Archive for the ‘Travel’ category

August 18, 2017

Water Valley Church of Christ

Wednesday evening, August 16, 2017, Martha and I made our first visit to the Water Valley, Mississippi Church of Christ. We arrived an hour and a half early, and so we decided to drive a little further north to Oxford, Mississippi. The trouble with that was we were almost late for our appointment in Water Valley by the time we grabbed a bite to eat in Oxford. Rush hour and road construction slowed us down, too. Everything worked out with precision. We arrived back at the meetinghouse moments before the first members arrived.

It would be difficult to be better welcomed than we were. Though a small group, nevertheless they made up for it with unbridled enthusiasm. In a casual setting of the fellowship hall and sitting around tables, I acquainted them with our way of life in service to our Lord, stateside and abroad. It is always a pleasure to make new friends out of brethren we had not previously met. I look forward to a long relationship whereupon we build upon the rapport we began to establish.

Brethren encourage us, and we tend to encourage brethren as well by letting them know some of what others and we do to proclaim the Gospel especially in foreign lands. May we all travel, hand-in-hand, along the pilgrim pathway toward the pearly gates and streets of gold, persuading as many as possible to make the journey with us.

We are getting a little anxious as we make final preparations for overseas trips to South America and to Asia. Before that, I have speaking appointments over the next two Sundays at a total of four congregations in Alabama and Florida. We covet your prayers.

Busy, Busy, Busy!

August 7, 2017

Thursday evening, August 3, Martha and I hooked up the cargo trailer and returned to the World Evangelism Building just an eighth of a mile from our residence. We loaded just under 1,500 pounds of literature. We selected two different editions of The Voice of Truth International plus some reclaimed songbooks and a communion set.

Friday morning, after visiting the office briefly, Martha and I left Winona, Mississippi and headed for Nashville, Tennessee and an agent of Caribbean Shipping Service. Instead of taking I-55 northward to Memphis, Tennessee to connect with I-40, we took an alternative route—a little slower and more leisurely with less traffic. After unloading the trailer around 4:30 p.m., we headed to our wayside rest at Rebecca’s home in Collierville, Tennessee. Saturday, we made our way back to Winona.

Sunday, Martha and I drove the short distance from Winona to the outskirts of French Camp, Mississippi and the Huntsville Church of Christ. About half of the congregation, including its preacher, was away at family camp. Hence, I was afforded the opportunity to speak for the Bible class period (“World Evangelism Media & Missions”), morning worship (“Imitating the Urgency of Jesus Christ”) and evening worship (“Imitating the Focus of Jesus Christ”).

Monday morning, Martha and I, along with the help of Paula Bates and Betty Choate, began processing the July edition of the Rushmore Newsletter. Tuesday, we will finish up and mail it. Squeezed in amidst preparing the newsletter were a few other necessary activities, including purchasing $1,500 of airline tickets. Martha and I will fly to Guyana, South America on September 2 for two weeks of teaching church leaders.

Monday evening, Betty Choate, Martha and I attended the Gospel meeting hosted by the Old Union Church of Christ. Brother Paul Franks spoke to a full house of brethren from several area congregations. We hope to return Tuesday and Wednesday evenings for the Gospel meeting.

We still need to finalize our itinerary for our fall mission trip to Myanmar or Burma, India and Singapore. We may possibly also visit Sri Lanka. Of course, we need to make sure that we are ready for teaching various lessons in South America and Asia. There is never enough time!

This Week

July 27, 2017

Sunday morning, July 23, Martha and I assembled with the West President Church of Christ in Greenwood, Mississippi. During the Bible class hour, I made my PowerPoint presentation about “World Evangelism Media & Missions.” During worship, I preached about “Imitating the Urgency of Jesus Christ.” In the evening, we visited the Elliott Church of Christ, also in Mississippi.

Wednesday, Martha and I drove nearly an hour from Winona, Mississippi to Kosciusko to meet with the South Huntington Church of Christ. We were well received and pleased to audit the Summer Series session that night. We were surprised to see brother Andy Dulaney, an elder of my overseeing congregation—the Siwell Road Church of Christ in Jackson, Mississippi. We had seen him on Tuesday at his dental office when we were there for routine cleaning, but Wednesday, he was teaching the special class. Brother Andy spoke about “Shepherding,” a very edifying and unique biblical presentation. Also on Wednesday, I finally was able to publish to the Internet the July edition of Gospel Gazette Online. We continue to receive new, free subscription requests as well as comments from around the world; thousands of articles appear in the Archive in addition to numerous new articles added monthly.

Last week, Martha completed preparation of the next Rushmore Newsletter. This week, it went into production at a printing company in Minnesota; read it before you can hold it by going to it digitally on the Internet. A printing company in Michigan was contracted to reprint a postcard concerning the vast array of books, magazines and tracts that we produce at World Evangelism. Incidentally, The Voice of Truth International is printed currently in India. Other printers in Louisiana, Pennsylvania and Missouri print titles for us from time to time.

