Archive for the ‘Missionary Retreat’ category

Change of Plans

May 8, 2018

Life in general often necessitates adjustments to one’s plans. Such was the case recently once more for Martha and me. Other World Evangelism team members and we prepared the Maywood Christian Camp outside of Hamilton, Alabama for our annual Missionary Retreat. We arrived Tuesday, May 1. However, the morning the program was to begin (on Thursday), Martha and I headed back to Winona instead of staying for the retreat. I had just gotten a root canal a few days ago, and another tooth nearby that one developed a similar problem that required a root canal, too.

Hence, after arriving back in Winona, Martha and I loaded the van and utility trailer for a Friday morning departure for Florida—via a stop for a root canal in Jackson, Mississippi as we passed through that city. The trailer was full of personal belongings of one of my sons, which we were to deliver to him in Florida on our way to Ocala. Around 3:30 p.m. Saturday, we arrived at my son’s residence. Finally, my attic is expunged of the last of my children’s keepsakes and so forth. I remember one time taking a similar load to another son, whereupon he said that he had no place to put it. I told him to stack it at the end of a couch, cover the boxes with a sheet and put a lamp on top of it!

Along the way, at the first rest area and welcome center in Florida, Martha made some new acquaintances. A couple little girls were on there way to Disney World to celebrate being adopted. Martha related to them how that she was adopted, too, when she was a little girl. Martha is very outgoing and makes friends easily everywhere we go, even along the way. She even made friends with a couple of “alligators” when we dined out one night for supper.

Sunday morning, Martha and I worshipped with the Middleburg, Florida Church of Christ. Bible class lessons, the sermon and worship were encouraging and uplifting. Sunday evening, we assembled with the University City Church of Christ in Gainesville, Florida.

Monday, Martha had appointments with two different doctors in the Gainesville area. Unable to get timely insurance approval for procedures Martha needs, we went to Ocala that evening. My mobile office in a borrowed bedroom in our temporary Ocala abode is up and running. In addition, appointments have been made for various things that we need to address while in Ocala. Several other things of an office nature, and a little repair work around the house, will keep us busy. Upon accomplishing these appointments, including Martha’s treatments, we will return to Winona, Mississippi.

A primary reason for our trip to Florida presently is for Martha to attend the high school graduation of one of her granddaughters. Sometimes, I feel a little bit like a ping-pong ball!

Printed Literature, Gospel Gazette & Maywood

May 2, 2018

Monday, April 30, Martha and I drove to Nashville, Tennessee. There we unloaded many thousands of Christian books, Gospel magazines, biblically relevant tracts and such like. We place the literature into five shipping barrels. The agent for Caribbean Shipping Service will haul them to Miami, whereupon they will be placed on an ocean freighter. About a month after leaving port, the drums will arrive in Georgetown, Guyana, South America. Brother Nigel Milo and the Amelia’s Ward Church of Christ in Liden, Guyana will retrieve the materials and distribute them to churches of Christ throughout the tropical nation.

Tuesday, May 1, Martha and I finished driving to Maywood Christian Camp outside of Hamilton, Alabama. For two days, others and we helped make ready for the beginning of our annual missionary retreat. As important as cleaning, etc. is the fellowship we experience with those especially devoted to carrying the Gospel abroad.

Wednesday evening, Martha and I made an unannounced visit with the Bear Creek Church of Christ in Bear Creek, Alabama. These good brethren support the original World Evangelism work as well as the labors for Christ in which we engage.

For several days, I have been putting together the May edition of Gospel Gazette Online. Rebecca Rushmore, my daughter, proofs it for me, finding several mistakes that I miss. Finally, late Wednesday night, Gospel Gazette Online was officially published for the world to see and to use. It is available without charge to the user for anyone and everyone around the world who has access to the Internet. Now in the 20th year of continuous online publication, thousands of pages are preserved in the Archive besides the content of each new monthly issue of the journal.

We keep busy, and we like it that way. Martha and I want little else than to be useful tools in the hands of our Almighty God.

Redneck Band & More

May 6, 2017

Sunday morning on April 30, Martha and I traveled from our Tupelo, Mississippi motel room to the Bear Creek, Alabama Church of Christ assembly. I presented the PowerPoint “World Evangelism Media & Missions” during Bible class time, and for the worship period, I preached about “The Focus of Jesus Christ.” Following lunch at the meetinghouse, Mrs. Rushmore and I retreated to the home of brother Royce and sister Helen Mann for a while and to wait out some bad weather that was passing through the area. Not as pretty as if it were sunshiny, nevertheless, brother Mann gave us a tour of his tree farm. Shortly after breaching the gated and fenced little forest, we forded a small creek in the club cab pickup truck. Pressing onward, our host fed wildlife and fish in the pond as we trekked about amidst the mostly pine trees.

That afternoon, we departed and drove around the larger rural area of that part of Alabama. We located the church building for the Gravel Hill Church of Christ and made sure we were present when the first car arrived for the 6 p.m. evening worship. Bonnie and I had been the beneficiaries of a gracious donation in 2014 toward our foreign excursions, and now Martha and I had an opportunity to visit the congregation for the first time. Happily, the elders of the church invited me to make my mission presentation, and everyone was friendly and encouraging.

