Archive for the ‘Travel’ category

Union, Mississippi

July 3, 2018

Martha and I began the month of July by a visit on the first to the Church of Christ in Union, Mississippi. That entailed an early-morning departure from Winona, Mississippi to arrive in plenty of time before Bible class at 9:30 a.m. During class time, I talked about 2017-2018 mission trips to South America and Asia. It was a privilege to assemble for worship with God’s people—as it always is no matter where we go on Earth. Further, it was an honor to preach as we worshipped God in spirit and in truth. Afterward, a few of us dined in the local hospital cafeteria, as we have from time to time before. These good brethren ever encourage us, and they participate with us in our labors for Jesus Christ our Lord.

Banshee Hotel

June 28, 2018

Arriving back in Winona, Mississippi from weeks in Florida, we commenced June by processing and mailing our newsletter. June 10, Martha and I worshipped with the Oil Trough Church of Christ in Arkansas; it was my privilege to speak twice on Sunday morning. We also recovered boxes of used songbooks, which we will ship to Guyana, South America for our brethren throughout that nation.

The following Lord’s Day, we assembled with the Quitman Church of Christ in Mississippi. Once again, I spoke for Bible class and preached during worship. The next day, Martha and I, along with my daughter Rebecca, headed for West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio. Of course, we traveled through Tennessee and Kentucky on the way.

Martha’s sister-in-law, through her late husband Bob, slipped into a coma before we could get to her home in Parkersburg, West Virginia. Only a few days before, Martha was able to talk with her sister-in-law Shari on the telephone. We visited the family for parts of two days, after which sister Shari passed away.

Wednesday, June 20, we met with the Harmar Hill Church of Christ in Marietta, Ohio, whereupon I was delighted to teach Wednesday evening Bible class. Martha’s sister and brother-in-law labor with that congregation, and we lodged with them.

Thursday, we were also afforded an opportunity visit one of Martha’s brothers in New Cumberland, West Virginia. Currently, he is battling cancer that has invaded his body. The same day, we visited the grave of Martha’s late husband, Bob Noland, in Calcutta, Ohio. We set flowers and changed the batteries in the ‘eternal flame’ lamp. We also met up with another sister in Christ and longtime friend of us both, Vera Groves.

Friday, Martha, Rebecca and I drove north to visit my father in Hadley, Pennsylvania. We also visited two of my brothers and their wives respectively in Greenville and Jamestown, Pennsylvania.

Saturday, June 23, we three spent the day with my son Raymond and his wife in Ohio. We rendezvoused with them in Berlin, Ohio—a major destination in the largest Amish settlement in the USA. We went together to a few sites in the area before dining at the Dutch Valley Restaurant in Sugar Creek, Ohio. Each trip to the region, I am elated if we can visit Amish country, especially if I can eat at Dutch Valley—an eatery that is a destination itself. Repeatedly and astonishingly, we kept bumping into brother Garry and sister Melissa Polk at the hotel in which we spent a night and at various tourist stops. He serves as an elder of one of the congregations in Arkansas which participates with us in our mission work, and I have roomed with them several times when I visited the church there.

It was at Dutch Valley that we met up with Martha’s son Bryan and his wife. The seven of us investigated more of the area before Raymond and Bryan returned to their homes.

The Lord’s Day on June 24, we gathered for Bible class and worship with the Church of Christ in Hanoverton, Ohio. Martha and Bob Noland labored with this country church for several years, and through my friendship with the Nolands, I have been speaking there from time to time since 2008. This little congregation participates with us in our mission work, and they in the past as well as on this occasion gave us used songbooks for distribution to English-speaking brethren abroad. The Hanoverton congregation had a fellowship meal especially for us. I spoke three times; the second worship began at 4:00 p.m. in this farming community. Sunday night, we rendezvoused with another of Martha’s sons at a fast-food joint in Mansfield, Ohio. We also used the stop for our supper break.

Monday, we started for home. Our return route to Mississippi took us through Cincinnati, Ohio. Immediately across the Ohio River lies Newport, Kentucky. There we paused for a few hours to go through that city’s Aquarium. Then, we continued homeward.

