Archive for the ‘Sickness’ category

Since I Returned

December 8, 2016
Martha Noland & Bonnie Rushmore

Martha Noland & Bonnie Rushmore

Monday, November 21, I returned to the USA. While only one calendar day from New Delhi, India to Memphis, TN, nevertheless, travel time between three flights and layovers totaled around 30 hours; altogether, I was up for about 48 hours.

Besides the dreaded travel and probable jetlag, I had developed bronchitis; I introduced my international version to the domestic edition plaguing family, friends and brethren upon my arrival in the United States. Being sick compounded the discomfort of long hours and lengthy flights. As it turned out, I was in the beginning stages of illness as I returned to the USA, and I was sufficiently sick for two weeks as to impede catching up on work back at the office. I even missed one all-day preaching appointment as well as worship, too, as I stayed inside for a few days.

My daughter Rebecca, off from teaching school, not only retrieved me from the Memphis airport, but she returned me to my Winona home. There, we enjoyed one another’s company over an otherwise less than noteworthy Thanksgiving holiday. She and I were able to prepare the next edition of the Rushmore Newsletter, and I sent it electronically to a printing company for production.

Toward the end of my illness, I received a visitor; Rebecca and I picked up sister Martha Noland at the Memphis airport and brought her to Winona. She was Bonnie’s best girlfriend, and of course, a Christian friend of mine as well. She just had to “get out of Dodge,” as the proverbial expression goes. December is an especially bad month for her as the one-year anniversary of the passing of her husband Bob occurs on the 16th, and their anniversary is the 29th. The national holiday of Christmas falls on the 25th, too, which was my wife Bonnie’s birthday also. Some other Christian widow ladies and I have been helping each other limp through our emotional minefields, and Martha needed some extra crutches in December. We have developed a special long-distance friendship as sounding boards and sources of encouragement during difficult times of reoccurring grief over the loss of our spouses.

By day, Martha helps out at the office, and by night she resides in the warehouse/office apartment down the road from my residence. This past weekend, she traveled with me to my speaking appointment in Ooltewah, TN, and as it turned out, while I slept in Chattanooga, TN, she slept nightly in Ringgold, GA. We each lodged with a different elder and his wife of the local Church of Christ.

Martha and I visited Bonnie’s gravesite twice at the meetinghouse of the Old Union Church of Christ in rural, tree covered and Kudzu slung Carroll County, MS. On one of those occasions, we changed out the flowers on Bonnie’s grave with fresh, new plastic flowers to reflect the winter season. We both shed tears respecting our sorrow over losing our best friend on earth.

To my dismay, my wrecked automobile was not yet repaired upon my return, though the body shop had it for nearly two months. After getting my car back, I still had to return it – two counties beyond the county in which I live – to have some adjustments made; there remains two unrectified issues with the Town and Country van. Since my medical bills related to my accident – the hit and run – ran around $10,000 dollars, besides an equal amount to fix my car, I amended my auto insurance coverage upward.

Try as I might, I am far from catching up on work back at the office. I did manage, however, to ready the December issue of Gospel Gazette Online for publication. As soon as my daughter completes the proofing – later this week, I will publish and advertise it to subscribers and readers of my blog and Facebook postings. Tomorrow, a tractor-trailer is scheduled to deliver several pallets of literature to the World Evangelism Building in Winona, MS. Incoming are copies of volume 90 of The Voice of Truth International, the next issue of Global Harvest and tracts; these items were printed in India this time. Brethren from three area congregations have been enlisted to help unload and place in the warehouse these tens of thousands of literature. We are thankful for all of the help and the encouragement. Our prayer is that everything that we do will lead to glorifying God and edifying our fellow man.

Whirlwind Traipsing State to State

April 30, 2016

Saturday, April 23 was a travel day from the India Workshop in Vincennes, IN, hosted by the Central Church of Christ. I was the guest of brother Roger and sister Mary Wright in their home for the week, for which I am grateful.

Riding shotgun with me from Vincennes to Madison, TN, which abuts Nashville, was sister Ruth Anne Peyton. After depositing her with a sister-in-law, I continued to McMinnville, TN, where I spent the night with brother Ray and sister Charlotte Weddington. I have been indebted to them over the years for their kind hospitality and participation with me in my undertakings for the Lord.

