Archive for the ‘Funeral’ category

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!

Back in Mississippi

June 1, 2018

Martha and I arrived back in Winona, Mississippi around 10:30 p.m. CST on Thursday, May 31. Over the next two hours, we unloaded the van and the utility trailer, showered and retired for the night.

Earlier in the day, we paused in Meridian, Mississippi to spend time with our dear friends, Therman and Sadie Hodge. It happened again! I invited them to accompany us to supper out—and they treated us. I told Therman that the next time I wanted to eat out, I’d invite him again!

We departed Ocala, Florida on Wednesday morning for Martha’s medical appointment an hour away outside of Gainesville. On the way, we received a phone call that her doctor was called away for an emergency surgery. Fortunately, we were able to reschedule the appointment for a little later in the morning. Consequently, Martha arranged a chiropractic session with another doctor just a few blocks away. So, she managed to work in two appointments—literally on our way out of town and out of the State of Florida.

Wednesday evening, we lodged in DeFuniak Springs, Florida. Two congregations in that area support our mission efforts. A sister with the College Avenue Church of Christ passed away on Friday from the same illness that claimed the lives of my Bonnie and Martha’s Bob. We felt a special connection with Pam Bradford and her husband John Bradford. Therefore, we took opportunity to attend the memorial service for sister Bradford on Wednesday night. The next day—a long day—we continued onward toward Winona.

 

During our stay in Ocala, we witnessed a granddaughter graduate from high school and another granddaughter be promoted from 5th grade. Martha underwent a battery of medical tests, and all seems to be well for our ages. I was able to nearly complete two Gospel magazines, Gospel Gazette Online and The Voice of Truth International, as well as our next Rushmore Newsletter. We maintained our office duties, and we visited some congregations of the churches of Christ in the surrounding area.

Over the next few months, we will continue visiting congregations out from Winona in Mississippi and surrounding states. Our annual Team Meeting will transpire in July, and at least by the first week of October, Lord willing, we will return for many weeks to two or more Asian nations. We covet your prayers.

Crybaby

May 23, 2016
Bonnie with fishing spear in Myanmar (Burma) in 2011

Bonnie with fishing spear in Myanmar (Burma) in 2011

With my hand atop her headstone, I talked to Bonnie today (Sunday, May 22). It was one year ago yesterday that her family, fellow Christians and friends laid her feeble body to rest in the Old Union Church of Christ Cemetery, out in the woods and amidst the kudzu in rural Carroll County, Mississippi. There hasn’t been an occasion when talking to my forever and sorely missed sweetheart that tears have not overpowered my eyes; today was no exception, but my sorrowful expression was measured and subdued. Later that day, though, sorrowfulness was deeper and the tears plentiful. One would think that over the past twelve months that my tear ducts had expended their all so that no more rivers of grief might flow, but alas it is not so.

However, I am wonderfully blessed by good, caring Christian brethren who do everything possible to uplift and encourage me. Today, brothers and sisters of the Old Union Church of Christ and the West President Church of Christ (in Greenwood, MS) rescued my fainting spirit as best they could.

Sunday morning during time set aside for the Bible class, I acquainted the Old Union congregation with my recent mission trip to Guyana, South America. At the worship hour, I preached about “The Deity of Jesus Christ,” appealing to a PowerPoint presentation to better and more swiftly convey the biblical information to all present.

With my frequent stateside travels, often I miss the quarterly fellowship meal with the brethren at Old Union. In view of that, these Christian brethren moved the date for the feast ahead one week to coincide with my presence and speaking today. For what more could one ask than camaraderie among Christians and good food?

A milestone sad anniversary behind me, I continue to look ahead. I have my sights set on nine states through which I will soon be traveling while going, Lord willing, to speaking appointments. Happily, my daughter Rebecca will be accompanying me. I may be coming to a congregation near you. If not, be my advocate and arrange for me an appointment regarding my foreign mission work, a Gospel meeting, a summer series or some other opportunity to apply myself in service to our Lord. May God bless us all and use us in His service as long as we draw breath.

