Friday, December 19, 2008

Flood Watch

I don't know if the Georgia drought is officially over yet, but it has certainly been wet enough for me. One morning last week the rain had been falling steadily for several hours when our morning alarm went off, so we viewed our back yard with concern. But everything seemed to be fine so we trudged off the 16 miles to work in Duluth.

Two hours later Jimmie buzzed me in my office to tell me that there were flood warnings in Dacula. Apparently there was a flood watch across a wide area of north Georgia, but our concern was a vacant lot behind our home. You may recall that last July it had funneled massive amounts of water down on us that had then flooded the house. Jimmie had worked hard to make what changes he could to our yard to allow incoming water to escape, but this was the first major storm since for us know if those measures were going to be enough. And it was a given that there would be incoming water because so far nothing has been done to keep it from rushing at us again. The city declared it was the fault of a county-owned drainage culvert, and the county has apparently just ignored the whole thing. But the "new" had not yet worn off the flooring we had recently installed so we were definitely not in the mood for a case of dejavu. After a few minutes of debating the necessity we heard that even heavier rains were on the way so Jimmie and I made a mad rush back home.

The now familiar river was running through our backyard once more. The measures Jimmie had taken were helping to channel the water out so our backyard was only partially submerged. But water was also traveling in an unexpected direction and pooling by a rock wall Jimmie had built to hide from view another county culvert beside our yard. He promptly started moving the slabs of granite so the water could escape. It was then that help arrived. Katrece Howard and her three kids had rushed over to lend a hand if needed, so Seth and Nathan quickly moved the remaining rocks. By the time we got inside we were all very wet and cold.

But the water stayed outside this time around!

- Linda

Thursday, December 4, 2008


Dear brethren:

In Ephesians 5:16, the apostle Paul wrote, "Redeeming the time, because the days are evil." This is a very interesting verse. Redeeming is from a Greek word that means "to make a wise and sacred use of every opportunity for doing good." Time is from the Greek and means "an opportune or seasonable time." The idea of the entire phrase is the idea of taking advantage of opportunities that open themselves to us. This goes along very well with the idea of "Redeeming the time." No matter what the economy does, we are still to make use of every advantage that comes our way for doing something good. When we couple this with what our Lord stated in Matthew 6:33 ("But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."), then it can be said that the time we spend is not spent in vain.

The year 2008 was a year of many lost opportunities for me in my work for the Lord. Because of a silent stroke, thyroid cancer, and several other physical calamities, I did not travel overseas and did very little traveling in the States. I am truly thankful to be blessed and have so many wonderful brethren. Many prayers were made for me and Linda, and our family. The financial help was overwhelming. May our God bless each of you. However, in 2009, I must be "Redeeming the time" that was lost in 2008. In 2009, I have opportunity to go into Australia, Ghana, and Malawi and preach and teach the Gospel of Christ.
In Australia, I have been invited to speak on a lectureship. I have never been to Australia and this will be an opportunity to teach the brethren there and meet with brothers Chris Herd, Gary Young and Brett Rutherford in Tasmania. Truth for the World has many teachers and students in Australia and this will provide an opportunity to perhaps meet some of them. The New Hope Road Church of Christ also supports Brett Rutherford and this will be a good time for an elder to visit with a missionary on the field. Brother William Howard and I are scheduled to make this trip of two weeks in May of 2009.

In Ghana, I am planning to return to Nkoranza and visit the brethren there. I have not been there since the year 2000 and the brethren have been asking for my return. I will be conducting nightly Gospel meetings, doing daily teaching in the outer villages, and street preaching in the open-air markets and lory stations. It will be good to see the brethren there once again and edify and encourage them in the faith. Brother Osei, a schoolteacher and administrator, newly retired, has been working faithfully in the Brong Ahafo region of Ghana in teaching and preaching the Gospel. It will be good to see him once again. I will be traveling to Ghana with brother Yaw Boateng. Brother Boateng is a native of Ghana but has been in the States for over twenty years. However, he goes to Ghana every year (or sometimes every other year as his work permits) and is very dedicated to the Gospel of Christ in that area. He also serves as one of the elders of the Kingsbury Road Church of Christ in Sumter, South Carolina which sponsors the Central Carolina School of Preaching. This trip is scheduled for two weeks in July of 2009.
Then, hopefully, I can return to Malawi, Central Africa for the month of August to teach in the fourth year of the Mobile Bible School and work with brother and sister Ed and Lina Crookshank. This fourth year is important because it will have been four years since the program was started and will yield the first graduating class from MBS. There has been an average of 500 students that have faithfully attended this school and will see the end of their time invested in the study of God’s Holy Word. It will be good to see their dedication rewarded with a certificate of completion from the Mobile Bible School. Many of these students are preachers and teachers of the Gospel in their respective villages but many are farmers, factory workers, housewives, etc., who are interested in learning more the Bible and how to teach it to others. Many teachers have given their time and effort to this school and brother Ed Crookshank has done well in its organization. May each be richly blessed for all they have done.