Smyrna Church of Christ (McMinnville, TN)

Smyrna Church of Christ (McMinnville, TN)

Sunday morning, it was my privilege to speak for the Smyrna Church of Christ outside of McMinnville, both for the Bible class and a.m. worship periods. I made my PowerPoint presentation about my 2015 Asia and 2016 South American mission trips for class time. During worship, I preached my PowerPoint sermon, “The Church in Prophecy.” These Christians gracious let me speak and also participated financially with me in my endeavors. Afterward, I returned to the Weddington home where I went to bed for a while on account of my ongoing and unbearable mouth pain.

Sunday evening, I spoke for the West Riverside Church of Christ in McMinnville, whereupon I presented my PowerPoint about the 2015 and 2016 mission trips. These brethren were encouraging and contributed to my missionary efforts in a handsome way.

Following worship, in severe pain, I pointed my car toward my next scheduled venue outside of Hamilton, AL. After driving for some time and not able to tolerate the pain any longer, I rerouted my trip to Jackson, MS where my dentist practices dentistry. I got as far as Madison, AL just west of Huntsville, AL where I lodged for the night; I had stayed overnight there at the same hotel recently while on another trip, too.

Monday morning, I drove over five hours to Jackson, MS, arriving a little after 1 p.m. Shortly thereafter, I underwent a root canal. My dentist, brother Andrew Dulaney, who is one of the elders of my overseeing congregation, advised me to spend at least one night in the area before resuming my stateside travels. As it turned out, the root canal was not completely satisfactory in alleviating my intense pain, and a second root canal was necessary; Wednesday, brother Drew Dulaney, brother Andy’s son, performed a second root canal on an adjoining tooth to the one that had recently been the object of a root canal.

A total of three night stays were required to attend to my ailment and to make sure I was satisfactorily treated before going onward. Fortunately, just a few weeks earlier brother W.E. and sister Judy Walker had made available to me a cabin on their property outside of Clinton, MS in which to lodge temporarily when in the area. It came in very handy.

Maywood Christian Camp (Hamilton, AL)

Maywood Christian Camp (Hamilton, AL)

Thursday, I once more pointed my Town & Country van toward Hamilton, AL for the 2016 Maywood Missionary Retreat, which is sponsored by World Evangelism. Each year, this program sees missionaries and interested brethren from around the world come together in a woodsy setting for a little lectureship and fellowship. Short and even shorter this year because of a scheduling error, nevertheless, all who go encourage and are encouraged.

It was good to be there, but for me a flood of memories brought tears to my eyes on several occasions. Last year, Bonnie was fervently doing her best to prolong her fleeting life long enough to assemble one final time with comrades in the ranks of fellow missionaries. She achieved that before passing away a few days later on May 18, 2015.

Friday night following the conclusion of the 2016 missionary retreat, I headed for home in Winona, MS. Again, my mouth was swelling from infection, and pain persisted relative to the two root canals that I had undergone a few days earlier. I did not feel either physically or emotionally well enough to attempt any weekend appointments, so I headed for my own bed, from which I had been absent for two weeks. I trudged on through heavy thunderstorms and flooding along the highways, but I made it home safely.

Upon arrival in Winona, I spent an hour and a half unloading the car and putting most things away. To my disappointment, I could not sleep more than an hour, and I got back up before returning to bed around 3:30 a.m. Saturday. All too soon, later in the morning, I arose for the day because I could sleep no longer.

There was work to be done, though, to which I needed to direct myself: laundry, watering the flowers and a host of things I didn’t feel like doing. The trouble was, however, that I didn’t feel like doing nothing either. Pacing myself and triaging what needs to be done, work provides needed focus to keep me from feelings of loneliness and sadness.

