Archive for the ‘Hospital’ category

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.

Nearly a Fortnight in Florida

June 30, 2015

Glass-Bottom Boat at Silver Springs, FLFriday, June 26, Rebecca and I lumbered along a route resembling the flight of a drunken crow as we drove from Winona, MS in a southeasterly direction headed for Florida. The Gospel chariot was laden down with Bonnie’s clothes (for Martha Noland in Ocala, FL), display material, literature and luggage. Picture Rebecca and me wedged in the command module of our little black space shuttle with barely enough room for ourselves. We paused en route the next two days to consume homemade tuna sandwiches that we had prepared for our lunches.

Weary from the first day’s journey, we lodged in Troy, AL at the Best Western Inn. Rain greeted us throughout the day as well as when we left the hotel for supper. The trip that day was uneventful except for a couple vehicles that seemed to want to play bumper car, but we resisted.

Saturday afternoon, we arrived at the home of our host and hostess in Jacksonville, FL where we would linger for the next two days; brother Jeff and sister Sherri White made us comfortable and fattened us up a little with good cooking. They worship with the Chaffee Road Church of Christ, which is one of my supporters and for which I was to speak Sunday morning. For Bible class, I presented my “Overview & Update” PowerPoint about World Evangelism and my labors therewith. During worship, I presented my PowerPoint “The Church of Prophecy.”

Sunday evening, we worshipped with the Riverview Church of Christ, and I gave my “Overview & Update” PowerPoint once more. Both congregations received us well, and the latter made a special financial participation with me in my mission endeavors.

Following worship, Rebecca and I traveled to the home of Bob and Martha Noland in Ocala, FL. He has served for many years as an elder and a Gospel preacher, and of course, Martha has been a valuable component, too, in their service to our Lord Jesus Christ. Just before our arrival, we received a mobile call as we were driving that Bob was having a medical crisis. When we got to their home, EMS personnel were assisting them, and finally, they placed Bob in Bob and Martha’s van for a trip to a cancer hospital an hour away in Gainesville, FL.

Rebecca and I rode along. Test after test was performed on Bob. However, after spending hours in the Emergency Room with no progress toward admitting Bob to the hospital, Rebecca and I returned to the Noland home in Ocala. We got to bed finally between 4:30 a.m. and 5:00 a.m.

Later in the day Monday, we gathered up the Noland’s granddaughter who had been deposited at Christian brethren and friends of the Nolands. The three of us, then, proceeded to return to the hospital in Gainesville. That evening, we returned to Ocala.

Tuesday, Rebecca and I went to a nearby Florida State Park where we rode a glass-bottom boat at the headwaters – 120 natural springs – for the Silver Springs River. Thunderstorms daily have lashed us with wind and rain; while on the boat, a ferocious storm battered land and water. Yet, beneath the surface of the river, we could see through the glass bottom of the watercraft that neither deep water nor aquatic life were the least disturbed by the turbulence above. (Incidentally, the most recent edition of the Rushmore Newsletter, which we mailed on Friday, June 19, finally arrived at residences here in Florida. I beat the mail down here. Imagine that!)

The water was crystal clear, and the depths were deceptively deeper than they appeared. We saw the bluest freshwater fish we had ever observed, plus turtles, gar and other fish. Later while walking adjacent to the river, we spied an alligator at water’s edge. We also saw monkeys, regionally appropriate birds and lizards.

So, we “played” a little – or smelled the roses somewhat. However, Rebecca and I worked as well. Finally, Tuesday evening, we completed entry of articles in a database, chronicling articles already used in The Voice of Truth International so we can distinguish them more easily from articles that have not yet been used in VOTI. We entered articles for over 300 pages encompassing three recent editions of the magazine. I also worked on Gospel Gazette Online a little plus other office work (in my mobile office – on my lap).

Saturday, Rebecca and I will travel to DeFuniak Springs in preparation for speaking all day Sunday for the Liberty Church of Christ. Between now and then, we will continue to work especially on VOTI and GGO. Monday, we will begin our return trip to Winona, MS.

