Down Home in Mississippi

Lifetime Service Award

Posted on September 25, 2013 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

Last week was a memorable week in Texas. Following a Sunday mission emphasis at Nassau Bay in Houston and a few days with Russell’s family in their new home in Waco, we attended the North American Mission Leaders Summit in Dallas where I was recognized with the “Lifetime Service Award.” Pictured making the presentation were Steve Moore, president, and Marv Newell, Vice-President of Missio Nexus.

Missio Nexus is a consortium of several hundred evangelical missionary organizations, and the annual summit was attended by more than 1100 leaders from throughout the country. Each year a prominent leader is chosen to be recognized for a lifetime of effective leadership and influence in missions. Previous recipients have included such notable missiologists as Ralph …

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Grandparenting in Texas

Posted on September 18, 2013 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

In the midst of two weekend engagements in Texas we are experiencing the utmost joy of retirement–time with grandchildren. After eight years in Nashville, our son Russell has returned to his Texas roots, taking a new job in Waco, Texas. Not only was he born in Texas, he and and sister attended Baylor University. Upon graduation Russell worked for the Baylor Communication office and later for Buckner Benevolences prior to leaving for the mission field. Zachary and Joseph, our oldest grandchildren were both born in Texas.

We have not had an opportunity to be with them as much as we anticipated due to the full activities of teenagers, family and work as well as our own travel and ministry …

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Hospitality and Events

Posted on September 9, 2013 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

The holiday weekend got off to a great start hosting college friends for a cook-out and watching football in the man cave. Having a few weeks at home have given us an opportunity to host friends from the neighborhood, our life group at church and local buddies that go all the way back to high school more than 50 years ago. Saturday we finally connected with Farley Earnest, my college roommate for four years at Mississippi College, along with Gordon Sansing, Allen Stephens and their wives. Farley has retired following years of music ministry in Mississippi churches, Gordon has pastored FBCs in Pontotoc, Vicksburg and Forest, and Allen continues at Director of Missions in Rankin County on the east side …

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What is Normal?

Posted on August 19, 2013 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

We are grateful for the many significant opportunities God continues to provide for speaking and ministry opportunities. It seems we have constantly been traveling throughout the first three years of retirement; we enjoy the trips and the margin to relish the journey, but often find ourselves wondering what life would be like if we were home all the time.

I’m posting some of the photos of the beautiful gardens we enjoyed on our recent vacation in Austria and Switzerland. As well as the drive through the Alps and delighting in mountain vistas, walks through the parks and relaxing in these beautiful settings were a pleasant contrast to exhausting sight-seeing excursions. Meanwhile, we find ourselves facing an unprecedented six weeks …

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Not Our Usual Landscape

Posted on August 12, 2013 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

Vacations have always been somewhat of an enigma to me. On the occasions we were able to get away from work responsibilities for a few days, vacation time was usually seizing a rare opportunity to visit with family. The few times we went to the beach or mountains were never real escapes from the emergency phone calls, demands of public relations crises and the temptation to clear a full email inbox. The result was arriving home exhausted to face a mountain of accumulated work demanding attention.

So, our two weeks in the Alps of Austria and Switzerland was that elusive vacation  experience of long walks in alpine villages, unlimited meditation and devotional times by a lakeside vista and a delightful …

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From Bavaria to Salzburg and Vienna

Posted on August 6, 2013 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

Following the Moldovan missionary conference we began an alpine vacation with a couple of days in Garmisch, the heart of Bavarian country. Staying in a quaint bed and breakfast we relaxed strolling the narrow pedestrian-only thoroughfares lined with shops, side-walk cafes and cascading flowers from every window box and balcony.

Unbeknownst to us we arrived at the beginning of a local weeklong festival which featured a parade of locals in their alpine dress accompanied by a band playing Bavarian music. Throughout the streets, in parks and in many of the restaurants groups played accordions and stringed instruments with an occasional omm-pah-pah tuba. It was there I began my diet-defying over-indulgence of wiener schnitzel. bratwurst and sour kraut, and apple strudel.…

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Moldova to the Nations!

Posted on July 29, 2013 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

Last week Bobbye and I were privileged to be a part of one of the most inspirational conferences we have experienced in a long time. Sponsored by a partnership with the North Carolina Convention, the missionaries sent out by the Union of Baptist Churches in Moldova gathered for a missionary conference for the first time in six years. The numbers have grown considerably in that time as more than 200 personnel gathered for sharing, encouragement and training (pictured in the open-air pavilion). For those of you who are geographically challenged, Moldova, formerly a part of USSR, is a small country between Romania and the Ukraine.

Over the years a large part of our role with the IMB has been to …

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Zwemer Summer Institute

Posted on July 16, 2013 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

My role as director of the Zwemer Center for Muslim Studies at Columbia International University is essentially a virtual role of program-planning, marketing and networking. At the heart of the efforts to train and equip missionaries and churches to understand and relate to Muslims is the academic programs in inter-cultural studies at CIU. The University is the only evangelical institution to offer a Master of Arts in Muslim Studies.

We have an outstanding faculty with extensive missionary experience training Christian students for this strategic task.

A key component of the Zwemer Center is the Summer Institute when a large number of credit and non-credit students attend two week-long intensive courses by notable adjunct faculty. Between courses 40 participants, including students, …

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Texas: Precious Memories

Posted on July 1, 2013 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

A Sunday afternoon phone call last week informing us that Betty Neasbitt (photo below) had died stirred a flood a memories and emotions as we remembered this dear friend from Sadler, Texas. We immediately threw some things together and jumped into the car, driving well into the night in order to be present for her funeral the next morning.

Betty and Ele Neasbitt were among those choice friendships that abide over time and distance. Our times together have been infrequent since we left the pastorate of Sadler Baptist Church to go to the mission field, but their letters and phone calls have been consistent over 43 years. They were just a few years older than Bobbye and me, but were …

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Indonesian Reunion

Posted on June 24, 2013 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

We were appointed as missionaries to Indonesia in June 1970 and, following an extended time of orientation and visa delay, arrived in March 1971. After a year of language study we moved to our isolated outpost in East Java where for 14 years we raised our children and sought to share the gospel and plant churches among previously unreached people groups.

A large part of our success was due to being a part of a large, supportive mission family. Veteran missionaries mentored us and were always available to advise and encourage us. With numbers in those days between 120 and 160 personnel there was a lot of diversity and no lack of disagreement in group decisions relative to strategy, institutions …

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