Archive for the ‘Lessons by Martha’ category

Mabaruma Church of Christ

February 17, 2017

96-dpi-4x6-mabaruma-2Thursday, February 16, we conducted our World Evangelism Guyana Workshop on Mabaruma Hill with the Mabaruma Church of Christ. The program ran from about 9:30 a.m. through 2:30 p.m., and then, we returned to the church house for a special program with the youth from 4:30 p.m. through 6:30 p.m. Throughout the day and evening sessions, Nigel and I taught combined classes of men and women, while during split periods, brother Milo and I took turns teaching the men and Martha taught the ladies. Brethren from several area congregations were present. Friday, we will return by air to Ogle from where we began this segment of our foray into Guyana several days ago.

96-dpi-4x6-mabaruma-3A few workshop venues remain, but the most challenging trips are now concluded. Overnight trips are now complete. At least one more quest will be challenging when we cross to the far side of the Essequibo River, but that is still a day trip. May any good we have accomplished and whatever edification we may have provided for our Christian brethren be all to the glory of God.

Kaituma Mouth

February 17, 2017

Still in Region 1, Wednesday, February 15, Nigel Milo, Kishore Etwaroo, Martha Lynn and I parted from Port Kaituma aboard a small wooden speedboat on the Kaituma River. Just getting to dockside despite being in a Toyota car is a journey all itself, with all of the bouncing, dipping, side-to-side jerking about traversing what passes for roadways. One would think it impossible to drive in one side and out the other side of moon-crater sized, muddy water and sludge filled pits. That was a modest description of the “good roads”; only military-grade trucks with tires half a story high and suspension slung as high as men dare tackle the “other village streets.”

A few miles out of town, the boat operator had us transfer to another, faster wooden watercraft, which he had ready at his riverbank home and business. As we got under way, the speed was such that the wind made it impossible for many minutes to even open our eyes—until we were able to satisfactorily adjust ourselves to the blast of air that even wrapped around our eyeglasses and pummeled our eyes.

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Nearly two hours later and some 80 or so miles upriver, we were approaching our venue for the afternoon when the bottom fell out of the sky. Fortunately, we had encased our backpacks in big, black garbage bags at the outset to protect them and their contents from potential downpours. We, however, were drenched, even though we attempted to shield ourselves with our ponchos as the boat sped across the waterway.

Yet raining, we approached our midafternoon destination of Kaituma Mouth, a riverside settlement of 465 sprinkled in the rainforest there. Since the tide was out, which dramatically affects even rivers connected to the ocean, several feet of mud, also several feet deep, hindered us from reaching shore conveniently. Brother Kishore “went for a walk,” thigh high in mud to fetch a flat-bottomed skiff to transfer us from the river to the “wharf” via another open boat through which we walked. We walked across the boats to bridge the gap between the river and the shoreline.

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After a primitive break at the edge of the village, we were delighted to find an assembly of approximately 50 souls in the meetinghouse of the Kaituma Mouth Church of Christ. About 11% of the village population came together—a figure much better than usually one finds of church members in ratio to a local populace.

96-dpi-4x6-kaituma-mouth-4Nigel and I each taught a couple of lessons, and Martha taught two lessons. Brethren were thankful for our presence and requested that we return again next year and spend more hours with them, during which we could present even more teaching from God’s Word.

The fifth boat in which we were for the day carried us the remaining 14 miles to Mabaruma. Altogether, we traveled 90 miles or so between Port Kaituma and Mabaruma. We went up one big river and turned left at the next big river. Lacking a suitable infrastructure of highways in Guyana, travelers must resort to small aircraft and watercraft on the numerous waterways.

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Upon our arrival in Mabaruma, we bedded down in the Broome Hotel, where we would spend two nights. The following day, we would begin our next seminar with the Mabaruma Church of Christ. Martha and I both experienced firsts for us on this segment of our trek through the interior of Guyana. She achieved more firsts than did I, and Martha has shown herself to be more than capable and willing to go where we need to go and do what we have to do to serve our Lord in this segment of the vineyard. That “city girl” has gone “country”—or one might even say she’s my “jungle girl.”

Region 1

February 17, 2017

96-dpi-5x7-estate-12Monday, February 13 came early at 2:30 a.m. in Linden, Guyana, South America for Martha Lynn and me. We hadn’t been in bed probably more than two and a half hours. To say we were less than rested would be a huge understatement.