Tuesday afternoon, we stopped in Collierville, Tennessee to visit with the Gootam family. Ronnie Gootam recently completed theological training at a nearby school of preaching, and not long ago, Ronnie and his wife marked the birth of their first child. Though mother and father are citizens of India, through birth in the USA, their baby is an America citizen—making for some interesting circumstances in preparation for and upon the family’s return India. Visiting with them are Ronnie’s parents, Joshua and Kabita Gootam from Kakinada, India. All of the Gootams, including Ronnie’s brothers Ricky and Robin back in India, are outstanding and hardworking fellow-laborers in the kingdom of Jesus Christ.

Tuesday evening, we three weary travelers arrived back at my parsonage in Winona, Mississippi. We had made a whirlwind trip to West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania and back to our Mississippi home.

Wednesday, brother Therman and sister Sadie Hodge dropped by for a brief visit on the way back to their home in Meridian, Mississippi. Also on Wednesday, coworkers and I finalized Volume 97 of The Voice of Truth International magazine and made the files available for the printing company in India. Volume 95 is the most recent edition to be circulated, and Volume 96 is in transit from India to Winona.

Thursday, Rebecca and I devoted the day to lawncare, while Martha busied herself indoors with preparing a very nice supper and other household duties. We’re bushed—tuckered out!

Throughout our travel, we lodged mostly in hotels—some satisfactory and at least one that we want to cross off doubly from our mental list of lodging places. We don’t ever want to stay there again! We slept in Mineral Wells, West Virginia; Calcutta, Ohio; Alliance, Ohio; Dover, Ohio; Grove City, Ohio; and twice in Cave City, Kentucky. Not its real name, we dubbed the lodging in Cave City as the Banshee Hotel because the elevator there screeches each time and on every floor when its door opens or closes. Not a bad stay, the Banshee Hotel provides a little extra via that amusing oddity. Incidentally, a former hotel once stood on the footprint of the current inn before it burnt in the night!

Back in Mississippi

June 1, 2018

Martha and I arrived back in Winona, Mississippi around 10:30 p.m. CST on Thursday, May 31. Over the next two hours, we unloaded the van and the utility trailer, showered and retired for the night.

Earlier in the day, we paused in Meridian, Mississippi to spend time with our dear friends, Therman and Sadie Hodge. It happened again! I invited them to accompany us to supper out—and they treated us. I told Therman that the next time I wanted to eat out, I’d invite him again!

We departed Ocala, Florida on Wednesday morning for Martha’s medical appointment an hour away outside of Gainesville. On the way, we received a phone call that her doctor was called away for an emergency surgery. Fortunately, we were able to reschedule the appointment for a little later in the morning. Consequently, Martha arranged a chiropractic session with another doctor just a few blocks away. So, she managed to work in two appointments—literally on our way out of town and out of the State of Florida.

Wednesday evening, we lodged in DeFuniak Springs, Florida. Two congregations in that area support our mission efforts. A sister with the College Avenue Church of Christ passed away on Friday from the same illness that claimed the lives of my Bonnie and Martha’s Bob. We felt a special connection with Pam Bradford and her husband John Bradford. Therefore, we took opportunity to attend the memorial service for sister Bradford on Wednesday night. The next day—a long day—we continued onward toward Winona.

 

During our stay in Ocala, we witnessed a granddaughter graduate from high school and another granddaughter be promoted from 5th grade. Martha underwent a battery of medical tests, and all seems to be well for our ages. I was able to nearly complete two Gospel magazines, Gospel Gazette Online and The Voice of Truth International, as well as our next Rushmore Newsletter. We maintained our office duties, and we visited some congregations of the churches of Christ in the surrounding area.

Over the next few months, we will continue visiting congregations out from Winona in Mississippi and surrounding states. Our annual Team Meeting will transpire in July, and at least by the first week of October, Lord willing, we will return for many weeks to two or more Asian nations. We covet your prayers.

Change of Plans

May 8, 2018

Life in general often necessitates adjustments to one’s plans. Such was the case recently once more for Martha and me. Other World Evangelism team members and we prepared the Maywood Christian Camp outside of Hamilton, Alabama for our annual Missionary Retreat. We arrived Tuesday, May 1. However, the morning the program was to begin (on Thursday), Martha and I headed back to Winona instead of staying for the retreat. I had just gotten a root canal a few days ago, and another tooth nearby that one developed a similar problem that required a root canal, too.

