Posted tagged ‘Into All the World’


September 12, 2012

Wednesday, September 5, Bonnie and I fellowshipped with the Charleston, MS Church of Christ for evening Bible Study. I presented my PowerPoint Into All the World in 2011. Individual members of this congregation have for years encouraged us and participated financially with us in our mission work. This occasion was no exception to past experiences.

Saturday, September 8, Bonnie and I motored to Huntsville, AL where we lodged the night with Lindell and Sharon Smith. He is one of the elders of the Farley Church of Christ where I spoke twice on Sunday morning. Brother and sister Smith introduced us to a new restaurant experience at Cheeburger. It was a 50’s setting and good cheeseburgers and onion rings. I wish I had gotten the milkshake pictured. For Sunday class, I made the Into All the World in 2011 PowerPoint presentation. For worship, I preached Worshipping Almighty God Acceptably and with Godly Fear; this is the most important sermon I have ever preached, and everywhere I present it, brethren remark how timely and necessary it is. The small Farley Church of Christ is not a regular contributor, but some of its members are. Each of the elders participated with us financially and publicly encouraged the congregation to do the same. For lunch, Paul and Gladys Clements took us to yet another restaurant to which we had not been, though it, too, is a chain restaurant – Ruby Tuesdays. The food was good and the fellowship was even better. We had quite a protracted interaction with our server and the manager. I gave each of them our Million Dollar Bill tract with the plan of salvation on the reverse. I gave the young lady serving our table a business card with us in Indian dress on one side and the URL for Gospel Gazette Online on the other side. Paul invited her to worship with the Farley Church of Christ.

On the way back to Winona that afternoon, we stopped in Tupelo, MS for some light shopping and a long overdue carwash. Still, bugs aplenty pepper the front bumper, hood and mirrors. Being in the right place at the right time, we worshipped for the first time with the Gloster Street Church of Christ in Tupelo. The lesson was edifying and the congregation was very friendly. I spoke briefly with one of the elders, James Segars, who is brother to an elder (Doug Segars) of the West President Street Church of Christ in Greenwood, MS. Bonnie and I left a case of The Voice of Truth International and some Global Harvest magazines with the Gloster Street congregation.

Gospel Gazette OnlineMonday, Bonnie and I finished the production and preparation for mailing of our September Rushmore Newsletter. Tuesday, we were able to mail numerous thank you cards to contributors over the past week. In addition, I was able to complete and publish to the Internet the September issue of Gospel Gazette Online. Between the time we left the office and resumed office work in the living room, Bonnie and I raced against impending darkness to continue painting the exterior of the Mission House in which we live. Just maybe, we will able to complete that undertaking before we leave the country on the 27th of this month.

Wednesday morning, I was able to craft and send out the email notifications for both the September editions of the Rushmore Newsletter and Gospel Gazette Online. Though we mailed 557 copies of our newsletter, we apprise hundreds more via email where they can obtain a PDF version of the newsletter. The notification of the new edition of Gospel Gazette Online provides a handy Table of Contents whereby readers can go directly to articles of interest. In this issue, 26 writers penned 28 articles, plus there is an audio lesson as well.

Bonnie has been working feverishly on the next issue of The Voice of Truth International, which must go to the printers before we head overseas in a couple of weeks. Now, I can devote more of my time to helping her with the layout, etc. Still ahead today is getting the files for the current issue on a DVD for overseas, whereupon brethren abroad will publish copies for distribution in India. Tonight, of course, we will fellowship with a congregation during Bible Study. We are Rushmore-ing!

Kinfolks Holler

September 2, 2012

Years ago, Loretta Lynn sang about “kinfolks holler.” Well, following the Polishing the Pulpit program in Sevierville, TN, Bonnie and pointed the Town & Country toward our own kinfolks holler in western Pennsylvania. Late Friday afternoon, Bonnie and I stopped in to visit my dad in Hadley, PA. Later, we went to my brother Mike’s home outside of Jamestown, PA where my brother Martin and his family convened as well. Saturday, Bonnie and I drove to Cochranton, PA and plopped down at her brother Jim’s home, and her other brother and sister came by for a picnic. The greater occasion for the gathering of these and some of their children was the celebration of the birthday by Jim’s wife Kaye.

