Archive for the ‘Sri Lanka’ category

Long Travel Day to the Lord’s Day

October 18, 2015

Saturday, October 17 was a day completely consumed in travel. The plan was to make my way from Yangon, Myanmar to Colombo, Sri Lanka. The infamous carrier Malaysia Airlines on which I would be traveling cancelled the route for tickets I had already purchased. The replacement tickets changed my arrival time in Colombo by eight hours later, causing me to lose time in Sri Lanka.

About 12:35 p.m. local time in Yangon, I traveled by taxi the great sum of less than two kilometers from my hotel to the airport. As it turned out, I paid more for a 12 ounce can of Coke Zero in the airport than it cost for the taxi to get to the terminal. All formalities for my departure from Myanmar accomplished, I boarded my first of two planes at 3:45 p.m. With the help of gate personnel, though, I almost made a huge mistake. I thought it was early for my flight to board, and it was, but a young lady gathered up people around the gate and herded them into the queue or line for immediate boarding. Fortunately, the ticket-taker stopped me from getting on an airliner bound for Viet Nam!

Display at Kuala Lumpur airport

Display at Kuala Lumpur airport

Finally seated on the correct airplane later, it carted me to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia after a flight of approximately three hours, providing me my first visit to that airport and country. Modern mall-like amenities there were limited mostly to chocolate or booze. The two restaurants from which travelers could choose majored for the one in pastries and the other in rice dishes. I made no purchases in Kuala Lumpur before departing by air at 11:03 p.m. local time for Colombo. Somewhere around three hours later my plane landed in Sri Lanka at about twenty minutes to midnight.

Minor difficulties with electronic communication only briefly interrupted my retrieval and travel by taxi to the home of brother Harold and sister Lilani Thomas. Sister Thomas had commissioned a taxi driver to pick me up, and so she called him and asked him to pass his phone to me for voice recognition and confirmation that the driver was not bringing a stranger than expected man to her house. If I had had a sore throat, she might have had the taxi driver put me out along the road – where I might still be trying to find my way.

There is absolutely no one else on the planet who has the infectious and uplifting laugh of sister Lilani. I can do voice recognition, too! The Thomas’ are gracious hosts and friends in Christ.

It was about 2 a.m. by the time I showered and got into bed for the night. I had been unable to sleep well Thursday and Friday nights, but I had slept as best one can sitting upright in an airplane seat, sometimes feeling like a rider in a sardine can with wings. Still, I was able to go to sleep in the bed for what time was afforded before rising at 6:30 a.m. Colombo local time.

The Shrubbery Garden Church of Christ is a remarkable congregation from so many perspectives. Christians begin showing up 45 minutes before commencement of worship. Once worship begins, two songs, prayer and the Lord’s Supper use up a full hour on the clock. Next, the preacher is expected to preach for another hour! Since the church had been exploring a series on Jesus Christ, I preached my lesson “The Deity of Jesus Christ.” However, since the Shrubbery Garden church is comprised of English, Senegalese and Tamil speakers, a brother, a former Anglican priest, translated for me. Like back in the American southern states, me being a northerner, I nearly need a translator from English to English, too!

"Tea Break"

“Tea Break”

Following worship each Sunday morning, the church breaks for tea – but really for a full meal. Typically, a class of an hour or so follows that. Finally, when class is over and much time has passed, church leaders have to tell the many lingerers to “go home and come back Wednesday.” Brethren need to be ushered out the car gate, and it needs to be closed. The earnest desire to be with fellow Christians, arrive early and leave late, to have to be encouraged to leave is a devotion to God that we in American congregations would do well to develop.

Apparently at least on Sundays, it is the local custom to take a nap. I was all too ready to visit my bed once more, though only for an hour or so to keep from ruining the upcoming night’s rest. Supper is later here than any place in America – 8:30 p.m. However, I envision that the beef stew for which my mouth is watering will be well worth the wait. As I pen this, I am also anticipating my onward travel tomorrow to New Delhi, India. There and beyond throughout India I will teach and preach the Gospel in several locations over the next four weeks, Lord willing, of course. There is no place I would rather be than doing what I am doing, trying to encourage and edify brethren while at the same time attempting to glorify God. Anyway, I need to be busy for the Lord as much as possible because every idle moment right now is not my friend, but my enemy as I continue to try and come to terms with the loss of my Bonnie. Please pray for me for the sake of the Lord’s work in which I attempt to have a small part wherever I can.

