Posted tagged ‘2012 Mission Trips’

Expedition into Kinfolk Hollow and Beyond

September 16, 2013

SunflowersFriday, September 13 Bonnie and I left the environs of Hanoverton, OH in an eastwardly direction in a roundabout trip to visit our families in Pennsylvania. We purposely veered southeast to take us through Wheeling, WV so we could stop in on our dear friends and brethren Emanuel and Judy Daugherty. In addition to catching up and enjoying each other’s’ company, we did more of the same over meals at Olive Garden located in the Highlands; each couple shared the menu item, Tour of Italy – comprised of parmesan chicken, lasagna and fettuccini – simply sumptuous!

Afterward, we continued east on I-70 until we intersected I-79 at Washington, PA. From there, we proceeded north to the Greenville exit, whereupon we traveled the few miles from there to my father’s home. Bonnie and I visited with him, as well as his doggie Patches, for a while before continuing our trek to visit my brothers. Between Greenville and Jamestown, we visited Michael and Donna, and later in Jamestown, Bonnie and I visited Martin and his family. Bonnie and I finally arrived in Meadville, PA for the night around 10 p.m.; after dining at Burger King, we checked into the Econo Lodge so we would be in place to visit with some of Bonnie’s family on Saturday.

Saturday morning we had a muffin apiece and fruit juice from the shelf masquerading as continental breakfast! Bonnie and I checked out of the hotel in time to meet her brother and sister-in-law Jim and Kay Reed at Cracker Barrel for lunch – though each couple opted to share a breakfast meal of pecan pancakes and sides; the selection and the quality typical of Cracker Barrel often makes it a good choice for a sit-down meal when Bonnie and I are traveling.

After a brief stop at Wal-Mart, of course, we headed to the site of a birthday party for a great niece of Bonnie, a few miles north of Meadville, PA. There, Bonnie was also able to commune with a second brother, Larry and his wife, Donna. While there, I snapped pictures of a stand of sunflowers and some deer venturing into a field but along the tree line of a forest.

Actually, we left right before the party was to begin and headed for Vermilion, OH where I was to speak on Sunday morning. We lodged in the home of brethren Ron and Mary Weisenstine, and supper was ready upon our arrival. We were graciously received. The four of us talked until nearly midnight, and we showed our hosts hundreds of pictures from overseas.

It was my good pleasure to speak for Bible class and morning worship on Sunday for the Vermilion Church of Christ. Brother Mark Weaver has served this congregation for many years, and his efforts are augmented by his lovely family and especially by his sweet wife, Dawn. They are some of our dearest friends, and we dearly love their children, which love they amply reciprocate to us. John, the youngest one (10-years-old) nearly crawled into the driver’s seat with me to hug my neck before I could exit the rental car.

During Bible class, I made my PowerPoint presentation “2012-2013 Missions Trips,” and later I preached, “The Purpose of Preaching.” Brethren will use almost any excuse to eat together, and that day, Bonnie and I became that excuse as these good brethren honored us.

All too soon, we had to depart for our evening appointment, about four hours away with the Sandyville, WV Church of Christ. That evening, I once more made the PowerPoint presentation “2012-2013 Missions Trips.” That night, we lodged in the home of brethren John and Sue Balis; he serves as one of the elders for the congregation.

Monday, Bonnie and I returned to Hanoverton, OH and the home of brethren Bob and Martha Noland. That evening, we attended the Gospel meeting in progress at the Hanoverton Church of Christ; brother David Kenney is the speaker this year. However, before that, the Nolands, the Kenneys and the Rushmores were invited for supper to the home of Andy and Danielle Burch; this sweet, young couple has an energetic almost 3-year-old son – with whom I have become friends, or a playmate. Martha hosted some in attendance for the meeting for pie after services. Finally, we made our way to bed – weary from not only the day but the days of crisscrossing parts of Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania; we made some humongous circles!

