Archive for the ‘Preaching Appointments’ category

Dashing through Georgia

March 20, 2017

No, not dashing through the snow in wintery weather, but on to the Dasher Church of Christ we went. From our overnight layover in Montgomery, Alabama on Friday, Martha and I proceeded on Saturday, March 18 by car to lodging reserved for us in Valdosta, Georgia. That night, as we did the evening before, we dined in our hotel room on cheese sandwiches, which were quite satisfactory and convenient for rest from the day’s travel. Before that though, we moseyed down to the meetinghouse of the Dasher congregation to set up our display and ready the PowerPoint about missions for the next day.

Sunday, we were well received by the Lord’s church. During Bible class, I apprised brethren of the ministry in which Martha and I are involved (i.e., The Voice of Truth International, Gospel Gazette Online, other writings, stateside speaking appointments, overseas missions, etc.). In the worship period, I preached about the “urgency” with which Jesus Christ left heaven and came to earth to make human redemption possible.

Later in the day, we made the short, but protracted trip because of heavy and stopped interstate traffic, to Martha’s Florida home in Ocala. We arrived in time to worship with the Central Church of Christ. The next day, Martha and I started the adventure of amending her last name to “Rushmore” on Social Security and banking records. We failed to achieve a name change on her driver’s license because everything, it seems, is tied to Social Security data. We sought information, too, on consolidating our phone plans. Eventually, we will need to start the process of updating Martha’s passport also; she traveled with me to South America and back under the name of Martha Noland since we could not effect a change in time between our wedding on January 1 and our mission trip that began on January 24.

Lord willing, we will remain in Florida for about four weeks before returning to Mississippi. Upon going back to Winona, we will meet appointments in Alabama (i.e., India Mission Workshop and World Evangelism May Missionary Workshop). In June, we will travel to appointments in Ohio and West Virginia, as well as visit family in those two states and in Pennsylvania. The annual World Evangelism team meeting will converge on Winona in July. In September, we plan to go to the mission fields once more, perhaps on two continents before returning in late November to the USA. Between known dates, we will establish appointments with congregations across the eastern United States. Besides that, we have responsibilities regarding the publication of The Voice of Truth International, Gospel Gazette Online, etc.

Sometime in the next few weeks, we hope to take some time for ourselves here in Florida. Maybe we’ll call such moments along the way—our honeymoon.

Winter Wonderland—Temporarily!

March 14, 2017

Sunday, March 12, 2017, Rebecca, Martha and I awoke to a temporary winter wonderland in Batesville, Arkansas. After breakfast in the hotel lobby, we proceeded to the meetinghouse of the Southside Church of Christ. There, I made my PowerPoint presentation, “2017 World Evangelism Media & Missions.” The night before, I updated it to include our New Year’s Day wedding and our recent 6-week foray into the tropical flora of Guyana, South America. During worship, I preached one of my recently seminar sermons, “Emulation of Jesus Christ: His Urgency.”

As always, we were well received by the good brethren at Southside. Afterward, several members and we three dined across the highway at a quaint, country eatery; I’d eaten there before, and at that time I photographed some of its décor, including a fully set table and chairs hanging upside down from the ceiling.

Later in the day, Rebecca, Martha and I assembled with the brethren at the Oil Trough Church of Christ. This small church and we three enjoyed one another’s company as once more, during worship this time, as presented “2017 World Evangelism Media & Missions.”

Leaving our appointments in Arkansas, we journeyed to my Winona, MS home, arriving at 11 p.m. Immediately, it became apparent that we were going to have to enact “Plan B.” Some repair work to the interior of the home was not complete, but instead in full swing. It was not feasible for us to lodge in the midst of ongoing construction, and so, we resorted to the apartment at the office and warehouse for World Evangelism just down the road.

Monday was filled full with trying to catchup on a number of things (i.e., going through six weeks of mail, paying bills and working on volume 92 of The Voice of Truth International). Tuesday, we packaged and shipped book orders as well as loaded about 2,000 pounds of Christian literature into a trailer. We will haul it to Nashville on Thursday, the day after our Wednesday evening appointment in Benton, KY with the Walnut Grove Church of Christ.