(Between the meeting times of the two churches mentioned already, we happened on a couple of sisters who were cleaning the church house of the Hackleburg Church of Christ. We left some copies of The Voice of Truth International and some Rushmore Newsletters with them.)

Tuesday and Wednesday, Martha and I attended the India Missions Conference, hosted in the facility of the Hamilton Church of Christ. We continued to lodge in Tupelo to take advantage of the hotel group rewards associated with Choice Hotels. That location also afforded us convenient shopping and a variety of restaurants.

Thursday and Friday, we were present for the annual Missionary Retreat, this year held outside of Florence, Alabama. Repeatedly, brethren commented favorably about recharging their batteries. Following the program, everyone in attendance yet was treated to folk or to country renditions of a variety of songs by our very own redneck band.

Saturday, Martha Lynn and I traveled back to Winona, Mississippi. After all, it must be time to do laundry and to restock the suitcase!

Visitors from India

April 29, 2017

Thursday, April 27, dear Christian friends from India paid a visit to Winona, Mississippi. Two of the Gootam brothers, their respective wives and two young ones joined sister Betty Choate as well as Martha and me for supper at our local Mexican restaurant. The food was good—as always—but the fellowship was even better and sweeter.

Otherwise this week, Martha Lynn and I labored tirelessly, though exhausted and aching, to interweave some of her household belongings from her abode in Ocala, Florida into our Winona residence. Who would have thought that an 8×10 trailer and a van load of miscellaneous items could have created a warehouse out of multiple rooms while trying to sort it all out? We can move through the home once more!

Tonight (Saturday), we are in a motel room in Tupelo, Mississippi. Tomorrow, Lord willing, we will worship with the Bear Creek, Alabama Church of Christ in the morning. Tuesday and Wednesday, we expect to assemble with other missionaries to India at the Hamilton, Alabama Church of Christ, and on Thursday and Friday we plan to commune with other missionaries to various sites abroad who will be gathering for the annual World Evangelism Missionary Retreat. This year, it will convene in the Florence, Alabama area.

In the meantime, I’m still working out some kinks in volume 92 of The Voice of Truth International with printers in India. Yes, the April issue of Gospel Gazette Online is still a no show, but I have good intentions. Finally, I skimmed through months of newspapers, etc. that had piled up while we were out of town. Goodnight world; it’s time for me to get a little shuteye.

Over the Past Several Days

April 26, 2017

It has been a while since my last blog entry; several days have passed between then and now. Over the past several days, Martha and I made our way back to Winona, Mississippi from Ocala, Florida. We discovered that pulling an 8×10 trailer packed to the utmost and loading the van from window to window and from floor to ceiling exacts a terrible toll on the Pacifica’s gas mileage—dropping to as low as 15 mpg from the usual of up to 28 mpg!

Friday, April 21, we drove into the driveway of Sadie and Therman Hodge of Meridian, Mississippi around 9 p.m. Saturday was a pleasant repose during which we visited with these dear Christian friends. Sunday morning, I spoke during Bible class and a.m. worship for the Union, Mississippi Church of Christ. After lunch with several of the members at the local hospital cafeteria, Martha Lynn and I proceeded to Winona, arriving at our residence at about 3 p.m. Not long after disconnecting the trailer from the car, we headed to the West President Church of Christ in Greenwood, Mississippi for evening worship, and as it turned out, to their Gospel meeting already in progress.

Monday, Martha and I proceeded to the office, whereupon we canvassed weeks’ worth of mail and prepared to send off the Rushmore Newsletter. The newsletter went out later in the morning.

We devoted ourselves on Tuesday and Wednesday to trying to put our house in order, and we’re not done yet! One bedroom and the living room look like warehouse space with everything stacked therein, and the laundry room is impassible! Two bedrooms, the den and the kitchen have been tamed, with the culling of a daybed, a full size bed and miscellaneous smaller items. Once more we visited the West President congregation to attend its Gospel meeting in lieu of midweek Bible class.

Maybe Thursday we will be able to complete the basic and fundamental straightening and cleaning of our Winona home. Being absent for months as well as construction mess from repairs while we were gone have added to the task at hand.

Looking ahead, Sunday coming, we will be with the Bear Creek, Alabama Church of Christ in the morning. Tuesday and Wednesday, if our Lord wills, Martha and I will attend the annual India Workshop, this year hosted in Hamilton, Alabama. Wednesday night, we will travel to Florence, Alabama for the annual World Evangelism Missionary Retreat to be conducted on Thursday and Friday. This year, these two events overlap each other.

Gospel Gazette Online is running late, still; the April edition is not complete yet. Our calendar is slowly filling up with spotty appointments through October 20. The busyness with which we have shrouded our lives can get a little hectic, sometimes frustrating and often stressful. The yard is crying for attention, which I cannot give it right now—more pressure. Some sprigs are a foot high, and grass has grown through the carpet of pine needles to form a mesh blanket across the lawn. The 20 or so mature pines have contributed branches and pinecones as well.