Thank you for your interest in my efforts for the cause of Christ. I continue to make appointments both for stateside travel as well as overseas venues in five countries for this fall and into next year. Please pray for me, and let me know what dates you would like me to visit your congregation (mission report, preaching, Gospel meeting, etc.).

Obituary: Bonnie Sue Rushmore

May 19, 2015
Bonnie Sue Rushmore - October 2014

Bonnie Sue Rushmore – October 2014

Funeral services for Bonnie Sue Rushmore were conducted Thursday, May 21 beginning at 11:30 a.m. at the meetinghouse for the Old Union Church of Christ in rural Carroll County, Mississippi. Graveside services and burial were in the adjacent church cemetery. Ministers officiating were Mr. Therman Hodge and Mr. Mike Schmitz. Singing was led by Stephen Hughley.

Visitation preceded the funeral service, beginning at 10 a.m. at the Old Union congregation’s building. A meal was provided for all present by the West President Church of Christ of Greenwood, MS and the Old Union Church of Christ.

Bonnie Sue Rushmore, 58, died of pancreatic cancer on May 18 at Baptist Health Systems in Jackson, MS. She was born in Greenville, PA on December 25, 1956, to the late Roy E. and Mary Reed. She was a foreign missionary, an author of religious books and articles, as well as layout operator for the international quarterly magazine The Voice of Truth International. Bonnie Rushmore was a member of the churches of Christ.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her sister Colleen Reed and niece Lisa Reed. Survivors include her husband Louis Rushmore; children Rebecca Rushmore of Collierville, TN; Raymond Rushmore and his wife Vanessa of Johnstown; OH and Robert Rushmore of Burgin, KY; siblings Larry Reed and his wife Donna of Greenville, PA; Jim Reed and his wife Kay of Cochranton, PA and Dianna Korab and her husband Ed of Farrell, PA; and grandchildren Eli Rushmore and Nate Rushmore.

Pallbearers were selected from area congregations of the churches of Christ. In lieu of flowers, friends are encouraged to make gifts payable to Rushmore Evangelism Fund and mail to the Siwell Rd. Church of Christ, 4075 Siwell Rd., Jackson, MS 39212 for distribution of Bibles and Gospel literature in foreign countries. Mark checks “Bonnie Rushmore Memorial” on the memo line.

Walking Wounded – but Forward Walking!

May 13, 2015
New Delhi, India 2008

New Delhi, India 2008

A week and a half slipped by since our last blog entry. Nope, those camp beds were not contributory to my aching back. They may not have relieved my back pains any, but neither did returning to my home-friendly bed back in Winona, MS. Monday, May 4th, I did my best interpretation of a 30-year-old (I’m slightly more than twice that now) and waded into our overgrown yard with wheelbarrow (for tree debris), rake (leaves in ditch), snow-shovel dustpan (for the leaves), lawn tractor, walk-behind mower and string trimmer. Prior to approaching that jungle, I finished my domestic duties inside the house (e.g., vacuuming the entire house and doing the laundry, cooking, washing dishes, etc.). I was just a bundle of energy seizing sunshine and opportunity to do what especially outside rain and such like hindered me to do for far too long. With a degree of satisfaction, I suppose, I showered and then laid myself down on the bed for a little rest.

As it turns out, I definitely am not 30-years-old any longer. My back pain increased after I stopped moving for a while to a degree that far exceeded my recently surgery pain. Literally, I could not get up out of the bed and may have still been there now had I not called out to Bonnie to come to my side with pain pills and water. After 45 minutes, with severe pain, I was able to get out of the bed, but the pain that had dogged me for weeks now had reached a zenith. Consequently, on Tuesday I sought a doctor, who prescribed two prescriptions that were intended to make me shipshape once more over several days to a week or so. The medicines did not cure me, and they have side effects.

Wednesday was a very important day. Bonnie resumed her rigorous chemotherapy in Jackson, MS, and it has some nasty side effects of its own. After five hours of chemotherapy (two chemo drugs and two companion drugs), a pump was attached to Bonnie from which a third chemo drug would enter intravenously over the next 46 hours. We returned home.

