Archive for the ‘Prayer Request’ category

December 11, 2021

Robert (Bob) Michael Noland II (December 7, 1968-November 25, 2021) November 18th, Martha and I were notified that Bob collapsed onto the steering wheel of his tractor-trailer as he brought it to a stop at fuel pumps at a truck stop in Rock Hill, South Carolina. He was admitted to ICU in the local hospital. Subsequently, it was learned that a blood clot in his heart dislodged and traveled to his brain, resulting in two strokes. Friday the 19th, Martha and I drove to Rock Hill, but Martha was prohibited from seeing her son; only his wife Sharon, who had traveled from Ohio to be with him, was allowed admittance, owing to Covid-19 precautions implemented by the hospital. Bob seemed to make some improvements, however, he died on Thanksgiving Day due to a heart attack and a third stroke. Several family members, then, were permitted entry to ICU while various machines kept his body functioning until family members traveled to Rock Hill from Ohio.

Other family members, as well as Martha and I, drove or flew back to Ohio to await his funeral. During the following week, Martha and I slept on a couch for several days before taking a hotel. Bob’s funeral was Saturday, December 4, 2021. Had he lived until December 7th, he would have been 53 years old. He had no previous heart problems.

The outpouring of condolences and the dozens of attendees to Bob’s funeral, in the meetinghouse of the Ashland, Ohio Church of Christ, brought much encouragement to family and friends. It was one of the longest funerals I have ever attended. Bob was an outstanding Christian who impacted many lives stateside and abroad. I knew Bob much better after the funeral than I had previously, though I have known him since the 1990s.

Simultaneously to Bob’s death and funeral, another son of Martha, James Noland was admitted twice to a hospital in Ocala, Florida. He had kidney stones, gallstones and blood sugar over 600; he had not previously been diagnosed with diabetes. Martha was torn about to which son she ought to respond, and expectedly, she was distraught.

We returned to our home in Ocala on the evening of December 7th, Bob’s birthday. James is out of the hospital and back to work, though he will need to have his gallbladder removed, probably in January.

We are in the midst of putting up Christmas decorations, etc. Several things were left undone in our absence, to which we need to attend.

Through everything and everywhere to which we went, God was with us and we were with Him. The Charlotte Avenue Church of Christ in Rock Hill proved to be the friendliest congregation I have every encountered; they were a source of great encouragement, and we were privileged to assemble with them on two occasions while we were in their city.

Phone calls and cards continue to come, each extending some comfort. We are thankful for every expression of sympathy. Martha and I solicit your continued prayers.

Determined to Go with Me!

March 31, 2015

Unfortunately, the days following Bonnie’s Friday, March 20 chemo treatment were not nearly as good as they were the previous week. Still, there have been worse days. Sunday, March 21, Bonnie received another injection to boost her blood counts after morning worship. We are indebted to an RN who is a sister in Christ for administering the shots, which arrive at our house by FedEx. Tuesday, we again returned to Jackson, MS—this time to have a dentist who is a brother in Christ work once more on the last pesky bottom molar that meets an upper molar. Wednesday, Bonnie was too ill to leave the house.

Lincoln Church of ChristDespite not feeling well most of the week, Bonnie was determined to travel with me to a speaking appointment with the Lincoln Church of Christ in Huntsville, AL. We left Saturday, March 28 from Winona, MS to Huntsville by way of Tuscaloosa, AL. Yes, that was a detour that added about 50 miles to our journey. We had arranged to meet a deacon of the Central Church of Christ to hand off several cases of Spanish language Bible study books and Spanish The Voice of Truth International magazines. That congregation will make sure that this literature makes its way to Peru this summer.

The purpose of our visit to the Lincoln church was to report on the portion of World Evangelism in which sister Betty Choate and her sponsoring congregation are involved. Therefore, I invited Betty to accompany us. I would speak publicly during an assembly, and she would have ample opportunity to speak privately to members of the congregation there. This trip afforded sister Choate the occasion to lodge with and visit two of her nieces outside of Huntsville. Bonnie and I were the happy guests of Patricia and Bob Gaffin; he is the deacon of missions for his church.

