Archive for the ‘Good Eats’ category

2018 World Evangelism Team Meeting

July 13, 2018

Thursday and Friday, July 12-13, 2018, several brethren convened on Winona, Mississippi for our annual World Evangelism Team Meeting. We shared notes on our varied activities around the world over the past year, and we brainstormed about how we could be more useful to our Lord Jesus Christ in the coming year.

Naturally, we had to eat, too. As we always do, Thursday night we assembled for our supper meal at the Carmack Fish House. Back at the World Evangelism Building otherwise, we had breakfast and lunch meals also.

It is ever a pleasure to commune with our fellow-laborers and encourage each other. We are graying (or balding) and becoming feebler but no less energetic spiritually. “Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4:16 NKJV).

Union, Mississippi

July 3, 2018

Martha and I began the month of July by a visit on the first to the Church of Christ in Union, Mississippi. That entailed an early-morning departure from Winona, Mississippi to arrive in plenty of time before Bible class at 9:30 a.m. During class time, I talked about 2017-2018 mission trips to South America and Asia. It was a privilege to assemble for worship with God’s people—as it always is no matter where we go on Earth. Further, it was an honor to preach as we worshipped God in spirit and in truth. Afterward, a few of us dined in the local hospital cafeteria, as we have from time to time before. These good brethren ever encourage us, and they participate with us in our labors for Jesus Christ our Lord.

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!

Winding Down and Winding Up

September 26, 2017

Recently, Martha and I dined with some of her children (Jim, Denise and family) at Gator Joe’s on a Florida lake. What a beautiful sunset graced our suppertime delight! Of course, Martha had to get sand between her toes and wade in the water.

This past Sunday morning, September 24, Martha and I assembled with the Wildwood, Florida Church of Christ. This was my second visit to the congregation and my first opportunity to speak for this church. During Bible class, I presented my “World Evangelism Media & Missions” PowerPoint presentation. At the worship hour, I preached “Imitating the Urgency of Jesus Christ.” We felt right at home with Wildwood, and everyone paid rapt attention. It was a pleasure to worship God in spirit and in truth together.

For lunch, Martha and I treated ourselves to some deluxe Angus cheeseburgers and trimmings. Not only were they delicious, but we won’t have any such favorites for several weeks as we are abroad for eight weeks in three Asian countries. We drove a few miles thereafter to what turned out to be a dying, indoor mall. We idled at a franchise bookstore café and enjoyed the air conditioning while doing digital jigsaw puzzles on our electronic tablets.

When it was time, we made our way to the meetinghouse of the Village Church of Christ in Lady Lake, Florida. This was my second visit to this little church, and we worshipped with them.

Tuesday was a mobile office workday. I was able to publish the September edition of Gospel Gazette Online to the Internet and sundry other matters were addressed, too.

Thursday, Martha and I fly from Orlando, Florida to Los Angelos, California. From there we will fly for about 16 hours to Taipei, Taiwan, and then fly on to Yangon, Myanmar (also known as Burma). We will arrive on Saturday after nonstop traveling by jet airplane.

Three weeks later, we will fly to Singapore for about four days, before flying to India. For five weeks, we will travel to sundry places. Finally, November 21, we will return home from New Delhi to New York to Florida—all on the same day, though the same number of hours as traveling to Asia! I am looking forward to sharing some of the beautiful pictures of our travels from time to time during the eight weeks we will be gone. Please remember us in your prayers.

On the Alabama-Georgia Line

August 22, 2017

Saturday, August 19, around 2 a.m., I was busy buying tickets to fly around Asia and back to America. After sunrise with a little intervening sleep, Martha Lynn and I pointed the Pacifica toward the east and drove out of Winona, Mississippi. We were headed for the outskirts of Piedmont, Alabama and to the home of Stan and Carrie Rogers. They were my innkeepers last year, too. His father and mother have kept Bonnie and me in their home for many years before I started staying with Stan and Carrie.

Being a big farming community, it was normal for residents to congregate on the lawn outside of an antique building for a home-style meal and local musical entertainment. Several members of the Lord’s church, themselves farmers, were present—and hence facilitated us being there. Martha got to drive a simulated cotton picker and milk an artificial cow! The festival was dubbed, “Field to Fork Dinner.”

Sunday morning, Martha and I assembled with the Highway Nine Church of Christ. During class, I made my PowerPoint presentation, “World Evangelism Media & Missions,” and for worship, I preached, “Imitating the Urgency of Jesus Christ.” Some of the members and we dined at the local Chinese restaurant. One couple bought our lunch.

Sunday evening, we worshipped with the Piedmont Church of Christ. Here, too, Martha and I were well received. Martha has discovered that the brethren to whom I introduce her are like old, familiar friends.

