Posted tagged ‘2014 Guyana Mission Trip’

Wednesday & Thursday Seminars

February 23, 2017

96-dpi-4x6-enmore-5Wednesday, February 22 Martha Lynn and I didn’t leave the Nigel and Jasmine Milo domicile until 5 p.m. Dutifully throughout the day, I worked at proofing and finishing the layout for Volume 92 of The Voice of Truth International. Volume 90 was distributed not long ago, and Volume 91 is at the printers presently; recently, we switched print production from Hong Kong, China to India.

96-dpi-4x6-enmore-4At the last moment and even a little beyond the appointed time, Martha and I sauntered from the Milo residence to the lot away to the meetinghouse for the Amelia’s Ward Church of Christ. The Annual World Evangelism Nationwide Guyana Workshop began about half an hour after the scheduled hour—right on time! Brother Nigel and I each spoke to the assembly in the auditorium, and then he and I took turns speaking to the men, while Martha addressed the ladies. The ladies in attendance, per usual, outnumbered the men. As often is the case, seminar attendees were treated to a meal by the hosting congregation.

96-dpi-4x6-enmore-3Thursday, we three moved the seminar to the Georgetown, Guyana, South America venue of the Enmore Church of Christ and Hope Children’s Home. Rain, rain, rain! Upon arrival in the capital city, we drove through seriously flooded streets. When we arrived at the facilities of the Enmore congregation and children’s home, we met a cleanup crew of adults and children as they rid the building of flood waters. An hour or so behind time to begin, but understandably so, once more, we three spoke in the traveling seminars.

96-dpi-4x6-enmore-6Afterward and taking advantage of a reprieve from the showers, we crossed over the seawall protecting Georgetown from the Atlantic Ocean. We walked a sandy beach strewn with water washed glass, shells and Hindu diyas (floating votives). Martha headed straight to the water, holding her skirt hem and wading ankle deep in the beige water.

96-dpi-4x6-enmore-7By the time we made a couple of stops and traveled back to Linden, I was worn out and the day was spent. Tomorrow, we will resume office duties, and I will work on The Voice of Truth International and Gospel Gazette Online. Our next workshop venue will be across the Essequibo River—requiring a very early morning departure if we wait until Saturday and expend the entire day before returning to Linden. Martha and I are still “honeymooning” in Guyana, so to speak—having the time of our lives in service of our Lord. May God be glorified and our fellows be edified!

Rose Hall

February 21, 2017

96-dpi-4x6-rose-hall-3 96-dpi-4x6-rose-hall-4Monday, February 20 was another day that the Lord has made, and Martha Lynn and I tried to use it wisely and effectively. Finally, I was able to complete and publish the January 2017 edition of Gospel Gazette Online to the Internet. (Tuesday, I made corrections to it that my daughter Rebecca came across as she proofed it.) Martha and I set up our mobile office on the Milo dining room table and did not accompany brother Nigel and sister Jasmine along with other church members as they went out into the community with the Word of God—as they do Monday, Wednesday and Friday each week. We stayed behind to try to catch up on some of our office duties, which were hindered somewhat by our forays to all 10 regions (states) of Guyana over the past four weeks. (Two weeks remain for our efforts this year in Guyana.)

96-dpi-4x6-rose-hall-5 96-dpi-4x6-rose-hall-2After lunch, brother Nigel, Martha and I set out on a 4-hour road trip to the community of Rose Hall, Guyana, South America. Brethren from several congregations of the Lord’s church assembled in the meetinghouse of the Williamsburg Church of Christ. The building sits on the main road, unlike most of the sites where Christians assemble in the venues to which we have gone lately; sometimes in some places, especially in the interior of the country, there is no road at all!

96-dpi-4x6-rose-hall-1Nigel and I spoke one lesson each to the combined group of attendees before splitting into classes for men and women, whereupon I taught the men and Martha taught the women. This was one of those occasions in which far more sisters in Christ had come versus the number of men present. The same was true formerly from time to time when Bonnie and I traveled to various places in several countries. I’m pleased that God is served and glorified while brethren are edified, even if my wife headlines and I happen to be the opening act, to borrow terminology from the so-called entertainment industry. To God be the glory!

96-dpi-4x6-martha-marthaBy the way, Martha happened on another, younger version of Martha. I snapped a picture of the two of them together. Especially Martha makes friends everywhere she goes; she is more outgoing than I am or Bonnie was. That’s a good thing. Truly, brethren we have not met are only Christian friends to whom we have not been introduced yet.