While getting patched up in Jackson, I worked at the Siwell Road Church of Christ’s meetinghouse with my portable office, giving attention to volume 89 of The Voice of Truth International magazine. Other brethren and I also scoped out what is necessary to install a kiosk to keep my sponsoring congregation abreast of my foreign travels. Amidst all of the pain and medicines, I did a fair amount of sleeping and resting, too. I don’t know what I would do with myself or how I would manage without purpose in my life and a commitment to serving our Lord Jesus Christ. As long as physical strength permits, I will continue in such as long as I live (Philippians 1:21; Revelation 22:20).

Obituary: Bonnie Sue Rushmore

May 19, 2015
Bonnie Sue Rushmore - October 2014

Bonnie Sue Rushmore – October 2014

Funeral services for Bonnie Sue Rushmore were conducted Thursday, May 21 beginning at 11:30 a.m. at the meetinghouse for the Old Union Church of Christ in rural Carroll County, Mississippi. Graveside services and burial were in the adjacent church cemetery. Ministers officiating were Mr. Therman Hodge and Mr. Mike Schmitz. Singing was led by Stephen Hughley.

Visitation preceded the funeral service, beginning at 10 a.m. at the Old Union congregation’s building. A meal was provided for all present by the West President Church of Christ of Greenwood, MS and the Old Union Church of Christ.

Bonnie Sue Rushmore, 58, died of pancreatic cancer on May 18 at Baptist Health Systems in Jackson, MS. She was born in Greenville, PA on December 25, 1956, to the late Roy E. and Mary Reed. She was a foreign missionary, an author of religious books and articles, as well as layout operator for the international quarterly magazine The Voice of Truth International. Bonnie Rushmore was a member of the churches of Christ.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her sister Colleen Reed and niece Lisa Reed. Survivors include her husband Louis Rushmore; children Rebecca Rushmore of Collierville, TN; Raymond Rushmore and his wife Vanessa of Johnstown; OH and Robert Rushmore of Burgin, KY; siblings Larry Reed and his wife Donna of Greenville, PA; Jim Reed and his wife Kay of Cochranton, PA and Dianna Korab and her husband Ed of Farrell, PA; and grandchildren Eli Rushmore and Nate Rushmore.

Pallbearers were selected from area congregations of the churches of Christ. In lieu of flowers, friends are encouraged to make gifts payable to Rushmore Evangelism Fund and mail to the Siwell Rd. Church of Christ, 4075 Siwell Rd., Jackson, MS 39212 for distribution of Bibles and Gospel literature in foreign countries. Mark checks “Bonnie Rushmore Memorial” on the memo line.

Walking Wounded – but Forward Walking!

May 13, 2015
New Delhi, India 2008

New Delhi, India 2008

A week and a half slipped by since our last blog entry. Nope, those camp beds were not contributory to my aching back. They may not have relieved my back pains any, but neither did returning to my home-friendly bed back in Winona, MS. Monday, May 4th, I did my best interpretation of a 30-year-old (I’m slightly more than twice that now) and waded into our overgrown yard with wheelbarrow (for tree debris), rake (leaves in ditch), snow-shovel dustpan (for the leaves), lawn tractor, walk-behind mower and string trimmer. Prior to approaching that jungle, I finished my domestic duties inside the house (e.g., vacuuming the entire house and doing the laundry, cooking, washing dishes, etc.). I was just a bundle of energy seizing sunshine and opportunity to do what especially outside rain and such like hindered me to do for far too long. With a degree of satisfaction, I suppose, I showered and then laid myself down on the bed for a little rest.

As it turns out, I definitely am not 30-years-old any longer. My back pain increased after I stopped moving for a while to a degree that far exceeded my recently surgery pain. Literally, I could not get up out of the bed and may have still been there now had I not called out to Bonnie to come to my side with pain pills and water. After 45 minutes, with severe pain, I was able to get out of the bed, but the pain that had dogged me for weeks now had reached a zenith. Consequently, on Tuesday I sought a doctor, who prescribed two prescriptions that were intended to make me shipshape once more over several days to a week or so. The medicines did not cure me, and they have side effects.

Wednesday was a very important day. Bonnie resumed her rigorous chemotherapy in Jackson, MS, and it has some nasty side effects of its own. After five hours of chemotherapy (two chemo drugs and two companion drugs), a pump was attached to Bonnie from which a third chemo drug would enter intravenously over the next 46 hours. We returned home.

