Archive for the ‘Travel’ category

No Friday this Week!

October 1, 2017

Thursday, September 28, Martha Lynn and I began our trek from the USA to Asian countries that will encompass the next 55 days before our return—Lord willing. Our journey presented little difficulties; no major complications were encountered. Our flights took us from Orlando, FL to Los Angelos, CA to Taipei, Taiwan to Yangon, Myanmar over the next nearly 30 hours. The transpacific flight alone was around 13 hours aloft! In the process of travel and crossing the International Date Line as we headed in a westward direction, we completely skipped Friday—except for boarding a plane in California after midnight. Essentially, we took flight on Thursday and landed on Saturday—all within the space of 30 hours. Remarkably, on our return trip as we fly completely around the world, we will compress the same number of hours into a single day; we will leave Asia and arrive in North America on the same calendar day, despite traveling for more hours than there is in a single day. As confusing as that is, imagine trying to take one’s scheduled medication in a timely fashion.

We slept on the three planes at will and otherwise amused ourselves with music, movies and preparation to teach upon our arrival in Asia. The last 3½ hour leg of our travels seemed to me to be the most difficult, only because I was tired of traveling and ready to be there.

Gladly, dear Christian friends were promptly at the airport to greet and to retrieve us. They and we paused a bit for refreshments at the airport before traveling to our hotel for the next week. Later, we will transfer to another hotel where we will abide for two more weeks while in Myanmar.

Sunday, we assembled with Burmese and Chinese Christians for worship. Afterward and upon returning to Hotel Bo Bo Min, we decided to rest for just a little while. Three hours later, we were awakened by housekeeping upon the delivery of our laundry. Returning to our slumber, we slept for another six hours! We thought we had been refreshed and handling reasonably the jetlag, but apparently our bodies behaved differently. Two days in a row we snoozed—dead to the world—right through the supper hour! Sleep is never so rewarding or as deep as it is when one is exhausted; we have been sleeping soundly. Unfortunately, the bedbugs haven’t been sleeping; this is the first and only occasion in my stateside and foreign travels that I have encountered these critters. Unfortunately for Martha and surprisingly to me, they prefer biting her over chewing on me! I had jokingly said previously that I was taking her with me for “bait,” and apparently that is truer than I suspected.

Monday through Friday, a new chapter in our lives commences as we commune especially with Chinese brethren. They and we hope to glorify and serve our Lord.

Winding Down and Winding Up

September 26, 2017

Recently, Martha and I dined with some of her children (Jim, Denise and family) at Gator Joe’s on a Florida lake. What a beautiful sunset graced our suppertime delight! Of course, Martha had to get sand between her toes and wade in the water.

This past Sunday morning, September 24, Martha and I assembled with the Wildwood, Florida Church of Christ. This was my second visit to the congregation and my first opportunity to speak for this church. During Bible class, I presented my “World Evangelism Media & Missions” PowerPoint presentation. At the worship hour, I preached “Imitating the Urgency of Jesus Christ.” We felt right at home with Wildwood, and everyone paid rapt attention. It was a pleasure to worship God in spirit and in truth together.

For lunch, Martha and I treated ourselves to some deluxe Angus cheeseburgers and trimmings. Not only were they delicious, but we won’t have any such favorites for several weeks as we are abroad for eight weeks in three Asian countries. We drove a few miles thereafter to what turned out to be a dying, indoor mall. We idled at a franchise bookstore café and enjoyed the air conditioning while doing digital jigsaw puzzles on our electronic tablets.

When it was time, we made our way to the meetinghouse of the Village Church of Christ in Lady Lake, Florida. This was my second visit to this little church, and we worshipped with them.

Tuesday was a mobile office workday. I was able to publish the September edition of Gospel Gazette Online to the Internet and sundry other matters were addressed, too.

Thursday, Martha and I fly from Orlando, Florida to Los Angelos, California. From there we will fly for about 16 hours to Taipei, Taiwan, and then fly on to Yangon, Myanmar (also known as Burma). We will arrive on Saturday after nonstop traveling by jet airplane.