96-dpi-5x7-estate-13Ambling down the outside stairs from the Milo living quarters, brother Nigel and we, along with a backpack apiece, settled into his Toyota car for the hour and a half ride to the Ogle airport. However, as it turned out, we arrived about an hour ahead of time to check in, and so we slept in the car to a little past check-in time. Checked in, we deposited ourselves in the “departure lounge,” awaiting our flight in a Cessna Caravan to Port Kaituma. It was at that town’s airstrip and outside of the village that several years ago the Jonestown episode unfolded with the suicide-murder of several hundred misguided religionists.

96-dpi-5x7-estate-1All three of us snoozed on the 50-minute flight from Ogle to Port Kaituma as the aircraft first climbed into the sky over the Atlantic Ocean before traveling northward along the Guyanese coastline. Then, it turned inland and flew over jungles and forested hills.

96-dpi-5x7-estate-9Nothing I could say to forewarn Martha could prepare her for what we found upon our arrival. Upon departing from the “airport,” after we registered with the local officials, a local taxied us to our lodging through muddy, boggy craters that passed for the arteries through the community of Port Kaituma. There may be worse roads on planet earth somewhere, but I haven’t found them as yet—and I don’t want to experience such!

96-dpi-5x7-estate-8As it was last year when I came to Guyana alone, this year we took a room at a small and humble establishment dubbed “The Ranch.” The motto on the sign there says, “Stay & Play.” Certainly, the accommodations and amenities were adequate for our purposes, but don’t anyone be misled by the company motto to imagine that we bedded down in some lush resort. The electric to the community was off, and so there were neither lights to mitigate the darkness were we to shut the door (blacked out window) as we fumbled our way to the toilet nor fan to dull the warmth of the day or stir the air. When the electric did come on is when we found that of the three light sockets in the room, only one had a working bulb in it. We literally borrowed a light bulb from the home of our host Kishore Etwaroo, and we procured a second pillow and a second towel.

96-dpi-5x7-estate-3Late afternoon and early evening we three along with other brethren assembled at the Estate Church of Christ in Port Kaituma. Martha taught the ladies for two hours, and brother Nigel and I each taught the men an hour apiece. I was so tired that while brother Milo was speaking, I nearly fell off of my plank bench to crash into the seat ahead of me on my way to the rough, concrete floor.

96-dpi-5x7-estate-14Tuesday morning, after breakfast at the Etwaroo home (we enjoyed their hospitable meals the two days in Port Kaituma), we took a taxi to the port to board the “church bus”—a large boat, since the day’s destination is only accessible from the river. From 9:00 a.m. through 4:00 p.m., we three travelers taught classes in the meetinghouse and on the grounds of the Turu Mission Church of Christ. Several congregations were represented, each bringing boatloads of brothers and sisters in Christ from as far away as 22 miles. Attendance was in the neighborhood of 75. It was a full day of fellowship and edification via prayers, singing and biblical lessons. Brethren made a point of thanking us for it all, as well as for The Voice of Truth International and additional literature made available to all of the churches of Christ in Guyana from our World Evangelism base in Winona, Mississippi. Nearly 2,000 pounds of literature awaits my return to the States to haul to a shipping agent in Nashville, Tennessee.

96-dpi-5x7-estate-10Nigel, Martha and I have a sense of gratification for how these two days in Port Kaituma progressed. We made a concerted effort therein and thereby to glorify God and edify our fellow man. Praise God and may His name only be blessed. Brethren, please continue to pray for us in harness for our Lord Jesus Christ. Tomorrow, we travel by boats up two large rivers as we snake our way through the jungle to our next venue, pausing for a 2-hour seminar along the way. Wednesday night we expect to lodge in Mabaruma, Guyana.

Bath Settlement Church of Christ

February 11, 2017


96-dpi-4x6-bath-settlement-6Saturday, February 11, 2017
, the Bath Settlement Church of Christ hosted our next seminar in the late afternoon and the early evening. All five of the churches of Christ in that region participated and were represented at this workshop.

96-dpi-4x6-bath-settlement-2Martha Lynn Rushmore taught ladies’ classes for two hours while brother Nigel Milo and I taught men’s classes for an hour each. In addition, Nigel and I each spoke for an hour to the combined assembly of brothers and sisters. We all enjoyed singing hymns together, we prayed together and we were pleased with general fellowship and refreshments. The three of us presenters and the auditors, too, were all edified and encouraged.