To and from Rose Hall, and other excursions elsewhere on other days, we traveled through some curiously named villages. We drove through the Land of Canaan, the Garden of Eden, Now or Never, Rebecca’s Lust and so forth. Recently, we met a brother from the village of Free and Easy. I wonder how those hamlets derived their names!96-dpi-4x6-garden-of-eden-1 96-dpi-4x6-rebeccas-lust-1

Canal #2

February 18, 2017

96-dpi-4x7-canal-two-2Friday evening, February 17, Martha Lynn and I were guests of the Amelia’s Ward Church of Christ “Marriage Class.” Brother Nigel imagined that since between us Martha and I have 90 years of marriage (Martha, 48 years to Bob; Louis, 42 years to Bonnie) that we could offer some useful advice and tips for better marriages. We rambled on a little bit, and perhaps we provided some useful information.

96-dpi-4x7-canal-two-4Saturday, brother Milo drove Martha and me to the meetinghouse of the Claybrick Road Church of Christ in Canal #2. Several brethren from a number of congregations gathered for a morning through midafternoon program—the annual World Evangelism Guyana Workshops. We three delivered about eight lessons in total. Everyone seemed to enjoy the biblical lectures, fellowship and eating together. Both we and they look forward to next year.

96-dpi-4x7-canal-two-3We are holding up fairly well, and we are thoroughly enjoying ourselves as we crisscross the country encouraging and edifying our Christian brethren throughout Guyana. We have a few sessions of our mobile workshop to go yet before we conclude the 16-venue program. Thank you for your interest in our travels and labors for our Lord Jesus Christ.

As Though It Were Scheduled!

January 15, 2015

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Thursday, January 8, 2015 I published Gospel Gazette Online to the Internet. This issue kicked off our 17th year of continuous publication. The Gazette is published monthly and has been since 1999. Meanwhile, Bonnie and I, along with others, continue to prepare the next quarterly issue of The Voice of Truth International for publication. It is printed primarily in English but also in numerous foreign languages and Braille; VOTI also serves as a feeder magazine for various publications, especially in India.

Saturday, January 10, a group of members from the Collierville, TN Church of Christ drove the two and a half hours to work in our combination warehouse and office. Together, we accomplished a number of things that day (e.g., replace 8’ fluorescent light bulbs or ballasts where necessary, restocked shelves from which we draw books daily to fulfill stateside requests for literature, prepared two separate mailings of The Voice of Truth International, packaged priority mail boxes for overseas shipment, packaged boxes of books for preachers overseas, loaded about 1,200 pounds of literature in our car ultimately bound for Guyana, South America and packed promotional bags to give away at an upcoming lectureship program). With this kind of help, we accomplished more than the Winona Five could have found time to do over a period of months. We are thankful for such interest and help behind the scenes in missionary work.

Later that afternoon, Bonnie, Rebecca and I drove to our daughter’s home in Collierville. That put us in position for me speaking the next day for the East Frayser Church of Christ, in northeast Memphis. Sunday morning during worship, I preached, “Understanding How God Communicates with Mankind, Today.” Bonnie and I were treated to lunch by an elder and his wife. Later in the day, I made my PowerPoint presentation about our 2014 Guyana Mission Trip. We were well received and encouraged.

Monday was a long day. Bonnie and I carted the 1,200 pounds of The Voice of Truth International, books and tracts to Nashville, TN to leave with a shipper for Guyana. We packed 1,820 loose copies of VOTI in 75 gallon fiber shipping barrels; they and the thousands of tracts and hundreds of books also packaged in shipping barrels will be distributed through the churches of Christ in Guyana, South America. We packed three barrels before returning to Collierville.

Tuesday, Bonnie and I scurried down I-55 back to Winona in time to convene with other associates a meeting of World Evangelism team members. Of course, we ate first (leftovers from feeding our workers on Saturday).

For the past few days I had been experiencing pain after eating a meal, but beginning Tuesday afternoon, the pain became relentless and excruciating. Around 9:30 p.m., I had Bonnie drive me to the local hospital emergency room. A few tests and hours later, I was loaded on to an ambulance and transported to Baptist Health Systems in Jackson, MS. The suspected culprit for my pain was a bad gallbladder. Two morphine shots while being treated in Winona did not lessen the pain any at all. Administering fentanyl in the ambulance along the way finally took the edge off the pain, a good thing in view of the bumpy ride especially on city streets in Jackson. While in the ER in Jackson, pain was eradicated when I was injected with still another pain medication, dilaudid.