Thursday, I published the May issue of Gospel Gazette Online to the Internet. Also that day, a sister in Christ who is a nurse came by the house to administer an injection into Bonnie; the shot is associated with her chemo regimen. The next day (Friday), Bonnie and I returned to Jackson, MS to have the pump removed.

Saturday and Sunday were relatively good days for Bonnie, compared to the nausea, pains and fatigue characteristic of most days. Of course, Sunday was Mother’s Day, and our two sons called from afar to talk with their mother on the phone. Our daughter blessed us with her presence Friday through Sunday afternoon.

Monday, with lesser back pain owing to the medications I had been taking daily, I determined to weed the flowerbed adjacent to the driveway, after which I intended to wash the car (severely splattered with big and plenteous bugs, as well as blanketed with dirt road dust). Despite agreeable temperatures – not too hot and not too cool – I repeatedly began to blackout (reminiscent of my blackout and hurtful fall last summer). Hence, I retreated to the house and decided to discontinue the prescription because one of its side effects was dizziness.

Tuesday, again I tried to weed the flowerbed and had to resort to the living room recliner to avoid falling and hurting myself. Not to be out done (not really), that evening Bonnie developed a severe nose bleed that we could not stop. Phoning the after-hours oncology personnel on call, we were directed to proceed to the local emergency room, which we did. Once there and before Bonnie could be treated, the nose bleed finally stopped on its own. As directed by the oncology office, we had the hospital draw Bonnie’s blood and do an analysis. Once more, Bonnie’s blood counts had fallen dramatically.

Wednesday, determined to weed the little flowerbed yet, I succeeded. However, shortly thereafter, I nearly blacked out and had to retreat yet again. In the meantime, Bonnie was involved in an exchange of phone calls with the oncology office in Jackson. Finally, it was determined that Bonnie had to go to Jackson, MS to receive an injection because the drug she needed was not in stock in Montgomery County, MS. We made the hour and half journey each way. Arrangements were made to have the drug available in Winona, MS for injections over the next four days, so we do not have to drive to Jackson daily or stay in Jackson.

I felt good enough after lunch to drive us to Jackson and back. However, stopping at a store to buy a few groceries on the way back to the house, I had another lightheaded episode that could have resulted in me fainting. Therefore, tomorrow, I need to revisit a local doctor, which means that likely I will have to undergo some outpatient tests at the local hospital perhaps.

In summary, Bonnie and I somewhat qualify to be among the walking wounded, though we lean forward and continue on. Temporarily disadvantaged physically, I still typed an article for an upcoming edition of Global Harvest magazine and updated the online book store with the addition of a new title. Bonnie finds moments during which she works on future issues of The Voice of Truth International magazine.

Good brethren and coworkers coddle us with food, driving us about when I am under the weather, unload tractor-trailers when I can’t help, sit with Bonnie when I need to be away, etc. Others more distant from us lift us with well wishes and prayers.

Bonnie’s low blood counts have now brought about her isolation from groups, which adversely affects opportunity to assemble with brethren for Bible class and worship. This is a first in the years that Bonnie has been battling pancreatic cancer. Part of Bonnie’s medicine for her morale has been interaction with fellow Christians. Please continue to remember us in your prayers. Monday, a Home Health nurse in Winona will draw blood for determination if Bonnie’s blood counts have risen. Until next time, we may be walking wounded, but we are walking and working for our Lord, with your help and prayers.

Home and Gone

May 3, 2015

beautiful sweet-smelling rosesBonnie was discharged from the hospital on Monday, April 27; we arrived back at our Winona, MS home a little after 9 p.m. that night. Bonnie’s oncologist paroled her because of good behavior and so that she and I could attend the Annual May Maywood Missionary Retreat in Hamilton, AL. Bonnie’s next scheduled medical event is Wednesday, May 6, whereupon we will have a discussion with her doctor, and if possible, Bonnie will undergo another chemo treatment.

