Chapter 63: Our Trip to the East

After Peter’s memorial service, we went back to California and began thinking about resuming a trip to the east. That year, Dudley Rutherford, minister of Shepherd of the Hills Church in Porter Ranch, was the president of the North American Christian Convention (NACC), so we decided to go to it. The NACC is a convention of Christian Churches and Churches of Christ held once a year. It was to be held July 4 to 7, 2011, and we decided to coordinate our trip with it. We planned our itinerary carefully and contacted folks on our list to let them know we planned to come to their home to visit on a certain date if possible. It would be wonderful to see them again and enjoy being with them.

The day before we left, we wrote a newsletter and some thank you letters to contributors and sent them out in the mail. I picked up new glasses at the doctor’s office, and we had our luggage and whatever else we needed in the car ready to start early the next morning. We were ready to go. It was June 10th, 2011.

At 4:58 AM the next morning, we were called on the phone, and told that the first person we planned to visit, my old and dear friend, Ralph Carter, had just passed away. We were very sorry to hear about it, because I had written him one final letter to say goodbye, knowing he was soon to die. I also wanted him to say hello to my folks and his mother when he got to heaven. But now we saw no reason to go there. Instead, we went on to our next stop which was in Prescott Valley, Arizona. We were greeted by Vernon and Jody Rodgers that afternoon, had a lovely dinner and talked till late that evening. Our two families had been friends at Hillcrest Christian Church in San Fernando Valley when we lived there, so we had a lot to talk about. Vernon had us share about our work at his Bible School class the next morning. After church, a delightful meal at Golden Corral, and more visiting, we went our way, arriving at my sister’s in Sun City, AZ after 5 PM. Violet, my sister, had already left for church, so we went there.

Vi had planned several things for us to do while visiting her. We were to be with her at her church the first night, attend an adult DVBS each night for three nights at another church, and on Tuesday morning, I was to speak to the ladies sewing group at her Evangel Church. We had dinner and talked the first night after church, and the next morning, we were sitting around talking. (We had a lot of talking to catch up on during this entire trip.) At one point, we took our blood pressures. Hers was quite high, so she went back to bed and took another dose of medication. When it was time for the meeting that night, she got up, and we and another friend went with her. At the DVBS, they served dinner first, and then had a song service. Vi didn’t feel good, so her friend took her pulse, which was very low. It was so low, she called 911. When paramedics came, I went with her in the ambulance. After taking x-rays, a cat scan, and doing other tests, they took her to a room to stay overnight. I called her daughter, who called her siblings to let them know where their mother was.

The next morning, I spoke to the ladies at church about our time in the Philippines. Vi wanted them to know how it was on the mission field from a woman’s point of view rather than a man’s. She didn’t get to come to the meeting herself since she was still in the hospital, but I told her about it later. She told us that when the doctor found out she had taken two doses of blood pressure medication when her pressure was high the day before, he knew that was what had made her sick.

This was a “no-no.” She went home that afternoon, but stayed home from DVBS, kept her feet up, drank water, watched TV and rested. When we got home, we told her all about what happened, so she got in on it that way. We had a great time at Vi’s with all she had planned, even though it didn’t turn out as she had wished. We were thankful she was all right now, and we decided that we should go on our way. The next day, we went to Las Cruces, NM, to visit with Marlin and Bernice Pierce, friends we had both known when we were at San Jose Bible College (SJBC). When we got there, Bernice was in the front room in her bed, sick. She was so glad we were coming that she didn’t want to be in her bedroom, away from whatever would be happening. We had a delightful visit. Bernice had also gone to Northwest Christian College when I was there. In fact, she and I were in a trio together, so we knew each other long before SJBC. All four of us loved to sing, so we spent time that evening singing our favorite old hymns with them. Even though Bernice was in bed sick all the time we were there, she was in good spirits, and we had a great time. Marlin was a good caregiver, too.