Saturday evening, Bonnie and I drove to Hanoverton, OH and lodged with our good friends Bob and Martha Noland. Sunday morning, we drove to Medina, OH where I spoke for the Bible class (Into All the World in 2011 PowerPoint presentation) and worship (Worshipping Almighty God Acceptably and with Godly Fear). After lunch with the Rodney Nulph family at Pizza Hut, Bonnie and I headed back to Hanoverton. We arrived just in time for me to set up our PowerPoint equipment to present Into All the World in 2011 to the congregation there.

Dennison, OH Railroad DepotMonday we accompanied Bob and Martha to their respective doctors’ appointments. Of course, we ate out, too. Tuesday, we visited the railroad museum in Dennison, OH. Since we were relatively close to the largest Amish community in Ohio, we drove to Sugar Creek, OH for lunch at one of the best restaurants anywhere as far as Bonnie and I are concerned – the Dutch Valley Restaurant. Briefly after stuffing ourselves, we visited the knickknack stores and Amish bulk foods grocery before returning to Hanoverton.

Wednesday, August 29, Bonnie and I drove to Sandyville, WV and lodged the night with Sue and John Balis. Sue fixed us a sumptuous country meal of homegrown specialties, including the tender beef steaks. After Wednesday evening Bible class, I presented the PowerPoint presentation Into All the World in 2011 for those brethren who chose to remain for it.

Cass Scenic RailroadThursday morning, Bonnie and I took an excursion to Cass, WV and rode the Cass Scenic Railroad. It is an old logging train, powered by Shay engines, navigating the steep inclines and switchbacks to the top of Bald Mountain 11 miles each way. Bonnie and I have been talking for years about going on this trip, and we finally did so. However, we were ready for it to conclude by the time we got back down the mountain. We miss mountains as we reside in Mississippi, but we certainly got our fix of mountains in West Virginia.

Friday and Saturday, we drove south through West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia while on our way to Jacksonville, FL. Did we ever get our fill of mountains!

We lodged in motels along the way, each one costing too much and having some aggravating defect in the room, too. In Jacksonville, we lodged with Mary Fox – former missionary with her late husband and children to Thailand. We took Mary and her daughter Karen to supper. Sunday, September 2, I presented the PowerPoint Into All the World in 2011 for the Bible class and preached Worshipping Almighty God Acceptably and with Godly Fear for the worship. After a congregational fellowship meal, we pointed the car toward Winona, MS for the first time in several weeks. We had passed by it many times, but Sunday evening we were afforded the opportunity to worship with the Hamilton Crossroads, AL Church of Christ. Afterward, we continued to Troy, AL where we took lodging for the night. Five hours to go, but Monday – Labor Day – we should arrive back in Winona.

We have so many things to which we need to attend before our departure later this month for two months abroad in Myanmar (Burma) and India. The to do list includes on it: get the next issue of The Voice of Truth International to the printer, publish the September issue of Gospel Gazette Online, finish painting the exterior of the Mission House in which we reside, wash weeks of dirty clothes, mow the grass, print stationery for Betty Choate, publish and mail the Rushmore Newsletter, help Betty Choate produce and mail her newsletter, package and ship books, prepare our overseas lessons, etc., etc., etc. Time is running out! We will still be working on our lessons inflight to Asia!

We’ll Sleep When We’re Dead!

August 22, 2012

Displays at Polishing the PulpitSome days, our workdays are traveling all day to an appointment on Wednesday evening. We did just that on August 15. Just before lunch time, we started driving from Winona, MS to Portland, TN – about six hours of driving plus necessary stops. However, before making this leg of our journey, we had to load the car for a two and a half week tour – including loading the van for 16 feet of displays at the Polishing the Pulpit (PTP) program in Sevierville, TN. In addition, following that lectureship, we are traveling to Pennsylvania and Ohio, before going to Jacksonville, FL in a roundabout way back to Winona. Thus, we had a lot of packing to do.

