Archive for the ‘Guyana’ category

Homeward Bound, Again

March 5, 2018

Martha and I winged our way from the United States to Guyana, South America on Tuesday, January 30. Five weeks later, we flew back to the USA on March 6.

During our 2018 visit to Guyana, we conducted simultaneously a workshop on “Back to the Bible” and a seminar on “How We Got the Bible.” The workshop was intended to edify and encourage Christians throughout the country, and especially the seminar was for enriching the knowledge base of preachers and teachers. Both teaching forums were hosted by various congregations throughout nine of the ten regions in the nation. Our modes of travel once inside Guyana included car, buses, small planes, a ferry and water taxis.

A hearty “Thank You” is due to brother Nigel Milo who arranges and directs the program annually. He also is one of the three speakers. Brother Thomas George and I were the other two speakers, and Martha had occasions during which she taught ladies’ classes. Brother George is a highly competent and diligent, as well as a humble, servant of God. We couldn’t have had a better companion for bringing about the workshops and the seminars than him. I believe that he and I established a good friendship. He and I also entered into a working relationship where brother Thomas George will mentor 16 small, remotely isolated churches of Christ among Amerindians. (He will be doing all of the work, actually.)

Some of the places to which we went with the Gospel this year included Lethem, Paramakatoi, Port Kaituma, Hosororo, Matthew’s Ridge, Kildonan, Kitty, Enmore, the Essequibo coast and Linden. We passed through such illustrious sounding named villages as Now or Never, Land of Canaan, and Garden of Eden.

The hospitality was grand, particularly at our base in Linden in the home of the Milos. Our strategy has always been and remains to major in edification and minor in evangelism, both thrusts being necessary to result in a spiritual harvest (1 Corinthians 3:6). We think that we achieved our goal this year, too; and we are already planning for 2019 workshops and seminars, if our Lord wills.

 

Included herein are some of the photos from our various venues. In addition, pictures and videos are available at https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100008025647862 Thank you for making it possible for Martha and me to help encourage and edify our precious Guyanese brothers and sisters.

As the Calendar Page Turns

January 1, 2018

Upon our return from a mission trip in three Asian countries, preceded by a mission trip of two weeks in South America, Martha and I found ourselves wearily entering into the Thanksgiving holiday. We flew into Florida and promptly drove to Mississippi, where we were joined by my daughter Rebecca. Later after a few days at the office, Martha and I returned to Florida, where we enjoyed Christmas holidays with my three children as well as one of Martha’s sons, his wife and their three children.

December 31, we assembled for worship with two congregations not far from our Ocala, Florida home. In the morning, we once more visited the Wildwood Church of Christ, whereupon its two elders ably handled the Bible class and the preaching (1 Timothy 3:2) in the absence of their pulpit preacher. That evening, we met with the Bellview Church of Christ, my first occasion to gathering with these brethren. In both places, I left copies of The Voice of Truth International and the Rushmore Newsletter.

Upon Martha and me returning to Ocala, Rebecca apprised me of the final proofing corrections for Gospel Gazette Online, and I published it to the Internet. New Year’s Day, I notified the nearly 2,000 subscribers to the Internet journal of its availability. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, with the collaboration of coworkers in Winona, Mississippi, I was able to complete layout of Volume 95 of The Voice of Truth International. My mobile office works in Florida, too, besides working in Winona, Mississippi or abroad in South America or Asia. Internet and phone services are additional requirements from time to time, but my laptop computer do it to it wherever and whenever.

Another significant event, though resembling a typical, lackluster Saturday, today—January 1st—New Year’s Day—is the first wedding anniversary for Martha and me. How the year came and went we hardly know. I whisked Martha off to the jungles of South America within days of our wedding. In the states, we lived out of our suitcases often and once for a month as we traveled to my speaking appointments across the eastern USA. In September we spent two more weeks traversing Guyana, South America before embarking on a two-month trip to Myanmar, Singapore and India. We hardly knew what to do with ourselves with the sudden slowdown of the end of year American holidays and the turning of the calendar page to 2018.

Yesterday, I bought airfare for travel once more to Guyana. We are scheduled to be in that country from January 30 through March 6. Martha and I will participate in workshops and seminars in all 10 regions of the jungle nation. We will conduct programs for Christians and place our effort within reach of every church of our Lord. In addition, we will put on a seminar simultaneously for church leaders and workers, which will be more extensive than material for others. The workshops follow the theme, “Back to the Bible,” and the seminars will address in depth, “How We Got the Bible.

