May found us back in Winona. We arrived back from our last foreign trip on April 30th and made a quick trip to see our daughters and grandsons before coming home. They live in Jonesboro, AR, so it is actually closer to their homes, than it is to Winona from the Memphis airport. Our oldest grandson, Judd, is playing T-ball this year; therefore, we just had to go see him before returning to the office on May 2nd.
May was a very busy month with many weekend appointments and other commitments. On May 8th-11th, we were in Hamilton, AL for the annual Maywood Mission Retreat. World Evangelism serves as sponsors of this event, and this requires much planning and work. Since Paula is in charge of the food each year, she has a most important job!! The average attendance is usually around 60, so much food has to be bought, although fortunately the two evening meals are provided by the Double Springs congregation in Alabama. It was once again a spiritual feast and a time to visit with missionary friends, many of whom we only see once a year. As usual, we distributed several boxes of literature to some domestic and foreign mission works.
From Texas to Michigan
After the retreat, we finally had one whole week at home. This seems to be a rare occurrence. However, the following week found us on the road again, this time to Dallas, TX. Betty joined us because we had a dual purpose for going. We always try to do this as much as possible. Mission Printing was sending a container to Ghana early in June, and while we were in India, volunteers came and packed 105 “preacher” boxes to be distributed to the students in three preaching schools in Ghana. We loaded our little trailer, which Strickland bought for us a few years ago, with about 1800 lbs. and off we went to Dallas. Many hours later, we arrived at the home of Gary and Sarah Fallis. Gary is the director of graduate studies for Bear Valley Extension schools, and in January of this year, Gary and I traveled together to India to teach at the Visakha Valley Bible College, so we enjoy each other’s company. The next day, Wednesday, we unloaded the books at Mission Printing with Gary’s help and also viewed some of their printing equipment as it was operating. It seemed very modern and amazing to us, especially since we had just returned from visiting a print shop in India. The comparison was staggering. We also discussed possible other containers that might be shipped later this year.
On Wednesday night we visited with the Granberry Street congregation in Cleburne. This is the sponsoring congregation of Justin Hopkins, who is coordinating our new Bible class literature program. We were very impressed with this congregation and its eldership. Jerry gave a presentation to the congregation, mainly to further acquaint them with the overall work of World Evangelism. We also met with the elders for a long time after services, and it was quite late when we arrived back at the Fallis’ residence. Nevertheless, it was an enjoyable time and a worthwhile trip.
The first week in June found us in Midland, Michigan. This congregation has been supporting the Voice of Truth monthly for several years, but due to its distance, no one had ever visited them. Interestingly, one the members of that congregation, Jim Puckett, had gone to school at David Libscomb with J. C. Choate many years ago. We often fly through
Detroit on our foreign trips, and we had thought we could just stop over and visit them, but Delta Airlines would not allow it. Therefore, we had to make a special trip, but that was not really a big problem, since we just used some of our air miles. At the suggestion of the congregation there, we also visited a congregation in the neighboring city, Saginaw. We enjoyed visiting with that good congregation, who is now considering adding us to their mission work. Rarely does a Sunday go by that does not find us visiting two congregations, but we look forward to seeing all the many Christians, and we hope that somehow we help the members visualize the work in which we are involved.
Just one week later, as we returned from a weekend trip to West Tennessee, we arrived home and found a disaster. We walked into the house and observed water pouring through our kitchen ceiling. Our water line to the ice maker had burst sometime while we were gone, so it had likely run for a long time. The floors of four rooms had flooded, at least to some extent, and the ceilings of two rooms were destroyed. It made a BIG mess, as you might imagine. The moral of the story is that if you have a plastic ice maker line running through your attic, replace it with copper now! On a positive side, this gives us the chance to do some remodeling which Paula wanted to do anyway. Under the carpet, which was soaked, were some nice hardwood floors that we are going to refinish once the repair work is done. At the time of this writing, we are waiting for the carpenter to come and repair the damage. We have pulled out all the old ceiling tiles and sheetrock ourselves, so we are ready to rebuild now. Hopefully, it will not take too long to get it all put back together, and fortunately, insurance will cover a good portion of the costs.
News from Overseas
The work goes on whether we are there or not. TV programs sponsored by World Evangelism broadcast every week; literature and tracts continue to be printed and
distributed; workers continue to preach and evangelize; and Bible schools meet daily to ground men in the truth. At the end of June, checks comprising many thousands of dollars from World Evangelism were mailed to fund the works previously mentioned for the next quarter. These funds are essential in order to continue the broad spectrum of this work.
We regularly receive updates from our coworkers in various countries. Let us share a couple of these stories. This one is an email from Rajanayagam in Tamil Nadu, India:
Warm greetings and this is to let you know that we had one baptism on Tuesday and she is a high school teacher from Hindu background, having connected with Pentecostals for the past three years. More importantly, she is our TV viewer, have been watching our program for the past many months. Finally, she came to Kangayam on Tuesday from Namakkal, along with one local brother, and studied the truth for about 5 hours by raising many questions. Then, she decided to obey the gospel, but didn’t bring changing clothes. Rachel offered clothing, but she said, NO. I thought at the time that she was not convinced fully about the truth. But, to my surprise, she said that you baptize me now and I will stand under the sun to dry up the clothes for some time and leave. Then, I baptized her! This is the first time in my life that a lady of about 50 years obeyed the gospel in this fashion.
Most of you should remember that a few months ago we began a Hindi TV program. Hindi is by far the largest Indian language, with approximately 422 million speaking it, according to the 2001 census. Three very capable and faithful brethren from Delhi, Francis, Sunny and Vinay David, share the speaking responsibilities. Recently, Vinay shared with us a long email of their activities. He first related that it had been 122 degrees Fahrenheit. That is one reason why we never go to India in May or June. Even the native brethren curtail their activities due to the extreme heat. Following one TV program on baptism, they received calls from as far as Mumbai, Calcutta, and Maharashtra. These places are from one side of India to the other and are a very long way from Delhi. In addition, they received calls from Delhi. This illustrates the far reaching scope of this broadcast, even further than what we had envisioned. They just broadcast one time a week, and they are begging for an extra time slot. Unfortunately, the funds are simply not available, as all the additional funds needed for the first program have not been received yet. If you
are able to help support this great evangelistic effort, please let us know.
How do they follow-up on these prospects from so far away? This is where literature comes into play. They will send basic study material, Bible correspondence courses, and Bibles to these contacts for further study. They also have many contacts with other brethren scattered throughout North India, so these brethren can also help do the follow-up evangelism with those in their respective areas.
Jerry will soon leave on his next overseas trip. On July 25th he will leave for Arusha, Tanzania for a little over two weeks teaching two masters courses in a Bear Valley school in that location. There are two schools in Tanzania, and he visited the other one last year. This time, he will not have to obtain a Visa, since the one he acquired last year is good for one year. Paula considered going on this trip, but due to the cost and what is going on here, she felt that she needed to stay home this time.
At the first of September, both of us will travel to Denver for a meeting of all the Bear Valley Extension staff for a few days. Later this fall, we will both return to India, Sri Lanka, and possibly Nepal. We are not sure of the exact dates at this time, but probably it will be sometime in October and November. Keep us in your prayers, and thank you for all your help and encouragement.
Jerry & Paula Bates