96-dpi-4x6-bath-settlement-11Afterward, brother Milo chauffeured us back the three hours or so to Linden, his home and our base of operations for our annual seminars across all 10 regions of Guyana, South America. What a way—and I can imagine no better way—for Martha and me to spend our honeymoon!

Camping in Guyana

February 10, 2017

January 24—We arrived at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport near Georgetown, Guyana, South America about 10:30 p.m. Brother Nigel Milo met us and drove us to his home in Linden, which I call Milo’s Bed and Breakfast.

We were met at the door by sister Jasmine Milo, sporting her beautiful smile while welcoming Louis and me. She also had a late supper of eggs and toast. We enjoyed a couple of hours with lots of laughs as we were getting to know one another. They also have a ten-year-old son Zab; he is the sweetest young man. We are now claiming him, too, as one of our grandsons.

January 25—Now to the camping trips we have been taking. First, we flew to the Village of Paramakatoi, all seven of us—including the pilot. The small plane had holes for air in the windows, but they also let in water from the rain clouds through which we flew. What a new experience for me! Many of the villagers, cows, donkeys, horses and dogs (the scrawniest I have ever seen) came out to greet us. The people in this area are Amerindian.

The first place we saw was the local one-room “Wal-Mart,” post office and airport. One entrepreneur named Sam runs this business. He was very kind to us. We told him we had just gotten married, and he gave us a wedding gift of two pineapple fruit juices.

The Amerindians have very few amenities. We have more in the States when we go camping. At least when we go camping in the US, we have flushing toilets! Instead, we had outhouses. There certainly were no dishwashers either. We took our showers, pouring water on us from a bowl dipped from a bucket; then, we lathered up with soap and rinsed off in cold water—unless we heated it on the stove. Yes, we stayed in a nice corner room with windows on both sides; this was the AC. We also had a mesh mosquito net to use at night to keep from being bait for the insects, especially the mosquitos. They seem to love Louis and me. We must be very sweet! Louis is so glad to share me for their breakfast, lunch, supper and snacks. Isn’t he so nice?

The village guesthouse had toilets, but they did not work because the piping needed to be fixed. So, to the outhouse we went. This was not bad except at night. I did not like going out at night because I was somewhat worried about the slithering reptiles.

96-dpi-4x6-paramakatoi-2On our way to the church building, we had to walk in pouring down rain. We were soaked, even though wearing our rain ponchos—my yellow, Pittsburgh Steelers rain gear prompting Louis to say that I looked like a duck. We spent Wednesday night singing and listening to Louis and brother Nigel Milo who each gave one talk on Jesus Our Example.” The brethren were very welcoming to us. The singing was really beautiful, and we sang old songs with which I grew up. This brought back a lot of childhood memories.

96-dpi-4x6-paramakatoi-12January 26-27—On Thursday and Friday mornings, all three of us taught lessons. I had the ladies, and I really enjoyed them. I had some children, and I did a short Bible story for them to make them seem special and part of the class. I could not leave them out. With the children, I did the “Days of Creation,” and for the ladies, we did the Book of Ruth. The ladies sang the chorus of two songs for me in their native, tribal language. I pray our efforts at Paramakatoi were prosperous for the Lord.

After Friday’s session, we flew from Paramakatoi to Mahdia airport, and then we got on board another plane to fly back to Ogle. From Ogle, brother Nigel was our chauffeur back to Linden—to the Milo B & B. Louis says, “We fly low with Milo.”

January 29—On Sunday, we worshipped with the brethren of the Amelia Ward Church of Christ, where brother Milo is the preacher. Louis taught Bible class, and the preacher from the Coomacka congregation did the lesson. The brethren from this congregation came for worship. Louis spoke Sunday evening.

January 30—On Monday morning, Nigel, Louis and I, along with some of the ladies from church, went out to do some door knocking and Bible studies that were set up. We split up in threes. We worked until about 12:00.

That same evening, I had the pleasure of teaching the ladies’ class for the Amelia’s Ward congregation. We had a very good class, and I had a lot of participation. We also studied the Book of Ruth, and then I asked them some Bible trivia questions. I felt so rewarded.

I cannot believe that while teaching I did not realize how hot it was in the building. I was told by one of my coworkers that I would not realize how hot it was while teaching. She was right. I cannot believe how fast the nervous jitters went away as I started teaching. This has been a great lesson for me.

My prayer and my goal is always to glorify God. My second goal is to edify those around me.