Today was an office day for sure. Numerous differing activities occupied our hours (e.g., planning for the 2018 India Missions Conference, adding subscriptions for The Voice of Truth International, preliminary preparation for the next issue of The Voice of Truth International and many small tasks). A lot of little stuff behind the scenes transpires every day that backs up and leads to the more visible aspect of our ministry. There is nothing we would rather do with my life, stateside and abroad, than serve our Lord in every way we can. Many Christians and congregations make it possible for us to do what we do. Thank you.

Sun in My Eyes, Twice!

July 20, 2017

Jokingly, Old Timers are said to claim when talking to younger folks that things were more difficult when they were children. For instance, the standing joke is that things were so bad that they had to walk to and from school each day uphill both ways—in the snow. While that may be hard to believe, today, I drove for six hours and the sun was in my eyes coming and going. I assure you that it was so! Martha, Rebecca (our younger back) and I drove from my daughter’s home where we lodged last night from metropolitan Memphis, Tennessee to Nashville, Tennessee and back. Hence, the sun was in our eyes this morning as we drove east, and it was in our eyes this afternoon as we drove west.

Martha and I were pulling a trailer of about 2,500 pounds of literature and Bibles to an agent for the Caribbean Shipping Company. Yesterday, we were still adding Bibles to the stash. We bought about a hundred in north Mississippi, and last night, we bought another 120 Bibles in southwest Tennessee. Not all plans work as well as imagined, for trying to back the trailer into Rebecca’s driveway to load the cases of Bibles didn’t work out perfectly. The van as well as the trailer made hard contact with the concrete drive. No big problem—just had to carry the boxes a little further.

Martha was the designated picture-taker, and so she does not appear in any of the photographs. I told her that she was our cheerleader! Rebecca, Lennox Parris (shipping agent) and I unloaded the trailer and stacked boxes on two pallets. They will leave the USA from Miami on August 7 and arrive before September in Guyana. From there, brother Nigel Milo and the congregation with which he labors will see to the distribution of songbooks, class material, religious books and Bibles to congregations of the churches of Christ throughout the nation.

That was the second shipment that I pulled to Nashville so far in 2017. We may haul one more load later in the year. Brother and sister Bates with whom we work daily in World Evangelism hauled a trailer load of literature last week to Texas. Tens of thousands of pieces of literature ship from Winona, Mississippi and World Evangelism annually to Asia, Africa and South America. In addition, World Evangelism prints literature in Asia and in Africa, too.

All of this is made possible by individual Christians and churches of Christ. Recently, from one congregation, between members and the church, $1,500 was given for Bibles—over $1,000 of which we spent for Bibles in the last two days. We would have bought more, but we bought all we could find of the particular item in two stores in two states. The cost of shipping the two pallets above to Guyana is $1,340! Our fall trip to perhaps as many as four Asian nations will soon be upon us, and we may return for two weeks in September to Guyana for a special series of classes. Thank you brothers and sisters for making it possible for me to have the absolute best job to be had—as far as Martha and I are concerned—in service to our Lord Jesus Christ and His followers, as well as non-Christians, too.

Courtland Church of Christ

July 10, 2017

Thursday and Friday, July 6-7, the annual World Evangelism Team Meeting convened in our office/warehouse facility in Winona, Mississippi. Brethren from Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee and Florida assembled for two days of fellowship, good food and sharing updates as well as future plans in service of our Lord Jesus Christ.

I devoted Saturday largely to working on volume 93 of The Voice of Truth International. Martha and I also affixed some of her family photos to walls in two rooms. Every adjustment to our living quarters involves changing or moving something from the way things were before when each of us was happily married to our former partners, who sadly have passed. It was raining outside, and it was drizzling a little bit inside, too.

Sunday, it was our good pleasure to meet for Bible class and worship with the Courtland, Mississippi Church of Christ. I presented for class, “World Evangelism Media & Missions.” During worship periods, I preached, “Imitating the Urgency of Jesus Christ” and “Imitating the Focus of Jesus Christ.” This small congregation makes a big impact on our missionary endeavors with ample encouragement and generous financial participation with us. In addition, we were guests of their monthly fellowship meal. Last week, we also enjoyed a fellowship meal with brethren in Nile, Mississippi. Brethren can cook, and they are not afraid to do so!

This evening late into the night, I managed to catch up on some of my recordkeeping of monetary gifts, sermon and lesson register, and pending appointments to confirm. While I was attending to all of that, Martha and Rebecca were baking and icing cupcakes—white ones with vanilla topping and chocolate ones with, yes, chocolate frosting. I played Nehemiah the food taster and sampled them. Somebody had to do it! In addition, Martha made some more peanut butter as well as chocolate fudge. All of this was in preparation for a youth group coming to work with us in the World Evangelism Building on Monday and Tuesday.

Aside from that, I need to complete the packet of Martha’s application for a visa for India. I need to make numerous phone calls tomorrow throughout the day and evening to make speaking appointments for the next couple of months. There is never a shortage of things to do, and there is a long list of tasks awaiting their turn for much needed attention. Alas, we have job security as long as we live—that is, something worthwhile to do irrespective of whether it is monetarily feasible. You and I—all we who are Christians—serve our Master, Jesus!

