Archive for the ‘Overseas’ category

Homeward Bound, Again

March 5, 2018

Martha and I winged our way from the United States to Guyana, South America on Tuesday, January 30. Five weeks later, we flew back to the USA on March 6.

During our 2018 visit to Guyana, we conducted simultaneously a workshop on “Back to the Bible” and a seminar on “How We Got the Bible.” The workshop was intended to edify and encourage Christians throughout the country, and especially the seminar was for enriching the knowledge base of preachers and teachers. Both teaching forums were hosted by various congregations throughout nine of the ten regions in the nation. Our modes of travel once inside Guyana included car, buses, small planes, a ferry and water taxis.

A hearty “Thank You” is due to brother Nigel Milo who arranges and directs the program annually. He also is one of the three speakers. Brother Thomas George and I were the other two speakers, and Martha had occasions during which she taught ladies’ classes. Brother George is a highly competent and diligent, as well as a humble, servant of God. We couldn’t have had a better companion for bringing about the workshops and the seminars than him. I believe that he and I established a good friendship. He and I also entered into a working relationship where brother Thomas George will mentor 16 small, remotely isolated churches of Christ among Amerindians. (He will be doing all of the work, actually.)

Some of the places to which we went with the Gospel this year included Lethem, Paramakatoi, Port Kaituma, Hosororo, Matthew’s Ridge, Kildonan, Kitty, Enmore, the Essequibo coast and Linden. We passed through such illustrious sounding named villages as Now or Never, Land of Canaan, and Garden of Eden.

The hospitality was grand, particularly at our base in Linden in the home of the Milos. Our strategy has always been and remains to major in edification and minor in evangelism, both thrusts being necessary to result in a spiritual harvest (1 Corinthians 3:6). We think that we achieved our goal this year, too; and we are already planning for 2019 workshops and seminars, if our Lord wills.

 

Included herein are some of the photos from our various venues. In addition, pictures and videos are available at https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100008025647862 Thank you for making it possible for Martha and me to help encourage and edify our precious Guyanese brothers and sisters.

As the Calendar Page Turns

January 1, 2018

Upon our return from a mission trip in three Asian countries, preceded by a mission trip of two weeks in South America, Martha and I found ourselves wearily entering into the Thanksgiving holiday. We flew into Florida and promptly drove to Mississippi, where we were joined by my daughter Rebecca. Later after a few days at the office, Martha and I returned to Florida, where we enjoyed Christmas holidays with my three children as well as one of Martha’s sons, his wife and their three children.

December 31, we assembled for worship with two congregations not far from our Ocala, Florida home. In the morning, we once more visited the Wildwood Church of Christ, whereupon its two elders ably handled the Bible class and the preaching (1 Timothy 3:2) in the absence of their pulpit preacher. That evening, we met with the Bellview Church of Christ, my first occasion to gathering with these brethren. In both places, I left copies of The Voice of Truth International and the Rushmore Newsletter.

Upon Martha and me returning to Ocala, Rebecca apprised me of the final proofing corrections for Gospel Gazette Online, and I published it to the Internet. New Year’s Day, I notified the nearly 2,000 subscribers to the Internet journal of its availability. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, with the collaboration of coworkers in Winona, Mississippi, I was able to complete layout of Volume 95 of The Voice of Truth International. My mobile office works in Florida, too, besides working in Winona, Mississippi or abroad in South America or Asia. Internet and phone services are additional requirements from time to time, but my laptop computer do it to it wherever and whenever.

Another significant event, though resembling a typical, lackluster Saturday, today—January 1st—New Year’s Day—is the first wedding anniversary for Martha and me. How the year came and went we hardly know. I whisked Martha off to the jungles of South America within days of our wedding. In the states, we lived out of our suitcases often and once for a month as we traveled to my speaking appointments across the eastern USA. In September we spent two more weeks traversing Guyana, South America before embarking on a two-month trip to Myanmar, Singapore and India. We hardly knew what to do with ourselves with the sudden slowdown of the end of year American holidays and the turning of the calendar page to 2018.

Yesterday, I bought airfare for travel once more to Guyana. We are scheduled to be in that country from January 30 through March 6. Martha and I will participate in workshops and seminars in all 10 regions of the jungle nation. We will conduct programs for Christians and place our effort within reach of every church of our Lord. In addition, we will put on a seminar simultaneously for church leaders and workers, which will be more extensive than material for others. The workshops follow the theme, “Back to the Bible,” and the seminars will address in depth, “How We Got the Bible.

We are indebted to Christians and churches that encourage and financially participate with us in our ministry—stateside and overseas. May God bless us and every child of God as we circumspectly make our way through life on earth in eager anticipation of being invited into the house of our God forever.

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.

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.