Archive for the ‘Hospital’ category

Another Week Whizzed By

March 15, 2015
Louis & Bonnie at Gospel meeting in Paramakatoi, Guyana 2014

Louis & Bonnie at Paramakatoi, Guyana in 2014

Sunday, March 8, after worship with the Old Union Church of Christ, a sister in Christ, a registered nurse, gave Bonnie her second injection of a medicine to boost her blood counts. This is necessary following each chemo treatment on Friday to enable Bonnie to have the next chemotherapy session. Bonnie is having chemo treatments every other week.

Our daughter Rebecca came down Friday for the week she was off for spring break from teaching school. She accompanied us to worship, kept us company and helped us at the house and the warehouse/office.

Tuesday, the three of us headed back to Jackson, MS for Bonnie to undergo another paracentesis. On this occasion, 3 liters of fluid were drained from Bonnie’s abdomen. Unfortunately, this did not make her feel significantly better, and most of the week has been rough for Bonnie.

Wednesday, the highlight of the day was waiting for a tractor-trailer to arrive so we could load a pallet of books on it. Eventually, those books will make their way to various locations in India. Finally, the truck arrived about 5:50 p.m. Rebecca and I loaded between 500 and 600 pounds of books onto a wooden pallet and wrapped it with plastic. The inclement weather throughout the day, the question of whether a truck was actually going to show up and whether the freightliner would have a lift gate precluded preparation of the shipment before the truck came. (We do not have a loading dock, and the entrance of the World Evangelism Building cannot easily permit movement of a pallet prepared ahead of time inside to the outside.)

Thursday morning, two sisters in Christ from the Old Union Church of Christ visited Bonnie to bring her cheer. That evening, a Christian couple from the West President Church of Christ came by with supper and ate with us.

Friday, Rebecca, Betty Choate, and Bonnie and I processed for mailing Paula and Jerry Bates’ newsletter. The Bates left a few days ago for about six weeks of mission trips in various Asian countries. The outgoing shipment that was loaded on a truck on Wednesday was arranged by Jerry, too, but he had to leave before a truck could come to Winona. I took the mailing to the local post office, along with boxes of The Voice of Truth International; sister Choate has been taking most of the recently mailed boxes of VOTI to the post office.

As she could, Bonnie worked on the next issue of The Voice of Truth International from time to time. She also prepared labels for mailing Betty Choate’s newsletter next week; our newsletter will also arrive next week and be mailed back out to nearly 1,000 Christians and churches of Christ. I have been working on layout for a book of sermons for use stateside and abroad. Some of our preaching brethren overseas have not had much training or experience; therefore, full sermon outlines that thoroughly treat a host of biblical subjects will be helpful for them. This effort is the outgrowth of over 40 years of preaching and has been requested. The volumes will be translated into other languages as needed to make them effective in foreign countries.

One of the nice things about having more to do than one can easily accomplish is that should one thing become tiresome, we can simply give it a rest and apply ourselves to something else that needs to be done. There is never a reason to be bored regarding either necessary domestic duties or serving our Lord Jesus Christ. We covet your prayers.

Flurry of Activity

March 7, 2015

Bonnie & Louis RushmoreThis week, Bonnie and I collectively worked on volumes 84 and 85 of The Voice of Truth International; volume 83 arrived in Winona, MS on Friday while Bonnie and I were away in Jackson, MS for her chemo appointment. Bonnie is doing the primary layout for VOTI 84 while sister Betty Choate is doing the layout for volume 85, which will be in color throughout. I also started work on the April issue of Gospel Gazette Online and readied two books for future publishing—one by brother Wayne Barrier and one of mine. The Barrier book is an outreach book, whereas mine is a class book and resource material; together, the books take one from becoming a Christian to providing a solid foundation in the Christian faith.

Along with the delivery of The Voice of Truth International #83 came also reprints of a couple of book titles. Brethren from the Huntsville Church of Christ outside of French Camp, MS helped Jerry and Paula Bates as well as Betty Choate (all fellow Winona team members) unload the tractor-trailer and reload it with boxes of books destined for delivery abroad. Aside from the stateside and foreign travel, we keep literature flowing to brethren and non-Christians in this country and to numerous overseas destinations. We have around 500 titles between books, tracts, booklets and magazines in our warehouse that we keep in print and share around the world.

I devoted several hours this week to formatting and submitting printing to a printing company for team member newsletters (Betty Choate, Jerry and Paula Bates as well as Bonnie and mine, too) and business cards. By the time the Bates’ newsletter arrives, they will be on a mission trip in India; so, Betty Choate and we will process for mailing all three newsletters. Of course, Bonnie and I worked together in writing our newsletter and reporting income and expenses.

