Staying Connected

Posted on April 22, 2013 by Dr. Jerry Rankin in Down Home in Mississippi

It was difficult for us to stay connected with friends and family over the years. Being overseas for 23 years made contacts infrequent occasions when we came home only every three or four years for furlough. Travel and administrative responsibilities in leading the IMB later diminished the opportunities to participate in family gatherings or schedule casual visits with former colleagues. One of the joys of retirement is having flexibility in our schedule and margin in our travel to connect with family and friends.

StayConnected-BobbyFamilyWe occasionally stopover in Mobile for a visit with my twin sister, Jean, and have attached ourselves to gatherings of Bobbye’s sister’s family in Brookhaven and Jackson. A recent weekend engagement in North Mississippi allowed us to visit with my sister-in-law, Rosamond, who lives in Tupelo. This was my birthplace as well as that of Elvis Presley, but they haven’t put up the billboard announcing that yet.

Rosamond’s oldest son, Randy, pictured in the back, manages the Tuesday Morning store at the mall. We enjoyed dinner with them and three of Randy’s children, Randy Beth, Chase and William.

StayConnected-BobbySpeakingCamp Garawya, the state Baptist Conference Center, located just a couple of miles from our home, is often the site of gatherings and retreats to which we enjoy relating. Last weekend was the semi-annual retreat of missionary parents. Bobbye is pictured presenting the prayer calendar to this group from throughout Mississippi who maintain a network for mutual encouragement and support.

We used to meet regularly with parents of missionary personnel to assure them of support from the mission board and to help them understand the global strategy of the IMB. Many are not supportive of their children and grandchildren being deployed to remote places around the world perceived to be dangerous. Sharing their concerns with other parents of missionaries and having a partnership of prayer provides a valuable support. Since our own children were appointed as missionaries we are no longer official representatives of the network but participants ourselves.

StayConnected-MissionaryGroupThe following day we participated in a gathering of the Mississippi Missionary Fellowship, several dozen former missionaries with the IMB, most of whom are retired.

It is always a delightful time of reminiscing as we share memories of our time on the field as well as news and updates and what is going on currently in former fields of service and how God is continuing to use us in current ministries at home.

We were delighted for the reunion with former colleagues who served in our region of South and Southeast Asia pictured here. They include (from left to right): Harold and Joyce Watson and Bobbie Miller who served in the Philippines, Marvin and Linda Leech who served with us in Indonesia, James and Guinevere Young and Tom and Gloria Thurman who served in Bangladesh, and Lloyd Lunceford, BCM Director at Mississippi Southern University who served in Taiwan.

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