Three weeks later, we will fly to Singapore for about four days, before flying to India. For five weeks, we will travel to sundry places. Finally, November 21, we will return home from New Delhi to New York to Florida—all on the same day, though the same number of hours as traveling to Asia! I am looking forward to sharing some of the beautiful pictures of our travels from time to time during the eight weeks we will be gone. Please remember us in your prayers.

Hot & Sticky in Guyana, South America

September 3, 2017

Monday, August 28, Martha and I drove from the hotel in which we lodged Sunday night after leaving DeFuniak Springs, Florida. We drove to Middleburg, Florida to spend some time with my son, Robert, and cart down to him some of his belongings. That trailer we acquired earlier in the year has certainly been getting some use. Of course, Martha is planning in us depositing in it more things from our Florida home to transport back to our mission cottage in Winona, Mississippi.

In Middleburg, we spent the night with new friends, a preacher and his wife. One of their big dogs was not nearly as welcoming as he chewed up my right leg as I exited the car. A little cleanup and Band-Aids later I was on the road to recovery and still able to leave the country on our mission trip to Guyana.

Happily, all of Martha’s medical tests over four days had satisfactory results. As she says, “We’re stuck like glue!” Lord willing, we will comfort one another and amble throughout life together for a few more years yet.

After packing and repacking our suitcases a million and one times, along with daily trips to Walmart to get “one more thing,” we headed for the airport at Sanford, Florida on Saturday, September 2. This year by coming to Florida, we were able to dismiss one airline from the travel mix and attempt to allay connection snafus that plagued us earlier in the year returning from Guyana.

Who would have guessed? The Surinam Airlines flight was delayed by about three hours leaving Sanford. At least the airplane was sitting out there this time. In March, Surinam Airlines was 8 hours late arriving in outside of Georgetown, Guyana for our return trip to the USA.

We arrived about 10:30 p.m. EST in Guyana after a four and a half hour, nonstop flight. As always, the familiar face that greeted us when we exited the airport was that of my dear brother Nigel Milo. Martha and I turned in for the night around midnight in Linden. The next day, we worshipped with the Amelia’s Ward Church of Christ, and brethren have about decided to view us as regulars rather than visitors. These Christians are precious to me; we love them very much.

Now, don’t misconstrue the picture, which was snapped earlier in the year on an outing in Guyana with the “Sunshiners,” senior citizens with whom Martha and I were grouped. We traveled to a park for devotionals and fellowship over food. After Martha and I each had an occasion to teach those present, Martha, of course, teaching the ladies in my absence, I tested the serviceability of a park apparatus for a few moments. Martha snapped the photograph! No, I am not on vacation abroad, though I thoroughly enjoy serving my Lord among foreign Christians and non-Christians, too.

For Bible class, I taught about, “Sins of Good People in the Church.” During worship, brother Nigel preached an excellent lesson regarding the disobedience of King Saul with respect to the Amalekites, and of course, made an appropriate application to all present. His straightforward, biblical teaching and preaching is refreshing in times when not everything coming from the pulpits relies on much Scripture.

Sunday evening, I posted, howbeit late, the August edition of Gospel Gazette Online to the Internet. The mobile office is up and running and will be up and running in idle moments between appointments here in Guyana.

Tomorrow, very early, we begin our current round of seminars with church leaders in mind. It is my pleasure to speak throughout the country on “Bible Geography & Sacred History”—foundational and contextual background material to effective teaching and preaching. We covet your prayers and praise God for such an opportunity that is afforded us.

Florida Steppingstone

August 31, 2017

Saturday, August 26 commenced with Martha and me outbound from Winona, Mississippi to DeFuniak Springs, Florida. After the costly complications earlier this year traveling back from Guyana, South America, this go-around, we’re taking one airplane out of the equation by departing from Florida to Guyana. Suriname Airways does not enjoy codeshare with airlines in the United States, and neither does it compensate its customers when an 8-hour late flight results in missing one’s connecting flight back in the States.

Along our way to Florida, we made appointments with two congregations in DeFuniak Springs: the Liberty Church of Christ and the College Avenue Church of Christ. I speak annually for the Liberty congregation, and it supports us in our mission endeavors. This was the first time that I have spoken for the College Avenue church, but I have known some of their preachers and interacted with them over the years. One brother there apprised me that he had been using my written materials for years.