Our trip complete, we head for our Mississippi home on Tuesday. Visiting family and friends in Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania may have been the catalyst for making the trip northward, but we abundantly interspersed opportunities to interact with brethren and congregations that support us. Virtually every trip we make and every mile we drive has some relationship to our commitment to the cause of Christ. Our dedication to serving our Lord is and has been our lives for four decades now, and we would not have it any other way. Bonnie and I only hope that we can live more piously and prove to be of greater service in the days that may lie ahead.

(Bonnie’s health during our travels has been remarkably good, augmented by snoozing along the highways and byways in the car as I drove. Thank you for your continued interest in her recovery.)

First Sunday in May

May 5, 2013

10th Ave. Church of ChristSunday, May 2, Bonnie stayed home to rest with our daughter Rebecca to accompany her. I, though, traveled about 80 miles east of Winona to Columbus, MS and spent the entire day with the 10th Ave. Church of Christ. This vibrant congregation of about 125 has within it all age groups represented. It was my good pleasure to speak at 9:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.; I presented my PowerPoint on 2012-2013 mission trips, “Why Do the Churches of Christ Not Use Instrumental Music in Worship?”, “Male Leadership in the Church” and “Why Do the Churches of Christ Rely on Freewill Offerings to Fund Themselves?”

It is always a great pleasure of mine to commune with these saints. Nowhere else on the planet to which I go do I receive as many “Amens,” handshakes and hugs in one place as here. We are family – the family of God!

Between morning and afternoon times, brother Robert and sister Emma Johnson, preacher and preacher’s wife, hosted me at Ryan’s for lunch. With us was a fine couple from the Baptist Church that had been visiting for Sunday morning worship. After lunch, I rested in the home of brother and sister Johnson before returning for an evening men’s class and worship.

The congregation prayed and prayed again for Bonnie. Several members asked me to convey their well wishes to my dear, sweet wife.

Three days earlier on Thursday, I had a doctor’s appointment in Grenada, MS. I left with a new prescription, which after only two days of use has already proved to be more effective than a previous medicine. In the weeks ahead, I will be scheduled for some tests in Oxford, MS, but it’s too early to borrow trouble or concern over what might be.

Looking ahead this week, Monday we need to make final preparation of Bonnie’s part in making ready for the Maywood May Missionary Retreat in Hamilton, AL; Bonnie will have a sitting down role in this year’s details toward that program. She must also print the “Thank You” cards on Monday for financial support received last week. I am still working on the May issue of Gospel Gazette Online, and I participate in the “Thank You” cards by printing the envelopes, stuffing, sealing and stamping them.

Tuesday, Bonnie has two appointments in Jackson, MS with an oncologist in the morning and the surgeon in the afternoon. Perhaps the last two tubes protruding from her side will be removed, as well as the last staples plucked out, too. She will learn about her schedule for chemotherapy. Tuesday’s travels nearly two hours each way and the hours spent there will completely exhaust her, I’m sure.

Wednesday and Thursday, we will be at the missionary retreat in Hamilton, AL; we will return home Thursday evening so we can greet our son Raymond who is coming Friday morning. He is flying from Columbus, OH to Memphis, TN, whereupon Rebecca will retrieve him and bring him down to Winona. It has been a couple of years since we have seen him, and he has a narrow window of opportunity to visit. He must return to the airport Sunday afternoon.

Doubtless, this will be a tiring week for Bonnie and probably for me, too. Life goes on until, simply put, it does not, and we intend to use ourselves up in the service of the Lord. Whenever someone tells me I look tired, I remark that I plan on resting in heaven. “I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work” (John 9:4 NKJV). “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going” (Ecclesiastes 9:10).

Weekend to Alabama and Back

March 18, 2013

Winchester Road Church of ChristHaving no morning appointment for Sunday, March 17, Bonnie and I remained at our Winona, MS abode on Saturday. Instead of traveling toward weekend engagements per usual, we enjoyed our daughter’s company Saturday, too, before her return to Collierville, TN home. Therefore, Bonnie and I launched out early Sunday morning more or less toward Huntsville, AL.