We are indebted to Christians and churches that encourage and financially participate with us in our ministry—stateside and overseas. May God bless us and every child of God as we circumspectly make our way through life on earth in eager anticipation of being invited into the house of our God forever.

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.

Sun in My Eyes, Twice!

July 20, 2017

Jokingly, Old Timers are said to claim when talking to younger folks that things were more difficult when they were children. For instance, the standing joke is that things were so bad that they had to walk to and from school each day uphill both ways—in the snow. While that may be hard to believe, today, I drove for six hours and the sun was in my eyes coming and going. I assure you that it was so! Martha, Rebecca (our younger back) and I drove from my daughter’s home where we lodged last night from metropolitan Memphis, Tennessee to Nashville, Tennessee and back. Hence, the sun was in our eyes this morning as we drove east, and it was in our eyes this afternoon as we drove west.

Martha and I were pulling a trailer of about 2,500 pounds of literature and Bibles to an agent for the Caribbean Shipping Company. Yesterday, we were still adding Bibles to the stash. We bought about a hundred in north Mississippi, and last night, we bought another 120 Bibles in southwest Tennessee. Not all plans work as well as imagined, for trying to back the trailer into Rebecca’s driveway to load the cases of Bibles didn’t work out perfectly. The van as well as the trailer made hard contact with the concrete drive. No big problem—just had to carry the boxes a little further.

Martha was the designated picture-taker, and so she does not appear in any of the photographs. I told her that she was our cheerleader! Rebecca, Lennox Parris (shipping agent) and I unloaded the trailer and stacked boxes on two pallets. They will leave the USA from Miami on August 7 and arrive before September in Guyana. From there, brother Nigel Milo and the congregation with which he labors will see to the distribution of songbooks, class material, religious books and Bibles to congregations of the churches of Christ throughout the nation.

That was the second shipment that I pulled to Nashville so far in 2017. We may haul one more load later in the year. Brother and sister Bates with whom we work daily in World Evangelism hauled a trailer load of literature last week to Texas. Tens of thousands of pieces of literature ship from Winona, Mississippi and World Evangelism annually to Asia, Africa and South America. In addition, World Evangelism prints literature in Asia and in Africa, too.

All of this is made possible by individual Christians and churches of Christ. Recently, from one congregation, between members and the church, $1,500 was given for Bibles—over $1,000 of which we spent for Bibles in the last two days. We would have bought more, but we bought all we could find of the particular item in two stores in two states. The cost of shipping the two pallets above to Guyana is $1,340! Our fall trip to perhaps as many as four Asian nations will soon be upon us, and we may return for two weeks in September to Guyana for a special series of classes. Thank you brothers and sisters for making it possible for me to have the absolute best job to be had—as far as Martha and I are concerned—in service to our Lord Jesus Christ and His followers, as well as non-Christians, too.

Sleeping State to State!

March 17, 2017

Kentucky Barn with Character

Wednesday, March 15, Rebecca, Martha and I drove to Benton, Kentucky. I prefer to show up early at speaking appointments, and I am usually the first one to arrive. I want to be early enough to set up displays and materials as well as to make preparation for a PowerPoint presentation. I thought that we were arriving an hour or so before Bible class time at the Walnut Grove Church of Christ, but I discovered shortly that assembly time was 6:30 p.m. rather than 7:00 p.m. Nevertheless, everything worked out just fine.

Children in this congregation periodically send me cards of encouragement. In addition, brother and sister Hunt extended to us the hospitality of their home, capped off with a wonderful breakfast, too.

Thursday, we drove to Nashville and deposited 1,900 pounds of literature and some new clothes with an agent for Caribbean Shipping Service. These items will be sent by container ship to Guyana, South America. Once there, brother Nigel Milo and his congregation will distribute especially the books to every congregation of the Lord’s church in the nation.

After returning Rebecca to her home in Collierville, Martha and I proceeded back to Winona, MS and arrived around 8 p.m. It had been a long day.

Friday, we reloaded the van and headed toward Valdosta, Georgia. We made it as far as Montgomery, Alabama before securing lodging for the night.

For the past several evenings with the travel we have been doing, we have slumbered in a different state nightly: Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi and Alabama. The next two nights, Lord permitting, we will lodge in Georgia and Florida! We are not traveling for the sake of traveling, but to be about the Lord’s business (i.e., speaking appointments, delivering literature for foreign shipment, etc.). Along the way, we set up office wherever we are and tend to that sort of thing also (i.e., Gospel Gazette Online, The Voice of Truth International, printing, etc.). This very night, though, Martha is searching out somewhere that we might find some respite from our overseas and stateside travels thus far this year—and we might even call it an abbreviated honeymoon!