We traveled Tuesday to Rebecca’s home, but I stopped in Batesville, MS to get a haircut. Had I not gotten “my ears lowered,” I would have needed a dog license for as much unkempt I had become. Thursday we will travel finally back to Winona, depositing Rebecca at her home in a suburb of Memphis, TN—Collierville. Friday, Lord willing, we reload the car and leave for Valdosta, GA for next Sunday’s appointment. If not the night before, Monday, we will drive to Ocala, FL, where we will remain for about four weeks—using it as a base of operations for visiting churches of Christ.

Tired we are. Rest we need. We hope that we are glorifying God ad edifying our fellow man.

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!

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

Kaituma Mouth

February 17, 2017

Still in Region 1, Wednesday, February 15, Nigel Milo, Kishore Etwaroo, Martha Lynn and I parted from Port Kaituma aboard a small wooden speedboat on the Kaituma River. Just getting to dockside despite being in a Toyota car is a journey all itself, with all of the bouncing, dipping, side-to-side jerking about traversing what passes for roadways. One would think it impossible to drive in one side and out the other side of moon-crater sized, muddy water and sludge filled pits. That was a modest description of the “good roads”; only military-grade trucks with tires half a story high and suspension slung as high as men dare tackle the “other village streets.”

A few miles out of town, the boat operator had us transfer to another, faster wooden watercraft, which he had ready at his riverbank home and business. As we got under way, the speed was such that the wind made it impossible for many minutes to even open our eyes—until we were able to satisfactorily adjust ourselves to the blast of air that even wrapped around our eyeglasses and pummeled our eyes.

96-dpi-4x6-kaituma-mouth-2
Nearly two hours later and some 80 or so miles upriver, we were approaching our venue for the afternoon when the bottom fell out of the sky. Fortunately, we had encased our backpacks in big, black garbage bags at the outset to protect them and their contents from potential downpours. We, however, were drenched, even though we attempted to shield ourselves with our ponchos as the boat sped across the waterway.

Yet raining, we approached our midafternoon destination of Kaituma Mouth, a riverside settlement of 465 sprinkled in the rainforest there. Since the tide was out, which dramatically affects even rivers connected to the ocean, several feet of mud, also several feet deep, hindered us from reaching shore conveniently. Brother Kishore “went for a walk,” thigh high in mud to fetch a flat-bottomed skiff to transfer us from the river to the “wharf” via another open boat through which we walked. We walked across the boats to bridge the gap between the river and the shoreline.

96-dpi-4x6-kaituma-mouth-3
After a primitive break at the edge of the village, we were delighted to find an assembly of approximately 50 souls in the meetinghouse of the Kaituma Mouth Church of Christ. About 11% of the village population came together—a figure much better than usually one finds of church members in ratio to a local populace.

96-dpi-4x6-kaituma-mouth-4Nigel and I each taught a couple of lessons, and Martha taught two lessons. Brethren were thankful for our presence and requested that we return again next year and spend more hours with them, during which we could present even more teaching from God’s Word.

The fifth boat in which we were for the day carried us the remaining 14 miles to Mabaruma. Altogether, we traveled 90 miles or so between Port Kaituma and Mabaruma. We went up one big river and turned left at the next big river. Lacking a suitable infrastructure of highways in Guyana, travelers must resort to small aircraft and watercraft on the numerous waterways.

96-dpi-4x6-kaituma-mouth-1
Upon our arrival in Mabaruma, we bedded down in the Broome Hotel, where we would spend two nights. The following day, we would begin our next seminar with the Mabaruma Church of Christ. Martha and I both experienced firsts for us on this segment of our trek through the interior of Guyana. She achieved more firsts than did I, and Martha has shown herself to be more than capable and willing to go where we need to go and do what we have to do to serve our Lord in this segment of the vineyard. That “city girl” has gone “country”—or one might even say she’s my “jungle girl.”