For Bible class and worship, we dropped in unannounced to the Vernon, AL Church of Christ. We have passed it many times over the years, and I have had correspondence and phone conversations with brethren there. It was a pleasure to make the acquaintance of these brothers and sisters in person. Brother Eddie Finch taught the auditorium class and preached during the morning worship; later, Bonnie remarked that it had been a while since she had heard so many Scriptures used in a sermon as we travel about. I was especially impressed with the orderliness of class and worship. Both Bonnie and I appreciated immensely the friendliness of numerous members who introduced themselves to us.

After worship, we continued our jaunt toward Huntsville. Along the way, we stopped in the Moulton, AL area for a late lunch at Western Sirloin Steakhouse. Bonnie and I ate there once before as guests of brethren when I had a speaking appointment in a local congregation. As before, the atmosphere, service and food were delightful. Just look for the silo outside the restaurant in a business district, on the right side of the Hwy 157 driving just a little south of AL-24.

Following our late lunch, Bonnie and I continued our journey to the meetinghouse for the Winchester Road Church of Christ in Huntsville. I was to speak at 6 p.m. about our mission work. We arrived early enough to get some ice cream at Jack’s (fast-food restaurant) very close by and work on proofing a new book of ours – until it became to tedious and wearisome. Shortly thereafter, brethren began arriving. We were enthusiastically received, even more so than we have been in previous years. It is a great pleasure for Bonnie and me to make good friends of brethren and share with them the trials and triumphs of taking the Gospel abroad.

Being a long day for us and with many hours ahead before arriving back in Winona, MS, we opted to lodge in a hotel on the way back. We enjoyed a refreshing night’s rest and a leisurely day returning to Winona. Between my recent overseas travels to Guyana, on the heels of our extended stay in Asia at the end of last year, and Bonnie’s illness and treatments, we have been on the go endlessly it seems. We need some slowdown time. The stormy weather was of little hindrance; a good meal with friends at Red Lobster and a ride down the Natchez Trace, we happily wandered homeward.

St. Joseph Avenue Church of Christ

March 10, 2013

St. Joseph Ave. Church of ChristSunday, March 10, 2013, Bonnie and I worshipped with the St. Joseph Ave. Church of Christ in Dyersburg, TN. Many of the predominantly white congregations for which I often preach are integrated with black members, and frequently other races, too. Interestingly, the St. Joseph Ave. congregation is a predominantly black congregation that is increasingly integrated with white members, too. As a matter of fact, there was a baptism Sunday of a white lady there. I am proud of churches of Christ that are less interested in racial and ethnic dissimilarities among church members than they are concerned about the precious souls (Matthew 16:26) within “every creature” (Mark 16:15).

Incidentally, 100% of the congregations for which I preach as well as the non-Christians to whom I introduce the Gospel of Christ on foreign soil are of some race, tribe or ethnicity other than what would characterize me. Recently while in Guyana, South America for three weeks, I do not recall having seen another white person until I returned to the International airport for my departure back to the USA. I didn’t think of myself as a white person but simply as a brother in Christ among 1,160 brethren (who just happened to be of East-Indian, African and Amerindian descent).

Sunday after worship, Bonnie snapped a quick photo of the St. Joseph Ave. Church of Christ. “We be brethren” (Genesis 13:8)!

Weekly Mission Update – Coming to a Congregation Near You!

March 3, 2013

imboden church of christEarly Sunday morning March 3, 2013, Bonnie and I left Rebecca’s house in Collierville, TN for our appointment with the Imboden, AR Church of Christ. Once a year, we report to this congregation, which is one of our encouragers and supporters in the mission work we do. For the 9:00 a.m. Bible class, I presented my PowerPoint lesson, “Beverage Alcohol.” Years ago, the congregation taught my book by the same title to teenagers. For worship, I presented a PowerPoint of mission trips Bonnie and I made in 2012, as well as the mission trip from which I just returned Thursday night. We are always graciously received and reinvigorated by the members.

For lunch, we were guests of Sharon and Gevan Murphy plus Gevan’s mother, Eleanor Murphy. The menu included mashed potatoes and gravy, beef steaks, green beans, kernel corn, biscuits, iced tea and cream pie. Besides the tasty vittles, the hospitality and friendly conversation completed our lunchtime pause to the day.

