The Year in Review

Posted on January 2, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin in Down Home in Mississippi

Okay, so the title of this post is not exceptionally creative. All last week the media headlined the top news events, movies, sports contests and deaths of notables in 2011. We were not mentioned in any of them, but someone might be interested in what happened to our year. We have yet to read through the pile of Christmas letters received from many friends which, after a brief holiday greeting, proceed to recount the travels, tragedies, blessings and  anecdotes of the grandchildren during the past year. The bottom line is that we have not yet settled in to an anticipated retirement lifestyle so how did the year get away from us so fast?

Though retirement came in the summer of 2010, it was well into fall before our household goods were moved. Overseas travel and a full calendar of commitments carried us into the new year and the pace never slowed. A dominant factor filling our schedule was finally having margin to spend time with family and enjoy the grandchildren. With Lori and her family on stateside assignment from Central Asia, we took every opportunity to be with them which meant several trips to Orlando. However, the day finally came in late July when we had to see them off for the airport to return to their field of service.

Bobbye went to Moldova in March, and we had a nostalgic trip to Southeast Asia in June, returning to places where we had lived and served for 23 years in Indonesia, Singapore and Bangkok. [Pictured with Indonesian friends] Assuming directorship of the Zwemer Center for Muslim Studies at Columbia International University took us back to South Carolina on five occasions for board meetings and consultation and planning. We also returned to Richmond four times to participate in training of new missionaries which gave us the delightful experience of visiting with former staff and colleagues and staying connected with the IMB.

Time at home was consumed in decorating and landscaping. Shopping for needed furniture items, painting walls to conform to our preferences after having rented the house for six years, as well as finding drapery material and installing window treatments was an endless effort. In fact, two rooms still lack curtains–a high priority goal for the new year.

Planting shrubbery and laying sod got us into the demands of yard work. Friends roll their eyes and shake their heads in amazement when I declare that this is my most enjoyable hobby! The physical exertion is beneficial and there is gratification in seeing beauty and order emerge from shaping and managing God’s creation. We are anticipating moving to more of a maintenance level in 2012.

I have been slack in posting devotional reflections and blog comments on current issues and concerns over the holidays but hope you will be logging on and stay in touch with us “Down Home in Mississippi.” We are looking forward to diminished travel in 2012. The next major event is an Awaken2Mission Conference sponsored by the Conduit church in Spring Hill, Tennessee. Those in the area can sign up for this conference January 13-14 which will be at “The Factory” in Franklin, at or

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