Unplanned Encounters

Posted on March 26, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin in Down Home in Mississippi

We have always had a tendency to fill our schedule with planned commitments which tend to diminish flexibility and eliminate the margin needed for spontaneous activities. This is especially true in teaching four college classes each week and the preparation needed for each one. However, the last couple of weeks have been enhanced by several unexpected events and visits.

Recently when we arrived for checking in at the Jackson airport to fly to Richmond we discovered a large Acteens group of girls from First Baptist Church Jackson leaving for a spring mission trip to Paris. Knowing some of the leaders, we were given the spontaneous opportunity to encourage the girls, assure their parents and pray for the group, most of whom had never been overseas.

Last Friday we made a return trip to Hattiesburg (after going to teach on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning) to speak to the William Carey University BSU banquet commissioning a large cadre of summer missionaries and will be doing the same for Mississippi College BSU next week.

We have been wanting to get involved with a inter-cultural fellowship in the Jackson metropolitan area that is being spearheaded by an Iranian lay pastor, Sied Razinobakht.  A cook-out in Clinton last week finally provided the opportunity to connect with the group which consisted of about 40 internationals now living in the area from around the world. Most were Iranian or South Asian Indian, but there were participants from Yemen, Morocco, Burma, Pakistan, Nepal, and various countries in Africa, few of whom were Christians.

Dear friend and missionary colleague Laverne Applewhite died last week, only six weeks after the passing of her husband Win. They were veteran missionaries in Indonesia who mentored and encouraged us when we arrived in East Java in 1970. It was a privilege to participate in the funeral celebrating her life and faithful service. In addition to John and Nell Smith (Indonesia) there were a number of emeritus missionary friends living here in Clinton in attendance, including Mark and Celia Alexander (Argentina), Raymond Kolb (Brazil), Mary Jo Stewart (Chile) and Francis Raley (Taiwan).

We have enjoyed frequent fellowship with Caby and Betty Byrne since returning to Mississippi. Caby was our BSU Director as students at Mississippi College. He called last week to bring a friend by for a visit, and I was elated to see Lewis Lau who had come to MC from Hong Kong, a friend I had not seen since graduating in 1964. Our family adopted Lau, and I had the privilege of leading him to the Lord. His sister Annie had hosted me when I traveled through Hong Kong as a student summer missionary.

Lau majored in chemistry, worked in bio-radiation in Houston and later became quite successful in a real estate company in Dallas and starting an internet company serving China. He has become a philanthropist that continues to invest in Mississippi College, so we are anticipating occasional times of fellowship with he and his wife, Sophia, in the future.

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