Posted tagged ‘Motivated by the Cross’

Burma Bound!

September 29, 2011

Map of MyanmarWednesday, we scurried around the office and the house, in that order, trying to get the last details attended that would permit Bonnie and me to make our exit from Winona, MS for our fall mission trip to Asia. We didn’t get everything done, not the least of which was to mow the grass. Well, it’s already high from weeks gone by, and I guess it’ll be there when we get back. Surely, it will stop growing soon as we approach a change in the weather.

Packed with four bags to check between the two of us, two carryon bags (nearly empty due to the Asian restrictions of a mere 15 pounds per carryon) and two computer bags, we pointed the Town and Country minivan toward Collierville, TN. The rolling carryon bags do hold some items, but perhaps best of all, we can cart our laptops on them, using them as carts. (Singapore Airlines did weigh my bag to make sure it was not overweight.)

We had our last supper at our favorite restaurant, the Texas Roadhouse; Rebecca joined us there on her way home from work – teaching school in Horn Lake, MS. I had my usual – road kill – a glorified and well-seasoned chopped steak, a salad and a baked potato. Rolls and peanuts accent the atmosphere.

Having arrived about 30 minutes before the restaurant was open and before Rebecca was free from teaching school, we got gasoline (40 cents per gallon cheaper than back in Winona), an oil change (slightly past due) for the van and the complimentary car wash. After we ate, we bought some last minute things for the two month trip overseas on which we were about to embark.

Being Wednesday and being in Collierville with our daughter, we attended the Collierville Church of Christ. We received a lot of well-wishing and encouragement for our Thursday morning departure. Back at Rebecca’s home, we tried to take care of final matters (e.g., emails, Internet check-in for our flights and printing our boarding passes). Off to bed about 11:00 p.m. I was hoping for a good rest, but I suppose the impending trip kept us from sustained and restful slumber.

Thursday morning saw us slalom through Memphis Interstate traffic to the airport. A slight hiccup at the check in counter, though three of the four  bags to be checked were well under the allowed weight, one piece of luggage was about four pounds overweight. Always before, in every airport we have ever visited, the combined weight of all the bags was calculated against the weight allowance. Not this time, though, which required us to move some things around from one bag to two other bags (the other bag already headed down the conveyor and was not available) that were bulging to the max. Even though both of our carryon bags were spacy inside, we did not dare put anything in them because when we reached Singapore Airlines, they require no more than 7 kg or 15 pounds (the case weighs half that) – and the agent at Singapore Airlines weighed my carryon baggage.

The trip to Los Angeles was pleasant, and Bonnie and I did manage to sit with one another. We have been traveling companions through life for over 38 years now – and we want to continue that way as long as God permits. Always before, we have crossed to or from the West Coast at night, but this time we could view the scenery. We took the southwest air route – roughly following I-40 most of the way. It crossed my mind that the pilot was merely following the highway, maybe using a roadmap! We didn’t see much green, but scorched earth – in part, doubtless due to the hostile, burning summer without rain that this part of the country has experienced this year. Of course, the rugged mountains explain some of the scattered settlement of portions of that region. Hmm! I might have to grant Mississippi some accolades.

LAX lived up to and surpassed past experiences, being the most painful airport experience we endure anywhere we go on the planet. Stages of construction and destruction were everywhere! Hardly any signs or personnel could be found to get around. Unlike other international airports, one has to leave the terminal altogether – dumped on the street and fend for himself. One errant bus ride, finally boarding the correct bus and much walking, we found our way to the international terminal. Lines, lines and more lines – endless lines. Then, when we finally arrived (over two hours early) at the seating area for our flight, the only eatery was a Samuel Adams pub. Not interested in the booze, neither were we desperate enough to pay $13 or $14 for a cold, premade lunch meat sandwich. We had a cereal bar apiece for breakfast on the way to the Memphis airport, and we feasted on the same, plus we split a package of cheese and crackers.

Finally aboard our plane, an A380-800 – the biggest commercial airliner in the world, we were able to utilize the three seats in our row on our side of the aisle – because the plane was sparsely occupied. Other than a little turbulence occasionally and reduced legroom, it was like being in our living room – it reminded me of small theater seating. Pretty nice, actually. However, wouldn’t you know it, the nice, personal video screen malfunctioned, and for a while I thought I would have to forego the distraction of inflight entertainment to help pass the 11 and a half hours between LAX and our refueling stop in Tokyo, Japan. Did I mention that the plane has two decks?