After supper, brother Gaffin and I set up my display material at the meetinghouse. Another brother met us there so we could make ready my PowerPoint presentation of an overview of the World Evangelism effort.

Sunday morning, Bonnie and I attended Bible class and worshipped with the Lincoln Church of Christ. Numerous brethren, including Betty Choate, converged on the Gaffin residence for a quick lunch before returning to the church building for a special afternoon class and second worship.

Sunday at 1 p.m., I presented my “Buckets of Bible Time” class, which sometimes I do for pew-packers. On this occasion, my youth class was all grey-headed! There were no children present. Everyone seemed to enjoy the emphasis made on noting the chronological order of Bible events and Bible characters. Immediately thereafter and beginning at 1:30 p.m., we entered worship. At the appropriate time, I made my PowerPoint presentation, “2015 Overview and Update.”

We lingered for about an hour after the conclusion of worship before starting our return trek of around five hours back to Winona, MS. It was difficult to part from brethren who were so eager to interact with us, and it was no easier to part from the brother and his wife the day before when we delivered Spanish literature in Tuscaloosa. Finally, we three arrived back in Winona at a little after 8 p.m.

Monday was not an especially good day for Bonnie, though she did well except for fatigue on our outing over the prior two days. That evening, though, we went to Betty Choate’s office in her home, just an eighth of a mile away from where we live, to help her with a computer glitch. She was having difficulty with some files for the upcoming volume 85 of The Voice of Truth International. No easy fix, but we succeeded and were back at the house around 10 p.m.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015, Bonnie and I returned to Jackson, MS so she could undergo another paracentesis—the removal of fluid associated with her cancer from her abdomen. Monday, I was finally able to clean up the debris from storm damage in the yard and mow most of the lawn. Tuesday upon returning from Jackson, I was able to complete and publish to the Internet the April 2015 edition of Gospel Gazette Online. Bonnie continues to work on volume 84 of The Voice of Truth International, and now that Gazette has been published, I also will concentrate on volume 84 of VOTI. In addition, I personally have two books ready to send to printing companies, and I have brother Wayne Barrier’s newest book ready for publication as well. There is never a dull moment, but there are sufficient opportunities that one can easily muse on another necessary task for diversion from another necessary job from which a break is desired.

Friday is a big day for us. Again traveling to Jackson, MS, Bonnie will have a CT scan, meet with her oncologist and have chemotherapy. The oncologist will reevaluate future treatment after comparing the two most recent CT scans. Please remember my dear wife and best friend in your prayers.

PET Scan, Chemotherapy & a Journey

August 23, 2013

Thursday evening, we positioned ourselves at the Cabot Lodge Millsap, courtesy of the Siwell Church of Christ, so we would be refreshed and ready for a busy day that would begin and continue for several hours at the Baptist hospital in Jackson (MS). Bonnie and I were punctual at 7:30 a.m. Friday for her PET scan. By 10:00 a.m. Bonnie emerged from all of that, and we paused for about an hour, waiting for lunch venues at the hospital complex to open. We opted for the Atrium Grill, whereupon we each selected a cheeseburger, but we shared some fries. Bonnie and I retreated, via elevators and hallways, to the garden spot on which we happened before, to enjoy the sun and breeze while eating our lunch.

We made our way a few minutes later to her 11:50 a.m. chemotherapy appointment. After sampling of her blood for analysis, a little later we were led to the doctor’s office for examination and recitation of the findings of the PET scan. Bonnie’s blood work is excellent – exceptional and not typical for chemotherapy. The results of the PET scan were stellar – 100% negative without even any usual false positives. Bonnie is responding to chemo better than expected in every way. The side effects largely involve some tiredness, occasional nausea and “thinning” but not the loss of all of her hair. Consequently, Bonnie enjoys at least three-quarter days daily at the office, and she has resumed our stateside travels. She has been or will be teaching ladies’ classes and children’s classes.

After Bonnie’s chemo concluded today at about 2:30 p.m., we pointed the van toward Polishing the Pulpit (PTP) in Sevierville, TN – a seven and a half hour drive from Jackson, MS. As planned, we stopped for the night; we lodged in Gadsden, AL with plans on completing the trip on Saturday. Both Bonnie and I are fully engaged in various classes and the sort for the week.