Thursday, I published the May issue of Gospel Gazette Online to the Internet. Also that day, a sister in Christ who is a nurse came by the house to administer an injection into Bonnie; the shot is associated with her chemo regimen. The next day (Friday), Bonnie and I returned to Jackson, MS to have the pump removed.

Saturday and Sunday were relatively good days for Bonnie, compared to the nausea, pains and fatigue characteristic of most days. Of course, Sunday was Mother’s Day, and our two sons called from afar to talk with their mother on the phone. Our daughter blessed us with her presence Friday through Sunday afternoon.

Monday, with lesser back pain owing to the medications I had been taking daily, I determined to weed the flowerbed adjacent to the driveway, after which I intended to wash the car (severely splattered with big and plenteous bugs, as well as blanketed with dirt road dust). Despite agreeable temperatures – not too hot and not too cool – I repeatedly began to blackout (reminiscent of my blackout and hurtful fall last summer). Hence, I retreated to the house and decided to discontinue the prescription because one of its side effects was dizziness.

Tuesday, again I tried to weed the flowerbed and had to resort to the living room recliner to avoid falling and hurting myself. Not to be out done (not really), that evening Bonnie developed a severe nose bleed that we could not stop. Phoning the after-hours oncology personnel on call, we were directed to proceed to the local emergency room, which we did. Once there and before Bonnie could be treated, the nose bleed finally stopped on its own. As directed by the oncology office, we had the hospital draw Bonnie’s blood and do an analysis. Once more, Bonnie’s blood counts had fallen dramatically.

Wednesday, determined to weed the little flowerbed yet, I succeeded. However, shortly thereafter, I nearly blacked out and had to retreat yet again. In the meantime, Bonnie was involved in an exchange of phone calls with the oncology office in Jackson. Finally, it was determined that Bonnie had to go to Jackson, MS to receive an injection because the drug she needed was not in stock in Montgomery County, MS. We made the hour and half journey each way. Arrangements were made to have the drug available in Winona, MS for injections over the next four days, so we do not have to drive to Jackson daily or stay in Jackson.

I felt good enough after lunch to drive us to Jackson and back. However, stopping at a store to buy a few groceries on the way back to the house, I had another lightheaded episode that could have resulted in me fainting. Therefore, tomorrow, I need to revisit a local doctor, which means that likely I will have to undergo some outpatient tests at the local hospital perhaps.

In summary, Bonnie and I somewhat qualify to be among the walking wounded, though we lean forward and continue on. Temporarily disadvantaged physically, I still typed an article for an upcoming edition of Global Harvest magazine and updated the online book store with the addition of a new title. Bonnie finds moments during which she works on future issues of The Voice of Truth International magazine.

Good brethren and coworkers coddle us with food, driving us about when I am under the weather, unload tractor-trailers when I can’t help, sit with Bonnie when I need to be away, etc. Others more distant from us lift us with well wishes and prayers.

Bonnie’s low blood counts have now brought about her isolation from groups, which adversely affects opportunity to assemble with brethren for Bible class and worship. This is a first in the years that Bonnie has been battling pancreatic cancer. Part of Bonnie’s medicine for her morale has been interaction with fellow Christians. Please continue to remember us in your prayers. Monday, a Home Health nurse in Winona will draw blood for determination if Bonnie’s blood counts have risen. Until next time, we may be walking wounded, but we are walking and working for our Lord, with your help and prayers.

Home and Gone

May 3, 2015

beautiful sweet-smelling rosesBonnie was discharged from the hospital on Monday, April 27; we arrived back at our Winona, MS home a little after 9 p.m. that night. Bonnie’s oncologist paroled her because of good behavior and so that she and I could attend the Annual May Maywood Missionary Retreat in Hamilton, AL. Bonnie’s next scheduled medical event is Wednesday, May 6, whereupon we will have a discussion with her doctor, and if possible, Bonnie will undergo another chemo treatment.

Tuesday, though Bonnie wanted to leave for the mission retreat, it was necessary for us to take care of some things. We needed to go to the bank. Bonnie needed to print nametags for attendees of the retreat. Of course, we needed to repack our bags for the little lectureship in the woods with other missionaries.