96 dpi 8x10 Louis & BonnieThere was no room in the hospital, which initially led to doubts if I could be admitted to any hospital in Jackson, as they were all full up. Consequently, I remained in the ER until there was an opening for surgery. In the meantime, a sonogram confirmed the findings of blood and urine tests and a CT scan – enlarged and enflamed gallbladder. Surgery occurred around 10 a.m. on Wednesday, and after quite a while in recovery, I was wheeled into a room. Ordinarily outpatient surgery, my surgeon kept me overnight in the hospital due to the intensity of the attack and that we live 90 miles away from the hospital.

Brothers Gary Hampton and Derrick Broome caught up with me immediately before surgery, and we had a prayer together. Sister Bonnie Schmitz brought Bonnie down to be with me; my Bonnie cannot drive that far due to her medical conditions. Bonnie stayed with me in the room and overall was sicker than I was.

Thursday morning my doctor discharged me around 7:30 a.m., but we could not leave the hospital until around 11 a.m. as we waited for paperwork and personnel to direct their attention to my discharge. Bonnie was feeling poorly, and so we rode twin wheelchairs to the curb. Brother Adam Fowler retrieved us and drove us back to hour home in Winona, since neither Bonnie nor I can drive right now that distance. He and his wife Melanie visited us in my hospital room the evening before.

After our arrival in Winona, I got brother Adam to load four cases of printing that arrived in our carport today into his car and unload them down the road at our warehouse/office. I can’t lift anything right now, so say my four small incisions. Next, we called sister Betty Choate to get a pain medicine prescription filled for me, again since neither Bonnie nor I can drive momentarily.

Today, sister Paula Bates took her husband Jerry to an airport for an overseas mission trip. Tomorrow on Friday, Paula will take Bonnie back to Baptist Health Systems for a CT scan and chemotherapy; the radiologist, oncologist and we are interested to see whether 28 doses of radiation shrunk the tumor on Bonnie’s pancreas. While Bonnie and Paula are in Jackson, I will remain in Winona with little activity, hoping not to hurt and to heal; sister Choate will be on call to care for me in the absence of Bonnie.

Friday, I will resume my medications and be able to shower. Bonnie and I look like pitiful bookends! By next week I should be much more active, though my lifting restrictions may extend for a while beyond that. Thank you for your interest and prayers. We continue to glean encouragement from friends and brethren through their phone calls and texts. It almost looks like we scheduled the gallbladder attack along with the other scheduled events over the last few days.

2014 Summary

January 6, 2015

Rebecca, Bonnie & Louis RushmorePeriodically, we published a blog, which was visited 6,300 times over the course of 2014. In the blog, we chronicled stateside visits to churches of Christ where either Bonnie or I or both of us presented biblical lessons or apprised brethren about our mission work. Whereas Bonnie spoke to ladies’ classes, I spoke to elders, preachers’ meetings, Bible classes and worship assemblies. Bonnie and I were able to travel together on a 4-week mission trip to Guyana, South America, and we posted information and pictures regularly about the progress of that effort. It was unsurpassed in personal gratification and we think in usefulness for the cause of Christ among the various endeavors in which we invest ourselves. A special program for the India Missions Conference, of which we were cohosts, had its representation on our blog, too. Readers could vicariously travel with Bonnie, our daughter Rebecca and me as we visited my uncle Mount (Rushmore) in South Dakota in 2014; I’m just a chip off the old block. Work groups that visited the World Evangelism Building in Winona, Mississippi were duly noted in the blog as well. In addition, we kept visitors to the blog up to date regarding Bonnie’s medical battle against the resurgence of pancreatic cancer. Blog readers found us through following our blog or followed links from either our Internet magazine Gospel Gazette Online or from our Facebook pages. Our blog readers reside in 80 countries spanning the globe with the largest percentage of readers living in the USA, India and Guyana.

Bonnie and I participated with other core World Evangelism team members in publishing four issues of The Voice of Truth International, which is distributed in dozens of countries in numerous languages; 40,000 or more of the 116-page magazine are published quarterly. Furthermore, dozens of new tracts and several new books were published and made available stateside and abroad. Thousands of pounds of Christian literature and books were shipped overseas at no charge to the recipients. In December, Gospel Gazette Online completed 16 years of uninterrupted publication on the Internet. Thousands of articles remain archived and digitally available to anyone worldwide who has Internet connection. Work is underway for the continuation of Gospel Gazette Online in the new year.