Buckets of Bible TimeWednesday, we were with the Fountain Head Church of Christ outside of Portland. That night, we lodged once more in the “Corn Crib,” a cottage that has been remodeled from an actual corn crib, on a farm near the Kentucky state line.

Bible MapsThursday morning, we drove toward Sevierville, around four hours away. Friday afternoon, we set up our mission work display and the literature display of hundreds of books. Saturday, we drove to Ooltewah, TN – a little over two hours southwest toward Chattanooga, TN. It was our good pleasure once more to lodge with Winston and Kathy Stringfield. Sunday morning August 19, I presented to the Ooltewah Church of Christ the PowerPoint Into All the World in 2011 for the Bible class (as I had done Wednesday at Fountain Head). During the worship period, I preached Worshipping Almighty God Acceptably and with Godly Fear. Sunday afternoon, Bonnie and I returned to PTP for the evening lessons.

Bonnie as Queen EstherMonday through Wednesday, between the two of us, Bonnie and I taught three children’s classes daily. Thursday, we taught two children’s classes. Not able to attend day sessions, each night Bonnie and I attended the night programs. We had much good interaction with brethren interested in our efforts for the cause of Christ. Bonnie and I renewed acquaintances and friendships, sometimes with brethren we had not seen for several years.

In some of the in between moments throughout the week, I was able to finalize some upcoming appointments stateside. After speaking at two congregations Sunday, August 26 in Ohio, the following Sunday, we will be with a church in Florida. In addition, we were able to work out some of the details for our soon trip to Asia for about two months.

I must be tired. Often by end of day and by the time Bonnie and I get in bed for the night, we are exhausted. In addition, even in the early morning often brethren tell me, “You look tired!” Well, if we fail to get all the rest one might think we need in this life, we are planning to rest eternally from this world’s labors once we lay down our bodies in the earthly clay. We’ll sleep when we’re dead!

Wonderful Day!

May 28, 2012

Sunday morning, May 27, Bonnie and I with our daughter Rebecca in tow made our way from Winona, MS to Jackson, MS to be with the Siwell Rd. Church of Christ. Always want to be a little early and for sure not late, I inadvertently arrived at Siwell Road much before time. I had wanted to be there a half hour before Bible class began to set up items for display, etc. However, we arrived an hour early, and the doors were locked. Not long after, though, along came one of the elders to grant us entry.

The two roses accompanying this thorn from Winona to Jackson caught up on a little beauty sleep. They both objected when I suggested that I might do the same. After all, I was the designated driver! About the time for me to get up and preach during the morning worship period, I found myself yawning and maybe in need of a little nap, too.

I’m sad to say so, but involuntarily I preach more enthusiastically for larger gatherings of God’s people than I do for smaller groups. It must be a psychological thing. Sometimes with a little more effort I can heartily belt out the message. It does make a big difference in that both the biblical material and the mission presentation that I make are lessons about which I am excited.

Sunday morning, I preached Worshipping Almighty God Acceptably and with Godly Fear. It was one of my better presentations, and the elders and several brethren appreciated the encouragement to worship God earnestly and as He stipulated in Scripture.

We can nearly predict where we will eat depending in whose custody we are at mealtimes in various places to which we travel. Sunday lunch was at the Chinese restaurant in Byram, MS. It is a family run establishment, and I remembered the little girl there. Last year I gave her a million dollar bill tract. She is still arguing with me that it is not real!

For the afternoon, we were guests of W.E. and Judy Walker in their home. We talked and talked about mission work. Sitting there, I received some email messages on my phone, and one of them caught me completely off guard. I received feedback on my morning sermon from eastern Tennessee! How was that possible? Unknown to me, the Siwell Rd. Church of Christ installed a camera in the auditorium since I was there a year ago, and they stream their services live on the Internet. Imagine my surprise!

Sunday evening, I gave my PowerPoint presentation Into All the World in 2011. Despite having worked out all of the kinks in the morning in preparation for the evening lesson, we had technical difficulties. First, there was no signal to the projector. Then, the clicker to advance the images did not work. I reverted back to voice cues to a brother in the back at the computers, and everything thereafter proceeded satisfactorily. We traveled 30,000 miles round trip in about 30 minutes! Fortunately, everyone held on to their pews and no one spilled out on the floor.