North Road and Amelia’s Ward Seminars

March 6, 2016

96 dpi 4x6 North RoadWednesday, March 2 in the morning, several from the Amelia’s Ward congregation and I did “field work” in Linden, as is the custom of that church three days a week each week. Later that evening the North Road Church of Christ in Georgetown, Guyana hosted our seminar. Approximately 90 brethren from several surrounding congregations assembled for presentations by brother Wilbur Vyphuis and me; brother Wilbur is the preacher for that congregation. He, brother Nigel Milo and I have been traveling for five weeks throughout Guyana to every region (comparable to states). In each location we have encouraged brethren, contributed to their heightened Bible knowledge and prompted them to shoulder some of the responsibility for evangelizing their own country. Everywhere we have gone, we have been well received, and brethren have been thankful for the messages. The North Road site was no exception to that.

96 dpi 4x6 Seminar 1Thursday, the Amelia’s Ward Church of Christ conducted the funeral for an elderly sister in Christ who had passed away; she was somewhere around 100-years-old, but no one is exactly sure since she like many other Amerindians then and after her birth were not afforded birth certificates. No surviving family member able or willing to step forward, the sister in Christ’s Christian brethren personally paid for and otherwise brought about all needed for a proper funeral and burial. Individual families contributed money or goods, and several Christian men even built her a coffin to the specifications of the departed one’s small stature. Christians showed themselves to be the family of God. At a previous time, these brethren financed and literally built the same sister a small house in which to live so as to alleviate the dire circumstances in which she was living.

96 dpi 4x6 Seminar 2Friday once more, Amelia’s Ward brethren and I did field work (i.e., Bible studies in the community in people’s homes, visiting the bereaved, visiting the homebound, etc.). Afterward, sister Jasmine and brother Nigel Milo, along with their son Zab and I, made a trek back into Georgetown. (I snapped a picture of recess in the schoolyard where children were having the time of their lives rolling used tires around the playground.) The purpose was to retrieve some shirts that I had ordered weeks earlier. On some T-shirts was screen printed “Monkey Mountain Church of Christ – Romans 16:16,” and on others was printed “Paramakatoi Church of Christ – Romans 16:16.” Those two congregations assemble in remote areas in the jungle interior of Guyana, and I wanted to encourage them; they can wear the shirts as members share tracts with the community.

96 dpi 4x6 Worship 2In addition, I had Jerseys embroidered with “World Evangelism, Churches of Christ, Romans 16:16.” These were intended for presenters in the annual nationwide seminar throughout Guyana. Not only we three presenters this year, but each Guyanese brother who presented lessons in previous years also will receive one of the shirts.

96 dpi 4x6 schoolyardNext, the Milos and I went to a new, world-class mall in Georgetown. The first order of business there was go to the food court. Collectively, we ate food from three restaurants. For dessert, I treated at the Dairy Queen. I was in high-hog heaven (whatever that means) with my Peanut Buster Parfait (only I substituted salted pecans in place of the peanuts). Uuumm-good! Soft-serve ice cream, genuine hot fudge and pecans. I introduced Jasmine and Zab to Blizzards; Jasmine was won over, but Zab’s eyes were too big for his belly. Nigel doesn’t care for sweets (the more for the rest of us!).

96 dpi 4x6 Worship 1Sometimes mission work includes redistributing the wealth rightfully belonging to the Lord. In that vein, before leaving the mall, we purchased a 120” retractable screen for the Amelia’s Ward meetinghouse and a large slow cooker to more efficiently feed campaigners from America who go to Linden each summer. We tested the screen, mounted center stage, on Saturday and Sunday; we tested the slow cooker for Sunday’s lunch. Both were validated a wonderful success.

96 dpi 4x6 Worship 3Friday evening, the monthly Marriage Fellowship forum gathered and continued until nearly midnight. I was exhausted almost to the point of illness before climbing into bed. The in between times of noteworthy activity, I feverishly work in my mobile office, often atop my bed and comforted by the room AC or at the dining room table in direct line with a floor standing fan aimed right at me. Nearly worn out in mind as well as in body, I accomplished a lot of preparation (i.e., editing, proofing and layout) for future printing of literature.