Naturally, we had to deplane in Tokyo, go through security once more and reboard the same plane, this time for Singapore. Aloft, Bonnie and I both got some sleep at different times. Bonnie read a book through that she borrowed from our daughter. We watched some movies – on the way to Tokyo from Los Angeles and from Tokyo to Singapore. Even the biggest commercial jetliner gets tossed about sometimes by turbulence, we can attest. However, as big as it is, the pilots set that big bird down easy – easier than many of the smaller craft  on which we ride.

Around 3 a.m. Singapore time, we landed. To our dismay, our favorite airport of anywhere that we go shuts down its transit trains at 2:30 a.m. In Terminal 3, we had to make our way by foot – lugging our portable office (computers) and carryon bags. The problem, though, was all of the signs are geared for directing transfer customers to the appropriate transit trains, and nowhere – absolutely nowhere – are there signs directing pedestrians to Terminal 2. Men don’t like to do this, but I finally found a policeman in the nearly ghostly empty airport who gladly pointed us in the correct direction.

The usually bustling airport cafes and other retailers were almost all closed. We found a couple of croissants with egg, cheese and bacon, accompanied by a Diet Coke and tater rounds; I had no idea that Turkey bacon could be so tough! Our bodies say that it is the middle of the afternoon when the local clocks say that is very, very early in the morning; I would have been happy with a Whopper, but the two Burger Kings we happened by had no beef offerings at this hour of their day.

Waiting patiently is a very important, acquired characteristic that is very useful in foreign travel. We are waiting again – this time for the security to open separating us from our departure gate.

This is the morning of the third day since we left Memphis, TN. We have only lingered long enough in airports for the next plane to fly us on toward Yangon, Myanmar (Burma). We have been wearing the same clothes all this time, and we have another four hours or so before reaching Yangon, sometime after which we may be able to clean up and change clothes. We have not brushed our teeth in days, and my personal body odor is so repulsive to me that I can’t stand to smell myself. My unshaven face has become prickly even to me. Then, days from now and for about eight weeks, we will be out in the sun and mostly away from AC and shower facilities; sometimes it’s going to get worse before it gets better.

Cutting through the thick clouds on our descent to Yangon provided us one of the bumpiest rides we have ever experienced; we were glad that the clouds gave way eventually and were not all together from sky to ground. At 9:30 a.m. Yangon, Myanmar time, we arrived at the international terminal, and once we cleared immigration, recovered our baggage and processed through customs, we were greeted by several dear brethren. No place on the planet do we receive a warmer reception than from our loved ones in the faith in Burma. Some of these brethren had to travel several miles for about an hour on the back of pickup trucks to be in place to receive us!

Tired, yes! Dirty, “Yes!” Smelly, “Yes!” Time for showers and rest, “No!” Not more than checked in and getting our luggage to our hotel room, it was off to downtown to purchase airplane tickets for our movement within Myanmar over the next two weeks or so. Since we were downtown, we exchanged currency and made some purchases at Scott’s Market. I love Scott’s Market, and I could stay hours if we had time – just so I could thoroughly look at everything. Each year, we buy some gifts for family and friends, and we buy carved wooden or jade animals and purchase some jade bracelets or necklaces to offer as tokens of hospitality to brethren Stateside who lodge or feed us as we travel in our country weekly.

It seemed like it took forever to get the airplane tickets arranged for Bonnie and me as well as for our two nationals traveling at different times with us. Our “girl Friday” and dear sister in Christ also reserved hotels for us along our upcoming trip and handled related details in advance of our arrival to those places.

Finally, we were able to shower and take a nap. It was a struggle to decide on napping longer or go to supper with dear sisters; we went to supper. Besides we needed to stay up as long as possible to force our bodies to more quickly adapt to the new time zone in which we found ourselves – 12 times zones away from home – nearly completely opposite day and night between where we live and being in Myanmar. We went to bed early, slept well and long! By the time we slumbered Saturday night, we had been up since early Thursday morning; to say we were bushed would be an understatement.

