Archive for the ‘Magazines & Books’ category

Florida Steppingstone

August 31, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Busy, Busy, Busy!

August 7, 2017

Thursday evening, August 3, Martha and I hooked up the cargo trailer and returned to the World Evangelism Building just an eighth of a mile from our residence. We loaded just under 1,500 pounds of literature. We selected two different editions of The Voice of Truth International plus some reclaimed songbooks and a communion set.

Friday morning, after visiting the office briefly, Martha and I left Winona, Mississippi and headed for Nashville, Tennessee and an agent of Caribbean Shipping Service. Instead of taking I-55 northward to Memphis, Tennessee to connect with I-40, we took an alternative route—a little slower and more leisurely with less traffic. After unloading the trailer around 4:30 p.m., we headed to our wayside rest at Rebecca’s home in Collierville, Tennessee. Saturday, we made our way back to Winona.

Sunday, Martha and I drove the short distance from Winona to the outskirts of French Camp, Mississippi and the Huntsville Church of Christ. About half of the congregation, including its preacher, was away at family camp. Hence, I was afforded the opportunity to speak for the Bible class period (“World Evangelism Media & Missions”), morning worship (“Imitating the Urgency of Jesus Christ”) and evening worship (“Imitating the Focus of Jesus Christ”).

Monday morning, Martha and I, along with the help of Paula Bates and Betty Choate, began processing the July edition of the Rushmore Newsletter. Tuesday, we will finish up and mail it. Squeezed in amidst preparing the newsletter were a few other necessary activities, including purchasing $1,500 of airline tickets. Martha and I will fly to Guyana, South America on September 2 for two weeks of teaching church leaders.

Monday evening, Betty Choate, Martha and I attended the Gospel meeting hosted by the Old Union Church of Christ. Brother Paul Franks spoke to a full house of brethren from several area congregations. We hope to return Tuesday and Wednesday evenings for the Gospel meeting.

We still need to finalize our itinerary for our fall mission trip to Myanmar or Burma, India and Singapore. We may possibly also visit Sri Lanka. Of course, we need to make sure that we are ready for teaching various lessons in South America and Asia. There is never enough time!

Fill-In for a Fill-In Preacher

August 3, 2017

Sunday, September 30, Martha and I made an early morning departure from Winona, Mississippi to assemble with the Quitman, Mississippi Church of Christ. We left town about 6 a.m. and arrived about 9 a.m.—three hours later and in time to set up equipment and display materials. As often is the case, we were the first ones there and had to wait for someone to arrive to unlock the building.

Brother Therman Hodge was the designated fill-in preacher in the absence of Quitman’s preacher, Stephen Higley. He was away, speaking for a congregation of the Lord’s church in Benton, Kentucky. However, it wasn’t convenient for brother Hodge to speak due to some matters to which he need to attend, and so, I happily agreed to fill-in for the fill-in preacher.

For class time, I made my PowerPoint presentation, “World Evangelism Media & Missions.” During morning worship, I preached, “Imitating the Conviction of Jesus Christ,” whereas for the evening worship, I preached, “Imitating the Focus of Jesus Christ.”

We were guests at the only restaurant in Quitman I was told—but a good one! That afternoon, we lazed and relaxed in the home of brother Austin and sister Robin Dickerson. We were well received as always is the case, and we met knew friends from among brethren we had not previously met.

After evening worship, Martha and I made the long, 3-hour ride back to Winona. Along our homeward path—a 4-lane derivation from our earlier, morning course—we banqueted at the McDonalds along US 45 on the outskirts of the metropolis of Macon, Mississippi.

Wednesday night, we met with the Coffeeville, Mississippi Church of Christ for the final day of this year’s Gospel meeting. Brother Joe Ruiz was the able speaker, and five souls responded.

Between Sunday and Wednesday, we busied ourselves with office work day and night, at home or in the office (e.g., The Voice of Truth International, etc.). Monday, we spent all day tending to yard work and car care. In addition, parts of Monday and Tuesday were spent painting and applying decals to Martha’s new toy—Pittsburgh Steelers decorated corn hole boards.

Thursday, I have devoted myself to corresponding with foreign brethren. I’m trying to line up missionary efforts in both South America and Asia among five countries. Tentatively, we will spend the first two weeks of September in Guyana, South America teaching college-level classes to church leaders. Then, Lord willing, we will travel to Asia for up to eight weeks, possibly laboring in Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Singapore and India. Dates are already set for three weeks of instruction in Myanmar and one week in India. Martha has been typing for The Voice of Truth International and Gospel Gazette Online. This and that is sandwiched between everything else. It remains with me, “I long way to go and a short time to get there!” Do you know from what movie that is a quote? Oh, yes, our next Rushmore Newsletter arrived today from the printing company. As soon as possible, we need to get it processed and mailed.

