Archive for the ‘Moral Encouragement’ category

Crying in the Night

May 25, 2016

This time, it wasn’t me – crying in the night. Recently, my phone rang and woke me from my sleep at 2:00 a.m. It’s a wonder that my new ringtone roused me at all – “Ring, ring, pick up the phone” by the Vienna Boys’ Choir.

On the other end of the call was the sobbing of a dear friend who became a widow about six months ago. Those alone moments sneak up on us sometimes and simply overpower us. She knew that she could call me anytime day or night and that I wouldn’t begrudge her calling me even in the wee hours of the morning. We talked for an hour and a half as though it were only fifteen or twenty minutes. For the most part I maintained my composure, and my dear sister in Christ made it through the night just a little more easily.

Sometimes we are strong, and sometimes we are weak. Sometimes we can uplift others who are hurting, and sometimes we need to be propped up ourselves. Together, we limp along through a difficult passageway.

Since I became a widower one year ago, I appear to be part of an informal network of Christian widows and widowers. Some of them are those with whom I worship from time to time locally or in various congregations to which I go in my travels. Others are scattered from Ohio to Florida to Texas.

Each of us knows what it is to cry in the night in grief and in loneliness. Each of us knows the painful realization that most of our Christian hymns are about heaven or death, which refresh us with the sense of recent loss. Each of us march two steps ahead and falter one step backward in our relentless progress toward healing. Each of us comes to know firsthand that the pain which we are experiencing will never go away, though we are assured by those who before us have known the same throbbing agony that in time we will be able to tolerate it more easily.

All we who have loved and have lost half of ourselves in the loss of spouses, whether or not sobbing aloud, in a sense have found ourselves crying in the night. Helping each other and assisted by caring Christian brethren, we will persevere until it is our time to depart this temporary sphere and its trappings. We may feel that we are irreparably broken, but we are not hopelessly undone as we strongly suspect; life goes on for us – until it doesn’t. In the meantime, may we lend ourselves to godly living and Christian service.

A Little Hiatus

May 21, 2016
Therman & Sadie

Therman & Sadie

I took a little hiatus from daily duties for Tuesday, May 17 through Friday, May 20. I decided to get out of the house and out of town to try and brace myself against potentially overpowering sorrow were I to remain alone on the anniversary of Bonnie’s death. Brother Therman and sister Sadie Hodge graciously allowed me to live with them for a while.

Before heading to the Hodge Lodge on Tuesday, I went into the office/warehouse and managed to do some hours work. On the way out of Winona, I mailed letters and a package at the post office in town. Many of my drives to various destinations are longer than Tuesday’s trek, but for whatever reason, the 2½ road trip to the outskirts of Meridian, Mississippi seemed especially long. It was raining some outside the car as well as a little down my cheeks, too.

10 Commandments at Mexican restaurant

10 Commandments at Mexican restaurant

Wednesday was the one-year anniversary of Bonnie’s passing. However, in the company of Therman and Sadie, I got through the day very well. That evening, I was pleased to visit my good friends and Christian brethren of the Union, MS Church of Christ, where the Hodges worship.

Thursday was another good day. Perhaps some of what made good days was not only the fellowship of caring Christian friends, but also some the little local excursions on which we went together; we dined out on several occasions, and Sadie and Therman fixed some tasty meals at the house also. Therman and I also retrieved his repaired riding lawnmower – from a hole in the wall bait shop of all places! In addition, he and I went for a ride one day to a local power plant, which is built over top of an extensive bed of coal.

Some of the Christian friends

Some of the Christian friends

Besides the Hodges, we interacted with two other couples. All of us ate one evening at the Chunky River Fish Camp – a rustic setting sporting good food. The Hodges and I also ate at one of the finest Mexican restaurants that I had ever encountered anywhere. We tried on one occasion to eat act Cracker Barrel, but we happened to have arrived just after a Canadian tour bus from French-speaking Quebec just unloaded and got in line; instead, we baled

from there and landed at McAlister’s Deli.