Stuff & Appointments

September 26, 2011

StuffThe picture accompanying this blog entry is of the stuff that we lug around to make presentations and offer published literature to brethren; this is a comparatively small contingent of stuff this time. I didn’t plan it this way, but notice the reflection in the doors of the meetinghouse; there I am snapping the picture, and our silver minivan appears behind me.

Sunday morning, Bonnie and I were pleased to worship once more with the East Memphis Church of Christ. A small congregation wanting to grow numerically, it is graced with some enthusiastic Christians. Robert Williams and his son Ruben serve as ministers at East Memphis.

For Bible class, I presented the PowerPoint Motivated by the Cross of Jesus, and for worship I preached What Is Jesus’ Plan for My Life? After services, several of the members expressed interest in some of the Bible-related books that we took along. Brother Robert and sister Helen Williams treated Bonnie and me to a pleasant and savory lunch at Chow Time.

Bonnie experienced somewhat of a wardrobe malfunction at East Memphis; her skirt split, revealing the underskirt or lining. With some time on our hands between Sunday appointments, we stopped at J.C. Penny’s in Horn Lake/Southaven, MS where we selected a couple of nice outfits for Bonnie. Fortunately, they were on sale, and they compliment and complement my dear wife more than the skirt that tore.

Next, we arrived in Charleston, MS for our evening appointment with the Charleston Church of Christ. Arriving early, we stopped at McDonalds – or tried to, but it was closing for the installation of new cash registers. There was a time when transactions could occur without computer aided devices, but not today!

Sunday evening, I presented Motivated by the Cross of Jesus. Robert Rawson preaches for the congregation; usually when I speak there, brother Rawson is away. This small congregation always receives us well and helps us financially in our mission work. To know these brethren as well as the support they offer us is heartening and enables us to do what we do.

Ribbons of Asphalt Cutting through Seas of Defoliated Cotton

September 18, 2011

Cotton FieldSaturday, Bonnie and I sailed the ribbons of asphalt cutting through seas of defoliated cotton and the semis burdened with ripened, golden grain, corn pickers shooting the precious grain to them. We made our way from Winona, MS to Piedmont, AL to be with the Highway 9 Church of Christ Sunday morning for class (The Three Bears of Galatians 6) and worship (Motivated by the Cross of Jesus). Peggy and Bob Rogers are so good to us, and we have been there often enough, that we simply went to our room with our luggage – down the hall, last room on the right. Nothing compares to Christian hospitality!

Sunday evening, we worshipped with the Blackwater Macedonia Church of Christ near Jasper, AL. There are a lot of Central churches of Christ, North End and Eastside churches of Christ, but the moniker Blackwater Macedonia Church of Christ is both unique and has character. We were very well received, and I updated the congregation on our labors and represented the World Evangelism Team as I presented the PowerPoint Motivated by the Cross of Jesus. The late J.C. Choate and his wife Betty have been going to Blackwater Macedonia for several years, and they are fondly remembered.

Unusual but appreciated, we arrived home Sunday night around 10:30 p.m. Usually, we are fortunate to arrive home by midnight, and if we are far enough away, we will not get back to Winona until Monday. This is our life: 3,000 miles by car monthly primarily on weekends to congregations of the Lord’s church, working the warehouse and keeping the stream of published literature flowing by weekday, and traveling abroad up to 50,000 air miles annually. Bonnie and I are away from home about 45 to 50 weeks per year! It is a hectic pace, and for the most part, we would not have it any other way. Please pray for us that much good in the kingdom may result from our meager efforts.

Burying Our Dead along Our Route of Travel

August 9, 2011

Sunday evening July 31, Bonnie and I worshipped with the Courtland, MS Church of Christ. We were well received as I presented the PowerPoint lesson Motivated by the Cross; I spoke about our summer 2010 mission trip to Myanmar, our fall 2010 mission trip to Myanmar and India as well as our summer 2011 mission trip to Guyana, South America. We had been the recipients of a fifth Sunday contribution to help us make the Guyana trip.