Wednesday, my cellphone rang as we were about to go out the door. A brother and sister in Christ from out of town happened to be passing through Winona, MS and wanted to visit with us. Happily, I gave the brother a tour of the World Evangelism Building and convinced him to take a few books with him. After a while, this good couple who sometimes supports us and often prays for us continued their journey. Thereafter, Bonnie and I began our own journey, too, on our way to the retreat outside of Hamilton, AL. Three hours or so later, we finally arrived.

Several of the core group of World Evangelism Team members arrived on Tuesday to clean the cabins and the campground. This year, however, Bonnie was unable to participate, and I am devoted to her. We did arrive in time on Wednesday for Bonnie to get a little nap before we enjoyed a meal together with fellow team members; we do this each year the night before the attendees of the program arrive; it is a precious few moments together. After supper, most of us attended the Gospel meeting in progress at the Hamilton Church of Christ; others went on to an appointment with another congregation of the Lord’s church.

Thursday and Friday, lecturers and auditors enjoyed presentations, classes and panel discussions. A highlight, of course, were the meals and free time to visit with each other and catch up. Bonnie and I spent about half of our time sharing in the lessons and meals, while the other half of the time Bonnie found it necessary to resort to our cabin for rest. Overall, she did well. While Bonnie napped, I worked on the May edition of Gospel Gazette Online, though some of the software subscriptions did not work in the absence of an Internet connection.

Saturday, we headed home after breakfast. That afternoon, I finally waded into the knee-high grass in our yard – after I bought a replacement battery for the lawn tractor. Monday, I will attempt to reclaim the rest of the yard with a walk-behind mower and a string trimmer, which I have to bailout of the repair shop first.

Sunday, we worshipped with the Old Union Church of Christ in Carroll County, MS. It was so good to be back in our regular pew with friends and brethren as we worshipped God in spirit and truth. Following a tasty meal at a part-time country café perched on a muddy rise adjacent to the main highway, we returned home. Bonnie continues to find herself necessarily making daily accommodations regarding her health, and how she feels varies by the hour.

This week, we will publish Gospel Gazette Online to the Internet. On Wednesday, we will have an important meeting with Bonnie’s oncologist.

Our rose bushes at our Winona home are the prettiest this year that they have ever been (i.e., white blooms, red petals and Joseph’s Coat of Many Colors). The fragrance upon stepping out either front or backdoor is not subtle at all – it grabs one right away. In a similar way, your well wishes and prayers especially on Bonnie’s behalf are an even sweeter aroma to us. Thank you.

Change of Plans

April 26, 2015

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. (James 4:13-16 NKJV; cf. Proverbs 27:1)

It is not wrong to make plans. It is, however, sinful to make plans without consideration of God. In any case, human plans are subject to change, especially when circumstances overpower one’s proposed activity.

96 dpi 8x10 JimKayLarryDonnaVisitBonnie and I had planned to attend the India Missions Conference in Florence, Alabama on April 21-23. However, two things led us to change our plans. Bonnie’s health put in doubt whether it was convenient for us to participate in the missions program. In addition, we got the happy news that Bonnie’s two brothers and their wives were visiting us from western Pennsylvania that week. James Reed and his wife Kay as well as Larry Reed and his wife Donna arrived in Winona, Mississippi Tuesday before lunch. Interestingly, the two Reed brothers married two sisters. See the six of us in the photograph. Not pictured, Bonnie has one surviving sister, Dianna, also.

We enjoyed one another’s company over the next few days before they returned home. In the course of those days, Bonnie’s brothers helped me replace a rotted fencepost, install a handrail going out our back door to the screened sitting area and replace rotted landscape timbers in a raised flowerbed.

Unfortunately, Bonnie was feeling poorly while her family visited. She drifted off to sleep in her half of our reclining loveseat or resorted to bed from time to time. Bonnie was unable to eat very much, experienced nausea and had some pain. Thursday evening Bonnie had a fever of 102.8, which fluctuated little for nearly the next 24 hours.

