Archive for the ‘Mission Trip’ category

Caged in Singapore

October 22, 2017

Saturday, October 21, we dined for breakfast at the V Hotel at Lavender, where we resided for our brief stay in Singapore. Walking about on the open-air level for the buffet, we happened upon a giant birdcage with chairs in it. I suppose that’s all it would have taken to cage us, since we voluntarily on a whim entered and seated ourselves. Back in our 14th floor room, we snapped a picture of Singapore from our vantage.

That afternoon, a dear Christian brother and sister, husband and wife, treated us to a nice lunch at a Chinese restaurant—followed by coffee (hot chocolate for me) and cake elsewhere. Later for supper, we walked across the street from out hotel to Burger King. Sunday for lunch, we were guests of another Christian duo at a different location at an Italian restaurant. Both couples and we relished some precious time together—discussions about the Lord’s church around the world and our respective families.

Sunday, October 22, 2017, Martha and I assembled for worship with the Lavender Church of Christ. We were impressed with the dedication and earnestness of the brethren. It was an honor to be with them as we together worshipped God. Few congregations in the brotherhood are more active in foreign evangelism than this church is. Once more, I preached “Imitating the Urgency of Jesus Christ.” During Bible class, a knowledgeable brother in Christ made a well informed and contemporarily applied presentation from Ecclesiastes 8.

Martha made new friends, and I renewed acquaintances with Christian brethren with whom I have spent time occasionally over the years. We look forward to our next return, during which perhaps we will be afforded a longer visit during which we can teach in a seminar over two or three days.

Singapore is our oasis. Monday, we continue our journey to India. There we will travel to various states until we return to the USA, Lord willing, on November 21. May God richly bless His children everywhere. I look forward to when we all will commence eternity in God’s home.

Three Weeks in Myanmar

October 21, 2017

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The first week, Martha and I lodged in the Hotel Bo Bo Min by evening and taught by day some 30 minutes away on the east side of Yangon. Nine Chinese Gospel preachers from the northeastern area of Myitkyina convened for the special series of classes. Some of the ministers have dual Myanmar and Chinese citizenship, and they all speak the tribal language of Lisu.

Martha taught ladies, and I taught the men. My lessons over the week included crash courses on “How We Got the Bible” and “Bible Geography & Sacred History.” In addition, tracts and books in the Lisu language were provided for these attendees.

Weeks two and three, Martha and I lodged by night on the other side of Yangon in the Hotel Corolla, and during the days, we taught Christians and non-Christians who had come from throughout the nation especially for these lessons. I taught the same courses as I did during the previous week, plus English and a variety of short biblical lessons.

Over the three weeks, we worshipped on the Lord’s Day and I spoke for three different congregations in the Yangon area. We were also lunch guests one day in the home of a revered Christian brother and his family in the outskirts of Hmawbi. Not the least of our joys were the playful moments enjoyed with a certain pintsized boy and an equally precious little girl. Both are preschool, but already they have mastered more than I did in first grade—a few decades ago.

An Indian brother who directs a Bible training school in India visited while we were in Myanmar. I have known him for years, and he was the teacher of several of the Burmese evangelists with whom I labor for our Lord. Not a part of what we do, of course, we observed samples of Buddhism everywhere, including young, female monks in training—wearing pink.

Ready to move on in our two months abroad, still, we were reluctant to part from the dear Christian brethren whom we count as among our most cherished friends on earth. I have grown to love them over the past decade, and Martha and they became fast friends. Friday evening, October 20, Martha and I winged our way across a time zone or two to Singapore to be with more Christian friends and brethren. We struggled to reload our suitcases, and we don’t dare buy another thing or accept any gifts; otherwise, we may have to check into getting luggage racks installed atop an airliner or two!

We appreciate and continue to covet prayers on our behalf as we travel overseas. Martha and I, Lord willing, will return to the USA on November 21.

No Friday this Week!

October 1, 2017

Thursday, September 28, Martha Lynn and I began our trek from the USA to Asian countries that will encompass the next 55 days before our return—Lord willing. Our journey presented little difficulties; no major complications were encountered. Our flights took us from Orlando, FL to Los Angelos, CA to Taipei, Taiwan to Yangon, Myanmar over the next nearly 30 hours. The transpacific flight alone was around 13 hours aloft! In the process of travel and crossing the International Date Line as we headed in a westward direction, we completely skipped Friday—except for boarding a plane in California after midnight. Essentially, we took flight on Thursday and landed on Saturday—all within the space of 30 hours. Remarkably, on our return trip as we fly completely around the world, we will compress the same number of hours into a single day; we will leave Asia and arrive in North America on the same calendar day, despite traveling for more hours than there is in a single day. As confusing as that is, imagine trying to take one’s scheduled medication in a timely fashion.