Boomerang

September 21, 2015

Just this past Wednesday (September 16), I traveled the three hours one way from Winona, MS to an appointment in Bear Creek, AL, before making my way back to Winona around midnight the same day. Before assembling with the Bear Creek church of Christ that night, I had a supper appointment with fellow preacher Robin Dunaway at a Mexican restaurant in Haleyville, AL; he bought my late wife Bonnie’s computer to replace his ailing machine. At Bear Creek, I made my PowerPoint presentation, “Overview & Update,” about World Evangelism.

On Sunday, I traveled four and a half hours back to Alabama to be with the Antioch church of Christ (outside of Killen, AL) for all three services. In the absence of the congregation’s minister, I once more presented “Overview & Update” for Bible class, and I preached “The Church in Prophecy” and “Redemption, Forgiveness, Justification & Sanctification” respectively for a.m. and p.m. worship periods. During the afternoon, it was my good fortune to be the guest for lunch and relaxation afterward of brother and sister Peck of the Antioch congregation.

Following evening worship, I journeyed two and a half hours to my daughter’s home in Collierville, TN. Wednesday morning, I will board the first of three jet airplanes in succession that will whisk me away to Singapore, arriving on Friday, September 25 just after midnight their time. Before leaving on Wednesday, there are some details that I must attend in last minute preparation for my fall mission trip. Lord willing, I will return to the States on November 17.

After teaching and preaching in Singapore for a few days, I will travel to Myanmar (Burma) where I will teach and preach for two weeks. From there, I will go to Sri Lanka via Malaysia aboard an infamous of over the last two years airline’s craft. Upon completing my teaching and preaching in Colombo, Sri Lanka during the span of a weekend, I will fly to New Delhi, India. There, Indian Christians and I will ride a train for 24 hours and a car for three more hours to arrive at my next preaching and teaching venue. Days later, we will retrace our steps to Delhi, whereupon I will teach for a few days in that city.

Leaving New Delhi, I will fly as close as I can to Kakinada, India on the Bay of Bengal, but the last little bit will require an hour’s ride in a car; the same is true respecting nearly any airport into which or out of which I fly often in the States or abroad.

A week and a half later, I will fly to Bangalore, India. There the plan is to ride about eight hours by car to Namakkal, India where I will teach and preach for about a week. Finally back in Bangalore, Lord willing, I will finish this year’s trip around the world by flying to Paris, France before flying onward to Memphis, TN.

Soon, then, I will be off on a two-month excursion to four Asian countries. Brethren, your prayers, moral support and financial participation are much appreciated.

Breaking News: Two of my flights in October were just cancelled by the airline. Perhaps Tuesday (one day before I leave the USA) I will know which flights will replace them and at what cost. Apparently, that snafu will take from me a day in Sri Lanka!

Prisoner on Earth

August 21, 2015

old songbooksIn a sense, sometimes I feel like a prisoner on earth when I think about the fact that my dear Bonnie has gone on from this world. The real “left behind” pertains to loved ones whose departed friends and family have left them behind. The good news, of course, is that there is a heavenly reunion toward which I and others like me look for with earnest. Yet, I’m sure that even such a longed for reunion will be sufficiently overshadowed by the bliss of eternal habitation with the Godhead Three, the angelic host and the redeemed of all ages. Still the time of her leave from me has been so recent that her (and my) headstone hasn’t been chiseled and set yet. There is no pain like it, and this pain excels all others because it wracks havoc both internally and externally. This, too, I know will pass – or at least deaden over time.

The “earth” that I experience isn’t really prison-like. I have everything that I need and more than I want. My health is fairly good. There is more food available than I desire. I have an abundance of clothes and other physical blessings. I live on a relatively peaceful part of the planet. How silly of me to imagine that I am a prisoner on earth!

In the early morning moments before full consciousness I was still making as it were new memories of Bonnie and me. I dreamed that we were together on some foreign field, some place to which we had not previously gone, but ever so familiar a scenario. For a moment, we were together once more making our way to acquire some literature for our overseas brethren. Then, I awoke and began a new day because I must. Duty calls.

It was my good pleasure this past Lord’s Day to be with the Batesville, MS Church of Christ for their evening worship. I felt right at home. I was privileged to make my PowerPoint presentation “Overview & Update” about my participation in World Evangelism and a little later to offer the Lord’s invitation. Some of the brethren of this congregation participate with me materially in my efforts to serve our Lord Jesus Christ.