Bonnie and I returned to Collierville, TN at Rebecca’s home, from which Monday morning we will proceed to the hospital in Oxford, MS for Bonnie’s next procedure on her pathway back to good health. We did not have an evening appointment today. There are several openings in our calendar over the next several weeks, and I will need to make a number of phone calls to populate my calendar with appointments to update congregations regarding our mission work.

There is work to do besides (e.g., Gospel Gazette Online, The Voice of Truth International and other publications) that will keep us busy. Maybe I can squeeze a haircut in this week, that is if my barber (Bonnie) is up to it!

Weekend on the Road

January 27, 2013

Harold ReddTim McCarter

Michael BatesSaturday, January 26, 2013 found us arising earlier than we might have otherwise so that we could attend the annual Delta Enrichment Seminar. This year, it was hosted by the West President Church of Christ in Greenwood, MS. The theme, “Allowing God to Answer Our Challenges,” was ably address by three speakers in four sessions from 8:45 a.m. to about 12:30 p.m. Tim McCarter from the Cleveland, MS Church of Christ led off the program and did an outstanding job of presenting his lesson about “Challenges of Worldliness in Our Lives.” He was followed by Harold Redd from the Midtown Church of Christ in Memphis, TN; he also concluded the program later. Respectively, he preached “Challenges in the Church” and “Challenges of Faith and Commitment.” The third lesson addressed “Challenges in the Family,” and it was delivered by Michael Bates from the Batesville, MS Church of Christ. Following the program, all who stayed afterward enjoyed a sumptuous lunch of barbequed, pulled pork sandwiches, barbequed beans, coleslaw, chips and desserts. Brother McCarter’s sermon alone, besides all the other good teaching and fellowship, certainly was worth getting out of bed early on a Saturday morning. Next year, the Delta Enrichment Seminar will be conducted by the Cleveland, MS Church of Christ.

Robert Rawson Crockett CoCBefore we made our way from home in Winona, MS to Greenwood for the seminar, we had to pack an overnight bag. You see, upon leaving Greenwood we angled the car northeastwardly toward Grenada, MS to intersect Interstate 55 north. Our next venue was to be in Crockett, MS for the opening of the 43rd year of the Training School for Better Service under the direction of Robert Rawson. This program provides a combination of classroom and Internet resources for brethren to improve their knowledge and skills in Christian service.

Some teenage young men first read Scripture, preached and led hymns. Around 6 p.m., it was my turn to present a sermon under the theme of “Challenges Facing the Church Today.” After noting several different directions a lesson could take by either addressing challenges from within or from without of the Lord’s church, I spoke about the seriousness of embracing the mission of the church that Jesus Christ assigned to it (“What Is the Mission of the Church?”). In addition to those present, the lesson will be added to numerous webpages on a variety of subjects to which one can turn via a computer connection to the Internet. Visit for more information.

Following the program, everyone enjoyed cake and ice cream. Robert Rawson, his wife and sister-in-law as well as Bonnie and me made the short jaunt to Senatobia, MS for a late supper. Bonnie and I resided overnight in a local motel so we could attend Bible class and worship in the morning with the Crockett, MS Church of Christ. For class, I showed my PowerPoint about 2012 Mission Trips, and for worship, I preached Worshipping Almighty God Acceptably and with Godly Fear. Once more, brother Robert Rawson as well as his wife and sister-in-law treated Bonnie and me to a fine meal before we returned to Winona, MS. On the way home, we stopped at Wal-Mart in Grenada, MS to pick up some groceries to prepare a meal for visitors coming Monday to the office/warehouse to help prepare a mailing of Global Harvest magazine. Sunday evening, we dropped in on the West President Street Church of Christ for worship since I did not have an appointment anywhere. Hence, we enjoyed another weekend on the road, howbeit, we did not travel as far and we were not out as late Sunday night as often is the case.