Monkey Mountain Church of Christ

February 9, 2017

96-dpi-4x6-monkey-mountain-4Since my last blog entry, Martha Lynn and I have completed two more venues in our 6-week foray across all 10 regions of Guyana in our annual nationwide seminars. Of course, the director of the program and national of Guyana, the esteemed brother Nigel, was our co-speaker and brothers’ keeper—no one could take better care of us. On Saturday, February 4, the three of us headed out from Linden to the village of #77 Housing Scheme on the country’s southern coast abutting the Atlantic Ocean—about a 4-hour trip by car—literally, flying low with Milo!

96-dpi-4x6-77-housing-scheme-2Several congregations of the Lord’s church converged in the bright pink meeting house for an afternoon and evening program. Nigel and I spoke, but the occasion did not afford Martha an opportunity to speak to the ladies who were present. This site enlisted participation by some brethren and congregations who had not previously participated in the seminars in former years; brothers and sisters in Christ who join us annually for these workshops attended, too.

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Afterward, we three drove back to Georgetown and deposited ourselves in a hotel for the night, owing to a morning departure from Ogle by small plane to the country’s interior destination of Monkey Mountain. Had we returned to Linden, we could have quite possibly met ourselves coming and going at the same time, and there would have been no time for rest over the night. We slept about 15 minutes from the quaint, little airport.

96-dpi-4x6-monkey-mountain-1Sunday, February 5, Nigel, Martha and I along with a few other passengers set out for the bush aboard a small single-engine aircraft. Not everyone on board was headed to the same place. Therefore, the flight landed first at Mahdia, second at Paramakatoi and finally at Monkey Mountain. That being the case, next year, we may try to hop a flight between Paramakatoi and Monkey Mountain, which is not a scheduled route. That would save time if not be a better use of funds also, since ordinarily passengers would need to use Ogle on the coast as the pivotal point for flights to both endpoints. (I don’t think we will save money—only time—because the posted rates on a placard show fees comparable to flying back to Ogle anyway.)

96-dpi-4x5-monkey-mountain-1The cloudy sky hung low on Sunday. I was fully aware from previous flights in past years over the mountainous jungle terrain that foreboding summits below punctuated the unseen landscape under our permanently fixed landing gear. Guyanese pilots fly no higher than necessary to clear the highest peak over which the intended route takes them. While sometimes the dense forest canopy lies thousands of feet below as we glide across the horizon, at other times the earth rushes to greet our craft as we sashay over a mountain top. At other times, we fly adjacent to a mount that was not necessary for our puddle-jumper to hop. In the dense fog, I was hopeful that we would see the ground before the ground found us.

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Descending to a few hundred feet, low enough to clear the white fluffy obstruction afforded by fog and rainy weather, we banked left and lined up for touchdown on the dirt landing strip of the Amerindian village of Monkey Mountain. Aside from the cows, donkeys, chickens, sheep and people adjacent to or often on the runway, we were greeted first by the wreckage of a twin-engine plane that had crash landed some months before just off the airstrip, coming to rest in the high Savannah weeds.

96-dpi-4x6-monkey-mountain-696-dpi-5x6-monkey-mountain-2We were greeted by brothers and sisters in Christ who had interrupted their Sunday morning Bible class to meet us at the plane. First, we registered at the police outpost, manned by two coastlanders, who were as much out of place and conspicuous as were we three travelers. Then, we scurried over to the weathered and worn, blue wood-framed meetinghouse of the Monkey Mountain Church of Christ for a.m. worship. Brother Paul Daniels, a native of the next village over of Paramakatoi, is the local preacher, and he ably preached the Word of God. All ages were represented in the small gathering of the faithful, who greeted us and remembered me from a previous visit, as well as from The Voice of Truth International of which I am now the Editor. I see to it that about two tons of Gospel literature are shipped to Guyana annually, and brother Nigel Milo and the Amelia’s Ward Church of Christ in Linden with which he labors for our Lord distributes it—including The Voice of Truth International—to congregations throughout the country.

96-dpi-4x6-monkey-mountain-10The village guesthouse was not ready for us upon our arrival; the caretaker may have been somewhere on the mountainside tending to the subsistence crops on which villagers largely depend for their sustenance. Therefore, Nigel, Martha and I camped out for the afternoon in the church house; Martha stretched out on the rough, narrow plank of a primitive “pew” with her feet sticking out of a window port—no screen or glass therein, but only wooden shutters for protection and for security when no one is around. (She has forbidden me from posting that pic!)