Tuesday, though Bonnie wanted to leave for the mission retreat, it was necessary for us to take care of some things. We needed to go to the bank. Bonnie needed to print nametags for attendees of the retreat. Of course, we needed to repack our bags for the little lectureship in the woods with other missionaries.

Wednesday, my cellphone rang as we were about to go out the door. A brother and sister in Christ from out of town happened to be passing through Winona, MS and wanted to visit with us. Happily, I gave the brother a tour of the World Evangelism Building and convinced him to take a few books with him. After a while, this good couple who sometimes supports us and often prays for us continued their journey. Thereafter, Bonnie and I began our own journey, too, on our way to the retreat outside of Hamilton, AL. Three hours or so later, we finally arrived.

Several of the core group of World Evangelism Team members arrived on Tuesday to clean the cabins and the campground. This year, however, Bonnie was unable to participate, and I am devoted to her. We did arrive in time on Wednesday for Bonnie to get a little nap before we enjoyed a meal together with fellow team members; we do this each year the night before the attendees of the program arrive; it is a precious few moments together. After supper, most of us attended the Gospel meeting in progress at the Hamilton Church of Christ; others went on to an appointment with another congregation of the Lord’s church.

Thursday and Friday, lecturers and auditors enjoyed presentations, classes and panel discussions. A highlight, of course, were the meals and free time to visit with each other and catch up. Bonnie and I spent about half of our time sharing in the lessons and meals, while the other half of the time Bonnie found it necessary to resort to our cabin for rest. Overall, she did well. While Bonnie napped, I worked on the May edition of Gospel Gazette Online, though some of the software subscriptions did not work in the absence of an Internet connection.

Saturday, we headed home after breakfast. That afternoon, I finally waded into the knee-high grass in our yard – after I bought a replacement battery for the lawn tractor. Monday, I will attempt to reclaim the rest of the yard with a walk-behind mower and a string trimmer, which I have to bailout of the repair shop first.

Sunday, we worshipped with the Old Union Church of Christ in Carroll County, MS. It was so good to be back in our regular pew with friends and brethren as we worshipped God in spirit and truth. Following a tasty meal at a part-time country café perched on a muddy rise adjacent to the main highway, we returned home. Bonnie continues to find herself necessarily making daily accommodations regarding her health, and how she feels varies by the hour.

This week, we will publish Gospel Gazette Online to the Internet. On Wednesday, we will have an important meeting with Bonnie’s oncologist.

Our rose bushes at our Winona home are the prettiest this year that they have ever been (i.e., white blooms, red petals and Joseph’s Coat of Many Colors). The fragrance upon stepping out either front or backdoor is not subtle at all – it grabs one right away. In a similar way, your well wishes and prayers especially on Bonnie’s behalf are an even sweeter aroma to us. Thank you.

Change of Plans

April 26, 2015

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. (James 4:13-16 NKJV; cf. Proverbs 27:1)

It is not wrong to make plans. It is, however, sinful to make plans without consideration of God. In any case, human plans are subject to change, especially when circumstances overpower one’s proposed activity.

96 dpi 8x10 JimKayLarryDonnaVisitBonnie and I had planned to attend the India Missions Conference in Florence, Alabama on April 21-23. However, two things led us to change our plans. Bonnie’s health put in doubt whether it was convenient for us to participate in the missions program. In addition, we got the happy news that Bonnie’s two brothers and their wives were visiting us from western Pennsylvania that week. James Reed and his wife Kay as well as Larry Reed and his wife Donna arrived in Winona, Mississippi Tuesday before lunch. Interestingly, the two Reed brothers married two sisters. See the six of us in the photograph. Not pictured, Bonnie has one surviving sister, Dianna, also.

We enjoyed one another’s company over the next few days before they returned home. In the course of those days, Bonnie’s brothers helped me replace a rotted fencepost, install a handrail going out our back door to the screened sitting area and replace rotted landscape timbers in a raised flowerbed.

Unfortunately, Bonnie was feeling poorly while her family visited. She drifted off to sleep in her half of our reclining loveseat or resorted to bed from time to time. Bonnie was unable to eat very much, experienced nausea and had some pain. Thursday evening Bonnie had a fever of 102.8, which fluctuated little for nearly the next 24 hours.