The program ends on the following Thursday at about 12:30 p.m. Then, we will drive the return trip in one continuous jaunt back to Mississippi. That is so we can be back in Jackson, MS for Bonnie’s next chemo treatment by 8:40 a.m. on Friday.

During the days of PTP, Bonnie and I will teach children or in one case I have an adult class. If not too tired upon returning to our room around 9:00 p.m., we will continue to work on the next issue of The Voice of Truth International, which must be completed before I leave for Myanmar (Burma) on about the 3rd of October. So, while at PTP, I will try to book my airline tickets, too; I received a call today that my visa has been approved.

These are just some of the things that occupy the moments of our days. We get bored easily, and so we try to apply ourselves for the cause of Christ so that we never face boredom. We keep enough different things going simultaneously that if we tire of working on one thing, we just shift gears and work on something else. If by chance I would have some extra time on my hands, I need to work on the September issue of Gospel Gazette Online, lessons to be taught in Myanmar for three weeks in October and classes to be taught over the next six months on Wednesday evenings at the Siwell Rd. Church of Christ. For now, though, I need to focus on what is at hand – our PTP schedule. Our life is one of triage – meaning, “What’s next!”

P.S. Bonnie wanted me to include a heartfelt thank you for all of the prayers prayed that have been and are being answered on her behalf.

Annual World Evangelism Team Meeting & More

July 12, 2013

Group Picture Less about 3 photographers

Group Picture Less about 3 Photographers

Wednesday, July 10, attendees of the Annual World Evangelism Team Meeting began arriving in Winona, MS. Altogether, just under 30 adults and children attended this year’s gathering on Thursday and Friday. Those attending included the core group of team members who voluntarily cooperate to provide a well-rounded and worldwide program of evangelism, but others who came are a part of a larger circle of fellow missionaries with whom we also cooperate. Yet others were merely interested in evangelism – stateside or abroad and came to be with us.

Happily, Thursday evening after returning from catfish supper at Carmack, MS Fish House, many hands of numerous visitors to the team meeting quickly tabbed (two per mail piece) and labeled 649 July edition of the Rushmore Newsletter. Friday morning, I shipped it off via the local Post Office. If we had not been the beneficiaries of such gracious assistance, the newsletter would have had to wait until we returned from our upcoming trip on July 19.

Of course, we did a lot of eating together! We chiefly encouraged each other and talked about how we can possibly be more effective in our evangelistic efforts. Among the topics entertained were literature (The Voice of Truth International and Global Harvest magazines, books, and tracts), foreign Bible schools, school of missions, graded class material under development, training our replacements as missionaries, etc.

Thursday night and especially Friday morning, brethren began departing for home, depending on the distances they had to travel or special needs to which they had to respond. Bonnie and I left around noon for her next chemotherapy about two hours away in Jackson, MS.

Unfortunately, Bonnie’s white blood count was low enough that she could not receive chemo on Friday, since we were leaving town for the week. If we were going to be around for a few days before leaving, she could have received a shot on Monday to help boost her white blood cell count. However, we are leaving Saturday morning on a jet airplane for Colorado to observe our 40th wedding anniversary. We will ride the Silverton train from Durango to Silverton and back. We will also drive the San Juan Skyway and take two days to do it. If Bonnie is strong enough and not too tired, we will also take a day to visit Mesa Verde before returning to Mississippi.

With the drop of Bonnie’s white cell blood count, she must be careful of not exposing herself to sickness or germs in general unnecessarily. We are taking a prescription antibiotic with us on the trip. We will have to wait and see in the future whether she must (at least some of the time) refrain from public interaction. When Bonnie has her next scheduled appointment, she will also meet again with her oncologist for an assessment and medical advice. It is important to Bonnie and me that we make this planned trip, and the medical personnel advise us as well to make this trip – for they think that not only does this milestone need to be celebrated but that the aside of this pleasure trip may actually be a positive note in Bonnie’s ongoing treatment. Thank you for your interest in us, and your encouragement and support of Bonnie and me as we endeavor to give ourselves over to the service of our Lord and Great God.