Early the next morning, we were on our way to Austin, Texas, to visit my brother, Bob, arriving there at 6:35 PM. He was 91 years old and in good physical, mental and spiritual shape. We enjoyed a tour around the outside of his house since he is a good gardener. We had a nice dinner and talked a while. Since the next day was Sunday, we got to see the new building at Bob’s church, though first we attended the school where they were presently meeting until their new one was completed. That evening, because it was Fathers’ Day, we went with him to the home of his granddaughter, who served a delicious dinner. His daughter, Mary, and her husband, Wes, were there, too, and they had helped to prepare the meal. His granddaughter and her husband had a lovely family with three boys, and her home was beautiful. The children were small and very active. Bob was pleased with the way they honored him. The boys loved climbing up on his lap and enjoyed him playing with them.

The next day, he took us to his Senior Citizen Center for lunch, where we met many of his friends. We played a game of pool, losing it, but enjoying the hilarity of it. After lunch, Mary came over to his house, and we enjoyed playing a game of Rummikube. We showed them our Malaweg Bible, so we talked a while about that. Since our car tire had a slow leak, Bob took us to a good tire place where they fixed it with a plug.

We needed to move on again, so the next day we went to the home of the Zooks, who lived near the International Linguistic Center in Dallas, TX. Ken and Mae had gone to Jungle Training Camp in Mexico with us. They also worked at the Manila office of SIL where we went to have our computer taken care of whenever we had problems. They got home from the center at noon, so we had lunch with them, and they set up our computer so we could get e-mail. When they went back to work that afternoon, we felt right at home. I went to bed to rest while Chuck got caught up on e-mail, and later, the next morning, I got to read e-mail after they went to work and before we went on our way. The next stop was also in Dallas, at the home of Nerissa Velasco and her two little boys. Nerissa was the eldest daughter of very dear friends of ours in the Manila area. She had a child care center for babies and small children. She had several ladies helping her, so she could take time out to take us to a mall where we had dinner at the Cheesecake Factory. Very nice!

The next day we were on our way to Henderson, Texas, the home of Esther Yancey, Chuck’s second cousin. Their grandfathers were brothers. Esther lives on Striker Lake, a lovely little lake, and she and her daughter took us to dinner at a restaurant overlooking it. It was beautiful. All the time we were there, she kept telling us stories about her and Chuck’s forefathers and what they did during the Civil War. How I wished we had had a tape recorder so we could have gotten some of that history down so our children could know about it. We thoroughly enjoyed our time with her and her daughter.

From there, we went to Joplin, Missouri. We stayed with Sid and Marj Boudreaux, former missionaries to the Philippines, who worked with the Aparri Bible Seminary. The first thing they took us to see was the ruins of the tornado that had hit there recently. The area had been devastated. That evening, while talking to Leroy on the cell phone, we learned he owned a house in Joplin, so we decided to go and see if it was still there. When we found his house, it was only one block south of the destructive path of the tornado. The tree in front of his house looked like it had not been touched. Leroy had been richly blessed, and we were thankful we had learned about it.

That evening, we went to the home of Bob and Cecile Scott for dinner. Chuck and Bob talked about things they had done to fill in the years since they were together as kids in Omaha. Bob had left Omaha one semester ahead of Chuck. He went to Manhattan Bible College in Manhattan, Kansas and Chuck went to San Jose Bible College in San Jose, California. Both became preachers, but didn’t see each other again until years later.

On Sunday, we went with the Boudreauxs to their church, and later we went to the Scott’s church for their 65th wedding anniversary celebration. What a lovely couple, and their sons and families were there, too.

The next day in West Branson, we visited the widower of a dear prayer partner, and then we went to see what the town of Branson had to offer. It was frustrating to learn that none of the places were open that day, it being a Monday, so we went back to Joplin and stayed the night with the Boudreauxs.

In the morning, we visited Ozark Christian College in Joplin, and from there went to Fulton, Missouri to visit Kay Hoffman, a friend we knew at University Christian Church. We stayed at a motel near her apartment, and after talking several hours in the motel lobby, we went to dinner with her and her son, Christian, continuing our story-telling, laughing and catching up on happenings in our lives. We celebrated Chuck’s 84th birthday that evening, too.