Friday, Bonnie had full blood work, met with the oncologist and received her one-two-three-four punch of two chemo drugs, accompanied by two additional medicines. The doctor also prescribed three new, additional prescriptions for Bonnie and scheduled another paracentesis for Tuesday to drain fluid from her abdomen. April 3, Bonnie will have another CT scan, after which, the oncologist and we will regroup and plan what treatments we will pursue. CT scans will be compared, as well as cancer markers in various blood tests will be reviewed, too. Please pray that all indications will be favorable.

Bonnie has lost much of her hair and wears scarves to compensate, especially in the cold, winter weather. Most of her days are painful or punctuated with nausea, and she is very tired. Still, she applies herself to the fullest possible, mostly doing computer work from her side of the loveseat in our living room; we purchased a printer to use at the house to increase our productivity when Bonnie doesn’t feel good enough to leave the house.

Today (Saturday), I officiated for a funeral, which was conducted at the meetinghouse for the Old Union Church of Christ, back in the woods, reached by traversing gravel roads through the woodlands and kudzu in rural Carroll County, MS. Burial followed immediately in the church cemetery nearly abutting one corner of the little chapel nestled in a serene surrounding away from hustle and bustle or major thoroughfares. No place is more ideal to be the temporary repository for one’s spent body while awaiting the general resurrection at the return of Jesus Christ.

Looking ahead, tomorrow, Bonnie will receive an injection to boost her blood counts so that she can continue her chemotherapy without interruption. A sister in Christ who is a nurse will administer it following a.m. worship with the Old Union Church of Christ. As mentioned already, Tuesday we will travel once more to Jackson, MS for another paracentesis.  We will continue to work on VOTI 84, in conjunction with its Editor, Byron Nichols, in Springfield, MO, and it should be ready to send to the printing company within two weeks.

Cautiously, we are beginning to populate our upcoming calendar some. The last Sunday of March, I will be speaking at a congregation in Huntsville, AL, and I may speak at a second church that day, too, also in Huntsville. We have marked our calendars to participate in the next India Missions Conference in Florence, AL in April, as well as to be a part of Missions Day in April at the Siwell Road Church of Christ in Jackson, MS. We are looking ahead to the annual Maywood Missionary Retreat in May outside of Hamilton, AL. Furthermore, Bonnie’s oncologist has given me the go-ahead (and Bonnie has concurred) for me to go on a foreign mission trip of one or two week duration sometime in the future—as long as I make sure that someone (likely our daughter Rebecca) is available to be with Bonnie while I am gone.

In the meantime, we have sent thousands of dollars in the hands of fellow missionaries or by registered mail to ongoing mission works in which we participate in various parts of India. Money ultimately provided by Christian families and churches of Christ will provide tracts, Hindi language Bibles and Hindi language TV programing in New Delhi, India. Thank you for making it possible for Bonnie and me to serve our Lord on your behalf in these ways.

The many cards, the emails and the visits are a great source of encouragement to both Bonnie and me, particularly as we continue to fight her pancreatic cancer. Imagine our surprise that one church of Christ overseas is fasting and praying for Bonnie’s improved health. (We are also thrilled at the several pieces of correspondence praising our work stateside and abroad in various media and literature that brethren say is making a real difference in their lives; all we desire is the opportunity to glorify God and edify precious souls as we serve the best we can to the fullest we can.)

The picture of Bonnie and me on this page is our most recent and best. It is one of the better photos of us lately.

Diagnoses and Treatment Changes

January 23, 2015
New Delhi 2008

New Delhi 2008

Early Friday, January 23, 2015, Bonnie and I, with our son Raymond driving us, headed for Jackson, MS so Bonnie could receive treatment for pancreatic cancer. Since Sonic wasn’t open yet, we diverted to McDonalds for a quick breakfast en route to a series of three appointments at Baptist Health Systems.

Following our 90-mile drive down I-55 from Winona, MS, we three arrived at the cancer center about 8:34 a.m. – only about four minutes late. However, Bonnie and I didn’t get in to see the doctor until about 45 minutes later. Her oncology radiologist explained the significance of a recent CT scan following 28 doses of radiation. In addition, he clarified the findings from analysis of the 4.6 liters of fluid drained from Bonnie’s abdomen a week ago.

The tumor on Bonnie’s pancreas did not shrink so far from radiation, but neither did it grown any bigger. The fluid that was drained developed as the body’s defensive mechanism to fight off cancer cells that broke off of the tumor and that are moving about in the abdomen. Some swelling has reoccurred since last Friday, with attendance discomfort and pain, but there was insufficient fluid build up to drain any more at this time.

The second appointment was scheduled for 9:30 a.m., though we did not see the nurse practitioner until about 10:45 a.m. The oncologist, although not scheduled to see Bonnie today, also participated in the session. New pain medication will be tried to help find elusive, consistent relief from pain. Chemotherapy was adjusted to combine a second cancer drug in the treatment, and because of the expected toll on blood counts, for now, treatment will be once week every other week.

