Archive for the ‘Travel’ category

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.

Nearly Five Weeks in India

November 24, 2017

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

October 23, Martha and I flew from Singapore to Bangalore, India in the state of Karnataka. After enjoying time with and assembling for a couple of days with Christian brethren, we traveled overland by car to the state of Tamil Nadu. There we remained for most of a week; we greeted several Christians who came from various parts of that state to meet us. After traveling back to Bangalore, we flew to Vishakhapatnam in the state of Andhra Pradesh, before being retrieved and taken about 80 miles south to Kakinada on the Bay of Bengal. For approximately one week, we spoke to Christian men and women daily there and also in outlying villages.

Upon returning to Vishakhapatnam, Martha and I flew to New Delhi to connect with dear Christians there for a couple of days. Next, accompanied by two brothers in Christ, we nearly returned to Andhra when we flew to Raipur in Chhattisgarh state. Five hours of road trip later, we arrived at a coffee house in Korba, where we lodged in upstairs rooms. For the next several days and evenings in the neighboring village of Balco, we addressed Christian men and women publicly and from house to house.

Finally, we returned to New Delhi via Raipur and prepared to return to the USA. We had departed our homeland about eight weeks previously for three Asian countries, and we changed planes in a fourth nation. We renewed old friendships and made new friends, too. This was Martha’s first trip to Asia. Twice before in 2017, though, she and I traveled to metropolitan as well as remote villages in Guyana, South America. Our first year as husband and wife is swiftly drawing to a close, and we have vigorously applied ourselves in our travels stateside and overseas for the cause of Christ. In addition, there is an immense amount to activity behind the scenes relating to the publication of Gospel Gazette Online and The Voice of Truth International magazines, publication of books and tracts, plus distribution in the States and overseas of this Christian literature. I especially concentrate on delivery of tons of literature and Bibles to Guyana, South America.

We are growing older, have our aches and pains, and sometimes we are weary. However, we fully intend to rest at some time in the future—when we’re dead! Until then, as long as possible, we intend to be active for the Lord. We are thankful to the many Christian families and congregations of the churches of Christ who make that possible through their financial participation and moral encouragement.

Caged in Singapore

October 22, 2017

Saturday, October 21, we dined for breakfast at the V Hotel at Lavender, where we resided for our brief stay in Singapore. Walking about on the open-air level for the buffet, we happened upon a giant birdcage with chairs in it. I suppose that’s all it would have taken to cage us, since we voluntarily on a whim entered and seated ourselves. Back in our 14th floor room, we snapped a picture of Singapore from our vantage.

That afternoon, a dear Christian brother and sister, husband and wife, treated us to a nice lunch at a Chinese restaurant—followed by coffee (hot chocolate for me) and cake elsewhere. Later for supper, we walked across the street from out hotel to Burger King. Sunday for lunch, we were guests of another Christian duo at a different location at an Italian restaurant. Both couples and we relished some precious time together—discussions about the Lord’s church around the world and our respective families.

Sunday, October 22, 2017, Martha and I assembled for worship with the Lavender Church of Christ. We were impressed with the dedication and earnestness of the brethren. It was an honor to be with them as we together worshipped God. Few congregations in the brotherhood are more active in foreign evangelism than this church is. Once more, I preached “Imitating the Urgency of Jesus Christ.” During Bible class, a knowledgeable brother in Christ made a well informed and contemporarily applied presentation from Ecclesiastes 8.

Martha made new friends, and I renewed acquaintances with Christian brethren with whom I have spent time occasionally over the years. We look forward to our next return, during which perhaps we will be afforded a longer visit during which we can teach in a seminar over two or three days.

Singapore is our oasis. Monday, we continue our journey to India. There we will travel to various states until we return to the USA, Lord willing, on November 21. May God richly bless His children everywhere. I look forward to when we all will commence eternity in God’s home.

Three Weeks in Myanmar

October 21, 2017

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The first week, Martha and I lodged in the Hotel Bo Bo Min by evening and taught by day some 30 minutes away on the east side of Yangon. Nine Chinese Gospel preachers from the northeastern area of Myitkyina convened for the special series of classes. Some of the ministers have dual Myanmar and Chinese citizenship, and they all speak the tribal language of Lisu.

Martha taught ladies, and I taught the men. My lessons over the week included crash courses on “How We Got the Bible” and “Bible Geography & Sacred History.” In addition, tracts and books in the Lisu language were provided for these attendees.

Weeks two and three, Martha and I lodged by night on the other side of Yangon in the Hotel Corolla, and during the days, we taught Christians and non-Christians who had come from throughout the nation especially for these lessons. I taught the same courses as I did during the previous week, plus English and a variety of short biblical lessons.

Over the three weeks, we worshipped on the Lord’s Day and I spoke for three different congregations in the Yangon area. We were also lunch guests one day in the home of a revered Christian brother and his family in the outskirts of Hmawbi. Not the least of our joys were the playful moments enjoyed with a certain pintsized boy and an equally precious little girl. Both are preschool, but already they have mastered more than I did in first grade—a few decades ago.

An Indian brother who directs a Bible training school in India visited while we were in Myanmar. I have known him for years, and he was the teacher of several of the Burmese evangelists with whom I labor for our Lord. Not a part of what we do, of course, we observed samples of Buddhism everywhere, including young, female monks in training—wearing pink.

Ready to move on in our two months abroad, still, we were reluctant to part from the dear Christian brethren whom we count as among our most cherished friends on earth. I have grown to love them over the past decade, and Martha and they became fast friends. Friday evening, October 20, Martha and I winged our way across a time zone or two to Singapore to be with more Christian friends and brethren. We struggled to reload our suitcases, and we don’t dare buy another thing or accept any gifts; otherwise, we may have to check into getting luggage racks installed atop an airliner or two!

We appreciate and continue to covet prayers on our behalf as we travel overseas. Martha and I, Lord willing, will return to the USA on November 21.