In 2014, the Rushmore Evangelism Fund assumed the responsibility of seeing to the funding and payment for a Hindi language TV program broadcast from New Delhi, India. We have made provisions to provide financially for its continuance for a dozen years or more. This could only be made possible by the generous donations of Christian brethren here in the States.

Typically, Bonnie and I travel up to 3,000 miles monthly stateside by car as we teach or update brethren about our mission work. In addition, we usually spend three months overseas annually working in the countries of India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Singapore and Guyana. Both stateside and travel abroad were impacted in 2014 by Bonnie’s medical condition as she continues to experience difficulties from prior surgeries and now that her cancer returned. Two days before we were to board airliners for a 9-week mission trip to four Asian countries, we got the bad news that Bonnie needed immediate medical treatment for a suspected rebounding of pancreatic cancer, which proved to be the case. Bonnie continues to undergo a battery of treatments, and every day is a challenge for both of us, with Bonnie, of course, bearing the brunt of it all.

Summarized, 2014 was a good year in which we feel that we made a difference for the cause of Christ. Daily, adapting as necessary, we continue to make a difference in the service of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Voice of Truth International and Gospel Gazette Online continue unabated, of course, in partnership chiefly with sister Betty Choate, Jerry and Paula Bates, and Byron and Gay Nichols. Typically, we still go to the office/warehouse weekdays to help with shipping and a myriad of other behind the scenes that make the ministry in which we are involved successful.

We are thankful to the sea of Christians who make it possible for us to do what we do for the cause of Christ in the USA and across the world. Thank you for your prayers.

New Beginnings

December 20, 2014
Bonnie with boy in his home (Mandalay, Burma 2012)

Bonnie (Mandalay, Burma 2012)

Saturday, December 13, Bonnie and I were to leave from Collierville, TN for Cleveland, TN. First, though, I had the car serviced at the Chrysler dealership in Collierville, which turned out to be an unexpectedly lengthy endeavor taking 3½ hours; it may be high time to resort to quick oil changes along our routes of travel – the kind where one does not even have to get out of the car.

Leaving much later than I had hoped and having a 6-hour journey, we arrived at the home of sister Barbara and brother Robert Wright around 7 p.m. They waited supper for us, and they treated us to a fine meal at Outback. As always, they treated us royally as they hosted us in their home.

The next morning, we worshipped with the Central Church of Christ in Cleveland, TN. Bonnie as feeling well enough and taught a ladies’ class, while I made our mission trip PowerPoint presentation to the auditorium class. I presented a biblical lesson during worship. Afterward, an elder and a deacon, with their wives, and the Wrights treated us to lunch at O’Charley’s. After visiting some more with the Wrights in their home, Bonnie and I departed for our evening appointment with the Ooltewah, TN Church of Christ.

We were guests overnight with sister Cathy and brother Winston Stringfield; he is one of the elders. This family always invites us into their home and makes us part of the family. Again, I made my PowerPoint presentation about our 2014 foreign mission work. Monday, we meandered through Tennessee, a piece of Georgia and across Alabama back to Winona, MS; we arrived after dark.

Wednesday evening, we attended Bible class with the West President Church of Christ in Greenwood, MS. Bonnie was exhausted and in pain. She fared better on our weekend jaunt than she was faring since our return. Of course, each day, we spent part of our time at the office/warehouse, post office, banks, etc. Bonnie is putting in a third to half days before she resorts to the house for rest. Each evening her health weakens.

Friday, Bonnie resumed chemotherapy in Jackson, MS. Her blood counts have returned to near normal. The oncologist made some more adjustments to Bonnie’s medicines in hopes that some of the pain can be alleviated without side effects. In about four weeks, Bonnie will have another CT scan to reevaluate the cancerous tumor on her pancreas.

Resuming some of our stateside appointments during a slow time of the year is one of the new beginnings, and we will be able to evaluate how well Bonnie is going to be able to travel in the states by car. The second new beginning was the resumption of chemotherapy. Time will tell how long these treatments will continue, as presently no decision has been made.

Bonnie has been working on the next issue of The Voice of Truth International, and I have been working on my new book about fundamentals of the faith. Our daily efforts have been ongoing with whatever modifications have been necessary and are not part of new beginnings. A happy note, the insurance company with which we insured our mission trip tickets refunded the purchase price, which permitted us to recover the entire ticket costs and return the funds to the foreign travel account. Between the cancellation of the tickets and the insurance refund, we recovered nearly $10,000; only the visa expenses and, of course, the cost of the insurance was lost.