Surgery, Doctors & Procedures

December 19, 2012

96 dpi 4x6 Bonnie Oxford MS Hospital1So far, this has been Bonnie’s week to seek treatment. Monday she had a crown installed on the tooth that she broke while eating toast abroad in Asia. Tuesday, December 18, she had a follow-up visit with her surgeon respecting her recent gallbladder extraction. Since Thursday of last week, Bonnie has been alternating between heavy discomfort and excruciating pain in her abdomen, along with corresponding symptoms. She has turned yellow with jaundice, developed a widespread rash or hives accompanied by severe itching. Her doctor ordered more blood work and a CT scan, which led him to send her to a doctor on Wednesday in Oxford, MS for an ERCP procedure. The doctor was unsuccessful in determining why her bile duct is obstructed and transferred her from outpatient to patient in the hospital there.

The homemade holiday gifts crafted with loving hands will simply have to wait and belated; Bonnie had begun but not finished making her delicious caramel corn and other party mixes. Gift cards to the grandsons will have to wait. Work on The Voice of Truth International is interrupted. Thursday, Bonnie must undergo another attempt at an ERCP by another physician to identify and remove a blockage. If that doesn’t work, then another option will be pursued.

72 dpi baptist memorial hospital oxford ms

Understandably, Bonnie was disappointed to be admitted to the hospital, and she likewise is saddened that she will spend a minimum of two nights in the hospital. Rebecca and I are lodging with her in the hospital room on one couch and one chair. This hospital is the most accommodating and staffed by the friendliest folks that we have ever encountered in similar previous circumstances. Thank you for your interest in Bonnie’s wellbeing and speedy recovery. Besides matters stateside, today we are continuing from the hospital to finalize plans for our departure in February for three weeks for workshops in Guyana, South America. We will teach lessons under the theme of “Value-Added Lessons for Christian Servants.”

Mission Trip to Linden, Guyana in South America

July 23, 2011

Friday, July 15, Bonnie and I departed Winona, MS for Collierville, TN to ready ourselves for boarding the first of several airplanes to Guyana, South America. Around 3 a.m. Saturday, we left Rebecca’s home, the three of us, for the Memphis airport, and our plane flew out at 6:35 a.m. – flying to Charlotte, NC. There, we caught another plane to Miami, FL so we could board yet another plane headed toward the equator. We flew U.S. Airways from Memphis to Miami whereupon we changed carriers to Caribbean Air. Our plane landed en route in Trinidad to let off passengers, take on more passengers and refuel before continuing to Georgetown, Guyana. From there, we rode an hour to Linden, Guyana. Fifteen hours after leaving our daughter’s home, the three of us and nine additional team members arrived at our quarters for the next week.

We were part of a team from the Collierville Church of Christ. Our daughter goes each year to Linden with young people from the congregation, and besides the good work accomplished, the young people grow spiritually. This year, the team was short a couple of people, and we were invited to participate. Last year, Rebecca accompanied Bonnie and me to Myanmar (Burma) for two weeks in addition to her going to Guyana, and so this year, we added Guyana in addition to our scheduled foreign trips. Our team consisted of Christians ranging in age from 10-year-old Jada (exceedingly mature, helpful and related to other team members), 16-year-old Kristian (no less a mature, young Christian man) and the balance of the team ranging from 18-year-olds to twenty-somethings to 40-somethings through the 50’s that Bonnie and I bear.

Jada received this special commendation by our daughter: “Jada, the 10 year old that was with us, did a great job. Jasmine [preacher’s wife at Amelia’s Ward] commented that she was the youngest campaigner ever. I think Jada was the only one the whole week who never made any complaints with words or actions. She did everything she was asked to do, helped with the 2-3 year old class during VBS, helped with the door knocking, and did a great job the whole trip. We are very proud of her and will willing take her again (she says she wants to go again next year).” I wholeheartedly concur.