Hence, after arriving back in Winona, Martha and I loaded the van and utility trailer for a Friday morning departure for Florida—via a stop for a root canal in Jackson, Mississippi as we passed through that city. The trailer was full of personal belongings of one of my sons, which we were to deliver to him in Florida on our way to Ocala. Around 3:30 p.m. Saturday, we arrived at my son’s residence. Finally, my attic is expunged of the last of my children’s keepsakes and so forth. I remember one time taking a similar load to another son, whereupon he said that he had no place to put it. I told him to stack it at the end of a couch, cover the boxes with a sheet and put a lamp on top of it!

Along the way, at the first rest area and welcome center in Florida, Martha made some new acquaintances. A couple little girls were on there way to Disney World to celebrate being adopted. Martha related to them how that she was adopted, too, when she was a little girl. Martha is very outgoing and makes friends easily everywhere we go, even along the way. She even made friends with a couple of “alligators” when we dined out one night for supper.

Sunday morning, Martha and I worshipped with the Middleburg, Florida Church of Christ. Bible class lessons, the sermon and worship were encouraging and uplifting. Sunday evening, we assembled with the University City Church of Christ in Gainesville, Florida.

Monday, Martha had appointments with two different doctors in the Gainesville area. Unable to get timely insurance approval for procedures Martha needs, we went to Ocala that evening. My mobile office in a borrowed bedroom in our temporary Ocala abode is up and running. In addition, appointments have been made for various things that we need to address while in Ocala. Several other things of an office nature, and a little repair work around the house, will keep us busy. Upon accomplishing these appointments, including Martha’s treatments, we will return to Winona, Mississippi.

A primary reason for our trip to Florida presently is for Martha to attend the high school graduation of one of her granddaughters. Sometimes, I feel a little bit like a ping-pong ball!

Sunday—Monday

April 16, 2018

Sunday morning, April 15, Martha and I drove from Winona, Mississippi to Greenwood, Mississippi. It was my privilege to assemble once more with the brethren of the West President Church of Christ, and it was my honor to present a message from God’s Word during worship. I preached about “Bible Authority”—a fundamental message to Christian faith and practice. Nothing else I do is more enjoyable for me than to teach, preach or write biblical lessons. I set out to glorify God and to edify all present, including myself.

After lunch on the grounds following worship, Martha and I pointed the car toward the southside of Jackson, Mississippi. That afternoon, we met with the elders and deacons of the Siwell Road Church of Christ; the elders oversee Martha and me as we endeavor to serve our Lord Jesus Christ. That evening, we worshipped with our dear brethren at that congregation.

We were treated to supper at an eatery in Clinton, Mississippi after the assembly dismissed. Hence, we lodged in Clinton as well because I needed urgent dental attention, speedily scheduled for early Monday morning in Byram, Mississippi. As it turned out, I needed a root canal plus medicine for an infection and for pain.

Somewhat drugged, I passed the responsibility for driving to Martha. First, she drove two hours to Winona so we could hookup with our coworkers who returned from several weeks abroad in Asia; also, we repacked our suitcase, added more items to the minivan and headed for Florence, Alabama—Martha again at the wheel. It was her job to drive most of Monday, and apparently it was my job to whine and complain!

Finally, we arrived in Florence at Heritage Christian University—the site for the next three days of the annual Indian Missions Conference. After setting up a table of books and such, we made our way to the Quality Inn. Coincidentally, about the same time, brother Ricky Gootam and his son Justin drove into the same parking lot. We will be attending the program together and speaking on the program.

It has been a long day, and the days ahead will be filled from morning to evening. The weeks ahead call for us haul literature to Nashville, Tennessee for shipment to Guyana, South America; attend a missionary retreat in Hamilton, Alabama; and take Martha to Ocala, Florida for the graduation from high school by one of her granddaughters. Of course, it’s time to work on both publications—Gospel Gazette Online and The Voice of Truth International. Life is full and well appropriated. God be praised; we hope to serve our Lord faithfully on earth and happily anticipate an eternal home in God’s house.