Power Plant

Power Plant

Friday morning, I retraced my steps to Winona, MS. I managed to get a little work done on my mobile office, but office work wasn’t the primary focus of my evacuation from where I live. Today (Saturday), is the anniversary of Bonnie’s funeral, but I appear to be doing as well or better than especially other days this month of May. Perhaps this milestone will be an important piece in the overall healing process through which I am going. I will always love my dear, departed wife, coworker and life’s companion.

BIG Shovel!

BIG Shovel!

Yet, even today from the comfort and convenience of my own living room, I succeeded in completing a literary commitment on which I have been working for many months on behalf of others. I will press ahead, feebly at times for sure, but I will press ahead, hoping to glorify God and edify many precious fellow souls across the planet in the time that may remain for me on earth.

Just another Day in the Lives of Some of God’s Servants

June 9, 2015
96 dpi 5x7 Ricky Gootam Family1

Pictured around the table from the front left are Rebecca Rushmore, Sudeepa & Justin Gootam, Jerry & Paula Bates, Ricky Gootam, Betty Choate and Barbara Oliver. Louis Rushmore is taking the picture.

Monday, June 8 was a day filled with diverse activity. Anticipating rainy weather (again), Rebecca and I worked a little in the yard that morning. The string trimmer in which I devoted some money lately just wouldn’t start for me. So, gassed up, newly loaded with trimming line, having had the carburetor just rebuilt and fuel lines replaced, I set it down near the road with a “Free” sign on it. Not many hours later, it just walked away apparently into someone else’s yard. (I need to be careful that a lawnmower or some other piece of equipment doesn’t run out of fuel too close to the road for fear some passerby will mistake it for something else I am giving away to a new home. I have given a few things away on purpose that way and don’t want to give something I’m still using away accidentally!) Alas, after exhaustive research (my way of buying something that drove my wife mad), I bought a replacement string trimmer – a good one at a fair price. Rebecca helped me gather up the trim branches and bushes that respectively were hanging low or protruding into the yard that I had wacked off with a battery-powered hedge trimmer.

96 dpi 5x7 Ricky Gootam Family2After cleaning ourselves up, we proceeded to the World Evangelism Building. There, coworker Jerry Bates graciously agreed to pack a couple of book orders that arrived in my email box while I worked on publishing Gospel Gazette Online for June to the Internet. It took me a while to finalize it and upload it, but by yesterday afternoon, Number 17, Volume 6 of GAZ began to make its way into the homes of over 1,600 subscribers plus non-subscribers, too.

Paula Bates had prepared a meal to accommodate local World Evangelism team members as well as special guests. Brother Ricky Gootam, his wife Sudeepa and their 7-year-old child Justin were visiting us in Winona, MS from Kakinada, India. We work with the Gootams among others throughout our evangelistic efforts in India. Before we noticed, it was 7 p.m.

Sister Sudeepa accepted my gift of national dress from India and Myanmar that formerly Bonnie wore when we traveled to those two countries. Sudeepa had given Bonnie one of the outfits one time while we were in Kakinada.

Finally last night (working on it to nearly midnight), Rebecca and I prepared for mailing Thank You cards to some of the many Christians who attended to our needs preceding and during the funeral for my beloved wife Bonnie. There is no way to adequately express our appreciation for the good deeds, kindnesses and prayers performed on our behalf at this fragile and difficult time for my family and me.

On a slightly brighter note, over $6,000 so far has been contributed so far by individual Christians and congregations of the Lord’s church for a memorial fund for Bonnie. All proceeds will be used to provide Bibles and Christian literature in the foreign nations to which Bonnie and I took the Gospel of Christ these past years. Bonnie and I have been overwhelmed by various overtures of brethren toward us during her struggle these past three years with pancreatic cancer. I am no less stunned by the turnout for her funeral, the hundreds of letters, cards, phone calls, emails, texts, Facebook posts, etc., as well as the outpouring of monetary gifts as a tribute and memorial to her labors for the Lord – which continue to live on after her. Some of the responses we receive from around the world are from souls we have never met, but who have reveled in our writings that have preceded us and gone farther than we could go.