Thank you for your continued interest in us and our efforts for the cause of Christ. May God richly bless you and us, too.

One Step at a Time

December 12, 2014
Bonnie & Louis on a Jungle Path (Myanmar, 2012)

Bonnie & Louis on a Jungle Path (Myanmar, 2012)

“One Step at a Time” is an old timey hymn that so adequately describes the march on which we humans find ourselves as we come nearer to eternity with every passing moment. The first stanza reads, “One step at a time, dear Savior: I cannot take any more; The flesh is so weak and hopeless: I know not what is before.” These words describe our halting steps of late as Bonnie and I tackle her treatment to battle pancreatic cancer – again! The third stanza speaks, “One step at a time, dear Savior: O guard my faltering feet! Keep hold of my hand, dear Savior, Till I my journey complete.” Reminiscent of Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (NKJV), Bonnie and I trudge forward. The fourth stanza concludes, “One step at a time, dear Savior: Thou knowest all of my fear; One word from Thy heart, dear Savior, And Heaven’s mansions appear.”

On Thursday, December 11, Bonnie concluded 28 weekday, daily radiation treatments; the effects of the radiation may continue working as well as producing side effects for up to another six weeks. For parts of seven weeks, Bonnie and I were residents of Hope House of Hospitality in Jackson, Mississippi so that we did not have to experience the wearisome and costly trek 90 miles each way, back forth daily between Winona, MS and Jackson, MS for Bonnie’s radiation and chemo treatments. The days were characterized by pain, fatigue and nausea, punctuated with time spent on office type duties accomplished with the aid of our two laptop computers.

Chemotherapy commences once more on Friday of next week, December 19. The punishment inflicted on Bonnie’s body by simultaneous treatments of radiation and chemo resulted in fallen blood counts, which led to the temporary suspension of both types of treatment. After that, she continued to receive radiation, but chemo was suspended until after the completion of radiation. We are hoping that without radiation therapy and only receiving chemotherapy, Bonnie will begin to feel better. Some of the ongoing problems are related to her original cancer surgery, and doctors and she are still attempting to find a happy resolution through the balance of medicines, etc.

This week, we managed to accomplish several feats. Shortly after our arrival back in Winona on Thursday, our printed Rushmore Newsletter for November arrived at our doorstep. Thursday afternoon and evening plus Friday morning, we were able to process it for mailing and take it to the Post Office; we mailed 950 pieces. I was able to finalize preparation of several tracts for printing – to be printed in India for use primarily in the USA. Bonnie and our daughter Rebecca wrote the final two articles lacking for the publication of the December edition of Gospel Gazette Online, and I published it to the Internet this evening; in addition, I prepared and sent emails to over 1,600 subscribers to Gospel Gazette Online, who live across the planet. I also published to the Internet the November Rushmore Newsletter and sent emails to over 600 subscribers to it.

Bonnie and I also restocked our suitcases for a weekend trip, which means we first had to launder the clothes that we had been wearing during our final week at Hope House in Jackson, MS. We, likewise, stocked our car with literature and loaded the equipment with which we travel to acquaint congregations stateside with our mission work and teach or preach biblical lessons, too. We drove to Collierville, TN to have supper with our daughter and spend the night. Tomorrow, we will get the oil changed in the Town and Country before heading to Cleveland, TN.

Sunday morning, I will make a PowerPoint presentation about our mission trip in February to Guyana, South America to the auditorium class of the Central Church of Christ in Cleveland, TN. During morning worship, I will preach a biblical lesson. If Bonnie feels healthy enough, she will teach a ladies’ class that morning, too. Later, we will travel to the Ooltewah, TN Church of Christ whereupon I will make my PowerPoint presentation about our mission work once more. This will be our first and longest car trip to visit stateside congregations since Bonnie relapsed with pancreatic cancer. The holidays always interfere with making appointments this time of the year, but after this journey, we will reassess Bonnie’s ability to accompany me on these outings as we schedule more appointments in the near future.

Bonnie feels the best and does well especially when she sleeps. The many hours of driving tomorrow and the days to follow on this jaunt will afford her plenty of rest time as we travel. As long as I don’t join her in a little shut eye along the highways and byways, and as long as we stay out of everyone else’s way and they stay out of our way, Lord willing, it will all be okay. Thank you for your continued interest in us and your prayers as well, particularly regarding my dear wife Bonnie.