Archive for the ‘Good Friends’ category

Nearly Five Weeks in India

November 24, 2017

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October 23, Martha and I flew from Singapore to Bangalore, India in the state of Karnataka. After enjoying time with and assembling for a couple of days with Christian brethren, we traveled overland by car to the state of Tamil Nadu. There we remained for most of a week; we greeted several Christians who came from various parts of that state to meet us. After traveling back to Bangalore, we flew to Vishakhapatnam in the state of Andhra Pradesh, before being retrieved and taken about 80 miles south to Kakinada on the Bay of Bengal. For approximately one week, we spoke to Christian men and women daily there and also in outlying villages.

Upon returning to Vishakhapatnam, Martha and I flew to New Delhi to connect with dear Christians there for a couple of days. Next, accompanied by two brothers in Christ, we nearly returned to Andhra when we flew to Raipur in Chhattisgarh state. Five hours of road trip later, we arrived at a coffee house in Korba, where we lodged in upstairs rooms. For the next several days and evenings in the neighboring village of Balco, we addressed Christian men and women publicly and from house to house.

Finally, we returned to New Delhi via Raipur and prepared to return to the USA. We had departed our homeland about eight weeks previously for three Asian countries, and we changed planes in a fourth nation. We renewed old friendships and made new friends, too. This was Martha’s first trip to Asia. Twice before in 2017, though, she and I traveled to metropolitan as well as remote villages in Guyana, South America. Our first year as husband and wife is swiftly drawing to a close, and we have vigorously applied ourselves in our travels stateside and overseas for the cause of Christ. In addition, there is an immense amount to activity behind the scenes relating to the publication of Gospel Gazette Online and The Voice of Truth International magazines, publication of books and tracts, plus distribution in the States and overseas of this Christian literature. I especially concentrate on delivery of tons of literature and Bibles to Guyana, South America.

We are growing older, have our aches and pains, and sometimes we are weary. However, we fully intend to rest at some time in the future—when we’re dead! Until then, as long as possible, we intend to be active for the Lord. We are thankful to the many Christian families and congregations of the churches of Christ who make that possible through their financial participation and moral encouragement.

Three Weeks in Myanmar

October 21, 2017

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The first week, Martha and I lodged in the Hotel Bo Bo Min by evening and taught by day some 30 minutes away on the east side of Yangon. Nine Chinese Gospel preachers from the northeastern area of Myitkyina convened for the special series of classes. Some of the ministers have dual Myanmar and Chinese citizenship, and they all speak the tribal language of Lisu.

Martha taught ladies, and I taught the men. My lessons over the week included crash courses on “How We Got the Bible” and “Bible Geography & Sacred History.” In addition, tracts and books in the Lisu language were provided for these attendees.

Weeks two and three, Martha and I lodged by night on the other side of Yangon in the Hotel Corolla, and during the days, we taught Christians and non-Christians who had come from throughout the nation especially for these lessons. I taught the same courses as I did during the previous week, plus English and a variety of short biblical lessons.

Over the three weeks, we worshipped on the Lord’s Day and I spoke for three different congregations in the Yangon area. We were also lunch guests one day in the home of a revered Christian brother and his family in the outskirts of Hmawbi. Not the least of our joys were the playful moments enjoyed with a certain pintsized boy and an equally precious little girl. Both are preschool, but already they have mastered more than I did in first grade—a few decades ago.

An Indian brother who directs a Bible training school in India visited while we were in Myanmar. I have known him for years, and he was the teacher of several of the Burmese evangelists with whom I labor for our Lord. Not a part of what we do, of course, we observed samples of Buddhism everywhere, including young, female monks in training—wearing pink.

Ready to move on in our two months abroad, still, we were reluctant to part from the dear Christian brethren whom we count as among our most cherished friends on earth. I have grown to love them over the past decade, and Martha and they became fast friends. Friday evening, October 20, Martha and I winged our way across a time zone or two to Singapore to be with more Christian friends and brethren. We struggled to reload our suitcases, and we don’t dare buy another thing or accept any gifts; otherwise, we may have to check into getting luggage racks installed atop an airliner or two!

We appreciate and continue to covet prayers on our behalf as we travel overseas. Martha and I, Lord willing, will return to the USA on November 21.