Several brethren expressed an interest in our books that the three of us displayed in the foyer. We received much encouragement from many brothers and sisters. We leave June 1 for Guyana, but another team from Siwell was leaving on Monday for a foreign mission trip.

Bonnie and I are members of the Siwell Rd. Church of Christ, though we reside in Winona, MS when not on the road traveling or abroad. The elders are our sponsors in our mission work, and two deacons assist us as well. This is a good congregation with a bright future in the kingdom of Christ.

After evening worship, once more we were graciously fed by the Walkers. Finally, we returned to Winona, arriving shortly after 9 p.m. If we had been anywhere else, we could have been arriving home around midnight as we often do, or further away, we would have arrived on Monday.

Monday, Memorial Day, we went into the office anyway. Bonnie and I are still trying to finish preparation for teaching in Guyana, South America. Time is running out!

Work, Work, Work

May 22, 2012

We had barely arrived home Saturday evening from the Maywood Missionary Retreat outside of Hamilton, AL, and we returned close to the same area on Sunday evening. Bonnie and I pulled the trailer back to Winona and unloaded its burden of books, displays and excess food.

Sunday morning, May 13, we were with the Coffeeville, MS Church of Christ. Don Roberson who preaches for the congregation there was away in the morning, and I was filling in. During the Bible class hour, I presented my PowerPoint Into All the World in 2011 about our foreign mission trips last year. For the worship period, I preached Worshipping Almighty God Acceptably and with Godly Fear. After the assembly concluded, a good sister in Christ hosted Bonnie and me at her home for a sumptuous lunch.

That afternoon after we parted from the sister’s hospitality, Bonnie and I traveled northeastwardly about two and a half hours to Baldwyn, MS where I was to speak that evening during the worship of the Hillcrest Church of Christ. There I for the second time the same day presented Into All the World in 2011. Tim Childs is the Gospel preacher with this congregation, and he is a friend and a participant in the monthly Internet journal, Gospel Gazette Online. In addition to his fine articles that appear therein, most months he shares an audio lesson with readers (and in this case, listeners) of Gospel Gazette Online. He is talented with the preparation and presentation of good, Gospel lessons especially suitable and interesting to non-Christians.

Late Sunday evening, Bonnie and I finally arrived back in Winona, MS. Monday through Friday, we worked on sundry things all relative to our overall ministry. Two days and part of one night were consumed largely with the production and mailing of our newsletter. We sent about 560 copies of the Rushmore Newsletter through the Post Office. In addition, we sent email notifications to 333 brethren about our PDF version of our newsletter, which is available online. We are also working feverishly on our lessons for Guyana, South America. We leave June 1. A couple of days, groups came into the warehouse/office from sister congregations to help with the preparation of a mailing of nearly 5,000 small packages. Betty Choate is mailing materials about the Bible class curriculum on which she is working with other volunteers. As often is the case, someone else’s project manages to steal us away to help out in some way, such as hauling many hundreds of these parcels in our van to the local Post Office. Along the way, I made contacts or attempted to contact various representatives of several congregations to arrange upcoming Sunday appointments. Many days are involved by the time contact is established and brethren consult with their elders before getting back to me. We are always pleasantly surprised when a church is proactive and contacts me first!

Saturday, Bonnie and I headed for Bear Creek, AL where Sunday I was to speak for two congregations. We lodged that evening with Helen and Royce Mann, as we did last year, too. They, Ruth and Admiral Tidwell, and Bonnie and I ate supper together at a diner in a nearby town.

Sunday morning, May 20 we worshipped with the Bear Creek Church of Christ. For Bible class, I made my PowerPoint presentation Into All the World in 2011. During worship, I preached Worshipping Almighty God Acceptably and with Godly Fear. Attendance is usually 16 to 18. The congregation was receptive and helped us financially for our upcoming mission trip to Guyana, South America (June 1). Lunch was served, courtesy of Helen back at her home.