Friday morning, Bonnie’s brothers embarked for Pennsylvania – 15 hours of driving time besides stops. About three hours after they left, Bonnie and I headed south to Jackson, Mississippi for her to receive another paracentesis – draining of fluid from her abdomen. This time, only 1.5 liters was drained, though it provided some much appreciated relief.

Afterward, we proceeded to oncology where blood, etc. were obtained for analysis. Bonnie’s oncologist admitted her to the hospital for treatment. Her white and red blood counts were both near zero; she was so weak that a wheelchair had been her means of conveyance from admission for the radiological appointment for paracentesis to oncology and later to her hospital room.

Saturday our daughter Rebecca arrived at the hospital. She had driven to our home from Collierville, Tennessee on Friday night before completing the journey to Jackson, Mississippi; she brought with her clothes for me, our laptop computers and miscellaneous personal items and office work. That afternoon, I digitally repaired four pages of the upcoming issue of The Voice of Truth International. The physical proofs provided by the printing company revealed some things that needed attention before printing was to proceed. These repairs were made from Bonnie’s hospital room and sent through the Wi-Fi to the printing company in Taylors, South Carolina.

As of Sunday afternoon, Bonnie has received three units of blood, six IV sessions of antibiotics and several injections to boost her blood counts. We are unsure when she will be released, though it is clear that Bonnie is making improvements.

Bonnie desperately wants to be discharged from the hospital in time for us to attend the annual May Maywood Missionary Retreat in Hamilton, Alabama later this week. She has taken care of most of the duties associated with preregistration of attendees. Bonnie plans on specifying which cabins need to be cleaned on Tuesday as well as registering and assigning cabins to those coming on Thursday for the program. A big delight for those of the core group of the World Evangelism Team who come early to clean is the annual supper together at a Hamilton restaurant before attending Bible class with the Hamilton Church of Christ.

Bonnie very much wants to enjoy the fellowship of kindred spirits – other missionaries – our friends and co-laborers, and I will do what I can so that she is not disappointed. Bonnie’s ongoing saga in her valiant fight against pancreatic cancer needs a little uplifting that this association together can help in a small way. Yet, as always, we must be flexible, saying within ourselves what our Lord Jesus said in prayer to our Heavenly Father, “Thy will be done” (Matthew 26:42).

New Chemo Regimen Begins

April 19, 2015

96 dpi 8x10 in bloom1

96 dpi 8x10 in bloom2

96 dpi 8x10 in bloom3Bonnie asked for a picture to be taken of our blooming azalea bushes in front of our home, which I was glad to do. I also included the hanging, flowering baskets and the birdfeeders. All of the birds, though, were camera shy. The Rushmore bird café offers sunflower seeds and humming bird nectar. Aside from the hummingbirds, a gallery of birds visit our avian diner, including beautiful, brilliant red cardinals, some gold finches, other finches, wrens and an unidentified bird – plus an ingenuous woodpecker. Too large for even the larger of the two birdfeeders, it hangs upside down and cranes its neck up to feed on the sunflower seeds.

Wednesday, April 15 is doubtless an infamous day to many Americans – the deadline for filing annual federal income taxes. For Bonnie, though, it was also the day on which her new regimen of chemotherapy began. We left Winona, MS for Jackson, MS around 9 a.m. to make the hour and a half journey to Jackson Oncology at Baptist Health Systems (hospital). The infusion of chemo drugs and other medicines took about five hours. Upon completion of that, an additional chemo drug was introduced in conjunction with an accompanying pump in a satchel for Bonnie to wear or hang on the bedpost at night for the next three days at home. Happily, none of the side effects about which we were warned occurred during the session on Wednesday. Weary and tired, Bonnie and I returned to Winona.

Thursday we worked at the office for a few hours, and I packed the van for a display at the mission Sunday to be hosted by the Siwell Road Church of Christ on the south side of Jackson, MS. About 10 p.m. Bonnie began to have severe back pain. All night long and through Friday afternoon and early evening, Bonnie had nausea, vomiting and excruciating pain. Neither of us slept well through all of that, and we were both exhausted during the day Friday.