96-dpi-4x5-monkey-mountain-2Monday and Tuesday, we three spoke mornings, afternoons and evenings. Over the course of the two calendar days, Martha taught four ladies’ classes while Nigel and I each taught about lessons apiece either to the men or to the combined group. Once more at this venue, we together presented about 18 lessons before readying ourselves for our journey onward and elsewhere.

96-dpi-4x6-monkey-mountain-396-dpi-4x6-monkey-mountain-796-dpi-4x6-monkey-mountain-9Our lodging accommodations were improved over my last visit to Monkey Mountain. This year, an outside brick shelter had been constructed, which contained a shower stall as well as a toilet in its own stall; water was available from a storage tank. Sleeping quarters were similar to a tractor shed in the USA—concrete slab, exterior walls open to the inside at the eaves and partitioned rooms inside with half-height walls (over which someone more agile than I am could foreseeably climb). Whereas previously there were no doors on the rooms, homemade wooden doors now complemented single-bed sheets slung over a wire atop the doorways. Our room would not securely bolt. Inside, a simple bed with a clingy mosquito net was the only furniture. (Over the years, it seems that everything crawling, slithering and flying wants to bite me. This year, however, I have a secret weapon—Martha! They like to bite her even more than me. This year, I brought along bait with me!) Wood window shutters when opened provided our only light during the day; at night, a solar-panel-fueled battery powered two strategically placed florescent bulbs hanging from the highest rafter and lighting each cubicle below.

96-dpi-4x6-monkey-mountain-12Martha and I simply loved being at Monkey Mountain as well as communing and fellowshipping with precious Christian brothers and sisters, who are now dearer friends to us than the mere acquaintances they had been to me upon the conclusion of my last visit years ago. I am married to an Indian princess, or so it would seem, after I purchased a feathery headdress for her. One of the incidental perks for such short persons as Martha and me is that, comparatively speaking, we are tall among many of the Amerindians. Like Bonnie and me previously, Martha and I love little children and babies—to borrow, spoil and give back when they cry or need fed or changed.

96-dpi-4x6-monkey-mountain-896-dpi-5x6-monkey-mountain-1Martha and I both were reared in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in the eastern part of the United States, and though she has an affinity for sandy, coastal beaches, too, we both love mountains. Paramakatoi and Monkey Mountain rise to a maximum of 3,000 feet.
When it came time to leave Monkey Mountain on Wednesday, we waited endlessly it seemed at the police compound adjacent to the runway for the flight scheduled to arrive “TBA.” The announcement of the plane’s arrival was the sound of its engine as it approached in the sky. When it landed, it was greeted by people pouring from their homes and schoolchildren vacating their classrooms on the far side of the “airport” to watch and wave. Waiting and waiting for about five more hours was our lot as we were ushered from our plane in another mountain town of Mahdia while our aircraft was de-seated and the void replaced with barrels of fuel to be ferried to mountain villages and mining camps; other planes carted all manner of merchandise and goods. Before dark, the fleet of varying sized planes returned to Mahdia to transport the final cargo—passengers—to Ogle on the Atlantic coast outside of Georgetown.

96-dpi-4x6-monkey-mountain-11Finally, dirty and tired, a couple of hours or so later, we arrived back in Linden, our base of operations and the home of the Milo family. Thursday and Friday are down days, during which we will do some much needed laundry and fire up our computers and attack some “office work”—Gospel Gazette Online, The Voice of Truth International, etc. Saturday, we’ll be off again! We are having the time of our lives, and Martha and I are delighted to contribute to the edification of fellow Christians and non-Christians, too. Most of all, we purpose to glorify God!

Moco Moco Village

February 3, 2017

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Martha Lynn and I were in Lethem and Moco Moco Village in Guyana, South America from January 31 through today, February 3. Before boarding our Cessna Caravan for the return trip to the coastland, Martha and I crossed into Brazil long enough to have our picture snapped beside signs marking the international border between the two nations.

We lodged for several days in the Takutu Hotel in Lethem, which is undergoing major renovation and expansion. Tuesday evening after our arrival in Lethem as well as morning, afternoon and evening for the next two days, Martha and I communed with the Moco Moco Village Church of Christ, which hosted our seminar in that area this year. Several visitors from that Amerindian village and brethren from other congregations of the Lord’s church attended, too. This time out, Martha taught ladies classes on two occasions, as well teaching children within the larger classes also. It was my pleasure to speak nine times, and brother Nigel Milo presented about the same number of lessons as I did. Our theme this year is “Emulation of Jesus Christ.” Before leaving on Friday, we also visited the Lethem-St Ignatius Church of Christ.

