In early November Jerry preached in a weekend meeting with the Midway congregation, south of Vicksburg, MS. They are one of our faithful supporters, and we always enjoy being with them. Shortly after that, we made a trip to Dallas to deliver books to the New York Avenue congregation in Arlington. They send a container to the Chimala mission in Tanzania every year. They were very glad to receive 1700 pounds of books and Bible class material.
Those trips to Dallas are always whirlwind trips. On this occasion, we started early Sunday morning and visited the Palestine congregation about one hour west of Memphis on I-40. We dearly love this congregation as we preached there for six years from 1992-1998. Sunday afternoon, we traveled to Little Rock and spoke at the McAlmont congregation in North Little Rock. This was a new church for us, hoping they would become one of the supporters for the North India Bible School. Sunday night, we stayed with the Stinebaughs in North Little Rock. They were one of the first couples to support the Choates and have been faithfully doing so for over 50 years.
Leaving a little later Monday morning, we had not traveled far before we were involved in a traffic accident. The traffic ahead slowed and suddenly stopped, and due to a wet road and the loaded trailer behind us, Jerry did not notice the traffic was stopped in time. So, we hit the truck in front of us. Fortunately, it was not a very hard collision, so we were still able to drive our car and make the entire trip. Often people will comment on how dangerous it is to fly nowadays, but we really feel that we are in more danger traveling the roads by car both here and abroad than we are in the airplanes. Accidents can happen so quickly. We finally made it to the Arlington area late Monday afternoon and unloaded our trailer in the rain. Shortly after that, we traveled to Fort Worth to stay with our friends, Gary and Sarah Fallis. They are always glad for us to stay with them whenever we have the opportunity.
Tuesday morning, we continued north to visit with Mark Bryson, the outreach minister of the McDermott Road church in Plano, TX. We learned there is a large India population in the area, and Christians there had converted one of those families. The one that was converted contacted his father in India, who was a denominational preacher. Mark made a preaching trip to India in 2015 and converted him and several others with whom this man was acquainted. We hope to be able to work with Mark's congregation in respect to this India work in the future with perhaps literature and in other ways. After leaving this congregation shortly before lunch, we traveled on I-20 to Monroe, LA for the night. We had intended to journey a little further, but it was raining very hard and darkness had fallen, which made for bad driving conditions.
We left early the next morning to reach the Jackson airport by 8:30 a.m., in order to pick up Betty from her trip visiting family in San Francisco. So we headed north on I-55, and she treated us to a Cracker Barrel breakfast. It was good to get all of us and the car back to Winona. Things continued to be busy in Winona. Louis returned from his overseas trip shortly before Thanksgiving. In order for all the literature to be sent out, it must first come in. One day a very large shipment of the Global Harvest, the Voice of Truth, two books, and several reprints of tracts arrived. Fortunately, we had several workers from the Greenwood and French Camp congregations that came and helped us. As the old saying goes, many hands make light work, and they certainly helped us out on this occasion. The preacher for the French Camp congregation, Nathan Wright, home-schools his children, two girls and a boy, so they were able to come and help. The boy, Ben, is only 8-years-old, and he is always a joy to watch. Recently, we visited this congregation on Wednesday night, and Nathan commented that Ben prays for us by name in his prayers. One is never too young to be involved in mission work.
Even missionaries need to play some, and we spent Christmas week with our two daughters and two grandsons in Jonesboro, AR. We took the six and three-year-olds with us to a cabin in northeast Arkansas for a little grandparent spoiling. We spent four days alone with them eating junk food, playing games and hiking, since their parents had to work through Christmas Eve. During the week after Christmas, we worked hard sending1200 copies ofthe Global Harvest magazine to many supporters and other interested people. This magazine is filled with mission reports from around the world and is interesting reading for anyone concerned with taking the light of the Gospel to the lost. If you did not receive one, we will be glad to supply you with a copy. Just let us know.
January and February look to be busy as usual. We plan to take a shipment of literature to Healing Hands in Nashville in January to be sent to South Africa. Once it arrives there, the literature will be distributed into other countries as well. Later in January, Jerry will speak at a missions seminar hosted by the Center for Mission Training at Heritage Christian University. In February, we will have a booth at the Freed-Hardeman lectures. Later that month, we hope to take another load to Mission Printing in Dallas. In addition we have the usual office work, end of the year accounting, planning for our next trip, etc. We thank you for helping us send and take the light!
Jerry and Paula Bates