Archive for the ‘Overseas’ category

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.

Overdrive!

March 11, 2017

Six weeks ago about to begin the mission trip to Guyana

Things just did not go as planned! Nothing lately caused me more anxiety than the snafu involving Martha and my return from Guyana, South America. Nothing lately has been more costly than the glitch in our return from 6-week mission trip this year to “The Land of Many Waters.” Uugghh! Ratsofratso! Bless their hearts!

Surinam Airways delayed our flight from Georgetown to Miami by 7 hours! That caused us to miss our connecting flight from Miami non-stop to Memphis. Fixing up that mess cost us over $1,000 extra and put us a day later getting back to the USA—on Friday. In addition, rather than a direct flight between Miami and Memphis, we had to fly to Charlotte, NC. Layover in Miami was too short to get a hotel and too long to stay awake without somewhere to slouch even a little in the airport.

Martha and I dozed sitting upright in rigid, armrest corralled seating while in the airport, and we took advantage of plane time to check our eyelids from the inside for light leaks. Except for the catnaps, we were up for about 28 hours before arriving at our daughter Rebecca’s home in Collierville, TN. We had a difficult time deciding between showering, sleeping and eating, but showering won out, followed by eating some Ritz crackers. We were unable to sleep, and I proceeded to receive and make phone calls to catch up on many matters. Sleep that night was most welcome, but not quite adequate to compensate for sleeplessness leading up to it.

Saturday, Rebecca, Martha and I packed the van and headed out to Arkansas for Sunday appointments at two congregations in that state. Martha and I had left temperature highs in the 80’s, but now found the lows in the 30’s, first with rain dampening our travel—followed by big, wet snowflakes. We three lodged Saturday night in Batesville, AR, in preparation for worshipping Sunday with the Southside, AR Church of Christ in the morning and the Oil Trough, AR Church of Christ in the evening. The week ahead, Lord willing, will take us to Winona, MS; Benton, KY; Nashville, TN; Collierville, TN; Winona, MS again; across Alabama, to Valdosta, GA and to Ocala, FL. Whew! I’m worn out already! Not only is there a 2-hour time zone difference between Guyana and the USA, we need to factor in Daylight Savings Time tonight!

 

Robert’s Bush

March 4, 2017

96-dpi-4x6-roberts-bush-3Friday, March 3 was spent in earnest labors on the next Rushmore Newsletter, the February edition of Gospel Gazette Online (yes, I’m late) and a forthcoming issue of The Voice of Truth International. I finalized the efforts of Rebecca (back in the States), Martha and me on the Rushmore Newsletter, and I sent it digitally to a printing company in Michigan. Subsequently, I sent our newsletter information over the Internet to over 700 persons, some of whom responded almost immediately with congratulations on our marriage, which took place on New Year’s Day this year.

96-dpi-4x6-roberts-bush-1I also prepared and sent the next color postcard to be printed by the same firm. One side of the card shows Martha and me in a flat-bottomed boat, wearing ponchos in a pouring rain, with the tide out and experiencing difficulty getting to shore; the back of the postcard contains information about our mission work.

96-dpi-4x6-roberts-bush-2Saturday, March 4 marked the final 2017 Annual World Evangelism Guyana Nationwide Workshop for this year. It was hosted by the Robert’s Bush Church of Christ. It assembles about an hour from our base in Linden. That was Martha and my 16th seminar this year and over the past six weeks.

96-dpi-4x6-roberts-bush-4Several congregations were represented. Nigel Milo, Martha and I, as at other locations, taught all those present. Brother Milo and I took turns teaching the combined classes as well as classes for the men. Martha taught the ladies classes.

Though this year’s workshops throughout Guyana have just ended, we are already anticipating next year when we will do it all again, Lord willing. Martha has turned out to be a natural, consistently placing the teaching of the Word of God above what is unfamiliar and challenging to her in the surroundings and backdrop of an overseas destination. I think that brethren we encountered have benefitted from the effort of all three of us. However, we are edified and uplifted as much or more than anyone we have visited in Guyana. In any case, to God be the glory!

 Ruimveldt Church of Christ

March 2, 2017

96-dpi-4x6-ruimveldt-coc-martha-1Wednesday, March 1 was seminar #15, hosted by the Ruimveldt Church of Christ in Georgetown, Guyana, South America. About 20 from Linden, including Martha and me, attended that workshop, besides members from every other congregation in the area assembled with the brethren of the Ruimveldt congregation from 5 p.m. to after 7 p.m. Brother Nigel Milo and I presented lessons to all in attendance, and then, upon dividing, Martha taught the women while I taught the men. Despite losing electrical power temporarily—really not knowing for how long we would be without it—we prepared to press on. However, the electric was restored.