We have now completed two of our 16 confirmed locations for 2017 for our seminars throughout all 10 regions of Guyana; additional venues are pending. Tonight, we are washing clothes, but tomorrow we will travel to #77 Housing Scheme along the coast and south of Georgetown—about a four-hour automobile ride from Linden, which is our base of operations. Tomorrow evening, Lord willing, we will lodge in a Georgetown hotel to position us for a morning departure on Sunday by small plane to be with the Monkey Mountain Church of Christ for several days for our seminar.

Other than being tired—I hate to admit that our ages may be slowing us down just a little—our only other complaint is a probable urinary tract infection, which we are treating with antibiotics brought from the USA for such or a similar scenario. We will increase our water intake, too, and drink down some cranberry juice.

Well, it seems that Martha Lynn and I are honeymooning in tropical Guyana, having wed on New Year’s Day. We have not only adjusted well to each other, since we have been friends already for decades, but we have thoroughly enjoyed everywhere we have gone. We are particularly elated with the warm reception that we have received from brethren in each congregation that we have visited. Yes, we are spoiling a few children along the way before returning them to their parents. We are still having a blast!

My Martha

January 30, 2017

96-dpi-4x6-amelias-ward-4Today (Monday, January 30, 2017), my Martha and I tagged along this morning with seven other church members from the Amelia’s Ward Church of Christ to visit Christians and non-Christians in the community. We divided up into three groups for studies as well as to visit ill members and non-members. The congregation goes into its municipality three times weekly—Monday, Wednesday and Friday—for about four hours each day. Even if brother Nigel Milo, the church’s evangelist, is unavailable—as he will be Wednesday as he and we attend to the nationwide seminars—Christian workers have the initiative and the training to go into the fields that truly are white unto harvest on their own. This church of Christ is exemplary in so many ways, including taking the Gospel to distant in-country locations at members’ expenses and teaching brethren from afar how to setup and conduct Bible studies and distribute literature in their own neighborhoods. In these matters, I am the student rather than the teacher.
96-dpi-4x6-amelias-ward-5After concluding the field work for the day, brother Milo carted Martha and me to the local market and surrounding businesses in search of a few commodities that we sought for ourselves and our treks in Guyana this year. I was pleased to find two pair of “cargo pants” that fit me—except for being a mile too long for my short legs. Befuddled I was when directed to try them on in the public market—sans fitting room! I found a corner that promised minimal privacy and to my amazement the only size available fit me perfectly—not counting the length of the pant legs. However, a seamstress on site immediately rectified the problem and hemmed my new trousers. (It became apparent that I could not cram satisfactorily into my regular khaki or jean pockets enough items beyond what I could carry in my backpack to be weighed—along with my carryon—in preparation for passage in small planes navigating the jungle interior on the way to distant, remote villages. Cargo pants to the rescue!)

96-dpi-4x6-amelias-ward-3Martha and I each bought a pair of plastic or rubber sandals, too. I was replacing a pair that I had bought the prior year at the same shop because the soles of last year’s purchase were split and winding down their usefulness; I wore them across the globe. While in the bazaar—resembling a small flee market in the USA—Martha took up with a couple of strangers and proceeded to tell them that she and I were recently married on New Year’s Day 2017. The ladies in the market were treated to a full disclosure of our wedding pictures right there under the awnings spanning little shops in the narrow pathway snaking through the marketplace! After a couple more purchases (corded eyeglasses retainer, bottled water, coca cola and fried chicken from Church’s Chicken), we retreated to the Milo residence.

96-dpi-4x6-amelias-ward-6Our late lunch concluded, Martha cleaned up from the oppressive heat of the day, rested some and rehearsed her lesson for teaching ladies’ class later in the evening—from around 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. On the other hand, I refrained from refreshing myself, refusing to soil additional clothes unnecessarily on the same day; perspiration dried and not too aromatically challenging to others around me or to myself, I persisted until end of day before bathing at bedtime.

Martha has turned out to be a real trooper! She is enjoying every aspect of our escapades in Guyana whereby we immerse ourselves in this lovely country and culture as we serve the Lord—encouraging and edifying brothers and sisters primarily and non-Christians, also. Mostly packed, we are anticipating an early morning departure to meet our flight from Ogle to Lethem by yet another small aircraft spiriting us over the jungles and to the border with Brazil. We will remain there for several days as we promote the seminar in yet another isolated village in which brethren joyfully greet us and assemble to feast on God’s Word.