For the evening appointment, we traveled 20 minutes or so out in the woods to the Barn Creek Church of Christ. We arrived early, but the doors were open. Last year when visiting this little church, storms came with tornadoes. This year, we were no than more in the meetinghouse when thunder, lightning, hail and heavy rain descended. The power flickered out and back on – doubtless with a surge that for a while confused the PowerPoint projector and my computer. Surprise, surprise! The elders forgot to tell the preacher, Jamie Long, that we were coming. He had a pleasant attitude, though, saying that he was “one up” on sermon preparation for next week. I presented one more time Into All the World in 2011.

We conversed with some of the brethren afterwards as they milled around the foyer, eating and drinking some of the leftovers from refreshments for the Bible Bowl participants who had attended earlier in the day. Bonnie and I were given a 20-pack package of assorted chips to take with us. Bonnie mused for two days that we received chips for our remuneration for traveling to and from Barn Creek and for me speaking that night. Barn Creek, as well as Bear Creek, participate financially with the program of work begun by J.C. Choate. Since his passing, Jerry Bates and I visit those and other such churches. Neither of these two congregations typically contributes financially to Bonnie and me, though, Bear Creek did this time. Individual Christians from Bear Creek sometimes give or send us monetary gifts for our work.

Going to the Bear Creek, AL area and returning to Winona, MS, Bonnie and I seized opportunities for shopping not available back in Winona. We ate going and we ate returning. We shopped at Sam’s Club in Tupelo on Saturday, and we shopped at Wal-Mart in Columbus, MS on Sunday night. Finally, we arrived back in Winona, MS between 10:30 and 11:00 p.m. Such is our life – just two pilgrims winging our way from earthly romps to the heavenly home.

Here We Go Again!

April 18, 2012

Friday, April 13, after a full day at the office, the highlight of which was finalizing our part of publishing the next issue of The Voice of Truth International magazine, Bonnie and I meandered up I-55 and across Mississippi 302 toward Collierville, TN. However, we paused at our favorite eatery for dead cow – Texas Roadhouse in Horn Lake; we picked Rebecca up at school and dined together before proceeding to her home – ever our bed and breakfast.

Some of my brain cells aren’t talking to each other anymore! At our daughter’s, I changed clothes and drug out the hedge trimmer I had brought from home; we were going to trim out a thicket of twisty vines in the backyard. Rebecca had just plugged in one of the extension cords that I had brought along, and I was about to plug the other end into the hedge trimmers. It turned out to be a very short exercise in futility – I had brought a battery operated hedge trimmer – without the battery, rather than an electric device. I think I have an electric hedge trimmer, but I haven’t looked to confirm that.

Saturday morning from Rebecca’s living room, I completed and published to the Internet the April issue of Gospel Gazette Online. After lunch, Bonnie and I pointed the Town & Country toward Batesville, AR – several hours westward. That night in the Best Western motel, I notified the nearly 1,300 subscribers to Gospel Gazette Online of the availability of the April edition.

Old Lock & DamWhile out over the weekend, we walked along a river, especially interested in the former lock and dam on the White River, now converted to production of electrical power. We snapped a picture or two of a NASCAR specimen in front of a Ford dealership on Sunday morning on the way to the meetinghouse. That afternoon, I noticed a strange city sign in Biggers, AR.

NascarSunday morning, I made my PowerPoint presentation Into All the World in 2011 during Bible class at the Southside Church of Christ. I preached Worshipping Almighty God Acceptably and with Godly Fear during worship. That evening, we had made our way to the Biggers, AR Church of Christ where I updated the congregation about our 2011 foreign mission trips.

Farm Equipment RouteHours later after battling stiff winds and sandstorms from gusts blasting across the surface of newly disked rice fields, Bonnie and I again arrive at our very own bed and breakfast. Whereas Friday night I met by request with a brother and discussed matters important to him, Monday morning, I was invited by still another preacher for a similar interchange.

Midway between breakfast and lunch times, heading toward Winona, Bonnie and I took refuge for brunch at Cracker Barrel. Pecan pancakes, hash brown casserole, crisp bacon and chocolate milk was the order of the day; mmmm!!!!! Having done all the damage we could do there, we headed for Lowe’s where we bought the materials for tiling the kitchen floor and counter. Previously, I had bought a book and read the applicable portions to my upcoming project, and then, I found a contractor – member of the church about two hours from Winona – who will do the work in May.