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday we finished writing, printing and packaging our newsletter and mailed it at the local post office. I was also able to publish the August 2011 edition of Gospel Gazette Online. Then, notifications were dispatched through email for the electronic version of the Rushmore Newsletter and Gospel Gazette Online. It is far easier to summarize the doing of these activities than the hours and days required to accomplish the same.

Thursday and Friday were the days for the annual World Evangelism meeting in Winona. Several with whom we voluntarily cooperate in world missions spent the time fellowshipping, eating and discussing ways in which we can be more effective in the future for the Lord. Dennis and Sharon Larson were in from North Carolina, and Don and Sylvia Petty with a young lady Allison were in from Texas. L.T. and JoAn Gurganus attended from Alabama, as well as Janet and Wayne Barrier plus Joey and Jeremiah Barrier also from Alabama. Madolyn and Gene Gibson stopped by; the Larry Murdochs visited. Of course, the Winona bunch was present: Jerry and Paula Bates; Betty Choate; Bonnie and me.

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Saturday, Bonnie and I loaded the car with baggage, books, tracts and displays for our Sunday appointments in Decatur and Huntsville, AL. Bonnie’s mother was deathly sick, and we planned to travel to Pennsylvania to be with her following the Sunday evening appointment. After departing Pennsylvania, we knew that we would be going to Sevierville, TN for the Polishing the Pulpit program before returning to Winona. Saturday evening, we lodged in Decatur, ready for Bible class and morning worship with the Austinville Church of Christ.

Sunday morning, I presented Motivated by the Cross about our overseas missions to the auditorium Bible class. For worship, I preached What Is Jesus’ Plan for Me? The Austinville brethren are such great encouragers of Bonnie and me. Brother and sister Tim Hester graciously treated us to lunch before our departure to Huntsville. Sunday evening, Bonnie and I worshipped with the Farley Church of Christ where Paul Clements is the preacher. Once more we were greatly encouraged.

Following our leaving the Farley congregation, we began our journey to Pennsylvania to be with Bonnie’s mother one last time. We traveled for a few hours, crossing through Tennessee to Bowling Green, KY where we lodged for the night. However, Mary Reed passed away shortly after midnight, and we slept very little after receiving that mournful phone call. We had visited her in May, but we failed to arrive at her hospital bedside previous expiring. Monday was a somber trip of several hours.

The viewing will be Thursday, and the funeral will be Friday morning. I will be officiating at the service. It has been my lot over the years to lead the prayer for family gatherings and to bury the dead.

Saturday, we will drive to Sevierville, TN for Polishing the Pulpit. Bonnie and I are scheduled to teach children’s classes for several days in the program. Sunday, we have an appointment about an hour from Sevierville.

Amidst traveling and funeral preparations Bonnie worked on the next issue of The Voice of Truth International and I sent emails to various brethren abroad in preparation for the fall mission trips to Myanmar and India a few weeks from now. Oh, I left my phone charging cord in the motel in Bowling Green. Today, I lost my comb, too. Fortunately, my head is attached! Having traveled six states by automobile in three days, there is no telling in which state I would have left it.

4 States + 4 States

June 27, 2011

East Side Church of ChristSaturday, June 25, Bonnie, Rebecca and I left Winona, MS early, en route to Cleveland, TN. Our course had us in four states throughout the day: Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee. We arrived in the afternoon at the home of brother Robert and sister Barbara Wright; they graciously agreed to lodge and feed the three of us. We continue to be humbled by the extension of hospitality to us as we travel weekly; we are indebted to good brethren who take care of us and with whom we develop close relationships. Though appreciated when congregations provide motel lodging as visit them, it is more difficult to grow close to brethren when our time together is largely limited to Bible class and worship.

Central Church of ChristSunday morning, we were with the Central Church of Christ in Cleveland, TN. For Bible class, I presented Motivated by the Cross to 4th grade through adults. During worship, I presented Bible Archaeology. Several members expressed appreciation for both presentations, and many of the members took advantage of the good World Evangelism books we had for sale.

We three travelers had multiple opportunities to enjoy the company of good brethren and share meals together. I feel that we make new friends and enhance former friendships, as we did this trip, nearly every time we fulfill appointments to apprise brethren about our mission work or to present other biblical lessons.