Expedited Course for Church Leaders & Workers

September 19, 2017

Recently, Martha and I traveled once more this year to Guyana, South America—this time for two weeks. Whereas earlier this year we conducted a workshop for six weeks in all 10 regions of that nation for all interested brethren, on this occasion I taught seminars in eight regions—a World Evangelism Expedited Course—for church leaders and workers. The subject for 2017 was “Bible Geography & Sacred History.” A goodly number of brothers and sisters in Christ participated. The following bulleted points summarize the event as it unfolded.

  • Saturday, September 2, 2017: Travel Day
  • Sunday, September 3, 2017—Amelia’s Ward Church of Christ
  • Monday, September 4, 2017—Tuschen Church of Christ
  • Wednesday, September 6, 2017—Amelia’s Ward Church of Christ
  • Thursday, September 7, 2017—Industry Church of Christ
  • Saturday, September 9, 2017—Richmond Church of Christ
  • Sunday, September 10, 2017—Amelia’s Ward Church of Christ:
  • Monday, September 11, 2017—Asylum Street Church of Christ (New Amsterdam)
  • Tuesday, September 12, 2017—Bath Settlement Church of Christ
  • Wednesday, September 13, 2017: Travel Day
  • Thursday, September 14, 2017—Culvert City Church of Christ (Lethem)
  • Friday, September 15, 2017: Travel Day
  • Saturday, September 16, 2017: Return to the USA

I worked on Gospel Gazette Online and the Voice of Truth International magazines between travel and speaking appointments. Sometimes I seem to get more done on some projects while out of the office rather than in the Winona, Mississippi office.

Aside from the uplifting and gratifying program, there were some minor abrasions obtained along the way. Martha was the primary recipient of the injuries, a slight scrap of her arm once in a boat taxi as well as at another time smacking a board with her head. She appears happier in the picture than she was about hurting herself. Fortunately for me, there was a whole room full of witnesses that I did not hit my wife. She seated herself behind a board across two pew packs for a makeshift table to hold the projector. When she leaned down to pick up something from the floor, the corner of the board struck her right between the eyes. The car in which we were riding experienced some abrasions and minor injuries in transit, too.

Upon landing in Lethem and checking into our hotel, I noticed that Martha’s face around her nose had turned purple. She was experiencing some pain also. Evidently, Martha’s injury a few days prior became more discernible all of a sudden, perhaps tied to the nearly two-hour flight over the jungle to Lethem. More ice.

Due to the nature of the program, Martha did not have as much opportunity to teach this time as she did earlier in the year. However, she did teach, and additionally, Martha had substantial interaction with sisters in Christ throughout our travels.

Sister Jasmine, brother Nigel and their son, Zab, hosted us in their home, as they always do. We are thankful for the Milos and their hospitality annually. Brother Milo is a tireless and an effective evangelist. He directs our workshops and seminars, and Nigel is truly responsible for any successes in which we participate. Of course, we are indebted to the fine brethren stateside who make our journeys and efforts possible in the first place. Thanks.

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Hot & Sticky in Guyana, South America

September 3, 2017

Monday, August 28, Martha and I drove from the hotel in which we lodged Sunday night after leaving DeFuniak Springs, Florida. We drove to Middleburg, Florida to spend some time with my son, Robert, and cart down to him some of his belongings. That trailer we acquired earlier in the year has certainly been getting some use. Of course, Martha is planning in us depositing in it more things from our Florida home to transport back to our mission cottage in Winona, Mississippi.

In Middleburg, we spent the night with new friends, a preacher and his wife. One of their big dogs was not nearly as welcoming as he chewed up my right leg as I exited the car. A little cleanup and Band-Aids later I was on the road to recovery and still able to leave the country on our mission trip to Guyana.

Happily, all of Martha’s medical tests over four days had satisfactory results. As she says, “We’re stuck like glue!” Lord willing, we will comfort one another and amble throughout life together for a few more years yet.

After packing and repacking our suitcases a million and one times, along with daily trips to Walmart to get “one more thing,” we headed for the airport at Sanford, Florida on Saturday, September 2. This year by coming to Florida, we were able to dismiss one airline from the travel mix and attempt to allay connection snafus that plagued us earlier in the year returning from Guyana.

Who would have guessed? The Surinam Airlines flight was delayed by about three hours leaving Sanford. At least the airplane was sitting out there this time. In March, Surinam Airlines was 8 hours late arriving in outside of Georgetown, Guyana for our return trip to the USA.

We arrived about 10:30 p.m. EST in Guyana after a four and a half hour, nonstop flight. As always, the familiar face that greeted us when we exited the airport was that of my dear brother Nigel Milo. Martha and I turned in for the night around midnight in Linden. The next day, we worshipped with the Amelia’s Ward Church of Christ, and brethren have about decided to view us as regulars rather than visitors. These Christians are precious to me; we love them very much.