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Sunday, Randy Gaddy, team leader, preached and taught for the Amelia’s Ward Church of Christ, and I preached and taught for the Burnham Church of Christ. Wednesday, I taught the midweek class for Amelia’s Ward congregation, while Randy taught the class for the Blueberry Hill Church of Christ in Linden. Thursday, I taught the midweek Bible class for the Dora Church of Christ in the jungle about an hour away; half of the crew visited families via boat, and the other half of our team traversed muddy jungle trails (with some slipping, sliding and plopping in the mire due to the rain – in the rainforest) to make visits before Bible class.

VBS materials had preceded our arrival and were prepared by the sisters in Christ of the Burnham Drive Church of Christ in Linden. Our ladies and young men taught Vacation Bible School Monday through Friday and were assisted by our Guyanese brethren. Afternoons, the team and Guyanese brethren canvassed neighborhoods in Linden, setting up Bible studies for the group from the States following us the next week (and we conducted several studies as well); one day, I spent hot, sweaty hours canvassing with the preacher for the Blueberry Hill congregation. Evenings, Bonnie taught ladies’ maturity classes, and I taught men’s maturity classes for a second congregation, the Amelia’s Ward Church of Christ.

By design, we did not leave much time to waste. We endeavored to redeem the time and were mindful of the investment required to be here. The highest attendance for VBS was over 300 youngsters; the attendance climbed daily, peaking on Friday. Over 30 studies were set up, and five studies were conducted. One of the sisters in Christ present in Linden this year was a new convert from last year’s studies, though she obeyed the Gospel after our team left for home last year. Our goal this year was to conduct VBS, set up Bible studies and especially encourage or edify our Guyanese brethren; we were successful in each of these areas.

Our primary contact, minister for the Amelia’s Ward Church of Christ, is Nigel Milo; Cy Walker is the minister for the Burnham Church of Christ, and Sheldon Jones is the young evangelist for the Blueberry Hill Church of Christ. We also met the preacher for the Dora Church of Christ, but I have forgotten his name I’m sorry to admit. Another Christian brother with whom I partnered almost daily in door knocking is Christopher Rose. Brother Nigel informed me that there are about 95 congregations in Guyana, served by about 50 evangelists. I agreed to increase the number of copies of The Voice of Truth International going into the country to provide for the four congregations with which we worked on this trip, and since our return to the US, we have prepared 50 boxes of books and tracts for the preachers in Guyana. Some foreign works are more exemplary than others, and brother Nigel Milo and his labors for the Lord fall in this category; I plan to assist Guyanese brethren evangelize their nation through networking with brother Nigel. Please pray for our brethren throughout Guyana.

Cancer Attacks 4-Year-Old Preacher’s Son

March 21, 2011

For two months, 4-year-old Benjamin Wright has been anemic. A week ago, taken to a doctor’s office, a physician diagnosed the little boy with influenza. The next day, suffering pain, he was taken to a hospital emergency room, whereupon the family was advised that Benjamin had appendicitis, and he was transferred to another hospital. There, the family was told that he had a tumor in his stomach. Upon operating on little Benjamin, surgeons discovered a cancerous mass described as the size of a soccer ball. However, the doctors were unable to remove all of it, and the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes. Part of Benjamin’s intestine was removed, and cancer is also attached to his bladder. Little Benjamin Wright’s surgical wound was not closed, he is being treated with chemotherapy, and he is being fed intravenously. Benjamin remains in ICU in a Jackson, MS hospital.

 Nathan and Holly Wright, Benjamin’s parents, plus two siblings live in French Camp, MS, where Nathan preaches for the Huntsville Church of Christ and is a coach for the local school. Bonnie and I worshipped with the church recently before the discovery of Benjamin’s sickness. This little boy (and the whole family, too) is so precious as well as exemplary. When I called the Wright home desiring updated information, it was Benjamin’s voice on the answerer that said no one was home, please leave a message; it was difficult to refrain from tearing up.

 Please remember Benjamin Wright and his family in public and private prayers. Anyone desiring to send a get well card may mail it to Benjamin Wright at 1776 Highway 413, French Camp, MS 39745. Anyone desiring to help defray the mounting financial burden to the Wright family may send checks to: Benjamin Wright Fund, Bank of Kilmichael, 509 N. Applegate, Winona, MS 38967.