Kay took us on a tour of Fulton the next day, and we visited the Winston Churchill Memorial and Library. In 1946, Winston Churchill came to Fulton along with Harry S. Truman and other world leaders. Churchill gave his Iron Curtain speech at that time. The Memorial includes the Church of St. Mary the Virgin Aldermanbury, which craftsmen dismantled in London, England and rebuilt on the Westminster campus to mark Churchill’s visit. Downstairs was a museum that had displays of World War II history. Upstairs, the church is like it was in London. Outside the church was the part of the Berlin wall which Churchill’s daughter acquired when the Berlin Wall was removed, and she created a sculpture, entitled “Break Through” to commemorate her father’s speech. Visitors view it on the quadrangle at Westminster College where it is now. This was brought over in November 1990.

We also saw the Firemens’ Museum there as well as the Westminister University campus. We met Kay’s minister when we went to her church, and after talking a while, we toured the building. It was time to be on our way again, so we took her home. The next two nights we stayed in motels between there and Waxhaw, NC, and on the second day, we got to Wycliffe Bible Translators’ JAARS Center (Jungle Aviation and Radio Service). The name is somewhat deceiving, for the Center is much more than an aviation facility. Included at the Center is a retirement community, housing for the people who work there, and much open and wooded land for mobile homes, recreation and whatever use people want to make of it. An air strip allows new pilots to hone their skills and a small lake is there for fishing and swimming.

We knew several folks from the Philippine SIL Branch who lived in Waxhaw now. We had gone to Jungle Training Camp in Mexico in 1973 with several of them and served with them in the Philippines after that. Alan and Karen Buseman were friends from JTC who worked as computer experts in Manila and had perfected the CARLA computer program. They taught us to use it when we wanted to translate our Itawes Bible into a sister language, Malaweg. They were now working with a translation team in S.E. Asia while they lived in Waxhaw, using a later edition of the CARLA program with this team via computer. We were also with Wendell and Iris Piepgrass, JTC friends. Wendell was a pilot in the Philippines and Iris was a nurse. Pat and Joanne Cochran were also JTC friends who served at the Manila SIL base as superintendent of the facility.

Claudia Whittle and Ruth Lusted were retired now from their translation work. For many years they worked with a Negrito group in Northern Cagayan. We got to have lunch with them at the JAARS Center, and we enjoyed a birthday party with Claudia, Ruth and some other ladies that lived in their retirement community, also located at the JAARS Center. Other folks from the Philippines we saw were Bell and Fred Caress, translators we knew at the Bagabag Center of SIL, as well as Nard and Sandy Pugyao. Nard was a pilot for SIL. Marlene Lawrence was another who had been a computer expert in Manila SIL. Whenever she and her husband repaired our computer, we thanked them by taking them donut holes, and they reciprocated by sharing their mango ice cream with us.

My cousin, Katherine, and her husband, Ellis, were Bible translators in Papua New Guinea. When they finished the translation of two New Testaments there, they went to Dallas, where Ellis taught at the International Linguistic Center. Our daughter, Nancy, went to school there to take linguistics courses, and she had one under Ellis Deibler. One night the Deiblers had a social gathering for his class in their home. Nancy was present. When it was her turn to tell a little about herself, she mentioned that her parents were Bible translators in the Philippines. Katherine asked her who her parents were, and Nancy told her. Katherine said, “Oh, Mickey is my cousin!” From then on, Nancy and Katherine Deibler had a relationship they hadn’t realized before; they were first cousins once removed.

Katherine and Ellis moved back to Waxhaw several years later, where she passed away. Ellis remarried, and he and his wife lived in Waxhaw when we visited. We got to have lunch with them, and we showed them our two translations in Itawes and Malaweg, and Ellis showed us his newly completed English Translators’ Bible he had worked on for several years. The Lord has blessed them.

JAARS has several apartment buildings for volunteers who come to help on the base. We rented one of those apartments. It was a one bedroom, with kitchen and bathroom, and was very nice.

On July 3rd, we left Waxhaw and started on our way to the convention in Cincinnati. It was a Sunday, so we stopped in Charlotte, NC, and went to Bible school and church. After lunch, we traveled through beautiful country with green mountains, trees and grass. We stayed that night in a Days Inn at Cambridge, Ohio, and the next morning went on to Columbus to see Roberta Selby. She was a retired missionary who helped start the Aparri Bible Seminary with her husband, Charles. They had sponsored us into the country in 1974. Now she lived in lovely Worthington Christian Village. What a delight to be with her once again! Too bad we couldn’t stay longer. She took us down to the dining room for a lovely lunch, and gave us a tour of the building.