Both churches not only encouraged us, but they helped us along financially in preparation for our upcoming trips to South America and to Asia. Parting from the latter congregation, we aimed for Winona and accelerated in that direction—over five hours away on a dark, Sunday night. We tired long before arriving back home in Mississippi, but we shared the task of driving and kept each other awake. We parked the car in our carport about 12:30 a.m. After showering the sweat of a southern, summer day away, we happily slumbered in our own bed at around 1:30 a.m.—completely tuckered out!

Looking ahead can be about as exhausting as looking behind ourselves. We are packing for Florida speaking appointments, our soon trip to Guyana, followed by our 8-week jaunt through three Asian nations. Whew!

Courtland Church of Christ

July 10, 2017

Thursday and Friday, July 6-7, the annual World Evangelism Team Meeting convened in our office/warehouse facility in Winona, Mississippi. Brethren from Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee and Florida assembled for two days of fellowship, good food and sharing updates as well as future plans in service of our Lord Jesus Christ.

I devoted Saturday largely to working on volume 93 of The Voice of Truth International. Martha and I also affixed some of her family photos to walls in two rooms. Every adjustment to our living quarters involves changing or moving something from the way things were before when each of us was happily married to our former partners, who sadly have passed. It was raining outside, and it was drizzling a little bit inside, too.

Sunday, it was our good pleasure to meet for Bible class and worship with the Courtland, Mississippi Church of Christ. I presented for class, “World Evangelism Media & Missions.” During worship periods, I preached, “Imitating the Urgency of Jesus Christ” and “Imitating the Focus of Jesus Christ.” This small congregation makes a big impact on our missionary endeavors with ample encouragement and generous financial participation with us. In addition, we were guests of their monthly fellowship meal. Last week, we also enjoyed a fellowship meal with brethren in Nile, Mississippi. Brethren can cook, and they are not afraid to do so!

This evening late into the night, I managed to catch up on some of my recordkeeping of monetary gifts, sermon and lesson register, and pending appointments to confirm. While I was attending to all of that, Martha and Rebecca were baking and icing cupcakes—white ones with vanilla topping and chocolate ones with, yes, chocolate frosting. I played Nehemiah the food taster and sampled them. Somebody had to do it! In addition, Martha made some more peanut butter as well as chocolate fudge. All of this was in preparation for a youth group coming to work with us in the World Evangelism Building on Monday and Tuesday.

Aside from that, I need to complete the packet of Martha’s application for a visa for India. I need to make numerous phone calls tomorrow throughout the day and evening to make speaking appointments for the next couple of months. There is never a shortage of things to do, and there is a long list of tasks awaiting their turn for much needed attention. Alas, we have job security as long as we live—that is, something worthwhile to do irrespective of whether it is monetarily feasible. You and I—all we who are Christians—serve our Master, Jesus!

Moving Right Along

July 2, 2017

Mahdia, Guyana, South America 2017

Wednesday evening, May 28, Rebecca, Martha and I assembled with the North Lexington, Kentucky Church of Christ. For many years, this congregation has been an encourager and a participant with me in my foreign missions. This was my first visit to the congregation since my dear Bonnie passed away in 2015 and I subsequently remarried her best friend, Martha, on New Year’s Day in 2017. As always, we were wonderfully received by those who are dear friends as well as Christian brethren and helpers in our evangelistic labors.

Thursday was a very long travel day back to Winona, Mississippi. Rebecca said the poor ole van sighed relief after we parked the trailer at the World Evangelism Building. Friday was divided between unloading the trailer both at the warehouse and at the house, as well as spiriting Martha away to a follow-up eye appointment in Grenada, Mississippi. Saturday, we reloaded the car for our next outing and put away some of the debris from unloading the trailer at the house.

Early Sunday morning, we departed Winona for the remnant of Nile, Mississippi. All that remains of the village is the meetinghouse of the Nile Church of Christ. During Bible class, I made my PowerPoint presentation, “World Evangelism Media & Missions.” For worship on either side of a fellowship meal at the church house, I preached, “Imitating the Conviction of Jesus Christ” and “Imitating the Focus of Jesus Christ.” I had not been to this congregation before, but several of the members knew me from my Internet online presence, etc. Someone said I looked just like my picture. Interestingly, our recent visit to the Belington, West Virginia Church of Christ resonated with Christians at the Nile church. Once again it has proven true that Christians that I have not met previously are merely friends with whom only now I am acquainted.

We got to sleep in our own bed last night and tonight, too. That hasn’t happened much since we were wed January 1 between stateside and overseas travels. Six weeks we were abroad in Guyana, South America, and we just returned from 31 days on the road. Other appointments have kept us away from home off and on the balance of the first six months of 2017. Is it any wonder that Bonnie had and now Martha has as the ringtone for their phones, “On the Road Again,” by Willie Nelson?