My emotions are on a rollercoaster, and I am exceedingly lonely without Bonnie despite being surrounded by family and Christian friends. Nevertheless, I bolster my weak moments with a resolve to redeem the time while I may, working as diligently for the Lord as I can while for me time remains. I further resolve to conduct myself daily in such a way to be holy and honor my wife, so that one day I, too, might rest from my labors with the spirit of my Bonnie and heaven’s park bench inside those pearly gates of heaven. Brethren, please continue to pray for me.

New Chemo Regimen Begins

April 19, 2015

96 dpi 8x10 in bloom1

96 dpi 8x10 in bloom2

96 dpi 8x10 in bloom3Bonnie asked for a picture to be taken of our blooming azalea bushes in front of our home, which I was glad to do. I also included the hanging, flowering baskets and the birdfeeders. All of the birds, though, were camera shy. The Rushmore bird café offers sunflower seeds and humming bird nectar. Aside from the hummingbirds, a gallery of birds visit our avian diner, including beautiful, brilliant red cardinals, some gold finches, other finches, wrens and an unidentified bird – plus an ingenuous woodpecker. Too large for even the larger of the two birdfeeders, it hangs upside down and cranes its neck up to feed on the sunflower seeds.

Wednesday, April 15 is doubtless an infamous day to many Americans – the deadline for filing annual federal income taxes. For Bonnie, though, it was also the day on which her new regimen of chemotherapy began. We left Winona, MS for Jackson, MS around 9 a.m. to make the hour and a half journey to Jackson Oncology at Baptist Health Systems (hospital). The infusion of chemo drugs and other medicines took about five hours. Upon completion of that, an additional chemo drug was introduced in conjunction with an accompanying pump in a satchel for Bonnie to wear or hang on the bedpost at night for the next three days at home. Happily, none of the side effects about which we were warned occurred during the session on Wednesday. Weary and tired, Bonnie and I returned to Winona.

Thursday we worked at the office for a few hours, and I packed the van for a display at the mission Sunday to be hosted by the Siwell Road Church of Christ on the south side of Jackson, MS. About 10 p.m. Bonnie began to have severe back pain. All night long and through Friday afternoon and early evening, Bonnie had nausea, vomiting and excruciating pain. Neither of us slept well through all of that, and we were both exhausted during the day Friday.

After lunch, we drove to Jackson in torrential rains for Bonnie’s appointment to have the chemo pump removed. To address the nausea, a new, additional medication was prescribed, and Bonnie was advised to take the pain medicine more regularly and to take two pills at a time.

Friday and Saturday nights we lodged with one of the elders and his wife of our sponsoring congregation – the Siwell congregation. Saturday, I put up two banquet tables of display material for World Evangelism. That evening back at the home of our host and hostess, brother and sister Leggett, I was able to prepare computer files to be sent off to the printing company for the next issue of The Voice of Truth International.

Sunday, Bonnie and I worshipped with the Siwell church. A fellowship meal was sandwiched between morning worship and a 1 p.m. assembly. Four missionaries, including myself, had opportunity to update all present regarding our labors for the Lord. Afterward, Bonnie and I returned home to Winona. At the house and having Internet available once more, I sent the files for volume 84 of The Voice of Truth International to the printing company in South Carolina.

Later in the evening, Bonnie again began experiencing serious pain and nausea. Whenever she can sleep through it all, she seems to have some release from the intensity and discomfort of both. Bonnie is very tired, but she is a fighter, and as long as she can, she heartily applies herself to the work of Jesus Christ.

As I close, we are under a tornado watch. Presently, we have a nasty thunderstorm going through again. The lights are flickering. Pain, suffering, storms and such like are temporary speed bumps on the road to eternity. In the meantime, with help and encouragement of many brethren and friends, we press on.

Weekly our dining room fills with get well cards. Daily we received phone calls, visits, emails, texts and Facebook correspondence. The other evening, we received a phone call from a dear brother in India. Wednesday, we came to find out, a congregation in Guyana, South America was fasting and praying for Bonnie while she was undergoing five hours of treatment. In America, we have added an “e” to “fasting” and enjoy “feasting.” Elsewhere in the world, brethren still fast and pray. In Bonnie’s words, we are “humbled” by such encouragement by brethren toward us. Our church family worldwide buoys our spirits at a very difficult time in our lives. Thank you one and all.