Friday morning, Bonnie’s brothers embarked for Pennsylvania – 15 hours of driving time besides stops. About three hours after they left, Bonnie and I headed south to Jackson, Mississippi for her to receive another paracentesis – draining of fluid from her abdomen. This time, only 1.5 liters was drained, though it provided some much appreciated relief.

Afterward, we proceeded to oncology where blood, etc. were obtained for analysis. Bonnie’s oncologist admitted her to the hospital for treatment. Her white and red blood counts were both near zero; she was so weak that a wheelchair had been her means of conveyance from admission for the radiological appointment for paracentesis to oncology and later to her hospital room.

Saturday our daughter Rebecca arrived at the hospital. She had driven to our home from Collierville, Tennessee on Friday night before completing the journey to Jackson, Mississippi; she brought with her clothes for me, our laptop computers and miscellaneous personal items and office work. That afternoon, I digitally repaired four pages of the upcoming issue of The Voice of Truth International. The physical proofs provided by the printing company revealed some things that needed attention before printing was to proceed. These repairs were made from Bonnie’s hospital room and sent through the Wi-Fi to the printing company in Taylors, South Carolina.

As of Sunday afternoon, Bonnie has received three units of blood, six IV sessions of antibiotics and several injections to boost her blood counts. We are unsure when she will be released, though it is clear that Bonnie is making improvements.

Bonnie desperately wants to be discharged from the hospital in time for us to attend the annual May Maywood Missionary Retreat in Hamilton, Alabama later this week. She has taken care of most of the duties associated with preregistration of attendees. Bonnie plans on specifying which cabins need to be cleaned on Tuesday as well as registering and assigning cabins to those coming on Thursday for the program. A big delight for those of the core group of the World Evangelism Team who come early to clean is the annual supper together at a Hamilton restaurant before attending Bible class with the Hamilton Church of Christ.

Bonnie very much wants to enjoy the fellowship of kindred spirits – other missionaries – our friends and co-laborers, and I will do what I can so that she is not disappointed. Bonnie’s ongoing saga in her valiant fight against pancreatic cancer needs a little uplifting that this association together can help in a small way. Yet, as always, we must be flexible, saying within ourselves what our Lord Jesus said in prayer to our Heavenly Father, “Thy will be done” (Matthew 26:42).

New Chemo Regimen Begins

April 19, 2015

96 dpi 8x10 in bloom1

96 dpi 8x10 in bloom2

96 dpi 8x10 in bloom3Bonnie asked for a picture to be taken of our blooming azalea bushes in front of our home, which I was glad to do. I also included the hanging, flowering baskets and the birdfeeders. All of the birds, though, were camera shy. The Rushmore bird café offers sunflower seeds and humming bird nectar. Aside from the hummingbirds, a gallery of birds visit our avian diner, including beautiful, brilliant red cardinals, some gold finches, other finches, wrens and an unidentified bird – plus an ingenuous woodpecker. Too large for even the larger of the two birdfeeders, it hangs upside down and cranes its neck up to feed on the sunflower seeds.

Wednesday, April 15 is doubtless an infamous day to many Americans – the deadline for filing annual federal income taxes. For Bonnie, though, it was also the day on which her new regimen of chemotherapy began. We left Winona, MS for Jackson, MS around 9 a.m. to make the hour and a half journey to Jackson Oncology at Baptist Health Systems (hospital). The infusion of chemo drugs and other medicines took about five hours. Upon completion of that, an additional chemo drug was introduced in conjunction with an accompanying pump in a satchel for Bonnie to wear or hang on the bedpost at night for the next three days at home. Happily, none of the side effects about which we were warned occurred during the session on Wednesday. Weary and tired, Bonnie and I returned to Winona.

Thursday we worked at the office for a few hours, and I packed the van for a display at the mission Sunday to be hosted by the Siwell Road Church of Christ on the south side of Jackson, MS. About 10 p.m. Bonnie began to have severe back pain. All night long and through Friday afternoon and early evening, Bonnie had nausea, vomiting and excruciating pain. Neither of us slept well through all of that, and we were both exhausted during the day Friday.

