Archive for the ‘Seminar’ category

Expedited Course for Church Leaders & Workers

September 19, 2017

Recently, Martha and I traveled once more this year to Guyana, South America—this time for two weeks. Whereas earlier this year we conducted a workshop for six weeks in all 10 regions of that nation for all interested brethren, on this occasion I taught seminars in eight regions—a World Evangelism Expedited Course—for church leaders and workers. The subject for 2017 was “Bible Geography & Sacred History.” A goodly number of brothers and sisters in Christ participated. The following bulleted points summarize the event as it unfolded.

  • Saturday, September 2, 2017: Travel Day
  • Sunday, September 3, 2017—Amelia’s Ward Church of Christ
  • Monday, September 4, 2017—Tuschen Church of Christ
  • Wednesday, September 6, 2017—Amelia’s Ward Church of Christ
  • Thursday, September 7, 2017—Industry Church of Christ
  • Saturday, September 9, 2017—Richmond Church of Christ
  • Sunday, September 10, 2017—Amelia’s Ward Church of Christ:
  • Monday, September 11, 2017—Asylum Street Church of Christ (New Amsterdam)
  • Tuesday, September 12, 2017—Bath Settlement Church of Christ
  • Wednesday, September 13, 2017: Travel Day
  • Thursday, September 14, 2017—Culvert City Church of Christ (Lethem)
  • Friday, September 15, 2017: Travel Day
  • Saturday, September 16, 2017: Return to the USA

I worked on Gospel Gazette Online and the Voice of Truth International magazines between travel and speaking appointments. Sometimes I seem to get more done on some projects while out of the office rather than in the Winona, Mississippi office.

Aside from the uplifting and gratifying program, there were some minor abrasions obtained along the way. Martha was the primary recipient of the injuries, a slight scrap of her arm once in a boat taxi as well as at another time smacking a board with her head. She appears happier in the picture than she was about hurting herself. Fortunately for me, there was a whole room full of witnesses that I did not hit my wife. She seated herself behind a board across two pew packs for a makeshift table to hold the projector. When she leaned down to pick up something from the floor, the corner of the board struck her right between the eyes. The car in which we were riding experienced some abrasions and minor injuries in transit, too.

Upon landing in Lethem and checking into our hotel, I noticed that Martha’s face around her nose had turned purple. She was experiencing some pain also. Evidently, Martha’s injury a few days prior became more discernible all of a sudden, perhaps tied to the nearly two-hour flight over the jungle to Lethem. More ice.

Due to the nature of the program, Martha did not have as much opportunity to teach this time as she did earlier in the year. However, she did teach, and additionally, Martha had substantial interaction with sisters in Christ throughout our travels.

Sister Jasmine, brother Nigel and their son, Zab, hosted us in their home, as they always do. We are thankful for the Milos and their hospitality annually. Brother Milo is a tireless and an effective evangelist. He directs our workshops and seminars, and Nigel is truly responsible for any successes in which we participate. Of course, we are indebted to the fine brethren stateside who make our journeys and efforts possible in the first place. Thanks.

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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.

 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!

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.