After lunch, we drove to Jackson in torrential rains for Bonnie’s appointment to have the chemo pump removed. To address the nausea, a new, additional medication was prescribed, and Bonnie was advised to take the pain medicine more regularly and to take two pills at a time.

Friday and Saturday nights we lodged with one of the elders and his wife of our sponsoring congregation – the Siwell congregation. Saturday, I put up two banquet tables of display material for World Evangelism. That evening back at the home of our host and hostess, brother and sister Leggett, I was able to prepare computer files to be sent off to the printing company for the next issue of The Voice of Truth International.

Sunday, Bonnie and I worshipped with the Siwell church. A fellowship meal was sandwiched between morning worship and a 1 p.m. assembly. Four missionaries, including myself, had opportunity to update all present regarding our labors for the Lord. Afterward, Bonnie and I returned home to Winona. At the house and having Internet available once more, I sent the files for volume 84 of The Voice of Truth International to the printing company in South Carolina.

Later in the evening, Bonnie again began experiencing serious pain and nausea. Whenever she can sleep through it all, she seems to have some release from the intensity and discomfort of both. Bonnie is very tired, but she is a fighter, and as long as she can, she heartily applies herself to the work of Jesus Christ.

As I close, we are under a tornado watch. Presently, we have a nasty thunderstorm going through again. The lights are flickering. Pain, suffering, storms and such like are temporary speed bumps on the road to eternity. In the meantime, with help and encouragement of many brethren and friends, we press on.

Weekly our dining room fills with get well cards. Daily we received phone calls, visits, emails, texts and Facebook correspondence. The other evening, we received a phone call from a dear brother in India. Wednesday, we came to find out, a congregation in Guyana, South America was fasting and praying for Bonnie while she was undergoing five hours of treatment. In America, we have added an “e” to “fasting” and enjoy “feasting.” Elsewhere in the world, brethren still fast and pray. In Bonnie’s words, we are “humbled” by such encouragement by brethren toward us. Our church family worldwide buoys our spirits at a very difficult time in our lives. Thank you one and all.

Bad Days/Good Days

April 14, 2015
Part optical illusion, the computer dwarfs Bonnie these days.

Her computer seems to dwarf Bonnie these days.

The week beginning April 5th was not a good week for Bonnie. She was nauseated daily and in general discomfort. However, Friday, we returned to Jackson, MS for her to undergo yet another paracentesis – drainage of fluid from her abdomen. Consequently, she enjoyed mostly good days the balance of Friday through Monday. Her bad days have little good about them, but her good days characteristically have some bad aspects to them, too (i.e., lesser amounts of nausea and pain).

Though we have missed more midweek Bible classes and Sunday evening worships than we have in a lifetime, so far Bonnie and I have not missed worshipping on Sunday because of her illness. Sunday morning we attended Bible class and worshipped with the Old Union Church of Christ in the Carroll County woods. That evening, we attended the West President Church of Christ in Greenwood, MS (Leflore County). Brother David Lipe was speaking in a Gospel meeting there.

Monday, Bonnie felt well enough for us to go to the office at the World Evangelism Building. Brother and sister Wayne and Janet Barrier drove down from outside of Florence, AL especially to visit Bonnie. They are coworkers with us and others in World Evangelism; they just returned from several weeks in Asian countries. They, sister Betty Choate, sister Barbara Oliver and we lunched together at the local Chinese restaurant. Immediately thereafter upon returning to the office, we were joined by brother Therman and sister Sadie Hodge from outside of Meridian, MS. They, too, made a special visit to bring comfort and cheer to Bonnie. Following some hours of pleasant interaction, we all went our separate ways; Bonnie returned home to rest.

Tuesday, we got a late start because of typical symptoms, but we did go to the office for a few hours. Actually, our office in practice is wherever we happen to be, including at the house.