Honeymoon Where?

January 27, 2017

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Early on January 24th, Martha Lynn (Noland) Rushmore and I boarded a small aircraft in Memphis, Tennessee. We winged our way down to Miami International Airport in Florida to catch our next flight, a bigger airliner, which would take us to Georgetown, Guyana, South America. Since the Memphis airline company and the one we used leaving Miami do not have “code share,” we had to retrieve our two checked bags and then get in line at the ticket counter for the next air carrier to check our bags to our final destination. Between arrival and checking our bags, we were afforded time to have our “last meal” prior to exiting the USA—hamburgers, fries and cola.

96-dpi-4x6-paramakatoi-19We departed Miami late afternoon that day and arrived in Guyana around 10:20 p.m. local time. Brother Nigel Milo, as always, was there and waiting to greet and to cart us to his home in Linden—also our home away from home and base of operations for the following six weeks. As we were leaving the next morning—once more up and about before sunrise—we unpacked and repacked for the next morning’s flight to the interior of the country. Lastly, we bathed before retiring at 2:00 a.m., only to arise at 4:00 a.m. for our journey to begin.

96-dpi-4x6-paramakatoi-15Off to Paramakatoi, Martha and I were accompanied by a plane load of about six persons—including the pilot. A little over two hours of skipping through the clouds over the dense jungle canopy, we passed our airstrip, banked left and dropped from the sky to land at an Amerindian village for which I have a special place of endearment in my heart. Of course, aside from the mountain landscape that I adore so much—identifying with it because of having been reared in a similar environment—Paramakatoi is so special to me because of the dear Christian brothers and sisters that I have come to love more and more with each new visit.

96-dpi-4x6-paramakatoi-4Martha enjoyed the mountains and the people as much as did I. Yet, we were there for a reason—the first of 16 seminars that are to take us from border to border and parts in between throughout the 10 regions of Guyana. Hand in hand and with heartstrings securely attached, Martha and I can do anything nearly anywhere for our Lord Jesus Christ. Over the next three days with our brethren, Martha taught ladies five times and taught the children twice; I presented six lessons to either the men or to the entire group.

96-dpi-4x6-paramakatoi-2Martha had many “new experiences,” which she decided to document daily in her journal. Among the occasions reminiscent—but not fondly—of days gone by—not the good ole’ days—were outhouses. Of course, to add to the moments was the daily and spontaneous rain showers, but she braved even that—proudly—in her Steeler’s rain poncho!

96-dpi-4x6-paramakatoi-5These Christians are active, not only in their own village, but they have already of their own accord and owing to their own initiative begun evangelizing distant settlements. Brother Nigel and I participated with these Christian men in reflecting upon how to proceed further and in what ways either Christians from Amelia’s Ward Church of Christ in Linden or American Christians may be able to be of assistance. Whatever is undertaken, brother Milo encouraged the congregation to carefully consider “sustainable” growth that includes primary local Christian responsibility for continuity in these new works.

96-dpi-4x6-paramakatoi-10Sadly, Martha and I had to leave Paramakatoi on Friday morning for the coast, from which we began this jaunt. The mist each morning that rises from the ground upward in the hills is breathtaking; all of the scenery is spectacular. Not least, the local “Walmart-Post Office-Airport” counter is manned ably by Sam; upon learning that Martha and I are newlyweds, he gave us a “wedding present” of two free fruit drinks. Like me, Martha happily befriends especially the little ones, and after we amply spoil them rotten, we give them back to their parents!

96-dpi-4x6-paramakatoi-7However, returning is easier said than done, because one must travel first to another mountain town of Mahdia and wait for the little planes to finish shuttling freight to mining camps and hamlets before hauling passengers.

96-dpi-4x6-paramakatoi-1When we finally arrived back in Linden, there were duties awaiting, though for Nigel and not for us at this time. Brother Milo was called upon to participate in the opening of a new day school. Afterward, a package had to be delivered from Paramakatoi to a person in Linden; a mother had sent some Amerindian foodstuff to her daughter who is away temporarily. Lastly, Martha and I tagged along with brother Nigel as he taught a Bible lesson at the local youth hostel; high school age children come from the outlying areas to board while they complete public school grades that are not available where they live in the interior.