We slept on the three planes at will and otherwise amused ourselves with music, movies and preparation to teach upon our arrival in Asia. The last 3½ hour leg of our travels seemed to me to be the most difficult, only because I was tired of traveling and ready to be there.

Gladly, dear Christian friends were promptly at the airport to greet and to retrieve us. They and we paused a bit for refreshments at the airport before traveling to our hotel for the next week. Later, we will transfer to another hotel where we will abide for two more weeks while in Myanmar.

Sunday, we assembled with Burmese and Chinese Christians for worship. Afterward and upon returning to Hotel Bo Bo Min, we decided to rest for just a little while. Three hours later, we were awakened by housekeeping upon the delivery of our laundry. Returning to our slumber, we slept for another six hours! We thought we had been refreshed and handling reasonably the jetlag, but apparently our bodies behaved differently. Two days in a row we snoozed—dead to the world—right through the supper hour! Sleep is never so rewarding or as deep as it is when one is exhausted; we have been sleeping soundly. Unfortunately, the bedbugs haven’t been sleeping; this is the first and only occasion in my stateside and foreign travels that I have encountered these critters. Unfortunately for Martha and surprisingly to me, they prefer biting her over chewing on me! I had jokingly said previously that I was taking her with me for “bait,” and apparently that is truer than I suspected.

Monday through Friday, a new chapter in our lives commences as we commune especially with Chinese brethren. They and we hope to glorify and serve our Lord.

Winding Down and Winding Up

September 26, 2017

Recently, Martha and I dined with some of her children (Jim, Denise and family) at Gator Joe’s on a Florida lake. What a beautiful sunset graced our suppertime delight! Of course, Martha had to get sand between her toes and wade in the water.

This past Sunday morning, September 24, Martha and I assembled with the Wildwood, Florida Church of Christ. This was my second visit to the congregation and my first opportunity to speak for this church. During Bible class, I presented my “World Evangelism Media & Missions” PowerPoint presentation. At the worship hour, I preached “Imitating the Urgency of Jesus Christ.” We felt right at home with Wildwood, and everyone paid rapt attention. It was a pleasure to worship God in spirit and in truth together.

For lunch, Martha and I treated ourselves to some deluxe Angus cheeseburgers and trimmings. Not only were they delicious, but we won’t have any such favorites for several weeks as we are abroad for eight weeks in three Asian countries. We drove a few miles thereafter to what turned out to be a dying, indoor mall. We idled at a franchise bookstore café and enjoyed the air conditioning while doing digital jigsaw puzzles on our electronic tablets.

When it was time, we made our way to the meetinghouse of the Village Church of Christ in Lady Lake, Florida. This was my second visit to this little church, and we worshipped with them.

Tuesday was a mobile office workday. I was able to publish the September edition of Gospel Gazette Online to the Internet and sundry other matters were addressed, too.

Thursday, Martha and I fly from Orlando, Florida to Los Angelos, California. From there we will fly for about 16 hours to Taipei, Taiwan, and then fly on to Yangon, Myanmar (also known as Burma). We will arrive on Saturday after nonstop traveling by jet airplane.

Three weeks later, we will fly to Singapore for about four days, before flying to India. For five weeks, we will travel to sundry places. Finally, November 21, we will return home from New Delhi to New York to Florida—all on the same day, though the same number of hours as traveling to Asia! I am looking forward to sharing some of the beautiful pictures of our travels from time to time during the eight weeks we will be gone. Please remember us in your prayers.

Expedited Course for Church Leaders & Workers

September 19, 2017

Recently, Martha and I traveled once more this year to Guyana, South America—this time for two weeks. Whereas earlier this year we conducted a workshop for six weeks in all 10 regions of that nation for all interested brethren, on this occasion I taught seminars in eight regions—a World Evangelism Expedited Course—for church leaders and workers. The subject for 2017 was “Bible Geography & Sacred History.” A goodly number of brothers and sisters in Christ participated. The following bulleted points summarize the event as it unfolded.

  • Saturday, September 2, 2017: Travel Day
  • Sunday, September 3, 2017—Amelia’s Ward Church of Christ
  • Monday, September 4, 2017—Tuschen Church of Christ
  • Wednesday, September 6, 2017—Amelia’s Ward Church of Christ
  • Thursday, September 7, 2017—Industry Church of Christ
  • Saturday, September 9, 2017—Richmond Church of Christ
  • Sunday, September 10, 2017—Amelia’s Ward Church of Christ:
  • Monday, September 11, 2017—Asylum Street Church of Christ (New Amsterdam)
  • Tuesday, September 12, 2017—Bath Settlement Church of Christ
  • Wednesday, September 13, 2017: Travel Day
  • Thursday, September 14, 2017—Culvert City Church of Christ (Lethem)
  • Friday, September 15, 2017: Travel Day
  • Saturday, September 16, 2017: Return to the USA

I worked on Gospel Gazette Online and the Voice of Truth International magazines between travel and speaking appointments. Sometimes I seem to get more done on some projects while out of the office rather than in the Winona, Mississippi office.