Brethren in both congregations were gracious to us, and as usual, Christians that I had not previously met are simply friends that I didn’t know yet. Interestingly, I could not find consensus on the proper pronunciation of the “DeFuniak.” I want to say, “De-Fun-e-ak,” with a short vowel sound for the “u,” but some residents call it “De-Fune-e-ak,” with a long vowel sound for the “u.” Still others pronounce it, “De-Fin-e-ak,” with the sound of a short vowel sound for an “i.” I’m just going to resin myself to committing it to writing without saying it aloud!

DeFuniak Springs was built surrounding a small, circular lake. Many beautiful, old homes grace the outer ring-road encircling the water spot. Apparently, the lake water level was higher than normal. The warm, sunny day was mitigated by a light breeze amidst and beneath ancient, elegant shade trees.

To our consternation, Martha’s medical insurance wasn’t accepted while we were in Mississippi, and my insurance was rejected the other day in Florida. Oh, well! Anyway, now back in Florida, Martha is undergoing a battery of doctor appointments and tests.

Short of any alarming results over the next two days, we leave Saturday, September 2 for Guyana, South America once more this year. We have venues scheduled in 8 of the 10 regions throughout the country. I will be teaching “Bible Geography & Sacred History” to an estimated 165 church leaders representing about 90 congregations. Martha will teach as well as afforded an opportunity to do so. We return to the USA on September 16, Lord willing.

Then on September 28, Martha and I board the first of a series of jet planes that will whisk us away over a span of nearly 30 hours to Yangon, Myanmar (Burma). We have two venues in that nation over the following three weeks. From there, we fly to Singapore for a 2-day program of teaching. Afterward, we fly to and around in India to be with brethren and to teach until we return to the United States just before Thanksgiving on November 21.

In the meantime, I am working on Gospel Gazette Online and The Voice of Truth International magazines as well as on other matters that demand attention. As soon as we arrive back in Florida, we will drive back to Mississippi to be with Rebecca for part of her holiday from teaching school. While there, we will process our next Rushmore Newsletter, before returning to Florida for the Christmas holiday. In late January, we head back to Guyana for about 6 weeks. Besides all of this, we will be visiting churches in many states, maybe coming to a congregation near you.

On the Alabama-Georgia Line

August 22, 2017

Saturday, August 19, around 2 a.m., I was busy buying tickets to fly around Asia and back to America. After sunrise with a little intervening sleep, Martha Lynn and I pointed the Pacifica toward the east and drove out of Winona, Mississippi. We were headed for the outskirts of Piedmont, Alabama and to the home of Stan and Carrie Rogers. They were my innkeepers last year, too. His father and mother have kept Bonnie and me in their home for many years before I started staying with Stan and Carrie.

Being a big farming community, it was normal for residents to congregate on the lawn outside of an antique building for a home-style meal and local musical entertainment. Several members of the Lord’s church, themselves farmers, were present—and hence facilitated us being there. Martha got to drive a simulated cotton picker and milk an artificial cow! The festival was dubbed, “Field to Fork Dinner.”

Sunday morning, Martha and I assembled with the Highway Nine Church of Christ. During class, I made my PowerPoint presentation, “World Evangelism Media & Missions,” and for worship, I preached, “Imitating the Urgency of Jesus Christ.” Some of the members and we dined at the local Chinese restaurant. One couple bought our lunch.

Sunday evening, we worshipped with the Piedmont Church of Christ. Here, too, Martha and I were well received. Martha has discovered that the brethren to whom I introduce her are like old, familiar friends.

Both churches not only encouraged us, but they helped us along financially in preparation for our upcoming trips to South America and to Asia. Parting from the latter congregation, we aimed for Winona and accelerated in that direction—over five hours away on a dark, Sunday night. We tired long before arriving back home in Mississippi, but we shared the task of driving and kept each other awake. We parked the car in our carport about 12:30 a.m. After showering the sweat of a southern, summer day away, we happily slumbered in our own bed at around 1:30 a.m.—completely tuckered out!

Looking ahead can be about as exhausting as looking behind ourselves. We are packing for Florida speaking appointments, our soon trip to Guyana, followed by our 8-week jaunt through three Asian nations. Whew!

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!