Since there was no room in the inn, so to speak, Bonnie could not receive chemotherapy today in the oncology department, but had to go instead to the hospital’s outpatient infusion department. Only one family member could accompany Bonnie for treatment, so I had Raymond go with his mother, and I waited elsewhere. The appointment was for 11:00 a.m., but treatment didn’t begin until around 1 p.m.; treatment ended about 3 p.m.

Bonnie has lost considerable weight over the past months, though some of that is masked often because of bloating for various reasons. She lost 16 pounds this past week, in part due to the removal of the fluid buildup.

Following chemo, Bonnie was tired, but eventually the steroid that accompanies her chemotherapy buoyed her. Saturday or Sunday she will crash physically. Tonight, however, she probably will be too wired to sleep. Bonnie advises me that she will use this as her special prayer time.

Raymond treated us to a nice meal at Cracker Barrel before our return trip to Winona. During the time today for treatment, I was able to make proofing corrections on sections from two upcoming editions of The Voice of Truth International; before going home, we stopped by the home and office of Betty Choate and passed the proofed pages to her.

On the way home, Bonnie traded texts and phone calls with dear brethren and friends to update them about her health and treatment. In addition, Bonnie found the courage to comfort one of those dear friends regarding the crisis with pancreatic cancer that her husband and she are experiencing a few states away from us. God sent Bonnie to Martha and Bob via cell phone to be His comforter for them (2 Corinthians 1:3-4), and that was only possible because of the practical experience Bonnie has known with her pancreatic cancer.

We lean on each other to limp through this low world toward the glory land reserved for us. All of God’s children lean on each other and upon God Himself. Thank you for allowing us to lean on you, Reader, Friend, Christian as well.

Paracentesis

January 22, 2015
Bonnie & Louis Rushmore

Bonnie & Louis Rushmore

This blog entry was written by Bonnie Rushmore at my (Louis Rushmore) request. The following is Bonnie’s firsthand account of one recent day in her life.

Friday, January 16th I was scheduled for a CT-Scan in the morning and chemotherapy in the afternoon in Jackson, MS. I was in a quandary what to do. I needed to keep these appointments if possible, but Louis returned home Thursday afternoon from emergency gallbladder surgery, and I was hesitant to leave him all day by himself back in Winona. Finally, we decided that we accept Paula Bates’ offer to take me to Jackson (I cannot drive that far), and Betty Choate would check on Louis throughout the day. Rebecca was to arrive around 5:00 p.m. Louis, being independent, he refused any offers of help from Betty for meals and any assistance. I am sure he overdid things since no one was there to try to stop him.

Paula picked me up around 9:15 a.m., and we were on our way. The CT-Scan appointment was uneventful, and we went to the cafeteria for lunch before my scheduled appointment with the oncologist and chemo. While waiting for this appointment, Louis sent me a message that our son, Raymond, was flying into Memphis at 12:30 p.m., and so Rebecca would wait to come to Winona after she picked him up at the airport.

The oncology office was running behind schedule. I did not see the doctor until 3:00 p.m. The CT-Scan showed a large fluid sac in the abdominal cavity, which explained the excessive bloating, pain and swollen abdomen. It was decided that I should skip chemo and immediately go to radiology to have a paracentesis to drain the fluid. This procedure could take 3-6 hours. Again, what to do? Louis is sitting home by himself, and Rebecca will not get in until the wee hours of Saturday morning. I called Louis, and he assured me that he was fine and to have the procedure. So, radiology was called to perform the procedure; however, they would not be able to stay late enough to drain all the fluid. They suggested I go to the ER, and the radiologist would stay long enough to insert the drain tube, and the ER nurse would monitor the drainage. A nurse from oncology wheeled me down to the hospital ER. Finally, around 8:00 p.m., after draining 4.6 liters of fluid from my abdomen, I was discharged, and we headed home.

The CT-Scan shows no significant changes from the scan in September that discovered the tumor and recurrence of pancreatic cancer. I will continue on chemotherapy for at least another three months, and I will have another CT-Scan to look for changes.

Thank you for all the cards, phone calls, text messages and most importantly prayers as we travel along life’s bumpy highway. As one good brother in Burma said, “Why should humble and hardworking people get sick? Oh! We are still in the world.” As long as we are on earth we will face trials and tribulations. They can make us stronger, more dependent on our heavenly Father or they can pull us away from God. The choice is ours!

As Though It Were Scheduled!

January 15, 2015

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Thursday, January 8, 2015 I published Gospel Gazette Online to the Internet. This issue kicked off our 17th year of continuous publication. The Gazette is published monthly and has been since 1999. Meanwhile, Bonnie and I, along with others, continue to prepare the next quarterly issue of The Voice of Truth International for publication. It is printed primarily in English but also in numerous foreign languages and Braille; VOTI also serves as a feeder magazine for various publications, especially in India.