Over the past few days, Bonnie and I concluded the layout of the volume 84 edition of The Voice of Truth International. We passed it on to Betty Choate who will proof it as well. Then, she will return it to me for finalization and to send it to the printing company. I have also begun working on the May edition of Gospel Gazette Online. Bonnie printed labels at the office for future mailings of correspondence by sister Choate to hundreds of brethren regarding her aspect of World Evangelism. A few other office duties, and then we returned to the house to eat a small, late lunch and for Bonnie to rest. If Bonnie feels well enough, we will attend the Gospel meeting again tonight.

So far, Bonnie has lost 56 pounds! Looking ahead, she begins a new regimen of chemotherapy on Wednesday, which will be an all day and into the evening affair. Friday, we are to return to Jackson, MS for the removal of a chemo pump. Sunday, Bonnie will receive an injection to boost her blood counts. In addition, on Sunday we are to be in attendance at the Siwell Road Church of Christ for its emphasis on missions; the congregation is our sponsoring church. If Bonnie is unable to attend, I will go without her (Rebecca will stay with Bonnie). However, we will remain in Jackson from Friday through Sunday afternoon if Bonnie is healthy enough to do so.

For those who follow us online or through our newsletters, thank you for your continued interest – and prayers. It is always our aim to do the best we can in the service of our Lord as long as we live, and many of you make that possible.

Sad Irony

April 4, 2015
Bonnie at her World Evangelism office

Bonnie at her World Evangelism office

Wednesday, April 1 through Saturday Bonnie has felt good health wise. Thursday, she had a ¾ day at the office in the World Evangelism Building. Our offices are on the second floor over a warehouse, and Bonnie voluntarily used the chairlift for the first time to the second floor. However, she insisted that she can still walk down the stairs.

Friday was the big day for us. Rebecca who was not teaching school, Bonnie and I made our way to Jackson, MS once again. At 11:00 a.m., Bonnie had another CT scan, which was to determine how to proceed in the future regarding treatment of her pancreatic cancer. Her oncology appointment was scheduled for 12:30 p.m., whereupon she was to meet with her oncologist to be followed by chemotherapy. Between the first two appointments, we squeezed in a quick lunch of a baked potato apiece from the hospital cafeteria.

Dr. Young informed the three of us that the CT scan was not good. It revealed that the tumor has increased in size, cancer cells are floating in her abdomen and cancer has spread to her liver. Consequently, the current chemotherapy was suspended. Bonnie was given the choices of no further treatment and to receive what the doctor called “comfort services” at home, or on the other hand, Bonnie could begin a rigorous different chemotherapy regimen. We opted for the latter.

On Wednesday, April 15, Bonnie will begin receiving a combination of two chemo drugs and probably nausea medicine and a steroid intravenously over the space of five hours. At the conclusion of that session, she will have a pump affixed to her, which will supply two additional chemo drugs over the next two days. On Friday, we will return to Jackson to have the pump removed. Sunday, she will receive an injection to boost her blood cells. Treatment will be every three weeks, and the strength of the medicines will be increased as long as Bonnie can handle the increases in dosages. Between treatments, Bonnie will continue to receive a paracentesis whenever needed.

In addition, Bonnie has a small blood clot in an artery near her heart. Therefore, an additional medicine—a blood thinner, has been prescribed. After the initial shock of the results of the CT scan, Bonnie and I are doing well, moving forward in treating her health and working for the Lord as much as we can.

Today, Bonnie has been very active compared to much of the time previously for months. She cooked us a fine breakfast, worked on the computer (office work) for many hours from a recliner, sat in a camp chair in the yard and trimmed dead leaves from flowers Rebecca and I were transplanting into a new flowerbed for Bonnie, and we three ate grilled hotdogs with trimmings on the screened porch. This has been another good day for Bonnie amidst many days over the prior months. That’s a sad irony, don’t you think?

One of our recent visitors

One of our recent visitors

Besides building an 18 foot long flowerbed in the front yard, Rebecca and I also rearranged Bonnie and my living room furniture. Now, we can more easily see and appreciate from our loveseat recliners through the picture window the blooming, hanging flower baskets and birdfeeders. That is my kind of workstation! All the comforts of home, able to attend to domestic tasks, with my best friend in overstuffed recliners with our laptop computers blazing away.