I’m happy to say that the next issue of The Voice of Truth International (volume 86) is ready to send to the printing company, and I am well underway working on the next edition, too. Both of these issues need to be ready for the printing company before I leave for Asia for two months beginning on September 23. In addition, I have started working on the September edition of Gospel Gazette Online. Beyond that, I mailed the August issue of the Rushmore Newsletter today. Over the next few days, I will be out of the office – out of Winona, MS at least. Since I have a mobile office, any place I happen to be is my office. For a few days I intend to resort to my daughter’s home for some family time and some away time before the balance of my Sunday and Wednesdays are taken up with appointments with churches of Christ before departing the USA on September 23. I will continue working on The Voice of Truth International and Gospel Gazette Online.

Finally, my schedule abroad is firm. With Delta Skymiles and a little cash, I purchased flights to Singapore and later from Bangalore, India back to the United States. I have accepted an itinerary with a travel agent for the balance of the flights between and in four Asian countries and will purchase those tickets as soon as the fares are presented to me. Now I need to concentrate on getting the lessons lined up to teach in the various locations to which I will be going in Singapore, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and India. Teaching is almost the easiest part of foreign travel.

Besides distributing literature stateside and abroad, World Evangelism of which I am a part receives useable leftover Bible class and VBS literature, used songbooks, excess Gospel Minutes and House to House, old communion sets, etc. for repackaging and distribution abroad. Recently, we received some old, paperback songbooks. We cannot use them for overseas brethren, but we hate to dispose of them. They date back to 1935, 1937 and 1942. The titles are, Everlasting Praises, Number Two; Best of All Songs; and Sunrise in Glory. I placed one copy of each in my home alongside of some other old books that I have on display. If anyone out there would like to have these songbooks, I will send them to you for the price of postage and packaging; just let me know (Email: rushmore@gospelgazette.com).

Thank you for your encouraging words and any prayers offered on my behalf. Have a blessed day.

2014 Summary

January 6, 2015

Rebecca, Bonnie & Louis RushmorePeriodically, we published a blog, which was visited 6,300 times over the course of 2014. In the blog, we chronicled stateside visits to churches of Christ where either Bonnie or I or both of us presented biblical lessons or apprised brethren about our mission work. Whereas Bonnie spoke to ladies’ classes, I spoke to elders, preachers’ meetings, Bible classes and worship assemblies. Bonnie and I were able to travel together on a 4-week mission trip to Guyana, South America, and we posted information and pictures regularly about the progress of that effort. It was unsurpassed in personal gratification and we think in usefulness for the cause of Christ among the various endeavors in which we invest ourselves. A special program for the India Missions Conference, of which we were cohosts, had its representation on our blog, too. Readers could vicariously travel with Bonnie, our daughter Rebecca and me as we visited my uncle Mount (Rushmore) in South Dakota in 2014; I’m just a chip off the old block. Work groups that visited the World Evangelism Building in Winona, Mississippi were duly noted in the blog as well. In addition, we kept visitors to the blog up to date regarding Bonnie’s medical battle against the resurgence of pancreatic cancer. Blog readers found us through following our blog or followed links from either our Internet magazine Gospel Gazette Online or from our Facebook pages. Our blog readers reside in 80 countries spanning the globe with the largest percentage of readers living in the USA, India and Guyana.

Bonnie and I participated with other core World Evangelism team members in publishing four issues of The Voice of Truth International, which is distributed in dozens of countries in numerous languages; 40,000 or more of the 116-page magazine are published quarterly. Furthermore, dozens of new tracts and several new books were published and made available stateside and abroad. Thousands of pounds of Christian literature and books were shipped overseas at no charge to the recipients. In December, Gospel Gazette Online completed 16 years of uninterrupted publication on the Internet. Thousands of articles remain archived and digitally available to anyone worldwide who has Internet connection. Work is underway for the continuation of Gospel Gazette Online in the new year.

In 2014, the Rushmore Evangelism Fund assumed the responsibility of seeing to the funding and payment for a Hindi language TV program broadcast from New Delhi, India. We have made provisions to provide financially for its continuance for a dozen years or more. This could only be made possible by the generous donations of Christian brethren here in the States.