96 dpi 4x6 Worship 4Saturday was the occasion of the seminar at the Amelia’s Ward Church of Christ in Linden. Again, several local congregations converged on the grounds as brethren Wilbur Vyphuis and Nigel Milo and I made our presentations. Perhaps the weariness I have been feeling lately can be attributed to the cumulative effects of five weeks of traveling (via small plane, boats and land transportation) sometimes non-stop (while at other times more recently a day or two intervening). Of course, there is the weather to consider, too. Hopefully by the time I return to the USA I will have escaped most of the winter coldness that I left behind in January. The heat and humidity, though, sometimes presents an opposite challenge. It’s all good!

Sunday was “Friends and Family Day” at the Amelia’s Ward Church of Christ. I taught in Bible class “Let Us Go into the House of the Lord” from Psalm 122:1. Bible class, worship and fellowship meal ran from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.! Often when worshipping with foreign brethren, I feel a little closer to God than at other times in other places as they invest time and emotion in worshipping God “in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24).

Saturday and Sunday I tried in vain to snap some photos of some of the cutest little ones, but they were too fast for me, evidently with all boosters engaged! A couple beautiful babies did allow me to hold them, and they were in no hurry to return to familiar arms. I did snap one picture of a fast little one running about after church when she paused momentarily to shift gears.

One more day of seminar remains for Monday. Tuesday, Lord willing, I spend the day aboard two jetliners hoping from Georgetown to Miami to Memphis. I should arrive in my daughter’s suburban Memphis home (Collierville, TN) in time to turn in for the night. Ah! This is the life, and I hope that I am doing my little part as a tool in the hands of God. Thank you for helping to make it possible.

 

Linden on Sunday

February 28, 2016

96 dpi 4x6+ coffin 2Again today (Sunday, February 28, 2016), it was my good pleasure to worship with the Amelia’s Ward Church of Christ in Linden, Guyana. During Bible class, I taught a lesson about the Ascension of Jesus Christ; though a cardinal doctrine of New Testament Christianity, only three verses of Scripture portray the actual event. Other verses directly or indirectly refer to it. Nevertheless, the Ascension qualifies our Lord to be our Mediator, our Intercessor and our Advocate. At the evening worship assembly, I preached about “Foul Language.”

96 dpi 5x7 coffin 3A curious thing happened following morning worship and prior to the evening assembly. After a.m. worship, members volunteered to personally contribute funds for the funeral of sister in Christ who just died, since the remaining family members are unable to take care of it. Members will also fix a meal for a wake. Interestingly, several male members agreed to and did build her casket this afternoon. If that wasn’t an oddity enough, the coffin is about four feet tall, built to fit the deceased! Building the casket was an effort to be frugal in view of the fact that church members assumed the entire cost of the funeral through the donation of money and items. Of course, leave it up to brothers in Christ to add a little levity to the otherwise sad event.

96 dpi 4x6 coffin 4

96 dpi 4x6 coffin 1

 

 

My Grief Is an Open Wound

July 28, 2015

My grief is an open wound.

The raw feelings of my emotions are ever before me.

They rise up without warning as often as the day breaks anew.

I’m broken, and I can’t be fixed.

Tears and deep sorrow torment me daily.

I have buried my dreams in the tree-crowned meadow.

My loneliness is unending and constantly before me.

My life is precious to me no longer.

How can I go on without my helpmeet and best friend?

Truly, the better half of me has passed away.

Without her I am no longer me.

There is within me a hollowness and an emptiness that cannot be filled.

I cannot be comforted from my anguish.

The wind from my sails has forever gone.

Aimlessly except for the purpose of serving my Lord, I reluctantly continue until I don’t.

The only slight mitigation of my misery is to lose myself in Christian service.

How long must I persist? Is there a place for me in heaven? Why must I wait?

My life’s companion and fellow pilgrim has preceded me, awaiting my time, I pray.

I cannot bear the pain and the heartache.

A little while yet I must work, but never too soon I must go to my resting place.

Beside my love my body below the boughs and beneath the grass must repose.

A meaningful existence, earthly hopes and dreams are no longer mine to own.

Going through the motions of life I must, but why do I trouble myself with it?

All and everything earthly is vanity—naught but empty nothingness.

