Archive for the ‘Travel’ category

August Rushmore Newsletter

September 9, 2018

For the last two days, Martha and I have been processing the August 2018 Rushmore Newsletter—getting it ready to mail on Monday. This afternoon and in addition to that, the August newsletter has been added to the Gospel Gazette Online site. Subsequently, I have sent out email notifications to additional persons regarding the availability of the newsletter on the Internet.

This issue of the Rushmore Newsletter includes an update regarding the acquisition of an ATV (a rural Gospel chariot for a remote part of the globe) for Amerindian brethren in Guyana, South America. Not long from now, Martha and I will return to Myanmar (Burma) in Asia, where we will be teaching for two weeks in a school nestled in a jungle setting. We love being with fellow Christians and non-Christians, too, around the world who eagerly embrace every opportunity to learn more about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We are indebted to the churches of Christ and the Christian families who make it possible for us to serve at home and abroad.

Some More of the Nicest People

August 27, 2018

As Martha and I were traveling on Saturday, August 25, I mused that we were about to visit some of the nicest and the most pleasant people I know. We were on our way from Collierville, Tennessee, where we had spent the night with our daughter, to be with the Center Ridge, Arkansas Church of Christ on the Lord’s Day. In particular, we were to lodge with and be the guests of brother Garry and sister Melissa Polk. This lovely couple is as down to earth and unpretentious as any American, country, farm family could possibly be.

Awaiting our arrival was a superb homecooked meal of fork-tender roast beef, carrots and potatoes. It was complemented and complimented with corn, okra, fresh tomatoes and rolls. Beyond that, there were brownies, banana bread and raw apple cake to tempt us, to which temptation we succumbed! The hours spent together talking and enjoying each other’s company was icing on the cake, so to speak. Breakfast was over the top with scrambled eggs, biscuits and gravy and farm-fresh sausage patties. After worship, we all had lunch at a very, very busy and one of the largest Mexican restaurants of which I am aware. We’ve eaten there before on previous trips, and we have never been disappointed.

While it might seem that our trek to Center Ridge was all about eating and reminiscing with Christian friends, the real reason for our journey there was to be with the Lord’s people as they assembled in that village on Lord’s Day morning. During Bible class, I spoke about our stateside and foreign excursions for Jesus Christ, which we did in 2017 and so far in 2018. At the worship hour, I preach about Bible Authority. This children-lively congregation has been one of my primary encouragers over the years and has really impacted souls for our Lord, not only locally, but through me in far away lands. For them and appreciating their kindnesses and friendship, I am truly thankful. God be praised! Truly, I interact with some of the nicest people stateside and abroad among my Christian brethren!

Noccalula Falls

July 26, 2018

Saturday, July 21, Martha and I drove from Winona, Mississippi to Piedmont, Alabama. We left at 11:25 a.m. and arrived at the home of brother Bob and sister Peggy Rogers at 5 p.m. They treated us to supper at a local Italian restaurant across the Georgia line and in another time zone. The tasty food was only surpassed by the company of dear brethren.

On the Lord’s Day morning, Martha and I assembled with the Highway Nine Church of Christ, whereupon I spoke for Bible class, a.m. worship and worship once more at 12:30 p.m. Between the worship periods, we were treated to an amply delicious cuisine, complemented by cherished brothers and sisters in Christ. Incidentally, one of our waitresses in the family run eatery was only 9-years-old. She did a very good job and was so cute. Her brother, mom and dad comprise the balance of the team.

Sunday afternoon, we caught up with our hostess, sister Peggy, at the local nursing and rehabilitation center where brethren from the Piedmont Church of Christ were conducting a devotional. A little over three hours later, we assembled with that congregation, and I was again afforded the privilege of speaking to this church, too. Following worship, youth loaded about a dozen boxes of used songbooks into the van; they will eventually make their way overseas to English-speaking Christians.

Passing through Gadsden, Alabama, we stopped briefly at Noccalula Falls; we enjoyed the natural beauty of the site nestled in the cityscape, and we noted the lore surrounding the spot. Then, through the dark of night, we aimed the car back toward Winona, and we pulled into the driveway at 1:00 a.m. In less than an hour, we had the van unloaded and readied ourselves for bed—thoroughly exhausted.

Monday and Tuesday, young people—10-months-old through middle teens—congregated at the World Evangelism Building. They came from the Double Springs Church of Christ in Alabama. For those two days, boys and girls prepared several mailings (i.e., the Bates’ newsletters, The Voice of Truth International), unloaded a truck and warehoused Volume 96 of The Voice of Truth International, packed boxes of books to be sent to student preachers (free of charge), shredded papers and cleaned. They also loaded literature into Jerry’s utility trailer; Wednesday he and Paula left for Texas where they will offload the literature for eventual shipment to African nations.

Wednesday, Martha and I personally delivered two cases of The Voice of Truth International #96 to the West President Church of Christ in Greenwood, Mississippi. We were passing through before services on our way to the Indianola Church of Christ in Indianola, Mississippi. Before we got to Indianola, we paused for awhile in Moorhead, Mississippi at the home of brother Gene and sister Madolyn Gibson. Gene has been and is valiantly fighting illness as they have tirelessly for many years operated a Christian Student Center across from Mississippi Delta Community College.

Brother Gene Hill taught the adult class at the Indianola Church of Christ. It was good to assemble with these familiar brethren. We were cordially greeted, and we left some The Voice of Truth International and Global Harvest magazines as well as a few of the Rushmore Newsletter. We arrived back home at 10 p.m.

Between incidents mentioned above, we devoted ourselves to sundry office duties. Martha has been contacting schools of preaching and Bible colleges associated with the churches of Christ to prepare for sending books to men in training to be preachers. I have been working on the August edition of Gospel Gazette Online and volume 98 of The Voice of Truth International. Today, we also prepared “Thank You” cards for our most recent donors over the past week. There is always much to do—often behind the scenes to further the cause of Christ. We are pleased to be of some service to our Lord, and thankful that congregations and Christian families make it possible for us to so do.

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!