all-day endeavor—an hour each way and four hours to trek through the Ark and the surrounding adornments (i.e., petting zoo, etc.). We declined the donkey and camel rides. We took lots of pictures, and here are some of them.

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We took some time to smell the flowers along the pathway of life.

Middle Ohio

June 9, 2017

Tuesday, June 7, Martha, Rebecca and I rode with my son Raymond from his Newark, Ohio home to Amish country for the day. On the way to and returning from Berlin and Sugar Creek, Ohio, we passed an iconic, old, dilapidated combination one-room school and church house. I took some digital pictures for later use; the sight prompted me to write an article with which I will put this photograph probably in a future issue of The Voice of Truth International.

I always enjoy a meal in Sugar Creek at Dutch Valley Restaurant. We all ate from the expansive salad, main meal and dessert buffets. It was delicious! Afterward, we wandered around in various tourist traps and antique shops throughout a 15-mile stretch of highway.

Wednesday evening, we assembled with the Pickerington Church of Christ for midweek Bible class. Following the devotional with which the church began, I spoke to the “mission team,” which was preparing to travel to Switzerland for a couple of weeks.

Rebecca, Martha and I enjoyed some precious moments from late Sunday night through Wednesday night. Thursday, we traveled to Mineral Wells, West Virginia to meet up with Martha’s family. Friday, we three caught up with family of Martha’s late husband, Bob. In both instances, we rallied at the Cracker Barrel in Mineral Wells. On Friday, we also visited one of Bob’s brothers and his wife in their home nearby the same location.

Friday and Saturday, brother J.D. and sister Denise Conley—with whom we are lodging these few days—and we are gathering literature, songbooks and communion ware to load in the trailer behind our minivan. Along with material already collected and other sites yet to be visited, we will recover additional materials, which we will ship to English-speaking brethren overseas.

Over the next couple of weeks or so, we will continue to visit congregations in Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky. Also, between meeting days, we will visit more family members—namely, my family and my late wife Bonnie’s family in Pennsylvania. We might even get up to New York and visit one of my brothers who I have not seen for years. There is work to do, for which we are thankful.