That afternoon, we went to the Hyatt Hotel in Cincinnati, across the street from the venue of the NACC. When it was dark, we walked two blocks south to see a July 4th fireworks display in the distance. We knew we had a full week of activities ahead of us, so we went back to the hotel and bedded down for the night.

The main thing we did the next morning was go to the convention center to register and see what we could see. It was a huge place. That night, Dudley Rutherford spoke at the opening session of the convention. He preached on the message, “Unleashed.” After that, we went into the exhibit hall where he and his family were available for taking pictures. They had a Rutherford Reception for everyone where refreshments were served, and a program put on by Shepherd of the Hills people.

You would think I would have a lot to say about the NACC, but it was so full of activities, I could only begin to tell a little about it. Each day, there was a regular schedule of events. At 8:30 AM they started out with a Bible study by Bob Russell. This was a must for us, and it was excellent. After that, we had two consecutive sessions, which were basically like church services. Dudley had invited preachers who gave excellent sermons filled with the Holy Spirit. There were three of these each day, the first two were in the morning and the third was in the evening. At lunchtime the first day, we went to a special Senior Citizens’ luncheon. On the second day, was one for women, so I went to it. There was always plenty of food, and it was delicious. Following lunch, or at any time around the clock, the exhibit hall was always a good place to go to see the variety of things on exhibit there: mission field exhibits, Bible colleges, publication houses, church planters, etc.

That was a good time to go back to one’s hotel to rest or get together with old friends and get caught up on things. The afternoons were for workshops; they lasted an hour each. Beginning at three PM, we could choose from a variety of workshops, and again at 4:15, there was another round. It was hard to choose which ones to attend because they all sounded so good.

At 5:15 PM on the first full day, they had the President’s Banquet with two excellent speakers. On other evenings, you could choose to go elsewhere to eat or eat in your own room; after that came the third main session of the day. Each of these seemed like the best one yet, and this was the best convention we had ever attended. It ended at noon on July 8th.

When we left Cincinnati that day, we were excited to know we would soon get to see Charles and Florence Littell in Brownstown, Indiana. They were retired missionary friends from the Philippines, who had lived in Mindanao. They lived in a duplex that was connected to a retirement home, and it was lovely. We had a nice dinner at a Cracker Barrel and then went on to a motel for the night in Bloomington.

Stan and Cindy Smelser lived in Bondurant, Iowa, and Stan set up our computer so we could get e-mail there. It was Stan Smelser’s two children that I home-schooled in Tuguegarao after his first wife passed away. He wanted to stay on the field, but he needed to find someone who could home-school his children. When I heard that, I volunteered to do it. Then another missionary came a few months later who was home-schooling her own two children, so she took over Stan’s kids, too. Now both his kids have graduated from Bible college and were engaged to be married, so it was great to see them maturing in their lives.

The next day, we went to Omaha, Nebraska, to visit Dave and Virginia Haynes, getting to their home quite late. Virginia is Chuck’s niece, and David Haynes was a professor at Nebraska Christian College. They were getting their home ready to sell, so they had their granddaughter’s husband over to repair their bathroom. One of their sons, Daniel, and his wife and three children came to visit, too, so we got to meet them. These were the progeny of Betty Casebeer, Chuck’s sister, who we lived with in San Fernando. After a good lunch at the Spaghetti Factory, we visited Chuck’s parents’ graves, his old church, the house where his family lived when he was born, and his old home that is no more. It was torn down to make way for a huge retirement residence. We also went through the park across the street where he had spent many hours of his life.

On the next day, July 12th, we left Omaha to go to the apartment of Bill and Glenna Wiseman, old SJBC friends who now lived in Lincoln, NE. After a few hours with them, we went on to Ben and Bonnie Laub’s in Gering, NE. We talked until late that night, and the next day went to a Senior Citizen’s Center with them for lunch. Rhonda, their daughter, came too, bringing her daughter, Molly. We knew the Laubs from Hillcrest Christian Church in San Fernando Valley. We went home to take a nap, and then went to the home of another lovely lady, Evelyn Hopper, at her apartment in town. We knew her from SJBC. It seemed like everywhere we went, we didn’t have enough time, but we pressed on, and got to be with as many friends as we could for as long as possible.

