Blessings Continue to Flow

Posted on October 4, 2013 by Dr. Jerry Rankin in Down Home in Mississippi

Blessings-SamBaptismOver the years we have identified with the Apostle John’s desire in his third epistle, verse four—”I have no greater joy than this: to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” We are richly blessed that both our children and their spouses are faithfully serving the Lord and the passion of their lives is to glorify Him in obedience to His calling on their lives. In recent years we have begun to invoke that same objective for our grandchildren who are rapidly maturing.

We were thrilled by a recent Skype call from our grandson, Sam, in Central Asia telling us that he wanted to be baptized. He had trusted Jesus as his Savior sometime before but had come to the strong conviction he needed to be obedient and testify to his salvation through baptism, something that is not routine nor convenient in that part of the world. Later, gathered with their little house fellowship his father baptized him in a remote mountain stream.

Blessings-dinnerAnother fall road trip of ministry was interjected with precious times of fellowship with some of our dearest friends. A mission conference in Griffin, GA allowed an opportunity for dinner with long-time mission CEO colleagues. Pictured are Ted Barnett who recently retired as head of African Inland Mission and Michael and JoBeth Loftis who led ABWE for many years.

Moving on to Lakeview Baptist Church in Auburn, AL to lead a spiritual warfare seminar with staff, church leaders and seminary interns, we were house guests of pastor Al Jackson and his wife Kem. Ever since we roomed together on a trip to Cuba years ago Al has been one of my accountability partners and spiritual mentor. We were touched deeply to visit with our dear friend John West and his wife Ilza; John has been minister of missions at Lakeview almost 30 years, sending hundreds of members to the mission field and working in 75 countries. A fall and critical head trauma has left John on life support.

Blessings-Rankins&GrantsEnroute to Columbia, SC for a board meeting at CIU we stopped by for a visit with Donnie and Susan Brant at their organic farm near Beaufort. Bobbye and Susan were a part of a prayer group when we lived in Bangkok 30 years ago. The Brants were later transferred to Singapore when we lived there and our children were good friends. The relationship has deepened over the years, though we are rarely together, and the women’s prayer group continues virtually. We enjoyed country cuisine on their porch watching sunset over the lake and freshly cut hay being baled with their son, Josh, his wife Collen and their five children. Seeing the rows of blueberry trees, planting of fall vegetables, feeding their pigs and hearing of the freshly stocked tilapia in the pond renewed my aspiration to return for a working visit sometime in the future.

The week concluded with an inspiring board meeting at Columbia International University and meetings with staff to plan 2014 programs of the Zwemer Center for Muslim Studies. After 12 years on the board and occasional adjunct teaching we have bonded deeply with board members and staff who are devoted to Christ and clearly live out the motto of CIU of “Knowing Him and Making Him Known.”

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