A Good Week!

March 20, 2015
All women volunteers so we pressed some of the women into roles into which we normally put men. Here working in the warehouse is the preacher's wife at the West President church of Christ, Sheila Shiers.

All women volunteers so we pressed some of the women into roles into which we normally put men. Here working in the warehouse is the preacher’s wife at the West President church of Christ, Sheila Shiers.

The week beginning Sunday, March 15 was a good week from various perspectives. I am happy to report that Bonnie acclaimed this week the best week health wise that she has experienced in many weeks. That is not to say that health related challenges have not punctuated her daily life, but overall Bonnie has felt better than she has felt literally for months. In addition, it has also been a good week regarding the visitors who have come by the World Evangelism Building in Winona, MS to help us.

Sunday between Bible class and worship with the Old Union church of Christ, the preacher inquired of me regarding the possibility of forthcoming assistance to Bonnie and me with our mounting medical expenses. Likewise, before Wednesday evening Bible class with the West President church of Christ, an elder approached me regarding the same subject and the possibility of the congregation also helping us with our burdensome medical bills—mostly relative to Bonnie’s ongoing battle with pancreatic cancer, but this year also my emergency surgery for an inflamed and enlarged gallbladder. Though we have not been campaigning for medical funds, we appreciate the thoughtfulness of individual Christians and congregations of the Lord’s church who voluntarily have offered to help. Furthermore, the non-stop flow of get well cards, texts, emails, etc. uplift our spirits in a very trying time to our morale.

Tuesday, a sister in Christ representing the Old Union congregation came to the World Evangelism Building to help Bonnie and me to process for mailing our most recent Rushmore Newsletter. Sister Betty Choate helped, along with sister Barbara Oliver and a sister in Christ visiting from Tasmania. Besides our mailing, we finished preparing for shipment single issues of Volume 83 of The Voice of Truth International; that included double rubber-banding packets of 10 envelopes and placing them into mail sacks.

Thursday, sisters in Christ volunteering from the West President church of Christ met us at the office/warehouse to help with additional mailings. Many of the ladies processed sister Choate’s newsletter for mailing. A couple of other ladies helped me prepare about 75 packages (mostly cases of The Voice of Truth International) for shipment throughout the States and to American territories or military posts abroad; one of those sisters in Christ helping me is from Nigeria. We also packaged hundreds of Spanish books and Spanish editions of The Voice of Truth International magazine that eventually will make their way to Peru; I made arrangements to hand off this literature to a congregation in Tuscaloosa, AL in a few days on my way to a speaking appointment in Huntsville, AL.

Throughout the week we have fulfilled orders for English and Spanish language Christian literature, which we have packed and taken to the local post office. Thankfully, the day I took around 75 boxes, two of the ladies helped me load the van as well as unload it onto the post office’s back loading dock. Bonnie has worked on Volume 84 of The Voice of Truth International and I have worked on both the April issue of Gospel Gazette Online and a new book of mine on sermon outlines.

Friday was a medical treatment day an hour and a half away from our home in Jackson, MS. First, we had a 9:30 a.m. appointment for yet another paracentesis for Bonnie; another 3+ liters of fluid was drained from her abdomen. Following that, we shared a sandwich at a hospital eatery (it has several) before heading for her next appointment for chemotherapy. Between the distances we travel each way and the appointments, we certainly consume a whole day. We also use these outings to do some necessary shopping and, of course, the car wants fed, too. Since Bonnie’s appetite came back this week, too, and she was hungry, we shared a nice meal at Olive Garden on the way out of town.

Overall, Bonnie is trudging forward with its accompanying emotional ups and downs. She and I are both thrilled that she may be on the verge of feeling a little better more often. Bonnie still tires easily and continues to lose weight. On April 3, she will have another CT scan to compare with the previous CT scan, by which the oncologist will reevaluate future treatment. We continue to covet the prayers of our brothers and sisters in Christ around the globe. Thank you.