Typically, Bonnie and I travel up to 3,000 miles monthly stateside by car as we teach or update brethren about our mission work. In addition, we usually spend three months overseas annually working in the countries of India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Singapore and Guyana. Both stateside and travel abroad were impacted in 2014 by Bonnie’s medical condition as she continues to experience difficulties from prior surgeries and now that her cancer returned. Two days before we were to board airliners for a 9-week mission trip to four Asian countries, we got the bad news that Bonnie needed immediate medical treatment for a suspected rebounding of pancreatic cancer, which proved to be the case. Bonnie continues to undergo a battery of treatments, and every day is a challenge for both of us, with Bonnie, of course, bearing the brunt of it all.

Summarized, 2014 was a good year in which we feel that we made a difference for the cause of Christ. Daily, adapting as necessary, we continue to make a difference in the service of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Voice of Truth International and Gospel Gazette Online continue unabated, of course, in partnership chiefly with sister Betty Choate, Jerry and Paula Bates, and Byron and Gay Nichols. Typically, we still go to the office/warehouse weekdays to help with shipping and a myriad of other behind the scenes that make the ministry in which we are involved successful.

We are thankful to the sea of Christians who make it possible for us to do what we do for the cause of Christ in the USA and across the world. Thank you for your prayers.

August 2014 Rushmore Newsletter

August 27, 2014

Rushmore NewsletterBonnie and I with the help of Betty Choate spent most of the day (August 27) processing for mailing 989 copies of the August edition of the Rushmore Newsletter. However, we were not able to prepare the mailing in time to get it into the US Mail today. Therefore, we will take the three mailing trays to the local Post Office on Thursday morning. Enclosed in each newsletter is a 2-sided postcard and a return envelope. One side of the postcard depicts Bonnie and me in front of the Taj Mahal in India. The reverse side contains information about how someone can participate financially with us in our foreign mission efforts.

Several states away to the east this morning, our courier received our Myanmar visa application, which she will walk through the Embassy of Myanmar in Washington, DC over the next few days. Also today several states to the west, a travel agent began working on our air travel tickets. In talking with her, we were apprised that there is a problem with our return to Memphis, TN after our 9-week mission trip to Sri Lanka, Myanmar, India and Singapore. Since we are scheduled to begin our return to the States on November 24, we are running into problems getting the flights necessary inside the United States due to Thanksgiving holiday travel. I don’t understand it, but we are being advised that irrespective of in whatever city we land in this country initially upon our return we will be stuck for days before we can get connecting flights to Memphis. I thought the hard part of our worldwide trek would be crisscrossing throughout Asia – not in the US. Stay tuned!

Otherwise today, we packed and shipped some tracts and books. Later, we hand delivered some beta test Bible class curriculum when we attended Bible class at a Mississippi church of Christ. We also mailed dozens of “Thank You” letters to donors who are helping us financially make our fall Asian mission trip. We fielded phone calls and attended miscellaneous other duties, even into the night after returning home from Wednesday night Bible class.

Time is counting down – rapidly – before our September 24 departure to the other side of the planet. We are working feverishly on so many fronts, and we full-well know that we cannot possibly accomplish some of those tasks before traveling 12 time zones away. Yet, we long to renew friendships with foreign brethren, edify them with the Word of God and acquaint Buddhists, Hindus, Animists and denominational people the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Here or there, Bonnie and I remain devoted to each other in the service of our Lord Jesus Christ. We covet your continued interest and prayers.

Whew! Glad That’s Done

August 20, 2014

The week of August 10, Bonnie and I were still the lone team members in town. Our week was consumed with various office duties, including shipping out orders daily to individual Christians and congregations, preparing our newsletter digitally for sending to the printing company we use, and a BIG mailing. Wednesday and Friday combined, we had prepared and mailed 995 letters to Christians and churches of Christ, encouraging them to participate financially with Bonnie and me in our upcoming nearly nine-week mission trip to four Asian countries. Over the next four weeks, we need to gather sufficient funds to permit us to labor in the Gospel at several venues in Myanmar and India, plus single sites respectively in Sri Lanka and Singapore. It is quite a puzzle trying to schedule all of the activities, flights, land travel, lodging, etc.

Saturday morning, I was able to finalize the digital files for the next issue of The Voice of Truth International and get it mailed to the printing company. Saturday afternoon, Bonnie and I aimed the Gospel chariot toward McMinnville, Tennessee, where I was to speak at two congregations on Sunday; however, we lodged that night in Manchester, TN.