Volume 92 of The Voice of Truth International was recently prepared and provided to the printing company in India. I get bored easily, and so I like to keep busy, but a little respite is certainly needed—and soon!

Whirlwind Traipsing State to State

April 30, 2016

Saturday, April 23 was a travel day from the India Workshop in Vincennes, IN, hosted by the Central Church of Christ. I was the guest of brother Roger and sister Mary Wright in their home for the week, for which I am grateful.

Riding shotgun with me from Vincennes to Madison, TN, which abuts Nashville, was sister Ruth Anne Peyton. After depositing her with a sister-in-law, I continued to McMinnville, TN, where I spent the night with brother Ray and sister Charlotte Weddington. I have been indebted to them over the years for their kind hospitality and participation with me in my undertakings for the Lord.

Smyrna Church of Christ (McMinnville, TN)

Smyrna Church of Christ (McMinnville, TN)

Sunday morning, it was my privilege to speak for the Smyrna Church of Christ outside of McMinnville, both for the Bible class and a.m. worship periods. I made my PowerPoint presentation about my 2015 Asia and 2016 South American mission trips for class time. During worship, I preached my PowerPoint sermon, “The Church in Prophecy.” These Christians gracious let me speak and also participated financially with me in my endeavors. Afterward, I returned to the Weddington home where I went to bed for a while on account of my ongoing and unbearable mouth pain.

Sunday evening, I spoke for the West Riverside Church of Christ in McMinnville, whereupon I presented my PowerPoint about the 2015 and 2016 mission trips. These brethren were encouraging and contributed to my missionary efforts in a handsome way.

Following worship, in severe pain, I pointed my car toward my next scheduled venue outside of Hamilton, AL. After driving for some time and not able to tolerate the pain any longer, I rerouted my trip to Jackson, MS where my dentist practices dentistry. I got as far as Madison, AL just west of Huntsville, AL where I lodged for the night; I had stayed overnight there at the same hotel recently while on another trip, too.

Monday morning, I drove over five hours to Jackson, MS, arriving a little after 1 p.m. Shortly thereafter, I underwent a root canal. My dentist, brother Andrew Dulaney, who is one of the elders of my overseeing congregation, advised me to spend at least one night in the area before resuming my stateside travels. As it turned out, the root canal was not completely satisfactory in alleviating my intense pain, and a second root canal was necessary; Wednesday, brother Drew Dulaney, brother Andy’s son, performed a second root canal on an adjoining tooth to the one that had recently been the object of a root canal.

A total of three night stays were required to attend to my ailment and to make sure I was satisfactorily treated before going onward. Fortunately, just a few weeks earlier brother W.E. and sister Judy Walker had made available to me a cabin on their property outside of Clinton, MS in which to lodge temporarily when in the area. It came in very handy.

Maywood Christian Camp (Hamilton, AL)

Maywood Christian Camp (Hamilton, AL)

Thursday, I once more pointed my Town & Country van toward Hamilton, AL for the 2016 Maywood Missionary Retreat, which is sponsored by World Evangelism. Each year, this program sees missionaries and interested brethren from around the world come together in a woodsy setting for a little lectureship and fellowship. Short and even shorter this year because of a scheduling error, nevertheless, all who go encourage and are encouraged.

It was good to be there, but for me a flood of memories brought tears to my eyes on several occasions. Last year, Bonnie was fervently doing her best to prolong her fleeting life long enough to assemble one final time with comrades in the ranks of fellow missionaries. She achieved that before passing away a few days later on May 18, 2015.

Friday night following the conclusion of the 2016 missionary retreat, I headed for home in Winona, MS. Again, my mouth was swelling from infection, and pain persisted relative to the two root canals that I had undergone a few days earlier. I did not feel either physically or emotionally well enough to attempt any weekend appointments, so I headed for my own bed, from which I had been absent for two weeks. I trudged on through heavy thunderstorms and flooding along the highways, but I made it home safely.

Upon arrival in Winona, I spent an hour and a half unloading the car and putting most things away. To my disappointment, I could not sleep more than an hour, and I got back up before returning to bed around 3:30 a.m. Saturday. All too soon, later in the morning, I arose for the day because I could sleep no longer.

There was work to be done, though, to which I needed to direct myself: laundry, watering the flowers and a host of things I didn’t feel like doing. The trouble was, however, that I didn’t feel like doing nothing either. Pacing myself and triaging what needs to be done, work provides needed focus to keep me from feelings of loneliness and sadness.

While getting patched up in Jackson, I worked at the Siwell Road Church of Christ’s meetinghouse with my portable office, giving attention to volume 89 of The Voice of Truth International magazine. Other brethren and I also scoped out what is necessary to install a kiosk to keep my sponsoring congregation abreast of my foreign travels. Amidst all of the pain and medicines, I did a fair amount of sleeping and resting, too. I don’t know what I would do with myself or how I would manage without purpose in my life and a commitment to serving our Lord Jesus Christ. As long as physical strength permits, I will continue in such as long as I live (Philippians 1:21; Revelation 22:20).

Home and Gone

May 3, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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