Flurry of Activity

March 7, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Biopsy and Day-to-Day

October 3, 2014

Wednesday morning, Bonnie and I made our way once more from Winona, MS to Jackson, MS – a journey that has become ever so repetitive especially as we seek medical treatment for Bonnie in her bought with pancreatic cancer, etc. I invited Bonnie and me to lunch with Ken and Johnnie Gardner at Cracker Barrel at their expense. How brazen of me! Actually, brother Ken had ordered a dozen of my book Beverage Alcohol, and in exchange for delivery charges I requested lunch and some quality time with these good brethren. Through the generosity of a Christian family, we are able to provide that title for free plus shipping while supplies last; we have distributed nearly 20,000 copies. I also included in the handoff some copies of my tract “To Drink or Not to Drink.” Bonnie and I enjoyed the meeting with these dear ones with whom we have been acquainted for nearly four decades.

After making a few purchases, namely refueling the Gospel chariot, we made our way to the meetinghouse of the Siwell Road Church of Christ. Before evening Bible class, Bonnie and I met with the elders, a preacher and a deacon regarding our mission work, which the eldership oversees. These fine men always encourage and uplift us.

Following Bible class, two of the elders and additional church members and we supped at McAlister’s; Bonnie and I each tried a variety of soup, which was adventurous for us since we had largely restricted our menu sampling at that eatery franchise to baked potatoes. Once more we were encouraged and enjoyed ourselves. Then, we tailgated one of the elders to his home where he and his wife hosted us for the night. That put us in a comfortable position to meet Bonnie’s morning appointment at Baptist Health Systems for a biopsy. We are grateful to brCoke Machineother Andrew and sister Dana Dulaney for their hospitality. I snapped a picture in the morning on my way out the door of a big, big, adorable knickknack in their kitchen – an old Coca Cola machine.

Thursday, October 2 was spent mostly at the hospital for Bonnie’s biopsy. We arrived back in Winona at 3 p.m., and Bonnie promptly went to bed – cold and with shivers. Hours later, she resurrected and came to the living room, whereupon she ate a little soup. Not long after that, she became nauseated and returned to bed. Every day for her is one of abdominal pain, back pain, sometimes nausea and off and on low-grade fever, but none of the medical personnel have a solution or even a diagnosis. The best we have been able to ascertain so far is that Bonnie is part of the 20% who undergo Whipple surgery for pancreatic cancer who have these or similar lifelong difficulties. Still, most days find Bonnie putting in full days at the office or until she needs to resort to the recliner, couch or bed for a little pep-me-up rest. Working and doing something meaningful helps one focus on something besides discomforts.

Maybe sometime next week we will be apprised of the result of the biopsy. The plausible possibilities are a resurgence of cancer or scar tissue. It remains to be seen if either of us presently will be able to resume what’s left of our mission trip to Asia in 2014; we are only cancelling our flights a little at a time to see if we can catch up to our schedule. Thank you for your interest and prayers.

Whew! Glad That’s Done

August 20, 2014

The week of August 10, Bonnie and I were still the lone team members in town. Our week was consumed with various office duties, including shipping out orders daily to individual Christians and congregations, preparing our newsletter digitally for sending to the printing company we use, and a BIG mailing. Wednesday and Friday combined, we had prepared and mailed 995 letters to Christians and churches of Christ, encouraging them to participate financially with Bonnie and me in our upcoming nearly nine-week mission trip to four Asian countries. Over the next four weeks, we need to gather sufficient funds to permit us to labor in the Gospel at several venues in Myanmar and India, plus single sites respectively in Sri Lanka and Singapore. It is quite a puzzle trying to schedule all of the activities, flights, land travel, lodging, etc.

Saturday morning, I was able to finalize the digital files for the next issue of The Voice of Truth International and get it mailed to the printing company. Saturday afternoon, Bonnie and I aimed the Gospel chariot toward McMinnville, Tennessee, where I was to speak at two congregations on Sunday; however, we lodged that night in Manchester, TN.

