Return to Richmond

Posted on March 13, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin in Down Home in Mississippi

Spring break from teaching assignments this week provided a window of opportunity to schedule the quarterly time of training with new missionaries at FPO (field personnel orientation). It was encouraging to see 120 preparing for their field assignments, the largest contingent since appointments began to be restricted a few years ago.

Returning to Richmond is always a delightful time of visiting familiar places and recalling memories of the 17 years we lived there. Early spring features dogwoods and redbuds throughout the neighborhoods and cherry trees in full bloom along the median of Monument Avenue where we lived. But the greatest joy is reunion with staff and friends that continue to be so much a part of our lives.

That opportunity was enhanced by the wedding of Lorel Winter, the daughter of IMB Vice-President Ken Winter, on Friday evening at our former church. Many IMB staff and church friends were in attendance. Most were unaware that we would be there so the hugs and greetings almost upstaged the bridal party at the reception.

On Sunday morning I preached three times at Centreville Baptist Church, a growing multicultural congregation in the Washington suburbs. Minister of Missions Bill Hatcher accompanied me on a vision trip to West Africa several years ago and has led the church to engage in several strategic partnerships overseas, including Russia, Uganda and Montenegro. In spite of a $14.8 million building program the church gave $145,000 to their annual mission offering.

Meanwhile, Bobbye chose to stay in Richmond where she attended a baby shower for the new granddaughter of Randy and Sherry Pegues (another IMB vice-president) and to attend Grove Avenue Baptist Church. The Sunday School class she used to teach was disrupted with squeals of surprise and tears with her appearance.

Since we have been driving everywhere since retiring, to fly to Richmond was a nostalgic experience of our former lifestyle. We had not realized in booking our flights that we would be traveling at the beginning of spring holidays. The concourses of the Atlanta airport were unusually congested, but we did have time to enjoy our cornbread, collards, okra and black-eyed peas at Paschals Southern Cuisine in Concourse A. It was a special delight to be greeted by the Delta Airline gate agents in Richmond asking where we had been and commenting that they had missed us!

Now it is back home and trying to catch up with spring popping out in the yard. Shrubs are growing, trees are leafing and weeds are invading my proudly manicured flower beds. Our pastor, Dr. Greg Belser was gracious to share a load of rotted “gin trash” with me. This load of matured husks from the cotton gin mulched with the native clay turns Mississippi mud into fertile soil.

Leave a Reply

More News