Region 1

February 17, 2017

96-dpi-5x7-estate-12Monday, February 13 came early at 2:30 a.m. in Linden, Guyana, South America for Martha Lynn and me. We hadn’t been in bed probably more than two and a half hours. To say we were less than rested would be a huge understatement.

96-dpi-5x7-estate-13Ambling down the outside stairs from the Milo living quarters, brother Nigel and we, along with a backpack apiece, settled into his Toyota car for the hour and a half ride to the Ogle airport. However, as it turned out, we arrived about an hour ahead of time to check in, and so we slept in the car to a little past check-in time. Checked in, we deposited ourselves in the “departure lounge,” awaiting our flight in a Cessna Caravan to Port Kaituma. It was at that town’s airstrip and outside of the village that several years ago the Jonestown episode unfolded with the suicide-murder of several hundred misguided religionists.

96-dpi-5x7-estate-1All three of us snoozed on the 50-minute flight from Ogle to Port Kaituma as the aircraft first climbed into the sky over the Atlantic Ocean before traveling northward along the Guyanese coastline. Then, it turned inland and flew over jungles and forested hills.

96-dpi-5x7-estate-9Nothing I could say to forewarn Martha could prepare her for what we found upon our arrival. Upon departing from the “airport,” after we registered with the local officials, a local taxied us to our lodging through muddy, boggy craters that passed for the arteries through the community of Port Kaituma. There may be worse roads on planet earth somewhere, but I haven’t found them as yet—and I don’t want to experience such!

96-dpi-5x7-estate-8As it was last year when I came to Guyana alone, this year we took a room at a small and humble establishment dubbed “The Ranch.” The motto on the sign there says, “Stay & Play.” Certainly, the accommodations and amenities were adequate for our purposes, but don’t anyone be misled by the company motto to imagine that we bedded down in some lush resort. The electric to the community was off, and so there were neither lights to mitigate the darkness were we to shut the door (blacked out window) as we fumbled our way to the toilet nor fan to dull the warmth of the day or stir the air. When the electric did come on is when we found that of the three light sockets in the room, only one had a working bulb in it. We literally borrowed a light bulb from the home of our host Kishore Etwaroo, and we procured a second pillow and a second towel.

96-dpi-5x7-estate-3Late afternoon and early evening we three along with other brethren assembled at the Estate Church of Christ in Port Kaituma. Martha taught the ladies for two hours, and brother Nigel and I each taught the men an hour apiece. I was so tired that while brother Milo was speaking, I nearly fell off of my plank bench to crash into the seat ahead of me on my way to the rough, concrete floor.

96-dpi-5x7-estate-14Tuesday morning, after breakfast at the Etwaroo home (we enjoyed their hospitable meals the two days in Port Kaituma), we took a taxi to the port to board the “church bus”—a large boat, since the day’s destination is only accessible from the river. From 9:00 a.m. through 4:00 p.m., we three travelers taught classes in the meetinghouse and on the grounds of the Turu Mission Church of Christ. Several congregations were represented, each bringing boatloads of brothers and sisters in Christ from as far away as 22 miles. Attendance was in the neighborhood of 75. It was a full day of fellowship and edification via prayers, singing and biblical lessons. Brethren made a point of thanking us for it all, as well as for The Voice of Truth International and additional literature made available to all of the churches of Christ in Guyana from our World Evangelism base in Winona, Mississippi. Nearly 2,000 pounds of literature awaits my return to the States to haul to a shipping agent in Nashville, Tennessee.

96-dpi-5x7-estate-10Nigel, Martha and I have a sense of gratification for how these two days in Port Kaituma progressed. We made a concerted effort therein and thereby to glorify God and edify our fellow man. Praise God and may His name only be blessed. Brethren, please continue to pray for us in harness for our Lord Jesus Christ. Tomorrow, we travel by boats up two large rivers as we snake our way through the jungle to our next venue, pausing for a 2-hour seminar along the way. Wednesday night we expect to lodge in Mabaruma, Guyana.