Sunday evening, Bonnie, Rebecca and I worshipped with the East Side Church of Christ; this congregation has been a longtime participant with J.C. and Betty Choate in their mission work. With the illness first and later passing of brother Choate, Jerry Bates and I, accompanied by our spouses, visit such congregations, in addition to churches to whom we report for ourselves. After worship, I reported to and showed Motivated by the Cross to the mission committee. Afterward, we three were the guests of Rick and Fay Hinson in their home; he is the go to person for missions at the East Side Church of Christ. Once more, we were treated to precious hospitality; we made new friends. As a sidebar, Rick’s hobby is making high quality, unique ballpoint pens by turning hardwoods and soft metals, combined with things such as rifle shell casings or animal antlers.

North Topsail Beach, NCMonday was another travel day. Since Rebecca had a narrow window of opportunity to visit her brother Raymond in North Carolina; she and we are going to make a mission trip to Guyana, South America in July, and then she returns back to teaching school in late July (at first, preparatory days before children return). She has to go in for at least a day before the mission trip have her classroom moved from one building to another. During the summer break from school, Rebecca also participates in one or more VBS programs.

We traveled from Tennessee through North Carolina, Georgia and South Carolina to get to North Topsail Beach, NC where Raymond lives while stationed with the Coast Guard in the vicinity. Four states and ten and a half hours later, fatigued, we three arrived. Almost there (within two hours), we encountered severe cloud to ground lightning, heavy rains and pushy wind. We slowed down, but kept going and finally drove out of it.

Rebecca was unable to afford plane tickets and she did not have enough air miles for a ticket, so it was doubtful that she was going to be able to see her brother. Therefore, though Bonnie and I had visited Raymond in April (we used our air miles), we wanted to ferry Rebecca to Raymond’s temporary home for a few days. We will just force ourselves to enjoy the sandy beach across from his condo, the sound of rolling waves, sea breezes and water lapping at our bare feet. I’m just not sure when we will point the car toward Winona, MS. We do, of course, need to get back in time to ready ourselves for our trip to Guyana. If you know Bonnie and me, we will be hammering away on our computer keyboards (e.g., The Voice of Truth International, Gospel Gazette Online, lesson preparation for our mission trips, etc.). Stay tuned for updates between the sunburns and cookouts! (We will be participating in worship and classes with local brethren on at least three different days, too.)

Riding the Ridges and More

June 6, 2011

Sunday morning, June 5th, Bonnie and I, with Rebecca in tow, literally rode the ridges from Bethlehem, WV to Cameron, WV. Speed limits on US 250 of 55 mph have always amused me; it is impractical between the curve warnings signs to get up to 55 mph. I used to tease Bonnie by asking occasionally, “Where do you suppose that road over there” or “down there goes?” Early on, Bonnie would say, “I don’t know,” and I would say, “That’s the road we’re on!” It didn’t take long for my sweet wife to just ignore my dumb questions. As one old song lyrics belted out, “switchback city” and curves looking like “a can of malaria germs.” On the way out to Cameron, Rebecca sat in the front to stay her stomach, but she braved a middle seat upon our departure later.

It is always a distinct pleasure to commune with dear brethren in Cameron who are more to us than part of our spiritual family. Brother Paul Marty with clarity of a preacher’s voice to be desired taught the Bible class and expertly with enthusiasm led the singing for worship. During worship, I made my PowerPoint Motivated by the Cross about our 2010 mission trips to India and Myanmar (Burma). Following worship, we all enjoyed a potluck, fellowship meal together.

We almost forgot, but we snapped a few pictures before everyone got away. My little buddy Brayden isn’t so little anymore; he is maturing and a handsome young man. Jennifer and Sarah, sisters for sure, but one of them blinked (or is sleeping) for the picture, of course. Edith may be the matriarch now, lovelier as the days come and go; everyone seemed to not have changed at all unless it was in a complimentary way.

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For evening worship, we three Rushmore pilgrims traversed the comparatively few miles from Cameron to Marietta, OH and communed with the Harmar Hill Church of Christ; J.D. Conley preaches for this congregation. After worship, the Nulph family and we went to Pizza Hut for supper. Julene and Rodney are dearest of friends to us, and Rodney is one of the Editors of Gospel Gazette Online. We really joy in their three children; they were thrilled with the bamboo hats that we brought them from Burma. I forgot to use redeye reduction when I snapped their picture, so I had to touch up the photo, darkening their otherwise bright and vibrant eyes.