96-dpi-4x6-the-one-true-church-of-the-bible-guyanaWe were well received expressions of appreciation, not only for the night’s program, but also for the books and tracts that I have been shipping to Guyana and that have been distributed to the churches of Christ throughout Guyana. One brother had my tract, “The One True Church,” taped to the outside of his Bible, and another Christian had a tract by J.C. Choate taped to his Bible.

96-dpi-4x6-sunshiners-1Thursday, Martha and I joined the Sunshiners group, to which we had been invited to tag along, and 15 of us traveled to a park some distance out of Linden. The Sunshiners are “mature” Christians who get together once monthly for devotionals, a meal, snacks and games. Martha and I each had our turn to present a lesson. Of course, Martha spoke to the Christian ladies in the absence of Nigel and me—the rest were women.

One more seminar remains, and Lord willing, we will present that on Saturday from morning through afternoon. When at our base in Linden, the home of Nigel and Jasmine Milo, I also attend to The Voice of Truth International and Gospel Gazette Online magazines. Every once in a while, though, I need to take a few moments off—as we did today—whether I really want to or not. It was good to be invited and to interact with fellow Christians.

Lima Sands

February 26, 2017

96-dpi-4x6-lima-sands-4Friday February 24, throughout the day, I worked relentlessly on The Voice of Truth International, volume 92. Though I much prefer working with the alphabet over working with numbers, immersed in proofing and layout all day non-stop, nevertheless, leads to extreme dreariness. It was a relief of sorts that evening when Nigel Milo, Martha and I boarded the Toyota and headed toward our next World Evangelism Nationwide Guyana Workshop. At Georgetown, we took a left to cross the Demerara Harbour Bridge. Guyanese know what rivers are, and the Demerara is a good specimen of a real “river”—one and a quarter miles wide. The bridge spanning the Demerara River is a floating (i.e., anchored on barges) toll bridge with a peaked portion to permit small watercraft to cross beneath it and an additional retractable section to grant passage to larger river traffic (e.g., freighters).

96-dpi-4x6-lima-sands-11On the other side and not far from crossing the river, we proceeded to lodge at a “resort hotel” in preparation for continuation in the early morning (just a few hours later) onward toward Lima Sands, Guyana on the other side of mammoth Essequibo River—20 miles wide at its mouth!

96-dpi-4x6-lima-sands-9Friday night was a restless one for Martha and me as we made use of the modest accommodations (hot water not included). Noisy roomers adjacent our quarters and light leaks over the wall between the two rooms, from the hallway and above the curtains only contributed to our anxiousness as we awaited our 3:30 a.m. alarm to rouse us in anticipation of our 4 a.m. departure.

96-dpi-4x6-lima-sands-7Saturday, Brother Nigel drove the remaining 30 minutes or so to Parika, a river port on the eastern bank of the Essequibo River. By 5:10 a.m., we were aboard a car ferry as pedestrians and on our way for the approximately one hour transit across the big river, weaving through a sprinkling of islands. After disembarking and selecting a taxi, we headed over an hour away to Lima Sands, reachable for the last many minutes with extreme care over a muddy, rutty, gouged and grooved sand road.

96-dpi-4x6-lima-sands-6Doubtless, daily rains hampered travel for all attendees. Eventually, the little church building literally overflowed with Christian brothers and sisters. People were seated on the porch and in the yard, too! Attendance by several congregations swelled the attendance to over 100.

96-dpi-4x6-lima-sands-16Nigel, Martha and I presented lessons; Martha spoke to the ladies for the last hour. The program was punctuated with a lunch and snacks also. Brethren appreciated the program and look forward to repeating it next year, Lord willing, at a sister church in the area.

96-dpi-4x6-lima-sands-14Making a few stops along the way, we retraced our path back to Linden. We arrived, completely exhausted, about 8:30 p.m.

96-dpi-4x6-lima-sands-15Sunday back in Linden, we worshipped once more with the Amelia’s Ward Church of Christ. Again, I taught the morning Bible class in the auditorium, and then, I preached during the evening worship assembly.

96-dpi-4x6-lima-sands-13Saturday we completed 14 of the 16 scheduled programs at the various venues. Two more sites this week will complete the nationwide workshop for 2017. However, there remain some locations on which we are waiting to hear back about even more seminars before Martha and I return to the USA on March 9.

96-dpi-4x6-lima-sands-12There is no better “tired” than being tired for the Lord and in His service. Personally, I’m planning on resting when I’m dead!