Saturday, January 10, a group of members from the Collierville, TN Church of Christ drove the two and a half hours to work in our combination warehouse and office. Together, we accomplished a number of things that day (e.g., replace 8’ fluorescent light bulbs or ballasts where necessary, restocked shelves from which we draw books daily to fulfill stateside requests for literature, prepared two separate mailings of The Voice of Truth International, packaged priority mail boxes for overseas shipment, packaged boxes of books for preachers overseas, loaded about 1,200 pounds of literature in our car ultimately bound for Guyana, South America and packed promotional bags to give away at an upcoming lectureship program). With this kind of help, we accomplished more than the Winona Five could have found time to do over a period of months. We are thankful for such interest and help behind the scenes in missionary work.

Later that afternoon, Bonnie, Rebecca and I drove to our daughter’s home in Collierville. That put us in position for me speaking the next day for the East Frayser Church of Christ, in northeast Memphis. Sunday morning during worship, I preached, “Understanding How God Communicates with Mankind, Today.” Bonnie and I were treated to lunch by an elder and his wife. Later in the day, I made my PowerPoint presentation about our 2014 Guyana Mission Trip. We were well received and encouraged.

Monday was a long day. Bonnie and I carted the 1,200 pounds of The Voice of Truth International, books and tracts to Nashville, TN to leave with a shipper for Guyana. We packed 1,820 loose copies of VOTI in 75 gallon fiber shipping barrels; they and the thousands of tracts and hundreds of books also packaged in shipping barrels will be distributed through the churches of Christ in Guyana, South America. We packed three barrels before returning to Collierville.

Tuesday, Bonnie and I scurried down I-55 back to Winona in time to convene with other associates a meeting of World Evangelism team members. Of course, we ate first (leftovers from feeding our workers on Saturday).

For the past few days I had been experiencing pain after eating a meal, but beginning Tuesday afternoon, the pain became relentless and excruciating. Around 9:30 p.m., I had Bonnie drive me to the local hospital emergency room. A few tests and hours later, I was loaded on to an ambulance and transported to Baptist Health Systems in Jackson, MS. The suspected culprit for my pain was a bad gallbladder. Two morphine shots while being treated in Winona did not lessen the pain any at all. Administering fentanyl in the ambulance along the way finally took the edge off the pain, a good thing in view of the bumpy ride especially on city streets in Jackson. While in the ER in Jackson, pain was eradicated when I was injected with still another pain medication, dilaudid.

96 dpi 8x10 Louis & BonnieThere was no room in the hospital, which initially led to doubts if I could be admitted to any hospital in Jackson, as they were all full up. Consequently, I remained in the ER until there was an opening for surgery. In the meantime, a sonogram confirmed the findings of blood and urine tests and a CT scan – enlarged and enflamed gallbladder. Surgery occurred around 10 a.m. on Wednesday, and after quite a while in recovery, I was wheeled into a room. Ordinarily outpatient surgery, my surgeon kept me overnight in the hospital due to the intensity of the attack and that we live 90 miles away from the hospital.

Brothers Gary Hampton and Derrick Broome caught up with me immediately before surgery, and we had a prayer together. Sister Bonnie Schmitz brought Bonnie down to be with me; my Bonnie cannot drive that far due to her medical conditions. Bonnie stayed with me in the room and overall was sicker than I was.

Thursday morning my doctor discharged me around 7:30 a.m., but we could not leave the hospital until around 11 a.m. as we waited for paperwork and personnel to direct their attention to my discharge. Bonnie was feeling poorly, and so we rode twin wheelchairs to the curb. Brother Adam Fowler retrieved us and drove us back to hour home in Winona, since neither Bonnie nor I can drive right now that distance. He and his wife Melanie visited us in my hospital room the evening before.

After our arrival in Winona, I got brother Adam to load four cases of printing that arrived in our carport today into his car and unload them down the road at our warehouse/office. I can’t lift anything right now, so say my four small incisions. Next, we called sister Betty Choate to get a pain medicine prescription filled for me, again since neither Bonnie nor I can drive momentarily.

Today, sister Paula Bates took her husband Jerry to an airport for an overseas mission trip. Tomorrow on Friday, Paula will take Bonnie back to Baptist Health Systems for a CT scan and chemotherapy; the radiologist, oncologist and we are interested to see whether 28 doses of radiation shrunk the tumor on Bonnie’s pancreas. While Bonnie and Paula are in Jackson, I will remain in Winona with little activity, hoping not to hurt and to heal; sister Choate will be on call to care for me in the absence of Bonnie.

Friday, I will resume my medications and be able to shower. Bonnie and I look like pitiful bookends! By next week I should be much more active, though my lifting restrictions may extend for a while beyond that. Thank you for your interest and prayers. We continue to glean encouragement from friends and brethren through their phone calls and texts. It almost looks like we scheduled the gallbladder attack along with the other scheduled events over the last few days.