After lunch, we drove to Jackson in torrential rains for Bonnie’s appointment to have the chemo pump removed. To address the nausea, a new, additional medication was prescribed, and Bonnie was advised to take the pain medicine more regularly and to take two pills at a time.

Friday and Saturday nights we lodged with one of the elders and his wife of our sponsoring congregation – the Siwell congregation. Saturday, I put up two banquet tables of display material for World Evangelism. That evening back at the home of our host and hostess, brother and sister Leggett, I was able to prepare computer files to be sent off to the printing company for the next issue of The Voice of Truth International.

Sunday, Bonnie and I worshipped with the Siwell church. A fellowship meal was sandwiched between morning worship and a 1 p.m. assembly. Four missionaries, including myself, had opportunity to update all present regarding our labors for the Lord. Afterward, Bonnie and I returned home to Winona. At the house and having Internet available once more, I sent the files for volume 84 of The Voice of Truth International to the printing company in South Carolina.

Later in the evening, Bonnie again began experiencing serious pain and nausea. Whenever she can sleep through it all, she seems to have some release from the intensity and discomfort of both. Bonnie is very tired, but she is a fighter, and as long as she can, she heartily applies herself to the work of Jesus Christ.

As I close, we are under a tornado watch. Presently, we have a nasty thunderstorm going through again. The lights are flickering. Pain, suffering, storms and such like are temporary speed bumps on the road to eternity. In the meantime, with help and encouragement of many brethren and friends, we press on.

Weekly our dining room fills with get well cards. Daily we received phone calls, visits, emails, texts and Facebook correspondence. The other evening, we received a phone call from a dear brother in India. Wednesday, we came to find out, a congregation in Guyana, South America was fasting and praying for Bonnie while she was undergoing five hours of treatment. In America, we have added an “e” to “fasting” and enjoy “feasting.” Elsewhere in the world, brethren still fast and pray. In Bonnie’s words, we are “humbled” by such encouragement by brethren toward us. Our church family worldwide buoys our spirits at a very difficult time in our lives. Thank you one and all.

Bad Days/Good Days

April 14, 2015
Part optical illusion, the computer dwarfs Bonnie these days.

Her computer seems to dwarf Bonnie these days.

The week beginning April 5th was not a good week for Bonnie. She was nauseated daily and in general discomfort. However, Friday, we returned to Jackson, MS for her to undergo yet another paracentesis – drainage of fluid from her abdomen. Consequently, she enjoyed mostly good days the balance of Friday through Monday. Her bad days have little good about them, but her good days characteristically have some bad aspects to them, too (i.e., lesser amounts of nausea and pain).

Though we have missed more midweek Bible classes and Sunday evening worships than we have in a lifetime, so far Bonnie and I have not missed worshipping on Sunday because of her illness. Sunday morning we attended Bible class and worshipped with the Old Union Church of Christ in the Carroll County woods. That evening, we attended the West President Church of Christ in Greenwood, MS (Leflore County). Brother David Lipe was speaking in a Gospel meeting there.

Monday, Bonnie felt well enough for us to go to the office at the World Evangelism Building. Brother and sister Wayne and Janet Barrier drove down from outside of Florence, AL especially to visit Bonnie. They are coworkers with us and others in World Evangelism; they just returned from several weeks in Asian countries. They, sister Betty Choate, sister Barbara Oliver and we lunched together at the local Chinese restaurant. Immediately thereafter upon returning to the office, we were joined by brother Therman and sister Sadie Hodge from outside of Meridian, MS. They, too, made a special visit to bring comfort and cheer to Bonnie. Following some hours of pleasant interaction, we all went our separate ways; Bonnie returned home to rest.

Tuesday, we got a late start because of typical symptoms, but we did go to the office for a few hours. Actually, our office in practice is wherever we happen to be, including at the house.

Over the past few days, Bonnie and I concluded the layout of the volume 84 edition of The Voice of Truth International. We passed it on to Betty Choate who will proof it as well. Then, she will return it to me for finalization and to send it to the printing company. I have also begun working on the May edition of Gospel Gazette Online. Bonnie printed labels at the office for future mailings of correspondence by sister Choate to hundreds of brethren regarding her aspect of World Evangelism. A few other office duties, and then we returned to the house to eat a small, late lunch and for Bonnie to rest. If Bonnie feels well enough, we will attend the Gospel meeting again tonight.