Sunday morning, Bonnie and I assembled with the Pleasant Cove Church of Christ, one of our monthly supporters. I showed the PowerPoint “2014 Guyana Mission Trip” during Bible class, and then for a.m. worship, I preached “Understanding How God Communicates with Mankind, Today?” Afterward, the congregation and we enjoyed a fellowship meal together. Often, we manage to visit a congregation (unwittingly) on potluck Sunday, or as in this case the brethren used our visit as an occasion to get together and eat. Either way, it works for me!

Sunday afternoon, Bonnie and I enjoyed the hospitality of brother Ray and sister Charlotte Weddington in their living room. They have been long time encouragers and supporters of Bonnie and me in our efforts for the Lord. Brother Ray especially likes Gospel Gazette Online (Website: and has been a faithful reader for many years of its 16-year history.

Sunday evening, the West Riverside Church of Christ was gracious enough to permit me to make the PowerPoint presentation about our 2014 mission trip to Guyana, South America. We are always cordially received there, too.

After grabbing a sandwich apiece in Manchester, TN, we continued a little further to Tullahoma, TN where we lodged for the evening. Heavy rain fell overnight and continued throughout the following day as we journeyed onward. We stopped for a few hours in Florence, AL where we met up with brother Wayne and sister Janet Barrier. We all conversed over a tasty meal at Red Lobster. Next, we stopped by Heritage Christian University in Florence, whereupon we unloaded two boxes of books for Joey Barrier to use in a new mission studies over which he is the director at HCU. It was good to see his sister Jenny, too, who came by. Finally, we continued toward Winona, MS, arriving back after dark on Monday.

Ditch DiggingOver the last three weeks, I have been digging a ditch to lead rainwater away from our carport and woodshop, which have been flooding. Actually, I think the ditch has been working on me as well; I’ve about come to the conclusion that at my age I have dug my last ditch! Of course, much of the time found me swinging an ax to displace pine tree roots the size of my upper thigh. If that were not daunting enough, the ground was so hard that I had to use a pickax to break up the ground. Wednesday morning, I was able to put the last of the pea gravel atop the perforated pipe that I buried and connected to other underground pipe installed last year. Lastly, I applied silicone caulk to seams in downspout connections to buried pipe, which had been leaking severely and contributing greatly to flooding in the woodshop. Whew! Glad that’s done.

Bonnie continues to face medical challenges on a daily basis. The extensive surgery under which she went to combat pancreatic cancer has left her with the inability to eat and digest her food properly. Day and night she experiences pains over which she cannot gain control. Nevertheless, she and I persist in the work for the Lord that lies ahead of us. We hope to remain tools in the hands of God as long as we live. Please pray for us.

Runaway Train!

April 1, 2014

Train1 CLIPARTCOMLike a runaway train, the hours and days have been rushing by so rapidly that Bonnie and I have hardly been able catch our breath. Consequently, we are way behind in posting our blog. You, the Reader, may not have missed the words herein as much as I at least need the therapy from jotting it down.

Thursday morning March 20th, Bonnie and I both had dental cleanings scheduled in Jackson, Mississippi. Rather than return to Winona, Mississippi following Wednesday evening Bible class at the Siwell Road Church of Christ, we stayed over in a hotel not far from Thursday’s appointment; we steal our down time whenever and wherever we can snatch a few precious moments. Besides, staying overnight in Jackson saved us four hours of driving time.

train wreck1 CLIPARTCOMAfter working around the office Thursday afternoon and all day Friday, Bonnie and I packed the car and headed for Rebecca’s home once more. Gluttons for punishment I guess, we worked for hours in our daughter’s yard that night and Saturday. I think we raked and hauled to the curb over two weekends two or three years of leaves and yard debris – enough to keep the city busy besides what the whole neighborhood had to offer.

