Friends Along the Way

Posted on October 31, 2011 by Dr. Jerry Rankin in Down Home in Mississippi

We are home following our last extended road trip this fall and almost constant travel in September and October. We are looking forward to week days at home in Mississippi though weekends will find us continuing to fill engagements promoting the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions. Tuesday I will be speaking in chapel at Belhaven University in Jackson; Wednesday morning Bobbye will be speaking for the WMU at FBC Clinton, and that night we will be at First Baptist Madison.

Last week was another trip to Richmond for training of new missionaries at the IMBʼs learning center. It was an ideal time for enjoying the fall foliage along the Blue Ridge Parkway and in the North Georgia mountains. A plunge in the temperature brought a surprising unseasonal snowfall on our drive home as we came over the mountains north of Charlottesville!

Marvin and Linda Leech

Marvin and Linda Leech

One of joys of travel is connecting with long-time friends and continuing to nurture those relationships that have been so enriching over the years. We are delighted that Marvin and Linda Leech (pictured), retired colleagues from Indonesia have relocated in Winona, Mississippi where we will have opportunities for occasional fellowship. We were in seminary together, and they preceded us to the field by six months where they served for more than forty years.

Archie and Anne Fortenberry

Bobbye with Archie and Anne Fortenberry

Last week we stopped overnight in North Georgia where Anne and Archie Fortenberry (pictured) have retired. We were all college classmates, and we served in Thailand with Archieʼs sister, Elaine Perrill. They completed their careers in nursing and business with nine years of effective missionary service in the Middle East and continue to engage in training for Muslim outreach in the U.S.

Bobby & I with Chuck and Chris Traylor

Jerry & Bobby with Chuck and Chris Traylor

We stopped in Easley, SC for lunch with Chuck and Chris Traylor (pictured). Chuck is now worship pastor at Brushy Creek Baptist Church and served for many years at our home church, Grove Avenue, during the years we were in Richmond. Chris was the director of home office volunteers at the International Mission Board, and was responsible for a lot of our staff fun times. She delighted in embarrassing me by dressing me in a bunny costume at Easter, making me wear a Rudolph nose at Christmas parties and signing me up for the dunking booth at picnics!

One of the joys of retirement is having margin in our travel to visit friends along the way rather than having to rush back to the office. We spent the afternoon with Charles and Barbara Cole during a weekend in Shreverport last month and stopped for lunch with Johnny and Diana Norwood in Longview, Texas; both couples were friends, mentors and encouragers who loved and supported us during our years of service in Indonesia.

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