So far, Bonnie has lost 56 pounds! Looking ahead, she begins a new regimen of chemotherapy on Wednesday, which will be an all day and into the evening affair. Friday, we are to return to Jackson, MS for the removal of a chemo pump. Sunday, Bonnie will receive an injection to boost her blood counts. In addition, on Sunday we are to be in attendance at the Siwell Road Church of Christ for its emphasis on missions; the congregation is our sponsoring church. If Bonnie is unable to attend, I will go without her (Rebecca will stay with Bonnie). However, we will remain in Jackson from Friday through Sunday afternoon if Bonnie is healthy enough to do so.

For those who follow us online or through our newsletters, thank you for your continued interest – and prayers. It is always our aim to do the best we can in the service of our Lord as long as we live, and many of you make that possible.

Sad Irony

April 4, 2015
Bonnie at her World Evangelism office

Bonnie at her World Evangelism office

Wednesday, April 1 through Saturday Bonnie has felt good health wise. Thursday, she had a ¾ day at the office in the World Evangelism Building. Our offices are on the second floor over a warehouse, and Bonnie voluntarily used the chairlift for the first time to the second floor. However, she insisted that she can still walk down the stairs.

Friday was the big day for us. Rebecca who was not teaching school, Bonnie and I made our way to Jackson, MS once again. At 11:00 a.m., Bonnie had another CT scan, which was to determine how to proceed in the future regarding treatment of her pancreatic cancer. Her oncology appointment was scheduled for 12:30 p.m., whereupon she was to meet with her oncologist to be followed by chemotherapy. Between the first two appointments, we squeezed in a quick lunch of a baked potato apiece from the hospital cafeteria.

Dr. Young informed the three of us that the CT scan was not good. It revealed that the tumor has increased in size, cancer cells are floating in her abdomen and cancer has spread to her liver. Consequently, the current chemotherapy was suspended. Bonnie was given the choices of no further treatment and to receive what the doctor called “comfort services” at home, or on the other hand, Bonnie could begin a rigorous different chemotherapy regimen. We opted for the latter.

On Wednesday, April 15, Bonnie will begin receiving a combination of two chemo drugs and probably nausea medicine and a steroid intravenously over the space of five hours. At the conclusion of that session, she will have a pump affixed to her, which will supply two additional chemo drugs over the next two days. On Friday, we will return to Jackson to have the pump removed. Sunday, she will receive an injection to boost her blood cells. Treatment will be every three weeks, and the strength of the medicines will be increased as long as Bonnie can handle the increases in dosages. Between treatments, Bonnie will continue to receive a paracentesis whenever needed.

In addition, Bonnie has a small blood clot in an artery near her heart. Therefore, an additional medicine—a blood thinner, has been prescribed. After the initial shock of the results of the CT scan, Bonnie and I are doing well, moving forward in treating her health and working for the Lord as much as we can.

Today, Bonnie has been very active compared to much of the time previously for months. She cooked us a fine breakfast, worked on the computer (office work) for many hours from a recliner, sat in a camp chair in the yard and trimmed dead leaves from flowers Rebecca and I were transplanting into a new flowerbed for Bonnie, and we three ate grilled hotdogs with trimmings on the screened porch. This has been another good day for Bonnie amidst many days over the prior months. That’s a sad irony, don’t you think?

One of our recent visitors

One of our recent visitors

Besides building an 18 foot long flowerbed in the front yard, Rebecca and I also rearranged Bonnie and my living room furniture. Now, we can more easily see and appreciate from our loveseat recliners through the picture window the blooming, hanging flower baskets and birdfeeders. That is my kind of workstation! All the comforts of home, able to attend to domestic tasks, with my best friend in overstuffed recliners with our laptop computers blazing away.

We are thankful for our friends, family and Christian brethren who lift our spirits with cards, emails, calls and visits. Thank you.

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.