Monday was a travel day all the way back to Collierville, TN. With a little relief driving from Bonnie and Rebecca to give me a break, we weren’t too worse for the wear for making the 12-hour jaunt across Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee.

On the (Great) Lake

June 1, 2011

Bonnie & Louis Sharing a Chocolate MaltMonday night and Tuesday, Bonnie, Rebecca and I lodged with Martha and Bob Noland, dear friends and brethren in Christ, in Hanoverton, OH. Wednesday morning, we reloaded the van and headed northwest to Vermilion, OH and the home of Dawn and Mark Weaver, also dear friends and brethren, who have sweet children who are among the dearest and most loving I know anywhere. The littlest one, John, was keeping a look out for us with binoculars – so he was the first to know of our arrival. Not even out of the car yet and pouring out of the house were the Weaver children to give us hugs and warm greetings. Not long after that, we headed to a local, quaint eatery of which the Weaver Family is fond. Alas, good food and good friends (especially Christian friends) are hard to beat! Bonnie and I even shared a chocolate malt!

That evening immediately prior to Wednesday night Bible class, Bonnie and I met with the eldership – which has been overseeing our mission work for nearly four years. I updated them on our travels stateside and abroad as well as apprised them of our pending trips overseas in 2011. It was at that time I also conveyed to them that we had found another sponsoring congregation to take our oversight in the future. This has always been the plan as the Vermilion Church of Christ agreed from the beginning to assume our temporary sponsorship; I just stretched that temporary to nearly four years. Some details need to be finalized, but over the next 30 days the transition of sponsorship will occur. Once those details have been worked out (e.g., a new checking account and debit cards, mailing address, etc.), I will apprize each of our supporters of the same.

During the Bible class hour, I presented Motivated by the Cross. I let the congregation know of the changes in sponsorship that were pending, but I assured these dear friends and brethren that our relationship with each other and our visits to Vermilion would not be affected. After class, we retired to the Weaver home for time well spent together before heading off to bed for the night.

Northward Trip

May 29, 2011

Bonnie and I arrived home from our trip to Alabama, Georgia and Florida trip Monday evening. Tuesday, the day was devoted to driving from Winona to Cherokee, AL for the funeral of L.D. Willis. Wednesday and Thursday, we feverishly worked in the office in Winona, trying to catch up from our previous absence of nearly two weeks; Thursday afternoon, we headed for Rebecca’s home in Collierville, TN to prepare her house for the installation of new windows on Friday morning while she was at work. The installers, though, did not arrive until late in the day, and they tried to put off the job to another day – even lying to us as it turned out, saying they did not have all of the windows with them. However, as we three were leaving Saturday morning for almost two weeks in Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, we insisted the installers install the windows rather than postpone the job. (This company was very competitive pricewise, but trying to get the installation scheduled, the unprofessional demeanor of the workers, etc. was a serious disappointment.)

North Lexington Church of ChristSaturday was another day of travel as we made our way to Lexington, KY and the home of Linda and Wick Moore; he is one of the elders of the North Lexington Church of Christ. The elders and their wives dined together at the Moore residence. Lord’s Day morning, I made my PowerPoint presentation Motivated by the Cross about our 2010 mission trips to India and Myanmar (Burma). For worship, I preached What Is the Mission of the Church?

North Lexington Church of ChristThe North Lexington congregation appears to be growing in number so that even their new, three-year-old building is rapidly becoming too small to accommodate the assemblies. This church is very evangelistically minded, and 16 members will soon make a mission trip to Peru. Several other missionaries or mission works, including Bonnie and me, also are beneficiaries of the congregation’s interest in the Great Commission. The last thing one sees upon leaving the church property is a sign that reminds members that the world, beginning with the local community, is the mission field.

Sunday evening, we worshipped with the Florence, KY Church of Christ. Bonnie and I left a case of The Voice of Truth International magazine with the elders for the congregation, and I left several copies of my book Beverage Alcohol. We happened to meet several brethren who were aware of the work with which we are associated or who know brethren with whom we are acquainted, such as the mother of brother Robin Dunaway. We hope to revisit the Florence Church of Christ on subsequent trips northward.