As the Calendar Page Turns

January 1, 2018

Upon our return from a mission trip in three Asian countries, preceded by a mission trip of two weeks in South America, Martha and I found ourselves wearily entering into the Thanksgiving holiday. We flew into Florida and promptly drove to Mississippi, where we were joined by my daughter Rebecca. Later after a few days at the office, Martha and I returned to Florida, where we enjoyed Christmas holidays with my three children as well as one of Martha’s sons, his wife and their three children.

December 31, we assembled for worship with two congregations not far from our Ocala, Florida home. In the morning, we once more visited the Wildwood Church of Christ, whereupon its two elders ably handled the Bible class and the preaching (1 Timothy 3:2) in the absence of their pulpit preacher. That evening, we met with the Bellview Church of Christ, my first occasion to gathering with these brethren. In both places, I left copies of The Voice of Truth International and the Rushmore Newsletter.

Upon Martha and me returning to Ocala, Rebecca apprised me of the final proofing corrections for Gospel Gazette Online, and I published it to the Internet. New Year’s Day, I notified the nearly 2,000 subscribers to the Internet journal of its availability. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, with the collaboration of coworkers in Winona, Mississippi, I was able to complete layout of Volume 95 of The Voice of Truth International. My mobile office works in Florida, too, besides working in Winona, Mississippi or abroad in South America or Asia. Internet and phone services are additional requirements from time to time, but my laptop computer do it to it wherever and whenever.

Another significant event, though resembling a typical, lackluster Saturday, today—January 1st—New Year’s Day—is the first wedding anniversary for Martha and me. How the year came and went we hardly know. I whisked Martha off to the jungles of South America within days of our wedding. In the states, we lived out of our suitcases often and once for a month as we traveled to my speaking appointments across the eastern USA. In September we spent two more weeks traversing Guyana, South America before embarking on a two-month trip to Myanmar, Singapore and India. We hardly knew what to do with ourselves with the sudden slowdown of the end of year American holidays and the turning of the calendar page to 2018.

Yesterday, I bought airfare for travel once more to Guyana. We are scheduled to be in that country from January 30 through March 6. Martha and I will participate in workshops and seminars in all 10 regions of the jungle nation. We will conduct programs for Christians and place our effort within reach of every church of our Lord. In addition, we will put on a seminar simultaneously for church leaders and workers, which will be more extensive than material for others. The workshops follow the theme, “Back to the Bible,” and the seminars will address in depth, “How We Got the Bible.

We are indebted to Christians and churches that encourage and financially participate with us in our ministry—stateside and overseas. May God bless us and every child of God as we circumspectly make our way through life on earth in eager anticipation of being invited into the house of our God forever.

Rushmore Newsletter

December 12, 2017

Sunday morning, November 10, Martha and I worshipped with the Old Union Church of Christ in the woods outside of Carrollton, Mississippi. I was privileged to teach about “The Inspiration of the Bible” for Bible class and preach “Imitating the Urgency of Jesus Christ” during worship. Several remained afterward for a fellowship meal. That evening, we assembled with the Huntsville Church of Christ outside of French Camp, Mississippi. The week before, we worshipped with the Siwell Road Church of Christ on the southside of Jackson, Mississippi. The elders oversee our ministry and missionary efforts.

Finally, Monday, November 11, the last parts of our latest issue of the Rushmore Newsletter arrived in Winona. Betty Choate, Jerry and Paula Bates, and Martha and I processed it for mailing. We worked into the evening hours.

Tuesday, Martha and I loaded the van once more. We pointed the car toward Florida. Wednesday Martha has a medical checkup. My children as well as one of her sons and his family and we will enjoy the December holidays together. The last week of January, Martha and I tentatively will depart the USA again for Guyana, South America. Details are still being formulated, but we anticipate being gone six to eight weeks.

We brought plenty of work along with us, and there are many things to which we need to attend prior to leaving the country. My mobile office functions wherever I go. All I need is electricity and sometimes an Internet connection.

We remain tired, aging and aching, but moving forward for our Lord Jesus Christ. Thank you for your moral support and otherwise that keeps us going.