Aside from the uplifting and gratifying program, there were some minor abrasions obtained along the way. Martha was the primary recipient of the injuries, a slight scrap of her arm once in a boat taxi as well as at another time smacking a board with her head. She appears happier in the picture than she was about hurting herself. Fortunately for me, there was a whole room full of witnesses that I did not hit my wife. She seated herself behind a board across two pew packs for a makeshift table to hold the projector. When she leaned down to pick up something from the floor, the corner of the board struck her right between the eyes. The car in which we were riding experienced some abrasions and minor injuries in transit, too.

Upon landing in Lethem and checking into our hotel, I noticed that Martha’s face around her nose had turned purple. She was experiencing some pain also. Evidently, Martha’s injury a few days prior became more discernible all of a sudden, perhaps tied to the nearly two-hour flight over the jungle to Lethem. More ice.

Due to the nature of the program, Martha did not have as much opportunity to teach this time as she did earlier in the year. However, she did teach, and additionally, Martha had substantial interaction with sisters in Christ throughout our travels.

Sister Jasmine, brother Nigel and their son, Zab, hosted us in their home, as they always do. We are thankful for the Milos and their hospitality annually. Brother Milo is a tireless and an effective evangelist. He directs our workshops and seminars, and Nigel is truly responsible for any successes in which we participate. Of course, we are indebted to the fine brethren stateside who make our journeys and efforts possible in the first place. Thanks.

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Hot & Sticky in Guyana, South America

September 3, 2017

Monday, August 28, Martha and I drove from the hotel in which we lodged Sunday night after leaving DeFuniak Springs, Florida. We drove to Middleburg, Florida to spend some time with my son, Robert, and cart down to him some of his belongings. That trailer we acquired earlier in the year has certainly been getting some use. Of course, Martha is planning in us depositing in it more things from our Florida home to transport back to our mission cottage in Winona, Mississippi.

In Middleburg, we spent the night with new friends, a preacher and his wife. One of their big dogs was not nearly as welcoming as he chewed up my right leg as I exited the car. A little cleanup and Band-Aids later I was on the road to recovery and still able to leave the country on our mission trip to Guyana.

Happily, all of Martha’s medical tests over four days had satisfactory results. As she says, “We’re stuck like glue!” Lord willing, we will comfort one another and amble throughout life together for a few more years yet.

After packing and repacking our suitcases a million and one times, along with daily trips to Walmart to get “one more thing,” we headed for the airport at Sanford, Florida on Saturday, September 2. This year by coming to Florida, we were able to dismiss one airline from the travel mix and attempt to allay connection snafus that plagued us earlier in the year returning from Guyana.

Who would have guessed? The Surinam Airlines flight was delayed by about three hours leaving Sanford. At least the airplane was sitting out there this time. In March, Surinam Airlines was 8 hours late arriving in outside of Georgetown, Guyana for our return trip to the USA.

We arrived about 10:30 p.m. EST in Guyana after a four and a half hour, nonstop flight. As always, the familiar face that greeted us when we exited the airport was that of my dear brother Nigel Milo. Martha and I turned in for the night around midnight in Linden. The next day, we worshipped with the Amelia’s Ward Church of Christ, and brethren have about decided to view us as regulars rather than visitors. These Christians are precious to me; we love them very much.

Now, don’t misconstrue the picture, which was snapped earlier in the year on an outing in Guyana with the “Sunshiners,” senior citizens with whom Martha and I were grouped. We traveled to a park for devotionals and fellowship over food. After Martha and I each had an occasion to teach those present, Martha, of course, teaching the ladies in my absence, I tested the serviceability of a park apparatus for a few moments. Martha snapped the photograph! No, I am not on vacation abroad, though I thoroughly enjoy serving my Lord among foreign Christians and non-Christians, too.

For Bible class, I taught about, “Sins of Good People in the Church.” During worship, brother Nigel preached an excellent lesson regarding the disobedience of King Saul with respect to the Amalekites, and of course, made an appropriate application to all present. His straightforward, biblical teaching and preaching is refreshing in times when not everything coming from the pulpits relies on much Scripture.

Sunday evening, I posted, howbeit late, the August edition of Gospel Gazette Online to the Internet. The mobile office is up and running and will be up and running in idle moments between appointments here in Guyana.

Tomorrow, very early, we begin our current round of seminars with church leaders in mind. It is my pleasure to speak throughout the country on “Bible Geography & Sacred History”—foundational and contextual background material to effective teaching and preaching. We covet your prayers and praise God for such an opportunity that is afforded us.

Florida Steppingstone

August 31, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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