Now, don’t misconstrue the picture, which was snapped earlier in the year on an outing in Guyana with the “Sunshiners,” senior citizens with whom Martha and I were grouped. We traveled to a park for devotionals and fellowship over food. After Martha and I each had an occasion to teach those present, Martha, of course, teaching the ladies in my absence, I tested the serviceability of a park apparatus for a few moments. Martha snapped the photograph! No, I am not on vacation abroad, though I thoroughly enjoy serving my Lord among foreign Christians and non-Christians, too.

For Bible class, I taught about, “Sins of Good People in the Church.” During worship, brother Nigel preached an excellent lesson regarding the disobedience of King Saul with respect to the Amalekites, and of course, made an appropriate application to all present. His straightforward, biblical teaching and preaching is refreshing in times when not everything coming from the pulpits relies on much Scripture.

Sunday evening, I posted, howbeit late, the August edition of Gospel Gazette Online to the Internet. The mobile office is up and running and will be up and running in idle moments between appointments here in Guyana.

Tomorrow, very early, we begin our current round of seminars with church leaders in mind. It is my pleasure to speak throughout the country on “Bible Geography & Sacred History”—foundational and contextual background material to effective teaching and preaching. We covet your prayers and praise God for such an opportunity that is afforded us.

Florida Steppingstone

August 31, 2017

Saturday, August 26 commenced with Martha and me outbound from Winona, Mississippi to DeFuniak Springs, Florida. After the costly complications earlier this year traveling back from Guyana, South America, this go-around, we’re taking one airplane out of the equation by departing from Florida to Guyana. Suriname Airways does not enjoy codeshare with airlines in the United States, and neither does it compensate its customers when an 8-hour late flight results in missing one’s connecting flight back in the States.

Along our way to Florida, we made appointments with two congregations in DeFuniak Springs: the Liberty Church of Christ and the College Avenue Church of Christ. I speak annually for the Liberty congregation, and it supports us in our mission endeavors. This was the first time that I have spoken for the College Avenue church, but I have known some of their preachers and interacted with them over the years. One brother there apprised me that he had been using my written materials for years.

Brethren in both congregations were gracious to us, and as usual, Christians that I had not previously met are simply friends that I didn’t know yet. Interestingly, I could not find consensus on the proper pronunciation of the “DeFuniak.” I want to say, “De-Fun-e-ak,” with a short vowel sound for the “u,” but some residents call it “De-Fune-e-ak,” with a long vowel sound for the “u.” Still others pronounce it, “De-Fin-e-ak,” with the sound of a short vowel sound for an “i.” I’m just going to resin myself to committing it to writing without saying it aloud!

DeFuniak Springs was built surrounding a small, circular lake. Many beautiful, old homes grace the outer ring-road encircling the water spot. Apparently, the lake water level was higher than normal. The warm, sunny day was mitigated by a light breeze amidst and beneath ancient, elegant shade trees.

To our consternation, Martha’s medical insurance wasn’t accepted while we were in Mississippi, and my insurance was rejected the other day in Florida. Oh, well! Anyway, now back in Florida, Martha is undergoing a battery of doctor appointments and tests.

Short of any alarming results over the next two days, we leave Saturday, September 2 for Guyana, South America once more this year. We have venues scheduled in 8 of the 10 regions throughout the country. I will be teaching “Bible Geography & Sacred History” to an estimated 165 church leaders representing about 90 congregations. Martha will teach as well as afforded an opportunity to do so. We return to the USA on September 16, Lord willing.

Then on September 28, Martha and I board the first of a series of jet planes that will whisk us away over a span of nearly 30 hours to Yangon, Myanmar (Burma). We have two venues in that nation over the following three weeks. From there, we fly to Singapore for a 2-day program of teaching. Afterward, we fly to and around in India to be with brethren and to teach until we return to the United States just before Thanksgiving on November 21.

In the meantime, I am working on Gospel Gazette Online and The Voice of Truth International magazines as well as on other matters that demand attention. As soon as we arrive back in Florida, we will drive back to Mississippi to be with Rebecca for part of her holiday from teaching school. While there, we will process our next Rushmore Newsletter, before returning to Florida for the Christmas holiday. In late January, we head back to Guyana for about 6 weeks. Besides all of this, we will be visiting churches in many states, maybe coming to a congregation near you.

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!