Arkansas Again

January 20, 2013

Saturday, January 19, Bonnie and I launched out to Arkansas (from Rebecca’s home in Collierville, TN where we had lodged Friday and Saturday nights). We were the guests Saturday evening of Melissa and Garry Polk of Center Ridge, AR. He is one of the elders of the Center Ridge Church of Christ where I spoke Sunday morning for the Bible class and worship hours. As always, we received a kind and friendly welcome from the members. I made the 2012 Mission Trips PowerPoint presentation in class and preached What Is the Mission of the Church? in the next hour. After being treated to lunch at a Mexican restaurant, Bonnie and I headed toward our next appointment – also in Arkansas.

Sunday evening, I made the same PowerPoint presentation about missions to the Southside Church of Christ near Batesville, AR. It is a pleasure to visit these brethren every opportunity we have. From there, we headed back to Rebecca’s home for the night.

Both congregations visited on Sunday in Arkansas participated with us financially so that we can take the Gospel abroad. Not Bonnie because of recent illness, but I leave for Guyana, South America on February 7, 2013.

Before returning to Winona, MS, Bonnie, Rebecca and I did a little repair work on her home. It is incomplete, and at an unspecified time in the future and when we can squeeze a few moments out of our schedules we will continue some small repairs. At Grenada, MS some 20 miles north of Winona, Bonnie and I bought some groceries before dragging into 705 Devine Street, Winona, MS. We made the obligatory after dark grocery run on the way back to Winona from a weekend of appointments – this time in Arkansas.

Serene Setting

December 16, 2012

ChurchSky 96 dpiSunday, December 16 found Bonnie and me that morning at the serene setting of the Old Union Church of Christ in Carroll County, Mississippi. Tucked back in the woods, accessible via that day by some soupy muddy roads a full house assembled to worship Almighty God. The weather outside was dismal at best with a steady and relentless rain, but the quiet scenery was graced by classic, old, white frame meetinghouse accented with an old fashioned cemetery. Bonnie and I are pilgrims with no special place to call our own, sometimes like fish out of water, and we have been wondering lately where we will lay ourselves to rest on this celestial ball. Like the Patriarchs who were wanderers themselves, I suppose we will inter one another along our route of travel. If we still reside in Mississippi when life for either of us comes to an end, shaded by green, leafy trees and beneath the lawn of the Old Union Church Cemetery, visited daily by deer and squirrel, our idled bodies lying dormant there will be quite satisfactory.

For Bible class, I presented my 2012 Mission Trips PowerPoint presentation. During worship, I preached From Creation Until Now. Following the assembly, all present enjoyed a fellowship or potluck meal together. Admittedly, some present probably came for the proverbial bread and fishes, like many of those who followed our Lord, but that is a start and an opportunity for both them and Christians to favorably interact with them.

Siwell Road Church of Christ, Jackson, MSNext, we made our way through the raindrops over wet highways to Byram, MS for evening worship with the Siwell Road Church of Christ, which is our sponsoring congregation for our missions ministry. We met briefly with the elders prior to the assembly, and once more I made the PowerPoint presentation 2012 Mission Trips. This congregation, too, had a finger foods get-together after worship, for which we stayed, mostly to commune with friends and brethren.

Graciously, Dana and Andy Dulaney lodged us overnight in their home. Their youngest daughter dutifully vacated her room to permit Bonnie and me to occupy her bed for the night. We are so fortunate to enjoy the hospitality of so many brethren worldwide with such frequency. This overnight stay afforded us greater convenience for attending to Bonnie’s dentist appointment on Monday in Byram. It was another good day!

Disappointing, Lonely Drive

December 9, 2012

Saturday, December 8th around 10:30 a.m., I aimed my car toward Alabama from Winona, MS. Unlike other weekend preaching appointments, I was traveling solo. To my dismay, Bonnie had not recovered sufficiently from her gallbladder surgery on Wednesday to make the trip with me on Saturday. Friday, though, I had taken her to the office, about an eighth of a mile from our residence, because on one hand I could not leave her alone due to her recent operation and on the other hand I was expecting a delivery at the office. Not knowing when the delivery would come, I needed to be there all day. Of course, Bonnie resumed office duties; she did lie down for a while on one of the couches. However, three of her four incisions had now bled by Friday evening.