We are thankful for our friends, family and Christian brethren who lift our spirits with cards, emails, calls and visits. Thank you.

A Good Week!

March 20, 2015
All women volunteers so we pressed some of the women into roles into which we normally put men. Here working in the warehouse is the preacher's wife at the West President church of Christ, Sheila Shiers.

All women volunteers so we pressed some of the women into roles into which we normally put men. Here working in the warehouse is the preacher’s wife at the West President church of Christ, Sheila Shiers.

The week beginning Sunday, March 15 was a good week from various perspectives. I am happy to report that Bonnie acclaimed this week the best week health wise that she has experienced in many weeks. That is not to say that health related challenges have not punctuated her daily life, but overall Bonnie has felt better than she has felt literally for months. In addition, it has also been a good week regarding the visitors who have come by the World Evangelism Building in Winona, MS to help us.

Sunday between Bible class and worship with the Old Union church of Christ, the preacher inquired of me regarding the possibility of forthcoming assistance to Bonnie and me with our mounting medical expenses. Likewise, before Wednesday evening Bible class with the West President church of Christ, an elder approached me regarding the same subject and the possibility of the congregation also helping us with our burdensome medical bills—mostly relative to Bonnie’s ongoing battle with pancreatic cancer, but this year also my emergency surgery for an inflamed and enlarged gallbladder. Though we have not been campaigning for medical funds, we appreciate the thoughtfulness of individual Christians and congregations of the Lord’s church who voluntarily have offered to help. Furthermore, the non-stop flow of get well cards, texts, emails, etc. uplift our spirits in a very trying time to our morale.

Tuesday, a sister in Christ representing the Old Union congregation came to the World Evangelism Building to help Bonnie and me to process for mailing our most recent Rushmore Newsletter. Sister Betty Choate helped, along with sister Barbara Oliver and a sister in Christ visiting from Tasmania. Besides our mailing, we finished preparing for shipment single issues of Volume 83 of The Voice of Truth International; that included double rubber-banding packets of 10 envelopes and placing them into mail sacks.

Thursday, sisters in Christ volunteering from the West President church of Christ met us at the office/warehouse to help with additional mailings. Many of the ladies processed sister Choate’s newsletter for mailing. A couple of other ladies helped me prepare about 75 packages (mostly cases of The Voice of Truth International) for shipment throughout the States and to American territories or military posts abroad; one of those sisters in Christ helping me is from Nigeria. We also packaged hundreds of Spanish books and Spanish editions of The Voice of Truth International magazine that eventually will make their way to Peru; I made arrangements to hand off this literature to a congregation in Tuscaloosa, AL in a few days on my way to a speaking appointment in Huntsville, AL.

Throughout the week we have fulfilled orders for English and Spanish language Christian literature, which we have packed and taken to the local post office. Thankfully, the day I took around 75 boxes, two of the ladies helped me load the van as well as unload it onto the post office’s back loading dock. Bonnie has worked on Volume 84 of The Voice of Truth International and I have worked on both the April issue of Gospel Gazette Online and a new book of mine on sermon outlines.

Friday was a medical treatment day an hour and a half away from our home in Jackson, MS. First, we had a 9:30 a.m. appointment for yet another paracentesis for Bonnie; another 3+ liters of fluid was drained from her abdomen. Following that, we shared a sandwich at a hospital eatery (it has several) before heading for her next appointment for chemotherapy. Between the distances we travel each way and the appointments, we certainly consume a whole day. We also use these outings to do some necessary shopping and, of course, the car wants fed, too. Since Bonnie’s appetite came back this week, too, and she was hungry, we shared a nice meal at Olive Garden on the way out of town.

Overall, Bonnie is trudging forward with its accompanying emotional ups and downs. She and I are both thrilled that she may be on the verge of feeling a little better more often. Bonnie still tires easily and continues to lose weight. On April 3, she will have another CT scan to compare with the previous CT scan, by which the oncologist will reevaluate future treatment. We continue to covet the prayers of our brothers and sisters in Christ around the globe. Thank you.