Celebrating Family

Posted on April 30, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin in Down Home in Mississippi

A week ago our schedule was punctuated by several nostalgic events that reminded us of how blessed we are by family and friends, the legacy of our missionary experiences and the joy of new relationships and ministry. Most prominent was gathering with Bobbye’s family to celebrate the 50th anniversary of her sister and brother-in-law, Bettye and Richard Douglas.

Bettye and Dick have faithfully encouraged and supported us and our family over the years, helping our children adjust to furlough challenges, sending care packages to the field and taking responsibility for aging parents when we were away. They are known by everyone throughout Lincoln County for their servant heart, meeting whatever need arises in their church, repairing homes of the elderly, ministering to the grieving and serving their community. Their heart for the world is reflected in frequent mission trips to Honduras, the Ukraine and other places.

They have raised three beautiful, godly daughters. It was a blessing to gather with them, the in-laws, six grandchildren and one great grandchild, and hear each of them recall memories and tell stories of the influence and example that has shaped their lives and their walk with the Lord. Having been separated over the years, we have been so blessed to be assimilated back into such a precious family fellowship.

That same weekend we had he privilege of participating a family gathering of another kind–the Mississippi Missionary Parents semi-annual meeting at near-by Camp Garawya. The retreat is facilitated by the state WMU and is a valued time of sharing and support for families who have children and grandchildren overseas on the mission field. Bobbye is pictured leading the prayer calendar.

The next day the parents retreat shifted to a fellowship of former missionaries who served with the IMB. Each of us shared reflections and challenges from our tenure and transition to retirement with the 47 members attending this year, many of whom we served with in Southeast Asia. Most of the group then responded to an invitation to our home afterward for an extended time of fellowship.

Following my last class of the semester at Mississippi College we had the students from  my missions class over for a time of fellowship. Since this was an elective class, the 36 students enrolled were genuinely interested in missions which contributed to stimulating class discussions. Many of them have had mission experiences overseas or working in a new church plant and are looking forward to opportunities for summer ministry. A portion of them is shown enjoying fellowship in our backyard gazebo.

Our trip last week to William Carey University also included a side trip off Highway 49 toward Sumrall where we visited with my last surviving aunt in my daddy’s family. There were ten siblings in my Dad’s family, and Aunt Blanche was married to his baby brother, Z.T. Rankin. They served for many years as missionaries to Japan with BMS and have a daughter who continues to serve there with Pioneers. It was a delightful reunion as it has been several years since we have had contact and a chance to catch up with cousins from that branch of the family.

One Comment on “Celebrating Family”

  1. Steve Martin

    God bless them!

    Thank you.

Leave a Reply

More News