I await my passing, too, with eagerness as one too weary to press forward.

Assuredly, no man ever loved a woman more devotedly than I loved her.

From the permanence of my grief I will never recover.

I simply cannot make it alone!

I will not relinquish my love for the wife of my youth though from me she has gone.

I will go to her and to be with the Lord. I am ready!

~ Louis Everette Rushmore

Just another Day in the Lives of Some of God’s Servants

June 9, 2015
96 dpi 5x7 Ricky Gootam Family1

Pictured around the table from the front left are Rebecca Rushmore, Sudeepa & Justin Gootam, Jerry & Paula Bates, Ricky Gootam, Betty Choate and Barbara Oliver. Louis Rushmore is taking the picture.

Monday, June 8 was a day filled with diverse activity. Anticipating rainy weather (again), Rebecca and I worked a little in the yard that morning. The string trimmer in which I devoted some money lately just wouldn’t start for me. So, gassed up, newly loaded with trimming line, having had the carburetor just rebuilt and fuel lines replaced, I set it down near the road with a “Free” sign on it. Not many hours later, it just walked away apparently into someone else’s yard. (I need to be careful that a lawnmower or some other piece of equipment doesn’t run out of fuel too close to the road for fear some passerby will mistake it for something else I am giving away to a new home. I have given a few things away on purpose that way and don’t want to give something I’m still using away accidentally!) Alas, after exhaustive research (my way of buying something that drove my wife mad), I bought a replacement string trimmer – a good one at a fair price. Rebecca helped me gather up the trim branches and bushes that respectively were hanging low or protruding into the yard that I had wacked off with a battery-powered hedge trimmer.

96 dpi 5x7 Ricky Gootam Family2After cleaning ourselves up, we proceeded to the World Evangelism Building. There, coworker Jerry Bates graciously agreed to pack a couple of book orders that arrived in my email box while I worked on publishing Gospel Gazette Online for June to the Internet. It took me a while to finalize it and upload it, but by yesterday afternoon, Number 17, Volume 6 of GAZ began to make its way into the homes of over 1,600 subscribers plus non-subscribers, too.

Paula Bates had prepared a meal to accommodate local World Evangelism team members as well as special guests. Brother Ricky Gootam, his wife Sudeepa and their 7-year-old child Justin were visiting us in Winona, MS from Kakinada, India. We work with the Gootams among others throughout our evangelistic efforts in India. Before we noticed, it was 7 p.m.

Sister Sudeepa accepted my gift of national dress from India and Myanmar that formerly Bonnie wore when we traveled to those two countries. Sudeepa had given Bonnie one of the outfits one time while we were in Kakinada.

Finally last night (working on it to nearly midnight), Rebecca and I prepared for mailing Thank You cards to some of the many Christians who attended to our needs preceding and during the funeral for my beloved wife Bonnie. There is no way to adequately express our appreciation for the good deeds, kindnesses and prayers performed on our behalf at this fragile and difficult time for my family and me.

On a slightly brighter note, over $6,000 so far has been contributed so far by individual Christians and congregations of the Lord’s church for a memorial fund for Bonnie. All proceeds will be used to provide Bibles and Christian literature in the foreign nations to which Bonnie and I took the Gospel of Christ these past years. Bonnie and I have been overwhelmed by various overtures of brethren toward us during her struggle these past three years with pancreatic cancer. I am no less stunned by the turnout for her funeral, the hundreds of letters, cards, phone calls, emails, texts, Facebook posts, etc., as well as the outpouring of monetary gifts as a tribute and memorial to her labors for the Lord – which continue to live on after her. Some of the responses we receive from around the world are from souls we have never met, but who have reveled in our writings that have preceded us and gone farther than we could go.

My emotions are on a rollercoaster, and I am exceedingly lonely without Bonnie despite being surrounded by family and Christian friends. Nevertheless, I bolster my weak moments with a resolve to redeem the time while I may, working as diligently for the Lord as I can while for me time remains. I further resolve to conduct myself daily in such a way to be holy and honor my wife, so that one day I, too, might rest from my labors with the spirit of my Bonnie and heaven’s park bench inside those pearly gates of heaven. Brethren, please continue to pray for me.