Moving Right Along

July 2, 2017

Mahdia, Guyana, South America 2017

Wednesday evening, May 28, Rebecca, Martha and I assembled with the North Lexington, Kentucky Church of Christ. For many years, this congregation has been an encourager and a participant with me in my foreign missions. This was my first visit to the congregation since my dear Bonnie passed away in 2015 and I subsequently remarried her best friend, Martha, on New Year’s Day in 2017. As always, we were wonderfully received by those who are dear friends as well as Christian brethren and helpers in our evangelistic labors.

Thursday was a very long travel day back to Winona, Mississippi. Rebecca said the poor ole van sighed relief after we parked the trailer at the World Evangelism Building. Friday was divided between unloading the trailer both at the warehouse and at the house, as well as spiriting Martha away to a follow-up eye appointment in Grenada, Mississippi. Saturday, we reloaded the car for our next outing and put away some of the debris from unloading the trailer at the house.

Early Sunday morning, we departed Winona for the remnant of Nile, Mississippi. All that remains of the village is the meetinghouse of the Nile Church of Christ. During Bible class, I made my PowerPoint presentation, “World Evangelism Media & Missions.” For worship on either side of a fellowship meal at the church house, I preached, “Imitating the Conviction of Jesus Christ” and “Imitating the Focus of Jesus Christ.” I had not been to this congregation before, but several of the members knew me from my Internet online presence, etc. Someone said I looked just like my picture. Interestingly, our recent visit to the Belington, West Virginia Church of Christ resonated with Christians at the Nile church. Once again it has proven true that Christians that I have not met previously are merely friends with whom only now I am acquainted.

We got to sleep in our own bed last night and tonight, too. That hasn’t happened much since we were wed January 1 between stateside and overseas travels. Six weeks we were abroad in Guyana, South America, and we just returned from 31 days on the road. Other appointments have kept us away from home off and on the balance of the first six months of 2017. Is it any wonder that Bonnie had and now Martha has as the ringtone for their phones, “On the Road Again,” by Willie Nelson?

Best Side?

June 26, 2017

On Sunday, June 25, Martha and I took a few pictures, and for Martha’s part, apparently she was trying to capture “my best side”! Evidently, either she failed in that effort—or I don’t have a best side!

That morning, we drove a little over an hour from Morgantown, West Virginia to Belington, West Virginia. Pulling the trailer up and down hills as well as around curves on a 2-lane road was a real drag—literally. It was tiring, too.

Just to make things more interesting, I suppose, the GPS decided to play games with me, falsely promising some shortcuts that did not materialize. The shortcut through Grafton, West Virginia involved getting off of the state route on which we were traveling only to get back on the same route up the road a piece. However, the GPS repeatedly tried to get me to drive over a steep hillside where there was no road, and if there had been a road I would not have plunged my car and trailer over the cliff. I wonder if the van was weary and exhibiting a suicidal tendency.

To salvage the adventure through Grafton, we had to go down a steep, in town, winding grade, stopping at the bottom for a traffic light prior to making a hard right, banked turn. I was saying unkind things to my car’s dash, the home of my GPS.

Still up to its tricks, the GPS tried to get me to take the car and trailer over a divided, 2-lane covered bridge in Philippi, West Virginia. I stopped the car on the highway, until I spied the modern bypass and concrete bridge alternative and current route through and around the village. By the time we arrived in Belington, I didn’t know whether to trust guidance from the GPS or not. I had never been to Belington before.

Martha, Rebecca and I arrived without further incident at the meetinghouse of the Belington Church of Christ, whereupon we were greeted by one of the elders, brother Dave Everson. I doubt that we have ever received a more enthusiastic reception than we received there. I made my PowerPoint presentation, “World Evangelism Media & Missions,” during Bible class time, and for worship, I preached, “Imitating the Urgency of Jesus Christ.” For lunch, we were led to a local eatery back in Philippi. The fellowship and the meals, too, were great!

Afterward, brother Mike Philips, the evangelist for the Belington congregation, guided us to the rural location of the church house for the Wilson Ridge Church of Christ. Later, once more, I made my PowerPoint presentation, “World Evangelism Media & Missions.” Likewise, there we were honored and appreciated for our work’s sake. For the afternoon before evening worship as well as following church services, brother Bob Jennings extended excellent hospitality to us.

Brethren Mike Philips and Bob Jennings were students at the West Virginia School of Preaching where I had taught for ten years. I count both Christian men as my friends and my equals.

Monday, we three again journeyed onward. We traveled from our overnight lodging in Bridgeport, West Virginia to Lexington, Kentucky. This was in preparation for speaking Wednesday night for the North Lexington Church of Christ. We arrived in Lexington early enough to meet up with and have supper with my son Robert. Tomorrow, the four of us, Lord willing, will drive to Williamstown, Kentucky to visit the life-size replica of Noah’s ark.

Tonight and the following night, we are lodging in a cheap hotel—to which we have applied both air freshener and bug spray. Thursday, we hope to arrive back in Winona, Mississippi. We are weary.