96-dpi-4x6-paramakatoi-6We received one complaint from our dear brethren in Paramakatoi—we didn’t spend enough days with them! They are jealous for our time, and they convinced us to spend several more days with them in 2018 when we return, Lord willing. Martha and I are devoting six weeks in Guyana to permit us to hold seminars with and for brethren in every region of the country, but especially Christians in remote areas hunger and thirst for “more” lessons, whereas often in metropolitan communities, even Christians seem to be almost “too busy” to take time for spiritual matters.

96-dpi-4x6-paramakatoi-8Honeymoon! What honeymoon? Yes, Martha and I wed on January 1, 2017, but we “have hit the ground running” with appointments in various stateside venues as well as 16 settings in Guyana from January 24 through March 9. Upon our return to the United States, immediately, we have appointments in Arkansas, Kentucky, Georgia and Florida. Since we will not have any “free time” until March 22, just maybe we will construe time spent in the exotic, tropical paradise of Guyana, South America as at least a precursor to such a thing as a “honeymoon.”

96-dpi-4x6-paramakatoi-13

We’re Outta Here!

January 21, 2017

Working feverishly in so many different directions simultaneously, well, we’re outta here anyway. Over the past few days, I finished preparing for printing Volume 91 of our quarterly religious journal The Voice of Truth International; its files are available now for printing companies in several nations. We established a cloud-based transmission portal that enabled, for instance, VOTI 91 files to be viewed instantly in India. Now, attention must soon be directed toward the production of Volume 92. The team effort to do this will require nearly a quarter to complete.

I’m sorry to say, “Something had to give!” We simply could not get everything done in a timely fashion. Gospel Gazette Online for January 2017 is not ready, and it will not be published for several days yet. Nevertheless, Lord willing, we will get back on schedule with the production of Gospel Gazette Online as soon as possible.

96-dpi-8x10-martha-guyana-shipment-1Triaging everything, it was finally time to devote the bulk of our available time to finishing preparation of our lessons for overseas in Guyana, South America. At least minimally, Martha and I are prepared, finally! Next, we directed our attention to packing our bags.

96-dpi-8x10-martha-guyana-shipment-2However, before leaving Winona, MS on Friday, January 20, brother Jerry Bates and we packed, marked, stacked and made a manifest for an upcoming shipment, chiefly of literature, to churches of Christ throughout Guyana. We amassed nearly 2,000 pounds or about two pallets. The first opportunity, though, for Martha and me to haul this freight to a shipping agent in Nashville, TN probably won’t be until late April or May 2017.

Late Friday afternoon, Martha and I departed Winona and traveled northward along I-55 toward Memphis, TN. We attempted to meet our daughter Rebecca at Cheddar’s, only to find it is no longer in business! So, we scurried into JC Penny and unceremoniously used it for a much needed “rest area.” Hello, Cracker Barrel—always a favorite of mine.

Lord’s Day, it will be my privilege to speak three times for the Collierville, TN Church of Christ. Monday, we will attend a Mission Workshop in Somerville, TN, where it will be my pleasure to participate. Early Tuesday morning, the plan is to board the first of two flights in Memphis, TN, as we wing our way to Georgetown, Guyana, South America. So far, we have 14 confirmed venues at which Martha will be teaching ladies and at which I will be speaking to men, women, children and whatever else hops in, flies through or otherwise makes its presence known. We can hardly wait; I cherish the opportunity annually to spend precious time with dear brethren in all 10 regions of the country. Martha and I are scheduled to return to the USA on March 9. The following two weeks from then will take us to congregations of the Lord’s church in Arkansas, Kentucky, Georgia and Florida. Whew! I’m tired already just pondering it all.

96-dpi-8x10-martha-collierville-cabinBy the way, there’s been no time for a honeymoon since Martha and I wed on New Year’s Day. We did stop by an old, old cabin—with no electricity and lacking a mattress atop the bed’s rope lattice. No toilet either, and no running water. The real reason, though, that we did not rent it is because it sits in the town square of Collierville, TN as an exhibit. Honeymoon, maybe later! Just perhaps I can convince Martha that trekking through the jungles of South America, riding fast boats up humongous rivers and cloud hopping in teeny airplanes classifies as a honeymoon to remember.

“Thank you” to the many brothers and sisters in Christ who either help us along our way stateside and abroad or extend to us moral encouragement and offer precious prayers on our behalf. To Jesus Christ our Lord and all of the Godhead be the glory!