2014 Summary

January 6, 2015

Rebecca, Bonnie & Louis RushmorePeriodically, we published a blog, which was visited 6,300 times over the course of 2014. In the blog, we chronicled stateside visits to churches of Christ where either Bonnie or I or both of us presented biblical lessons or apprised brethren about our mission work. Whereas Bonnie spoke to ladies’ classes, I spoke to elders, preachers’ meetings, Bible classes and worship assemblies. Bonnie and I were able to travel together on a 4-week mission trip to Guyana, South America, and we posted information and pictures regularly about the progress of that effort. It was unsurpassed in personal gratification and we think in usefulness for the cause of Christ among the various endeavors in which we invest ourselves. A special program for the India Missions Conference, of which we were cohosts, had its representation on our blog, too. Readers could vicariously travel with Bonnie, our daughter Rebecca and me as we visited my uncle Mount (Rushmore) in South Dakota in 2014; I’m just a chip off the old block. Work groups that visited the World Evangelism Building in Winona, Mississippi were duly noted in the blog as well. In addition, we kept visitors to the blog up to date regarding Bonnie’s medical battle against the resurgence of pancreatic cancer. Blog readers found us through following our blog or followed links from either our Internet magazine Gospel Gazette Online or from our Facebook pages. Our blog readers reside in 80 countries spanning the globe with the largest percentage of readers living in the USA, India and Guyana.

Bonnie and I participated with other core World Evangelism team members in publishing four issues of The Voice of Truth International, which is distributed in dozens of countries in numerous languages; 40,000 or more of the 116-page magazine are published quarterly. Furthermore, dozens of new tracts and several new books were published and made available stateside and abroad. Thousands of pounds of Christian literature and books were shipped overseas at no charge to the recipients. In December, Gospel Gazette Online completed 16 years of uninterrupted publication on the Internet. Thousands of articles remain archived and digitally available to anyone worldwide who has Internet connection. Work is underway for the continuation of Gospel Gazette Online in the new year.

In 2014, the Rushmore Evangelism Fund assumed the responsibility of seeing to the funding and payment for a Hindi language TV program broadcast from New Delhi, India. We have made provisions to provide financially for its continuance for a dozen years or more. This could only be made possible by the generous donations of Christian brethren here in the States.

Typically, Bonnie and I travel up to 3,000 miles monthly stateside by car as we teach or update brethren about our mission work. In addition, we usually spend three months overseas annually working in the countries of India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Singapore and Guyana. Both stateside and travel abroad were impacted in 2014 by Bonnie’s medical condition as she continues to experience difficulties from prior surgeries and now that her cancer returned. Two days before we were to board airliners for a 9-week mission trip to four Asian countries, we got the bad news that Bonnie needed immediate medical treatment for a suspected rebounding of pancreatic cancer, which proved to be the case. Bonnie continues to undergo a battery of treatments, and every day is a challenge for both of us, with Bonnie, of course, bearing the brunt of it all.

Summarized, 2014 was a good year in which we feel that we made a difference for the cause of Christ. Daily, adapting as necessary, we continue to make a difference in the service of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Voice of Truth International and Gospel Gazette Online continue unabated, of course, in partnership chiefly with sister Betty Choate, Jerry and Paula Bates, and Byron and Gay Nichols. Typically, we still go to the office/warehouse weekdays to help with shipping and a myriad of other behind the scenes that make the ministry in which we are involved successful.

We are thankful to the sea of Christians who make it possible for us to do what we do for the cause of Christ in the USA and across the world. Thank you for your prayers.

Rounding Out 2014

December 30, 2014

96 dpi 8x10 Bonnie RebeccaSunday, December 21, we worshipped with the Old Union Church of Christ in the morning as we like to do when we are in town and not on the road. Our car’s GPS even assumes that is where we are going Sunday mornings without me even consulting it. Sunday evening, we worshipped with the West President Church of Christ of Christ, which we are prone to do when not traveling stateside or abroad.

Christmas was quiet and relaxed at our home in Winona. Our daughter Rebecca has been with us for the break from school – she is a teacher. It has been and is a real pleasure as well as a great assist to Bonnie and me to have her with us. December 25 also happens to be Bonnie’s birthday. We don’t exchange gifts anymore, but we count each other as the best possible gift of all. Frankly, I was at a loss what to buy for her after she advised me that she doesn’t want any more jewelry; we get whatever we need throughout the year, and really, we don’t need or desire anything much. After all, the walls are plastered with hanging things, and the floor space is exhausted. Though not divulging her age, Bonnie will still be three years younger than me when I turn 61-years-old on January 3, 2015.