Sunday morning March 23rd, Bonnie and I were pleased to worship with the Collierville, Tennessee Church of Christ. Rebecca has been an active member with these good brethren since her graduation the first time from Freed Hardeman University. We ate at one of our two usual haunts for Sunday lunch out – McAllister’s. That afternoon following second worship from 1:30 p.m. to about 2:30 p.m., we struck out for Walls, Mississippi and the Lake Forest Church of Christ. It was my good pleasure to make my new PowerPoint presentation about our recent month-long mission trip to Guyana, South America. Afterward, Bonnie and I enjoyed a fellowship meal with the congregation; it had been two years since we had visited them, and we were glad to renew our fellowship with them. Parting from them, we made the lonely, nighttime drive down I-55 back to Winona.

was another day at the office, buried under the usual, unending workload of behind the scenes activities that make the visible aspect of our work possible. Tuesday and Wednesday, we had another visitor in Winona – at the office and in our home. It was our privilege to host brother Ken Upchurch, who has undertaken acquainting churches with various facets of the World Evangelism work. He hopes to persuade brethren to participate financially, particularly regarding the new Bible curriculum – the dream and pet project of sister Betty Choate for a couple decades now, but now a work in progress.

Train2 CLIPARTCOMAfter lunch on Wednesday, Bonnie and I traveled back to Jackson, Mississippi. Our first stop upon arrival in the capitol city was to visit brother Gene Gibson in a rehab hospital. He was asleep, and his wife Madolyn had stepped away. Earlier in the day, we had stopped by their Winona home to pick up clothes and other items to bring them.

Next, we sauntered into the Best Buy store not far from there. Our laptop computers – the only computers that we use and that we cart around stateside and abroad – have been giving us warning signs of failure (e.g., broken and missing pieces off the external cases, error messages about failing USB ports and graphics card). Reluctantly, we purchased two replacements. Our reluctance pertains to the expenditure as well as the heartache of transferring data and programs from computer to computer times two. Compounding our misery, we replaced our three-year old dinosaur-like cell phones that thrust us into the 21st century; goodbye Blackberry!

For days after we stumbled through setting up computers and smartphones! I’m afraid that we’ve permanently burnt out some brain cells ahead of time over all of that. Both the computers and the phones were valid upgrades that will help us do our work more efficiently, but in the future, we would be well-advised not to do computers and phones at the same time. Doing both at the same time makes about as much sense as having both feet operated on at the same time!

For Bible class at Siwell Road Church of Christ that night, I taught my lesson, “Did Dinosaurs Really Exist?” (This involved Job chapters 40 and 41.) I jumped ahead a little bit from where we had been studying in the Book of Job. We also finished the last of the discussions between Job and his so-called, three friends.

Train3 CLIPARTCOMThursday March 27th, some sisters from the Huntsville Church of Christ in French Camp, Mississippi helped Bonnie and sister Betty Choate process her newsletter for mailing. Later that afternoon, sister Choate helped Bonnie and me process our newsletter for mailing. Friday, Bonnie and I continued processing the Rushmore Newsletter for bulk mailing. We were able to send most of it out that afternoon, but we had to leave 289 pieces for the following Monday. Saturday was cold and rainy, so we didn’t leave the house; we worried ourselves over transferring information between computers and fretting about installation of our programs into the Windows 8.1 operating environment.

Sunday morning March 30th, Bonnie and I wended our way through the tar and chip as well as gravel roads to the Old Union Church of Christ. During Bible class, I made my PowerPoint presentation about our Guyana mission trip this February. Later, I preached about “Understanding How God Communicates with Mankind, Today.” Despite some regular members being absent, the meetinghouse was full; brethren from sister congregations, family, friends and neighbors attended worship and stayed for a fellowship meal together. The setting is shrouded delightfully by forest around a clearing in which an old, white frame church building stands, surrounded by an equally old cemetery. Sunday evening, we worshipped with the Batesville, Mississippi Church of Christ, whereupon I once more made my PowerPoint presentation about our Guyana mission work this year. Covered by the darkness of night, we made our way wearily back to our Winona home.

train wreck3 CLIPARTCOMMonday throughout the day, Bonnie and I finished preparation of our newsletter mailing. Altogether, we sent out between Friday and Monday around 1,000 printed accounts awash in color pictures of our February month-long mission trip to Guyana. We also just about completed transfer of information to the new computers; we have yet to install or replace and install crucial programs for our work in publishing The Voice of Truth International magazine and other literary works. Proverbially speaking, we are pulling out our hair to the point of baldness (figuratively) – more dead brain cells! We shipped several packages of books and tracts, both stateside and abroad, too.