After having lunch again at the Laub’s Senior Citizen Center, we took off for Longmont, Colorado, to visit Steve and Lori Goodrich, younger friends from University Christian, and got there in time to have dinner which their son, Christopher, had helped make, and this was quite an accomplishment. The Goodriches had adopted Karina years before, but this was our first time to meet her, and she was a lovely girl interested in sports, mainly gymnastics in which she excelled. The next morning before Steve went to work, we got to talk to him and Christopher, so that was good. Steve set up e-mail so we could read that, and we stayed there till lunch time, and then went to Subway.

From there, it wasn’t far to Colorado Springs, where our son Ken, lived. By the time we got there, he was home from work, and we had a great time with him. He took us to the home of friends to have a sing-along with guitars. What a delightful evening! The next day, we talked to Ken and he took us on a trip to see his buddies who lived by some railroad tracks. They were Dave, Mike, Chris and others. That Saturday evening, Ken took us to the chapel service at his church. There we met Mark, Timothy and others, and afterwards went somewhere cool to have a mango smoothie and talk.

On Sunday morning in Colorado Springs, we were busy. We went to the early service at Central Christian Church, and then to Mesa Hills Bible Church for Bible school and church. The Rostvit twins were there, a female duet that travels the world singing original gospel songs. But on this occasion, they had their two sisters with them, and they sang in a quartet instead of only a duet. They sang beautifully, and we enjoyed the fellowship there so much. They invited us to dinner at their home, and it was wonderful to meet their mother and the husbands of their sisters. These twins were special to us. They had been to visit us in the Philippines twice and held concerts there so that the churches in Northern Luzon still talk about them to this day and have their CDs they play from time to time. They gave us some new CDs they had made since we last saw them, and we are still playing them two years later. That night, back again with Ken, he took us to dinner at the home of Pat, his friend. She was a gracious lady, and we loved getting acquainted with her. As we left her home, we had the feeling of sadness because this was our last night with him. We needed to get on with our trip the next day.

We went through Denver, CO the next day on our way to Ralph Bollom’s home in Huntsville, Utah. Arriving at 6 PM, we got there almost at the same time as his deceased wife’s niece, Candy. She, her husband and daughter had come all the way from California that day (12 hours), just to get back home in time to meet us. Ralph was outside in his yard, and we got to see cows on his farm and all the fresh hay he had stored in his barn. He lived in an area surrounded by Mormons, and he was such good friends with them that they told him, he lived his life even better than they lived theirs. That night, he told us about many things, about his wife, Eleanor’s, sickness and death, and how he’d been getting along since then. Chuck knew him from when he preached at the Lynwood Church in CA years before, and the Bolloms had taken care of the trailer that held our things that we left in the States when we went to the Philippines.

The next day, we celebrated our 744th luniversary (62 years), and we had a long day traveling from Utah to home. There was one corridor of mountains in Utah that was absolutely beautiful, and the rest was largely desert, beautiful in its own way. I decided to use my time wisely, so we stopped at a JoAnn’s Store and got some blue flannel and a crochet hook. Now I could work on a baby blanket along the way. When I first start working on a piece of flannel, I make sure the edges are straight. In the process, I lost the hook, and looked for it all around me. When we stopped at a rest stop, Chuck found it under my seat. My first thought was, “Praise the Lord for such a wonderful husband!” I was glad I could work on the blanket much of the way.

Happy Anniversary!

Happy Anniversary!

We only stopped to visit one person that day – Robert Robertson, Chuck’s cousin, in Henderson, Nevada. Chuck couldn’t remember when he last saw him, and I had never met him before. We were with him one hour, and it was wonderful to get acquainted with him. Then we had to be on our way. After traveling over 8,000 miles on our trip to the east, we got home to 1300 Phillippi Street in San Fernando, CA at 10:58 PM.

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