Friday was the occasion of another chemotherapy in Jackson, MS. Sunday all day, Bonnie and I with Rebecca in tow were with the Indianola, MS Church of Christ. Brother Gene Hill who preaches regularly for the congregation was away, and I was filling in for him.

Saturday night, I found a PowerPoint lesson on which I had worked previously and amended it for use in the Sunday morning Bible class. I must have been cross-eyed when I was working on it as I carelessly and unintentionally merged two lines in a chart contrasting the Old Testament with the New Testament.

For morning worship, I preached From Creation Until Now, starting with the created universe that evidences a Creator/Designer and moving to His written, revealed will in the Bible – comprised of Patriarchy, Judaism and Christianity. That evening, I preached about Rearing Children, to a smaller crowd of mostly elderly folks! Grandparents, aunts and uncles likewise have the potential of favorably influencing the childrearing of grandchildren, nieces, nephews, neighbors, etc.

Once more, Bonnie and I, this time Rebecca, too, were guests of James and Deanie Bradshaw. They had a house full of family and Christian brethren. Two couples who formerly lived and worshipped in Indianola were back visiting. There were 10 of us.

After evening worship and in the cold rainy night, we started our 1-hour trek along US 82 back to our Winona home. First, though, we stopped to fuel the car and ourselves at the new Love’s gas station/restaurant. When I walked into Hardee’s to find my wife and daughter after I gassed the car, a truck driver seated there intercepted me with a hearty welcome and asked how services were. At first I didn’t know to what he was referring, but he pegged me for a preacher I suppose because I was wearing a suit and long-sleeved, white dress shirt (minus the tie that I had already jettisoned). So, I gave him a million dollar bill tract with the plan of salvation on the back of it and proceed to head for the men’s room after locating my family. Bonnie said that I caused a little disturbance (she called it a riot) over the million dollar bill; it has the plan of salvation on the back of it.

Monday and Tuesday, I worked on the January issue of Gospel Gazette Online while Bonnie worked on volume 83 of The Voice of Truth International. We also shipped just under 4,000 copies of The Voice of Truth International to Christians stateside and in some US territories. We expect to enjoy a quiet New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day at home, joined by Rebecca. Her last chore before heading home will be to help us dismantle our Christmas decorations and get them tucked away again in the attic; Bonnie cannot help me get the boxes into or out of the attic anymore. Friday, January 2 Bonnie will have chemotherapy again, and on Saturday I will have my birthday.

Bonnie has good days and bad days; she still manages to put in half days at the office. We think that she is having better days than what she has experienced most of the time over the last few months. That being the case, I need to put plans in high gear for my planned 5-week mission trip to Guyana, South America. January 16, 2015, Bonnie will have a CT scan to help the oncologist determine our next steps in combating Bonnie’s pancreatic cancer. I have misgivings about planning anything presently and hardly no which way to go. Thank you for your interest, well-wishing and prayers, which come to us daily in snail-mail and email boxes, as well as by texts and phone calls. 

New Beginnings

December 20, 2014
Bonnie with boy in his home (Mandalay, Burma 2012)

Bonnie (Mandalay, Burma 2012)

Saturday, December 13, Bonnie and I were to leave from Collierville, TN for Cleveland, TN. First, though, I had the car serviced at the Chrysler dealership in Collierville, which turned out to be an unexpectedly lengthy endeavor taking 3½ hours; it may be high time to resort to quick oil changes along our routes of travel – the kind where one does not even have to get out of the car.

Leaving much later than I had hoped and having a 6-hour journey, we arrived at the home of sister Barbara and brother Robert Wright around 7 p.m. They waited supper for us, and they treated us to a fine meal at Outback. As always, they treated us royally as they hosted us in their home.

The next morning, we worshipped with the Central Church of Christ in Cleveland, TN. Bonnie as feeling well enough and taught a ladies’ class, while I made our mission trip PowerPoint presentation to the auditorium class. I presented a biblical lesson during worship. Afterward, an elder and a deacon, with their wives, and the Wrights treated us to lunch at O’Charley’s. After visiting some more with the Wrights in their home, Bonnie and I departed for our evening appointment with the Ooltewah, TN Church of Christ.

We were guests overnight with sister Cathy and brother Winston Stringfield; he is one of the elders. This family always invites us into their home and makes us part of the family. Again, I made my PowerPoint presentation about our 2014 foreign mission work. Monday, we meandered through Tennessee, a piece of Georgia and across Alabama back to Winona, MS; we arrived after dark.

Wednesday evening, we attended Bible class with the West President Church of Christ in Greenwood, MS. Bonnie was exhausted and in pain. She fared better on our weekend jaunt than she was faring since our return. Of course, each day, we spent part of our time at the office/warehouse, post office, banks, etc. Bonnie is putting in a third to half days before she resorts to the house for rest. Each evening her health weakens.