If that wasn’t enough, when we went home for the evening, Bonnie and I dug up flowers for transplanting; worked new, rich dirt into the front flower bed adjacent to the driveway and planted 12 blooming flowers. We had purchased the new dirt and flowers a week ago, and we were trying to keep the plants from freezing to death by keeping them in the carport shed. Guess what we will be doing tomorrow evening – with all of the plants that need to be transplanted and eight more cubic feet of new dirt.

train wreck2 CLIPARTCOMOur train may be running at full tilt – a sure enough runaway, but we are trying our best to keep it from jumping the track. Famously, we would look for the light at the end of the mythical tunnel, but we are certain that all we see is the oncoming headlamp of a freight train bearing down upon us! We’ll not have a train wreck on our watch if we have anything to say about it.

Weary Weekend Warriors

January 25, 2014

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Weekend Warriors can refer to a lot of different scenarios depending upon the context under consideration. We had our share of weary, Winona, weekend warriors Saturday, January 25, 2014. Several families from the Collierville, TN Church of Christ made their annual descent on the World Evangelism Building. They helped us attend to some of the things we can’t seem to find time to do on our own as we apply ourselves to various other aspects of our domestic and overseas evangelism.

We had one member of the Siwell Rd. Church of Christ in Jackson, MS (besides Bonnie and me) who came up, too; he met up with his sister, brother-in-law and niece who came from Collierville. Of course, Betty Choate was there as well—bringing the total present for the workday to 20. Our youngest helper was 4-years-old; she really did help some and did a lot of playing, also. Other than three teenagers, the balance ranged from young adults to 82-years-old.

All of us fellowshipped in a number of ways. We worked together, and we ate together. It was a gloriously, good time while doing some of the chores behind the scenes in stateside and worldwide evangelism.

The tasks accomplished included a partial inventory of books, The Voice of Truth International invoice mailing preparation, preparation and packaging of shipments of sample The Voice of Truth International magazines to book stores and schools of preaching, preparation and packaging of The Voice of Truth International and other literature to churches of Christ throughout the Philippines, shredding unneeded financial reports, restocking books on the racks from which we draw to fulfill requests for literature, inventorying over 100 tract titles, cleaning, trimming the shrubs outside, shrink wrapping and cataloging books printed stateside and overseas, relocation of old or non-functioning computer equipment, ordering a refurbished internal part for a color LaserJet printer, transferring computer files from a retired computer to a new computer as well as setting up the new computer’s email program, preparation of a mailing for sister Choate to prospective donors, restocking of tract bins from which we fulfill requests for literature, stitching together three short videos for Betty Choate to be used at the opening of a meetinghouse for the Lord’s church in Pakistan, and counting and rubber banding packets of 25 tracts to facilitate easier fulfillment of requests. The jobs were varied, and there was something for everyone.

We have groups from various congregations visit us for workdays throughout each year, and we greatly appreciate each one, but no bunch of Christians are more enthusiastic than those from the Collierville Church of Christ. They no more than finish one task and they are begging for the next job that they might seek to accomplish. Any group of Christians who come to help do weeks worth of needful activities in a smidgeon of the time it would take the five of us (Betty Choate, Jerry and Paula Bates, Louis and Bonnie Rushmore) who live daily in Winona and work in the World Evangelism Building.

Everyone worked hard, except maybe for me; I was here and there, and I stole away to remake a page of the next issue of The Voice of Truth International that didn’t turn out right; then, I resubmitted it as an attachment to email to the printing company in South Carolina. Some of the youngsters played hard, including hide-and-seek; we either have some LARGE mice with pretty brown eyes and cute noses, or our 4-year-old visitor was peeking out of her hiding place.