Taj Mahal

Bonnie had been resting in bed Friday evening when she came to the living room to inform me that she had texted Rebecca to come down for the weekend and stay with her while I went to my appointments. Of course, that was the correct thing to do, but I was disappointed that she would not be traveling with me Saturday and Sunday. We had not been separated from each other for a day for decades, maybe between 25 and 30 years. Especially now that our children are grown, she goes everywhere with me stateside and abroad. We work in the same small office space. For years, it has been nearly impossible to buy her a card or a gift without her knowing ahead of time, since she and I are always side-by-side.

Naturally, I found my journey on Saturday and Sunday a lonely one. Standing at the door greeting churchgoers exiting the auditoriums where I had spoken, I found myself thanking brethren for having “us” on the Lord’s Day.

The David and Kelli Barker family lodged me Saturday night in their home. Especially their daughter Anna was familiar to me since I have been teaching her in Bible Geography classes for years at Polishing the Pulpit. It was a pleasure as well to renew acquaintance with her older sister Kayla, too. Reesey, the Barkers’ miniature Dachshund was a new friend, once the initial barking at a stranger subsided. Not long after my arrival, my new four-legged friend took a nap in my lap.

Midway Church of Christ

Midway Church of Christ

Sunday morning for Bible class, I made my 2012 Mission Trips PowerPoint presentation for the Midway Church of Christ in Trinity, AL. For worship, I preached Worshipping Almighty God Acceptably and with Godly Fear. After lunch out at the local countryside eatery, I headed toward my next appointment near Jasper, AL. That evening, I made my 2012 Mission Trips presentation to the Blackwater Macedonia Church of Christ. Both congregations received me well and offered words of encouragement. The latter church does not support Bonnie and me regularly in our mission endeavors, but it subscribes to The Voice of Truth International magazine and helps with foreign radio programs. Blackwater Macedonia has been working with J.C. and Betty Choate for many years, but since the passing of brother J.C., Bonnie and I report to these brethren regarding the work that they continue to embrace.

Sunday evening, I made my three and a half hour journey back home to Winona. Both Saturday and Sunday, Bonnie not being with me, I opted for sandwiches and brief stops at mealtimes instead of choosing something such as Cracker Barrel. Things are different when by oneself as opposed to being with one’s better half. We both dread the day when illness or death will prevent us from traveling the highways and byways of life together in the service of our Lord. (Some years ago while aboard an airliner with Bonnie and Rebecca returning from overseas, I remarked that perhaps Bonnie and I will die together – maybe on an airplane. Our daughter immediately objected, saying, “Wait a minute! I’m on this airplane!) I am so happy that Bonnie and I are making our pilgrimage together toward the heavenly hereafter!

New Mission Presentation

December 2, 2012

Sunday, December 2, Bonnie and I worshipped in the morning with the West President Church of Christ in Greenwood, MS. I presented my newest PowerPoint, “2012 Mission Trips,” during the Bible class. Wow! It was the shortest mission presentation I have ever prepared, but it’s early yet. By September of next year when I conclude presentations before going on our fall mission trip, it could be much longer. For worship, I preached “From Creation Until Now.” Sunday evening, we worshipped with the Elliott, MS Church of Christ. During the afternoon between assemblies, I tweaked the PowerPoint presentation, adding one slide and some biblical references. See, it has already started getting just a little longer. That night was the first time also that this particular presentation was made during a worship service. Our 2012 PowerPoint presentation about foreign missions recounts trips to Guyana, Myanmar, Singapore and India, plus it introduced our plans for going to Guyana in February, 2013.

Both congregations received us well. The brethren in Greenwood had a fellowship meal following morning worship, which we enjoyed. Afterward, we worshipped with our brothers and sisters at West President Street congregation in an early afternoon service. We are currently making appointments for visiting churches in Alabama and Mississippi in December and January. Let us know when it is convenient to visit your congregation.