Busy Days

May 18, 2011

Ladies' Class for Chaffe Rd. Church of Christ

The morning of Wednesday, May 18, Bonnie taught a ladies’ class for the Chaffee Road Church of Christ in Jacksonville, FL. Afterward some of the ladies and I dined at a local Wendy’s restaurant. Our departure from the home of Mary Fox literally transpired slowly over the next three hours since Mary and her adult daughter Karen were reluctant to see us go. It reminds me of the scene surrounding the apostle Paul in Acts 20:37 when brethren were extremely reluctant to have him depart from them. Indeed, parting is such sweet sorrow sometimes. We are thankful for the hospitality and fellowship extended to us by sisters in Christ Mary and Karen.

Riverview Church of ChristBy 4:00 p.m. that afternoon, Bonnie and I had found the residence of sister Bernice and brother Allen Cross and left again for the Golden Corral restaurant. We were their guests for supper, and they are our hosts for Wednesday and Thursday nights in their home. Though Bonnie and I enjoy immensely having guests in our Winona, MS home, nevertheless, we are humbled each time brothers and sisters in Christ lodge and feed us as we traverse the states, visiting congregation after congregation on behalf of our mission work or presenting biblical lessons. Wednesday evening, I presented Motivated by the Cross at the Riverview Church of Christ, where brother Allen Cross preaches. Brethren received us wonderfully well as they do each time we make an annual visit.

Jacksonville, FL is a sprawling and interesting city on the first coast. Much water and the many bridges to cross the waterways are abundant – some having significant inclines to allow oceangoing ships to sail beneath them. Some drawbridges also punctuate the spans throughout the area. Another curious feature of Jacksonville is the varied representation of several ethnicities, between which there seems to be little or no friction – only harmonious diversity, especially within the Lord’s church. It is always a pleasure to venture into the Jacksonville, FL vicinity.

Thursday was a busy day of eating, among other things. Bernice and Allen Cross and Bonnie and I dined at Cracker Barrel for breakfast. For lunch, we picked up Mary Fox and took her to lunch at Stan’s Sandwich Shop; she wanted us to meet a Korean family with whom she has been friends for 26 years, but unable so far to influence to obey the Gospel. We were graciously received despite the lunch rush for his eatery. That night, Allen cooked us steak for supper, accented with potatoes, garlic bread and salad. This was before rushing off to a group Bible study at an apartment complex – which also had refreshments. Later, before retiring for the night, we imbibed with the Bernice and Allen in some ice cream and pastries – great, of course, for my sugar, but delightful.

Two-State Hop

May 16, 2011

Leaving Maywood Christian Camp (the annual Maywood Missionary Retreat) Saturday morning, Bonnie and I headed for Georgia and Florida for weekend speaking appointments. We had an eight-hour drive ahead of us (plus brief necessary stops) to Dasher, GA – just south of Valdosta. Our accommodations, courtesy of the Dasher Church of Christ, were superb, among the best we ever have anywhere at our disposal. Finding brethren at the meetinghouse Saturday night, we set up books, tracts, newsletters, etc.

Sunday morning, I presented the PowerPoint Motivated by the Cross in Bible class. During worship, I presented the PowerPoint Bible Archaeology. This congregation and some of its members help make our foreign mission work possible, including providing funding for the distribution of tracts and Bibles abroad in the respective languages of the peoples to whom Bonnie and I go.

Following worship and after Bonnie and I took lunch at Cracker Barrel, we pointed the car south along I-75. Next stop, Jacksonville, FL. We were wonderfully received by most of the members of the Chaffee Rd. Church of Christ, where I presented Motivated by the Cross. Karen and Mary Fox treated us to a superior fish supper at a local eatery; Mary Fox surrendered her master bedroom for Bonnie and me for a few nights. We have a Wednesday evening appointment with the Riverview Church of Christ, also in Jacksonville.

Over the next many days, appointments will take us to another location in Florida, Alabama, Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia. Between stateside travel and overseas mission trips, we are on the road over 40 weekends annually. We may be coming to a congregation near you soon, and if not now scheduled, arrange a visit by contacting me: