Down Home in Mississippi

Settling in to Retirement

Posted on January 7, 2014 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

As many fore-warned us, the pace of life has not slowed down since retiring from the International Mission Board more than three years ago. Our lifestyle has changed a bit since moving down home in Mississippi, but the Lord has given us many opportunities for ministry and using our years of experience and leadership to serve the kingdom. The travel has been constant and fulfilling, but we are finding our schedule beginning to diminish. There has always been a tension between what we should be plugging into locally and the widespread requests for preaching, mission conferences, training and consultation.

We expect that to continue but are finding more and more satisfaction and enjoyment from the comforts of our home, working …

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Celebrating Christmas 2013

Posted on December 31, 2013 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

Everyone has Christmas traditions. As a child it probably involved traveling to Grandmother’s house and gathering with uncles and aunts and cousins for Christmas dinner. It continues to be characterized by hanging garlands and decorating the Christmas tree. Seasonal carols are featured music at church throughout December, and somewhere amidst all the special programs is the inevitable manger scene of a Christmas pageant. While Jesus was, and continues to be, the reason for the season, children would probably confess the highlight is when the gifts are opened.

My family usually exchanged gifts on Christmas Eve, leaving Christmas morning to the excitement of discovering trinket-filled stockings and what Santa had left under the tree. Once the myth of Santa was revealed, …

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Coping with Cold

Posted on December 11, 2013 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

Okay, so we are wimps down south when it comes to cold weather. We dodged the bullet in Central Mississippi this week of the severe winter storms that swept the country as we watched them skirt to the northwest of us. But anytime the temperature dips below 32 degrees it is too cold to venture outdoors. Add the bone-chilling humidity and wind factor and we turn up the gas logs and grab the snuggies.

Having lived for 23 years in the tropics probably has something to do with our inability to climatize to American winters. We coped with perennial snow and ice during the years we lived in Richmond, VA, but it is just unnatural for our moderate seasons down …

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Turkey Fried Turkey

Posted on December 3, 2013 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

 

Okay, please disregard the sick joke by an unnamed relative as I was frying the turkey for Thanksgiving dinner. The Texas Thanksgiving holiday could not have been better with and abundance of family, feasting and football. Since our son moved back to Waco last summer, we have enjoyed the nostalgic of visits to the Lone Star State where both our children and two of our grandchildren were born.

The week was framed by a mission conference at Champion Forest Baptist Church in Houston prior to Thanksgiving and a Lottie Moon Christmas Offering focus at First Baptist Minden, LA following the holiday. Both churches have strong mission involvement overseas and are among the top churches in the SBC in giving …

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Touching the World

Posted on November 18, 2013 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

Jesus had just commissioned His disciples to be witnesses to the ends of the earth 40 days earlier. The Bible tells us that on the day of Pentecost “men from every nation under heaven were gathered in Jerusalem” (Acts 2:5), and what happened? They heard the gospel in their own language. It was if Jesus was saying, “This is what I was talking about!” They had not yet gone to the nations, but Jesus was bringing the nations to them to hear the gospel.

We are finding increasing numbers of opportunities to connect with people from around the world right where we live. We recently connected with a Palestinian Muslim family down the street as we chatted with the older …

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Stress and Joy of Homecoming

Posted on November 4, 2013 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

Why is it that we become so self-conscious as our school’s homecoming approaches? What are our former classmates going to think of us? Will they recognize me with gray hair, or no hair at all, and carrying an inner-tube around my waist? What if I don’t seem to have been as successful as others? Next year will be my 50th anniversary class reunion, but living just a few blocks from my alma mater we usually join the festivities each year.

The honored 50-year reunion class of of 1963 included many close friends who were just ahead of me, so we enjoyed a delightful weekend filled with surprise encounters with those we had not seen since college days. It was an …

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Return to Richmond

Posted on October 28, 2013 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

It has been more than a year since we have had an occasion to return to Richmond, VA where we lived for 17 years prior to retirement. We are no longer leading sessions at new missionary orientation for the International Mission Board, so we have missed periodic interaction with staff and former colleagues.

An invitation to speak at a mission conference at Immanuel Baptist Church provided the opportunity to spend a few days connecting with friends and neighbors. We were not members at Immanuel, but being two blocks from our previous residence on Monument Avenue we occasionally attended programs there. Bobbye is pictured in her blue burka at a women’s luncheon sharing the challenge of reaching Muslims. Between us …

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Shenandoah in the Fall

Posted on October 22, 2013 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

One of the perks of retirement is enjoying the journey. Instead of being subjected to the hassle of airline travel, security screening, crowded planes and delayed connections we get to enjoy the leisure travel of road trips, stopping at will and delighting in the scenery across the country.

We have had a wonderful return visit to Richmond, Virginia and the opportunity to see former colleagues and friends at the International Mission Board. This followed a Saturday mission conference in Charlotte, NC and a Sunday engagement in Raleigh. A gap in our itinerary in these eastern states gave us three-days to enjoy some spectacular scenery in the Shenandoah Valley of western Virginia. It was disappointing to find the Shenandoah National Park …

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Birthday on the Road

Posted on October 15, 2013 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

It is perplexing that birthdays seem to come with increasing regularity. With our travel schedule over the years we are seldom with family and are able to pass the addition of another year unnoticed. But they are markers to celebrate another year of God’s blessings and opportunities to serve Him.

Bobbye transitioned to another year last week while on a road trip to North Carolina and Virginia. While respectfully not revealing her age it was the last birthday before reaching a really, really big decade birthday in 2014. Following a mission conference near Charlotte we connected with her “little hobbit friends” in Raleigh, Ashley Allen and Pam Blume, with whom Bobbye has made mission trips to Moldova. It was also …

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Blessings Continue to Flow

Posted on October 4, 2013 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

Over the years we have identified with the Apostle John’s desire in his third epistle, verse four—”I have no greater joy than this: to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” We are richly blessed that both our children and their spouses are faithfully serving the Lord and the passion of their lives is to glorify Him in obedience to His calling on their lives. In recent years we have begun to invoke that same objective for our grandchildren who are rapidly maturing.

We were thrilled by a recent Skype call from our grandson, Sam, in Central Asia telling us that he wanted to be baptized. He had trusted Jesus as his Savior sometime before but had come …

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