Wednesday & Thursday Seminars

February 23, 2017

96-dpi-4x6-enmore-5Wednesday, February 22 Martha Lynn and I didn’t leave the Nigel and Jasmine Milo domicile until 5 p.m. Dutifully throughout the day, I worked at proofing and finishing the layout for Volume 92 of The Voice of Truth International. Volume 90 was distributed not long ago, and Volume 91 is at the printers presently; recently, we switched print production from Hong Kong, China to India.

96-dpi-4x6-enmore-4At the last moment and even a little beyond the appointed time, Martha and I sauntered from the Milo residence to the lot away to the meetinghouse for the Amelia’s Ward Church of Christ. The Annual World Evangelism Nationwide Guyana Workshop began about half an hour after the scheduled hour—right on time! Brother Nigel and I each spoke to the assembly in the auditorium, and then he and I took turns speaking to the men, while Martha addressed the ladies. The ladies in attendance, per usual, outnumbered the men. As often is the case, seminar attendees were treated to a meal by the hosting congregation.

96-dpi-4x6-enmore-3Thursday, we three moved the seminar to the Georgetown, Guyana, South America venue of the Enmore Church of Christ and Hope Children’s Home. Rain, rain, rain! Upon arrival in the capital city, we drove through seriously flooded streets. When we arrived at the facilities of the Enmore congregation and children’s home, we met a cleanup crew of adults and children as they rid the building of flood waters. An hour or so behind time to begin, but understandably so, once more, we three spoke in the traveling seminars.

96-dpi-4x6-enmore-6Afterward and taking advantage of a reprieve from the showers, we crossed over the seawall protecting Georgetown from the Atlantic Ocean. We walked a sandy beach strewn with water washed glass, shells and Hindu diyas (floating votives). Martha headed straight to the water, holding her skirt hem and wading ankle deep in the beige water.

96-dpi-4x6-enmore-7By the time we made a couple of stops and traveled back to Linden, I was worn out and the day was spent. Tomorrow, we will resume office duties, and I will work on The Voice of Truth International and Gospel Gazette Online. Our next workshop venue will be across the Essequibo River—requiring a very early morning departure if we wait until Saturday and expend the entire day before returning to Linden. Martha and I are still “honeymooning” in Guyana, so to speak—having the time of our lives in service of our Lord. May God be glorified and our fellows be edified!

Rose Hall

February 21, 2017

96-dpi-4x6-rose-hall-3 96-dpi-4x6-rose-hall-4Monday, February 20 was another day that the Lord has made, and Martha Lynn and I tried to use it wisely and effectively. Finally, I was able to complete and publish the January 2017 edition of Gospel Gazette Online to the Internet. (Tuesday, I made corrections to it that my daughter Rebecca came across as she proofed it.) Martha and I set up our mobile office on the Milo dining room table and did not accompany brother Nigel and sister Jasmine along with other church members as they went out into the community with the Word of God—as they do Monday, Wednesday and Friday each week. We stayed behind to try to catch up on some of our office duties, which were hindered somewhat by our forays to all 10 regions (states) of Guyana over the past four weeks. (Two weeks remain for our efforts this year in Guyana.)

96-dpi-4x6-rose-hall-5 96-dpi-4x6-rose-hall-2After lunch, brother Nigel, Martha and I set out on a 4-hour road trip to the community of Rose Hall, Guyana, South America. Brethren from several congregations of the Lord’s church assembled in the meetinghouse of the Williamsburg Church of Christ. The building sits on the main road, unlike most of the sites where Christians assemble in the venues to which we have gone lately; sometimes in some places, especially in the interior of the country, there is no road at all!

96-dpi-4x6-rose-hall-1Nigel and I spoke one lesson each to the combined group of attendees before splitting into classes for men and women, whereupon I taught the men and Martha taught the women. This was one of those occasions in which far more sisters in Christ had come versus the number of men present. The same was true formerly from time to time when Bonnie and I traveled to various places in several countries. I’m pleased that God is served and glorified while brethren are edified, even if my wife headlines and I happen to be the opening act, to borrow terminology from the so-called entertainment industry. To God be the glory!

96-dpi-4x6-martha-marthaBy the way, Martha happened on another, younger version of Martha. I snapped a picture of the two of them together. Especially Martha makes friends everywhere she goes; she is more outgoing than I am or Bonnie was. That’s a good thing. Truly, brethren we have not met are only Christian friends to whom we have not been introduced yet.

To and from Rose Hall, and other excursions elsewhere on other days, we traveled through some curiously named villages. We drove through the Land of Canaan, the Garden of Eden, Now or Never, Rebecca’s Lust and so forth. Recently, we met a brother from the village of Free and Easy. I wonder how those hamlets derived their names!96-dpi-4x6-garden-of-eden-1 96-dpi-4x6-rebeccas-lust-1