As soon as we get back to town, Bonnie and I must prepare a mailing to request brethren assist us financially, permitting us to accumulate the approximately $5,000 needed for a national seminar in Guyana the first week of June. We will be traveling to several areas to encourage and edify preachers, their wives and other church leaders. The wall calendar back in the office is heavily punctuated with appointments throughout the balance of the year, stateside and abroad. Even when we do not blog daily, the flurry of activity that drives our lives sometimes makes me dizzy – dizzy for the Lord, in His service, seeking His favor.

Cat Haven (Heaven)

January 31, 2012

Sunday, January 29 found Bonnie and me at the Mastin Lake Church of Christ in Huntsville, AL. The night before, as usual, we were the happy guests of sister Joyce and brother Howard South – at their home and cat haven (maybe even heaven). They have their downstairs cats, upstairs cats and outside cats (and a couple of raccoons). Even the fraidy cats have gotten used to us and don’t secret themselves away from us when we visit. One even tapped me on the elbow with her paw while we were at the table, trying to persuade me to share some of my vittles.

The attentive crowd for the 9:30 a.m. auditorium Bible class responded with questions after I made the PowerPoint presentation about our 2011 mission trips abroad. For the worship, I preached Worshipping Almighty God Acceptably and with Godly Fear – maybe running a little later than we meant to extend the services. Quickly downing some Subway sandwiches in the basement of the meetinghouse, afterward we scurried to a nursing home in the area for an afternoon worship service; some members of the church reside there.

Bonnie and I did some shopping, the likes of which cannot occur in Winona, MS before aiming the Gospel chariot towards home. We meandered the four and a half hours homeward, pausing for supper at one of the last opportunities for supper other than fast food. We rode into the carport at around 9:30 p.m.

The day was very encouraging both from the opportunities to worship with God’s people and to renew friendships. Several brethren ceased not to encourage us, and some provided monetary gifts for the work in addition to uplifting us in our labors. Bonnie and I are resolved to take the light even as brethren enable us by their determination to send the light.

Two Tuckered Out Pilgrims

January 23, 2012

Sunday, January 15, Bonnie and I worshipped with the Lake Forest Church of Christ in Walls, MS, where David Fisher is the preacher. During worship, I presented Into All the World in 2011 PowerPoint presentation about our mission trips abroad. Imitating some black Gospel preachers that I have heard do this occasionally over the years, I finally uttered aloud before the assembly, “Amen, walls!” What made it amusing to me was that I was standing in Walls, Mississippi when I said it; I had secretly wanted to do that ever since I first spoke at the Lake Forest congregation. Of course, I explained myself and the unlikely dialogue to the congregation present that morning. David Fisher, Gary Wilburn and a couple from the congregation shared lunch with Bonnie and me at a country buffet in Horn Lake, MS.

After a little shopping, Bonnie and I headed for Batesville, MS where I was to speak for the Sunday evening worship of the Lord’s church there. Since we were early, we did a little more shopping and followed that up by resorting to Cracker Barrel for dueling hot fudge sundaes. Still early, we waited in the car at the meetinghouse for the Batesville Church of Christ for the key holder to let us in. I was getting a little antsy while we paused before evening services were to begin, anticipating the arrival of the audio/visual person to facilitate lining up my PowerPoint, Into All the World. Honestly, Bonnie and I do not – I repeat, do not – plan our annual visit to the Batesville congregation based on what time of the month it hosts an evening fellowship meal. However, every year we come, the church is having a fellowship meal, to which we are invited to stay and enjoy. Some of the members are joking about and suspecting that our visits purposely coincide with their potluck feasts. In our defense, this was not the church’s regularly scheduled evening for the fellowship meal, and so we had no way of knowing about it.

New Face on an Old KitchenMonday morning, Bonnie and I began deconstructing the kitchen at the house. We have undertaken painting the wood paneling and cupboards; our aim is to lighten the walls so that what little light makes it through the roof-shaded, single window reflects better. Doubtless, the overhead light will be more effective, too, with lighter walls. In addition, we plan to lay porcelain tile on the kitchen floor and sink countertop. We are doing everything ourselves, which in some instances makes for some new experiences.

To be frugal, we used leftover paint from painting bedrooms, the hall, living room and dining room for the base coat. Consequently, the kitchen walls and cabinets were indiscriminately pink, blue and peach at the same time! (The kitchen has been in total disarray for a week during the painting and repainting process, but it is beginning to come together.)

We put progress on hold temporarily to meet and greet guests at the warehouse/office for World Evangelism. Arthur and Shirley Burnett from Hamilton, MS called me that they were on their way to Winona to pick up some books for their ministry. Pleasant interaction concluded after a while, they left and Bonnie and I resumed putting a fresh face on an old kitchen back at the house.

Tuesday, Bonnie and I finished tweaking Volume 71 of The Voice of Truth International magazine. Wednesday, we turned the digital material over to Betty Choate for her final adjustments before being sent to the printing company. I find myself behind again respecting Gospel Gazette Online; I am working on the January 2012 issue – the commencement of year 14 of publication on the Internet. Thursday, we loaded a trailer full of literature to be taken by Jerry and Paula Bates to a container in Texas, which will eventually make its way to Tanzania.

Friday afternoon, Bonnie and I drove nearly four hours to Killen, AL to be in place for the School of Missions on Saturday, hosted by the Killen Church of Christ. We chanced to make a last minute arrangement with Wayne and Janet Barrier to enjoy supper together as they were out and about in Tuscumbia. We retired for the night to a little Indian-run motel on the threshold to Killen. Saturday morning, we were at the School of Missions by 8 a.m. Perhaps 50 or so missionaries and would be missionaries were crammed in a little room where we edified each other respecting missionary preparation. Several men presented interesting and uplifting lessons over the course of the morning and through 12:30 p.m.

Bonnie and I lunched at a fabulous and affordable restaurant (Demos) in Florence, AL. The food is terrific, reasonably priced and the service is courteous as well as efficient. We did a little shopping (as we customarily do when out of the anti-metropolis of Winona, MS) and defended ourselves from the cool midafternoon with hot chocolate drinks and Crispy Crème doughnuts. Shopping and eating establishments plus more spoils me when I am in Florence; I feel like a little boy in a candy shop!

Antioch Church of ChristSunday, January 22, Bonnie and I spent the day with the Antioch Church of Christ, which assembles in the countryside outside Killen. For Bible class, I made my PowerPoint presentation of Into All the World in 2011 about our mission trips abroad. For morning worship, I preached What Is Jesus’ Plan for My Life? Sunday evening, I preached Worshipping Almighty God Acceptably and with Godly Fear. Between services, we were hosted to a tasty country plate dinner on the outskirts of Rogersville, AL. Thereafter until time for evening worship, I worked on the January issue of Gospel Gazette Online.

About four hours after worship services of the Antioch Church of Christ concluded, Bonnie and I rolled up into the carport of 705 Devine Street, Winona, MS. It was nearly 11:00 p.m. Just when we thought that we would transition for an hour before going to bed by watching a little television, an explosion outside our home simultaneously signaled the loss of electricity – so we went to bed! What else was there to do on a dark, stormy night for two tuckered out pilgrims?

Early to Rise, Again!

January 11, 2012

Sunday, January 8, Bonnie and I got up early once more, but not quite as early the prior week, for our trip from Winona, MS to our appointment destination. Clinton, MS to which we went was an hour closer than was Dennis, MS last week. Still, we had to leave the house around 6:30 a.m.

Members of the Clinton Church of Christ received us in a stellar way. I presented Into All the World (PowerPoint) for Bible class. For worship, I preached “Worshipping Almighty God Acceptably and with Godly Fear.” Two families gave us generous gifts for our mission work. The eldership also volunteered to consider us for monthly support. Afterward, Ken and Johnnie Gardner treated us to Chinese food for lunch. Then, they entertained us in their Brandon, MS home for the afternoon.