This Week

July 27, 2017

Sunday morning, July 23, Martha and I assembled with the West President Church of Christ in Greenwood, Mississippi. During the Bible class hour, I made my PowerPoint presentation about “World Evangelism Media & Missions.” During worship, I preached about “Imitating the Urgency of Jesus Christ.” In the evening, we visited the Elliott Church of Christ, also in Mississippi.

Wednesday, Martha and I drove nearly an hour from Winona, Mississippi to Kosciusko to meet with the South Huntington Church of Christ. We were well received and pleased to audit the Summer Series session that night. We were surprised to see brother Andy Dulaney, an elder of my overseeing congregation—the Siwell Road Church of Christ in Jackson, Mississippi. We had seen him on Tuesday at his dental office when we were there for routine cleaning, but Wednesday, he was teaching the special class. Brother Andy spoke about “Shepherding,” a very edifying and unique biblical presentation. Also on Wednesday, I finally was able to publish to the Internet the July edition of Gospel Gazette Online. We continue to receive new, free subscription requests as well as comments from around the world; thousands of articles appear in the Archive in addition to numerous new articles added monthly.

Last week, Martha completed preparation of the next Rushmore Newsletter. This week, it went into production at a printing company in Minnesota; read it before you can hold it by going to it digitally on the Internet. A printing company in Michigan was contracted to reprint a postcard concerning the vast array of books, magazines and tracts that we produce at World Evangelism. Incidentally, The Voice of Truth International is printed currently in India. Other printers in Louisiana, Pennsylvania and Missouri print titles for us from time to time.

Today was an office day for sure. Numerous differing activities occupied our hours (e.g., planning for the 2018 India Missions Conference, adding subscriptions for The Voice of Truth International, preliminary preparation for the next issue of The Voice of Truth International and many small tasks). A lot of little stuff behind the scenes transpires every day that backs up and leads to the more visible aspect of our ministry. There is nothing we would rather do with my life, stateside and abroad, than serve our Lord in every way we can. Many Christians and congregations make it possible for us to do what we do. Thank you.

Sun in My Eyes, Twice!

July 20, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

Read It before You Can Hold It

July 16, 2017

The trouble with a monthly magazine, like Gospel Gazette Online, is that it comes around every month. I haven’t published the July edition of GGO yet. The trouble with a quarterly journal, like The Voice of Truth International, is that it takes a whole quarter to get the next issue ready to submit to the printers. Volume 92 of VOTI recently arrived at the World Evangelism Building in Winona, Mississippi, and subscription fulfillment occurred last week.

On Friday (July 14), I completed preparation of Volume 93 of The Voice of Truth International and made it available digitally to the printing companies. English language editions will be printed by the thousands in India, Nigeria and Ghana; most of what is printed in India will come back to the USA for distribution in that country. (VOTI will be printed in several other languages also, but in smaller numbers.)

Although it will be a couple of months or so before the next edition of VOTI arrives in the United States, I placed PDF digital editions of volumes 92 and 93 on the Internet. Therefore, anyone with a fast enough Internet connection can access them now—without charge. So, you can read it (volume 93) before you can hold it by going to:

http://www.gospelgazette.com/Library/Voice%20of%20Truth/VOT_093.pdf

In addition, by going to the following URL, one can access 93 volumes of The Voice of Truth International as well as dozens of other books, etc. in PDF—also without charge.

http://www.gospelgazette.com/library/

These links are available through Gospel Gazette Online, which has thousands of archived religious articles. New content is added monthly. Enjoy!

They Came, They Conquered & They Went

July 11, 2017

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Youthful and not as youthful visitors from the Double Springs, Alabama Church of Christ convened Monday and Tuesday July 10-11 at the World Evangelism Building in Winona, Mississippi. Altogether, about 18 assembled for the workdays alongside of the five of us who labor side-by-side daily, plus Rebecca.

Among the activities were preparation of two separate mailings, counting thousands of pieces of literature and packaging it for shipment to Nigeria, shipped out cases of The Voice of Truth International to congregational subscribers, loading two trailers with literature for overseas destinations, rubberstamping mailing envelopes by the hundreds, counting and banding tracts for future distribution, painting the interior of a cottage, and cleaning the warehouse and the office. The sheer volume of work accomplished was far more than what we in Winona can address on a day-to-day basis and still keep everything else going related to the behind the scenes details to mass evangelism and follow up. “Thanks” hardly seems adequate, but we are very grateful for the investment of interest, time and effort with us in this godly endeavor. These helping hands not only touched paper and cardboard in middle Mississippi, but they touched the hearts and souls of the recipients of literature, some headed to precious ones on far away continents. Make God be blessed as we partner in Christian service.