Friday, Bonnie resumed chemotherapy in Jackson, MS. Her blood counts have returned to near normal. The oncologist made some more adjustments to Bonnie’s medicines in hopes that some of the pain can be alleviated without side effects. In about four weeks, Bonnie will have another CT scan to reevaluate the cancerous tumor on her pancreas.

Resuming some of our stateside appointments during a slow time of the year is one of the new beginnings, and we will be able to evaluate how well Bonnie is going to be able to travel in the states by car. The second new beginning was the resumption of chemotherapy. Time will tell how long these treatments will continue, as presently no decision has been made.

Bonnie has been working on the next issue of The Voice of Truth International, and I have been working on my new book about fundamentals of the faith. Our daily efforts have been ongoing with whatever modifications have been necessary and are not part of new beginnings. A happy note, the insurance company with which we insured our mission trip tickets refunded the purchase price, which permitted us to recover the entire ticket costs and return the funds to the foreign travel account. Between the cancellation of the tickets and the insurance refund, we recovered nearly $10,000; only the visa expenses and, of course, the cost of the insurance was lost.

Thank you for your continued interest in us and our efforts for the cause of Christ. May God richly bless you and us, too.

One Step at a Time

December 12, 2014
Bonnie & Louis on a Jungle Path (Myanmar, 2012)

Bonnie & Louis on a Jungle Path (Myanmar, 2012)

“One Step at a Time” is an old timey hymn that so adequately describes the march on which we humans find ourselves as we come nearer to eternity with every passing moment. The first stanza reads, “One step at a time, dear Savior: I cannot take any more; The flesh is so weak and hopeless: I know not what is before.” These words describe our halting steps of late as Bonnie and I tackle her treatment to battle pancreatic cancer – again! The third stanza speaks, “One step at a time, dear Savior: O guard my faltering feet! Keep hold of my hand, dear Savior, Till I my journey complete.” Reminiscent of Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (NKJV), Bonnie and I trudge forward. The fourth stanza concludes, “One step at a time, dear Savior: Thou knowest all of my fear; One word from Thy heart, dear Savior, And Heaven’s mansions appear.”

On Thursday, December 11, Bonnie concluded 28 weekday, daily radiation treatments; the effects of the radiation may continue working as well as producing side effects for up to another six weeks. For parts of seven weeks, Bonnie and I were residents of Hope House of Hospitality in Jackson, Mississippi so that we did not have to experience the wearisome and costly trek 90 miles each way, back forth daily between Winona, MS and Jackson, MS for Bonnie’s radiation and chemo treatments. The days were characterized by pain, fatigue and nausea, punctuated with time spent on office type duties accomplished with the aid of our two laptop computers.

Chemotherapy commences once more on Friday of next week, December 19. The punishment inflicted on Bonnie’s body by simultaneous treatments of radiation and chemo resulted in fallen blood counts, which led to the temporary suspension of both types of treatment. After that, she continued to receive radiation, but chemo was suspended until after the completion of radiation. We are hoping that without radiation therapy and only receiving chemotherapy, Bonnie will begin to feel better. Some of the ongoing problems are related to her original cancer surgery, and doctors and she are still attempting to find a happy resolution through the balance of medicines, etc.

This week, we managed to accomplish several feats. Shortly after our arrival back in Winona on Thursday, our printed Rushmore Newsletter for November arrived at our doorstep. Thursday afternoon and evening plus Friday morning, we were able to process it for mailing and take it to the Post Office; we mailed 950 pieces. I was able to finalize preparation of several tracts for printing – to be printed in India for use primarily in the USA. Bonnie and our daughter Rebecca wrote the final two articles lacking for the publication of the December edition of Gospel Gazette Online, and I published it to the Internet this evening; in addition, I prepared and sent emails to over 1,600 subscribers to Gospel Gazette Online, who live across the planet. I also published to the Internet the November Rushmore Newsletter and sent emails to over 600 subscribers to it.

Bonnie and I also restocked our suitcases for a weekend trip, which means we first had to launder the clothes that we had been wearing during our final week at Hope House in Jackson, MS. We, likewise, stocked our car with literature and loaded the equipment with which we travel to acquaint congregations stateside with our mission work and teach or preach biblical lessons, too. We drove to Collierville, TN to have supper with our daughter and spend the night. Tomorrow, we will get the oil changed in the Town and Country before heading to Cleveland, TN.

Sunday morning, I will make a PowerPoint presentation about our mission trip in February to Guyana, South America to the auditorium class of the Central Church of Christ in Cleveland, TN. During morning worship, I will preach a biblical lesson. If Bonnie feels healthy enough, she will teach a ladies’ class that morning, too. Later, we will travel to the Ooltewah, TN Church of Christ whereupon I will make my PowerPoint presentation about our mission work once more. This will be our first and longest car trip to visit stateside congregations since Bonnie relapsed with pancreatic cancer. The holidays always interfere with making appointments this time of the year, but after this journey, we will reassess Bonnie’s ability to accompany me on these outings as we schedule more appointments in the near future.

