Travel and Family

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

I received a unique gift from my son, Russell, earlier this year for my 70th birthday. It was a promissory note to underwrite a skydiving experience. Knowing my proclivity for adventure and new experiences, he encouraged me by reminding me that former president George H. Bush skydived on his 80th birthday. I tried to be gracious and appreciative but was confident I would not be cashing in on this promised gift.

Asked if he had ever done this himself, Russell acknowledged, “Not yet,” but that he fully intended to. He gave up waiting for his reluctant dad and committed an act of ultimate foolishness, jumping out of a safe, mechanically sound airplane at 13,000 feet. Never mind the fact of being tethered to an expert, the photos confirmed this was something not in my future. Okay, so I have already lived the allotted three score and ten year; I want to do what I can to assure a few more bonus years.

Having just been with our daughter’s family in Central Asia, we were delighted to get the attached photo of our granddaughters on their first day of school. Mia, in the 3rd grade, and Gloria, in the 2nd grade, attend a little cooperative school a few blocks from their house that includes classes K-3. Since big brother Sam is in the 5th grade, his school days vacillate from being blessed or deprived by being taught by his mother at home.

Last week was the beginning of another road trip with travel to South Carolina for a prayer conference sponsored by the state convention at its beautiful White Oak Conference Center. I was privileged to speak three times, including leading an interactive session with the 350 participants on “Praying through the Psalms.” Friday was spent at Columbia International University in planning with the staff of the Zwemer Center for Muslim Studies and consultation with CIU President, Bill Jones.

Before moving on to Ridgecrest, NC for an emeritus missionary conference this week, we were able to spend the weekend with our longtime friends, Don and Susan Brant who have a lovely home at Land’s End on St. Helena’s Island near Beaufort, SC. Don worked for an oil company in Thailand when we were there in the mid-1980s. We were brought together through the friendship of our children at the International Church, and Bobbye and Susan bonded as participants in a women’s prayer group.

Later when we moved to Singapore, the Brants were transferred there as well, and the friendship and mutual support has continued over the years. After retiring in South Carolina, Don and Susan launched an organic farming project that has continued to grow and prosper. We haven’t fulfilled our promise to spend time planting, weeding and harvesting but were able to avoid work on the farm by catching them in town on the weekend. It was a delightful time of reminiscing, praying together, enjoying frogmore stew and watching the sunset over Parris Island and Hilton Head across the bay.

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