Sunday morning, Bonnie and I assembled with the Pleasant Cove Church of Christ, one of our monthly supporters. I showed the PowerPoint “2014 Guyana Mission Trip” during Bible class, and then for a.m. worship, I preached “Understanding How God Communicates with Mankind, Today?” Afterward, the congregation and we enjoyed a fellowship meal together. Often, we manage to visit a congregation (unwittingly) on potluck Sunday, or as in this case the brethren used our visit as an occasion to get together and eat. Either way, it works for me!

Sunday afternoon, Bonnie and I enjoyed the hospitality of brother Ray and sister Charlotte Weddington in their living room. They have been long time encouragers and supporters of Bonnie and me in our efforts for the Lord. Brother Ray especially likes Gospel Gazette Online (Website: www.gospelgazette.com) and has been a faithful reader for many years of its 16-year history.

Sunday evening, the West Riverside Church of Christ was gracious enough to permit me to make the PowerPoint presentation about our 2014 mission trip to Guyana, South America. We are always cordially received there, too.

After grabbing a sandwich apiece in Manchester, TN, we continued a little further to Tullahoma, TN where we lodged for the evening. Heavy rain fell overnight and continued throughout the following day as we journeyed onward. We stopped for a few hours in Florence, AL where we met up with brother Wayne and sister Janet Barrier. We all conversed over a tasty meal at Red Lobster. Next, we stopped by Heritage Christian University in Florence, whereupon we unloaded two boxes of books for Joey Barrier to use in a new mission studies over which he is the director at HCU. It was good to see his sister Jenny, too, who came by. Finally, we continued toward Winona, MS, arriving back after dark on Monday.

Ditch DiggingOver the last three weeks, I have been digging a ditch to lead rainwater away from our carport and woodshop, which have been flooding. Actually, I think the ditch has been working on me as well; I’ve about come to the conclusion that at my age I have dug my last ditch! Of course, much of the time found me swinging an ax to displace pine tree roots the size of my upper thigh. If that were not daunting enough, the ground was so hard that I had to use a pickax to break up the ground. Wednesday morning, I was able to put the last of the pea gravel atop the perforated pipe that I buried and connected to other underground pipe installed last year. Lastly, I applied silicone caulk to seams in downspout connections to buried pipe, which had been leaking severely and contributing greatly to flooding in the woodshop. Whew! Glad that’s done.

Bonnie continues to face medical challenges on a daily basis. The extensive surgery under which she went to combat pancreatic cancer has left her with the inability to eat and digest her food properly. Day and night she experiences pains over which she cannot gain control. Nevertheless, she and I persist in the work for the Lord that lies ahead of us. We hope to remain tools in the hands of God as long as we live. Please pray for us.

Introduction to Foreign Culture

December 2, 2013

Today (Monday, December 2, 2013), Bonnie and I visited a Mississippi public school, whereupon we introduced foreign cultures from countries in Asia and South America to some sixth graders. We have been doing this annually for a few years now. Bonnie and I enjoy speaking about this, and the youngsters liked it, too.

I showed the class a PowerPoint depicting culture from Myanmar (formerly Burma), India and Sri Lanka in Asia, as well as from Guyana in South America. Students were able to see colorful clothing with which they were unfamiliar. They became aware of the lack of potable water aside from purchasing mineral water in many developing nations. Some of the foods eaten especially in Asia seemed strange to them. The pupils couldn’t imagine the absence of Wal-Mart stores from which people could buy food and clothes. Perhaps what mystified them the most was the contrast between western and eastern toilets. Particularly one student expressed that ‘it was not right’ that those foreigners didn’t have access to many of the things we take for granted in the United States (e.g., flush toilets, electricity, sanitation, refrigeration, Xbox or PlayStation, etc.).

Some hands-on items we brought for display and for the class to handle included: a bamboo ball, jade figurines and necklace, oriental clothes, homemade paper, wood carvings, a thatch fan, an Asian 3-tier metal lunchbox, and foreign language books (i.e., Russian, Spanish, French, Telegu, Lisu, Burmese, etc.). Bonnie and I fielded a variety of questions at the conclusion of the program. Only one child slept through it all; the rest were fully involved and actively participated. Without prodding, some class members publicly expressed their appreciation to us.