Bonnie feels the best and does well especially when she sleeps. The many hours of driving tomorrow and the days to follow on this jaunt will afford her plenty of rest time as we travel. As long as I don’t join her in a little shut eye along the highways and byways, and as long as we stay out of everyone else’s way and they stay out of our way, Lord willing, it will all be okay. Thank you for your continued interest in us and your prayers as well, particularly regarding my dear wife Bonnie.

Countdown!

December 7, 2014
Bottom-Loading Water Dispenser

Bottom-Loading Water Dispenser

Monday, December 1, Bonnie and I drove to Jackson, MS once more for a week of radiation treatment. As in the previous weeks, we stayed at Hope House of Hospitality so we do not have to drive back and forth from Winona, MS daily. Bonnie has begun in earnest counting down the last days of the anticipated 28 days total of oncology radiation. The estimated size of the cancerous tumor on what’s left of her pancreas from previous surgery is about the size of a golf ball; radiation therapy is targeting an area the size of a softball.

Monday after treatment and our subsequent arrival at Hope House, Bonnie and I set up the water dispenser that I had ordered the week before on behalf of the Siwell Road Church of Christ in Jackson, MS. It is a bottom-loading unit so that neither the female staff nor patients need to hoist a jug of water atop the machine. This model has water at room temperature, cold water and hot water.

Oncology Radiation Christmas Tree

Oncology Radiation Christmas Tree

Tuesday was radiation per usual. For the evening meal, we met up with Melanie and Adam Fowler again, and this time they treated us at Piccadilly for a scrumptious meal. We took a good portion of Bonnie’s meal back to the room to share for another meal the next day, since she can eat very little food at a time.

Wednesday morning began well enough, as Bonnie typically feels the best she will feel all day upon waking in the morning. However, she soon became ill. Bonnie recovered marginally, and we attended evening Bible class with the Siwell Rd. congregation. The balance of the evening afterward was difficult for Bonnie.

Thursday following radiation, we returned to the room at Hope House. Bonnie worked for a while on an article for a future issue of Gospel Gazette Online, while I proofed, edited and formatted articles for the December issue of Gospel Gazette Online. Due to pain, Bonnie resorted to the bed once more, which is common practice, to rest. That afternoon, we donned dress clothes and headed for the Siwell building to have photographs made for the next pictorial church directory. Leaving there, we had a breakfast meal of pecan pancakes and bacon for supper at Cracker Barrel. Bonnie was experiencing pains that only increased and drove her to bed again upon our return to Hope House.

Friday in preparation for radiation and our return, we packed up the dirty clothes and suitcases, and we loaded the car. Bonnie scheduled the appointment a little earlier Friday so we could head back to Winona sooner. In Winona, we went to the World Evangelism Building office/warehouse after we unloaded the car at home. We prepared bank deposits, processed “Thank You” cards for support that came to the Rushmore Evangelism Fund the previous week and prepared a package for mailing. Subsequently, we made stops at two banks and the Post Office before retiring to the house once more. Bonnie’s pain and general discomfort continued to increase, contributing to not turning in for the night until nearly 2 a.m. Friday night was difficult for Bonnie.

Our Christmas Tree

Our Christmas Tree

Bonnie was very ill the first half of the day on Saturday. Plans to have Jerry and Paula Bates over for lunch – homemade or delivered pizza, depending upon how Bonnie felt – had to be cancelled altogether. Bonnie spent the afternoon in her pajamas in the recliner and felt better, only very tired; with her supervising, I spread some Christmas decorations around the living and dining rooms. Of course, Friday evening and Saturday are wash days for us of late so we can pack our suitcases again on Sunday or Monday morning before returning to Jackson, MS for treatment.

I left Bonnie for about three hours in the afternoon to help the Bates and Betty Choate load the Bates’ car and cargo trailer with literature that they will take to a Texas site for shipment to Tanzania. Afterward, sister Choate stopped by to visit with Bonnie. Still later, I continued to work on the next issue of Gospel Gazette Online.

Throughout the week, we worked on various office type duties on our respective laptop computers, blazing away in our home away from home these several weeks. Bonnie worked on financial matters and an article. I worked on Gospel Gazette Online and a PowerPoint presentation for Hope House. Besides setting up the water cooler, we also ordered a tabletop, buffet type food warmer for Hope House. Between the refrigerators, water cooler, original artwork, donation of bedding, food warmer that we have been able to see installed at Hope House (through the cooperation of various congregations) and the PowerPoint presentation I prepared, we and brethren who love us have exhibited appreciation to Hope House for its gracious hospitality in lodging Bonnie and me for about six weeks. That doesn’t begin to return compensation for what blessings we received, but it is a token anyway. We have been wonderfully blessed. Thank you.