Siwell Road Church of ChristAt 4 p.m. Sunday, Bonnie and I met with the elders of the Siwell Rd. Church of Christ in Byram, MS – a suburb of Jackson, MS. Also present were a couple of deacons and the preacher. We hurriedly brought them all up to date regarding our ministry – stateside and foreign. The Siwell Road Church of Christ is our sponsoring congregation.

After evening services (where we were attendees rather than me being the speaker on this occasion), W.E. and Judy Walker took us to supper. Parting from them, we bought groceries before heading back to Winona. We arrived home around 10:30 p.m.

No Rice for 10 Days!

January 5, 2012

Holidays slow our traveling schedule a little. However, that gives time to pause and commemorate Bonnie’s birthday as well as the national holiday of Christmas – both on December 25. Our daughter Rebecca spent her time away from teaching school with us. We got the Christmas ornaments and imitation pine out of the attic and set up before she arrived, but she delayed her return home long enough to help us take everything down and stow it back in the attic. Of course, New Years is another close national holiday, but we all retired to bed early – though the neighborhood fireworks ensured that we did not fall off asleep before 2012 arrived. January 3 is my birthday, though we celebrated it early so Rebecca could be with us before school resumed for her. If we were hearty partiers, we could revel nearly non-stop from Christmas through the New Year to my birthday!

Friday afternoon we had a welcome visitor, Winsome – all the way from Myanmar (Burma). She is such a dear one to us, a sister in Christ and instrumental in so much that we and others do throughout each year in her country. Recently, we spent all day daily for many days together traveling throughout her nation. We were privileged to have her as guest for a couple of days.

Paula, Winsome, Rebecca, Betty, BonnieShe had been horribly mistreated by American brethren for the nearly two weeks before her arrival in our home. She exclaimed that she had not had rice for 10 days! Paula and Jerry Bates, coworkers of ours, as well as Betty Choate plus Bonnie and I fed Winsome breakfasts, lunches and suppers – some of which included rice. However, she also was introduced to French toast for breakfast and Bonnie’s homemade pizza for lunch; Winsome opted for a modest second helping of pizza.

Sunday, January 1, 2012, Bonnie, Rebecca and I with Winsome in tow left our home at 5:30 a.m. departed Winona, MS for Dennis, MS – about a three-hour car ride. I spoke at the Bible class of the Liberty Church of Christ, the longtime sponsor of the late J.C. Choate and still the sponsor of Betty Choate. It was my good pleasure to present a PowerPoint of pictures of Bonnie and my 2011 foreign mission trips, and I introduced Winsome to the congregation.

Bonnie, Winsome, RebeccaAfter seeking out lunch at a local eatery, we returned to the parking lot of the Liberty church. Before that, though we drove through Tishomingo State Park and got out for Winsome to inspect a frontier cabin along the roadway. Back at the church property, Jamie and Katie Barrier retrieved Winsome for the next leg of her US journey; surely, she must feel somewhat like a baton – passed from one to another. Winsome has traveled by car throughout middle to north Alabama and into Mississippi – shopping or visiting brethren. Her whirlwind tour – her first visit to America – will end shortly. She will return to Yangon (Rangoon) where with her mother they have hosted the Lord’s church in their home for the past 30 years.

Winsome at Liberty Church of ChristBonnie and I headed back toward Winona, stopping for some necessary shopping in Tupelo, MS along the way. Given the time of our arrival back in the part of Mississippi in which we live, and given the service times of various congregations, we happily worshipped Sunday evening with the Huntsville Church of Christ outside of French Camp, MS; few churches welcome us more graciously than this country church.

Wednesday, we assembled with the West President Church of Christ in Greenwood, MS as we often do for midweek class. During the days, we are feverishly working on the next issue of The Voice of Truth International (volume 71) and various end-of-year matters; today I wrote my article for the next issue of Global Harvest, too. Correspondence has spanned the globe; oh, what a blessing email can be. Plans are being made for stateside and foreign travel even now. Gospel Gazette Online for January must wait its turn. Sticky notes on my computer screen (electronic ones!) each cry for their attention, and it seems that never will all of them be exhausted before more tasks appear alongside of items not yet completed. That’s a good thing in a way, because it means that there is always plenty of work for the Lord to do. We wouldn’t have it any other way!