Linda and I are also scheduled to travel to St. Charles, Missouri in March of 2009 to reacquaint the Westside Church of Christ with the work of Truth for the World and especially the Bible Correspondence Course portion of the work. Brother Richard Notgrass, one of Truth for the World’s most reliable and busiest teachers (both Postal and Internet) has extended the invitation of the elders of the congregation for Linda and I to come. The brother of Brett Rutherford (Australia), Kevin Rutherford is the preacher for church there. We truly look forward to being with these brethren at that time.
Well, so far, that is part of the work that I have planned for 2009. Of course, if you would like us to come and visit your congregation and update you on the work of Truth for the World, please let us know and we will be happy to work it out.
In the latter part of Ephesians 5:16, Paul wrote, "because the days are evil." There is much evil present today that brings toils, annoyances, and peril to many brethren. To overcome this evil and make the time count for good, we must be "redeeming the time" by teaching the world the Gospel of Christ. I know these plans for 2009 are aggressive but no more aggressive than the cancer and its treatment were in 2008. These efforts will costs about $10,000.00 and I do not have any of these funds, to date. Will you help me to "Redeem the time in 2009?"
Thank you all for your continued support. Because of increases in monthly health insurance costs and losing support due to the economy, I find I am $1,100.00 down in my monthly support. I am diligently trying to restore this portion of my monthly support and solicit your prayers and help. However, I know, "Jehovahjireh" (the Lord will provide).

May our God bless you richly in 2009.
In Christ Who Saves,
Jimmie B. Hill
* * * * *

Greetings from Georgia!

I apologize for the delay in our newsletter, but this fall became an incredibly hectic time both at home and the office. Jimmie had his radiation treatment and 7 days of isolation in September, right after Ellen Mills (the other full-time secretary) fell in my office and broke her arm. She was unable to work for more than 2 months following her surgery so I’m not sure how I would have survived if it had not been for the help of Kristen Underwood and Katrece Howard. Both Ellen and Jimmie are recovering very well now and are back at work. The doctor reports that Jimmie is not cancer-free yet, but he is close. Unfortunately, due to the level of medication Jimmie is on to continue fighting the cancer, he will probably not feel much better for the next year so please keep him in your prayers. There is so much he wants to do for the Lord and he is anxious to be full steam ahead once more.
We had a visitor at the office during the first week of November. Charlotte Archer is a longtime BCC teacher with the program and a schoolteacher in Alabama, so we were thrilled when she told us she was coming to volunteer during her fall school break. She had done that several years ago and it was wonderful to see her again. Charlotte helped us in a variety of ways, one of them being with M-bags. Together she and another volunteer, Emma Evans, shipped more than 1,000 pounds of Gospel literature overseas. It was exciting to see so much going out the door. And Charlotte makes a mean pot of soup, too!
Our 15th Truth for the World Mission Forum went without a hitch November 14-16. I am heavily involved with this event starting in July when I begin tracking down brochure paper to order until the last lecture is done. Usually by then I am so worn down there isn’t even a frazzle left, but this one was easier because of the wonderful help I received. Kristen, Katrece, and Elisha Richardson, our broadcaster’s wife, voluntarily took on much of Saturday’s work and were wonderful blessings. But my absolute angels were Carol Lollar and Glenda Sams. I called Carol to ask for decorating suggestions since she does such an outstanding job of that at the Duluth congregation, and she immediately volunteered for her and Glenda to handle the whole thing for me. I was very grateful to all of these beautiful sisters.
On the home front I am pleased to report that the house is going back together. We had to wait quite a while for Jimmie to recover from surgery and treatments before we even started shopping for replacement flooring. Then we had to wait a bit longer for Jimmie to be well enough to do some of the work himself because the prices we got from installers were totally outlandish. We hired contractors to do the outside repairs (I certainly did not want Jimmie up on the roof!), replace the damaged wall inside, and put down new carpet, but we still had a tremendous amount of work removing the last of the previous floor and clearing the rooms. Jimmie installed the new wood in our foyer and will be putting down the new kitchen vinyl now that our Thanksgiving company is gone. I will post some pictures on our blog as soon as it is all done.

I hope each of you have a blessed holiday season.

In Christian love,
Linda Hill

December 2008 Report

Dear Christian Friend,

The first day of December brought snow flurries to Duluth, which created a stir of excitement, but November brought its own flurry of activity around the office.

We have a small staff and depend heavily on our wonderful volunteers, so when Charlotte Archer called from Alabama to say she was coming for a week, we were thrilled. Charlotte teaches with the public school system, but this fall holiday she worked at some very different tasks. Another volunteer, Emma Evans, taught Charlotte the intricacies of packing M-bags, one of our most difficult volunteer jobs both physically and mentally. Between the two of them they shipped more than 1,000 pounds of Gospel literature overseas.

Our 15th Mission Forum came and went without a hitch. There were interesting reports on the work being accomplished in the icy North (Russia, Iceland, and Minnesota), the deep South (Georgia), the far East (Singapore), all across the Spanish-speaking nations of Latin America, and those who speak Chinese around the world. We want to thank all of our scheduled speakers – Skip Andrews, Gary Atwater, Michael Barclay, John Grubb, Jimmie Hill, Denton Landon, and Benjamin Richardson – and those who gave campaign mission reports – Lee Davis, William Howard, and Mike Underwood – for a great forum. We are already making plans for next year’s event so we hope you will be here.

November also brought one bit of disturbing news. Our largest monthly supporter notified us they must make drastic cuts to their 2009 budget. This will hit our General Fund hard. Since the General Fund donations are split between the various departments, all phases of our work will be affected. But we have learned how to do a lot with a little and we know that God will provide. We do ask for your prayers, however, that our work together will not be hindered.

As 2008 is about to close we want you to know how grateful we are for your continued, faithful support. May the Lord bless you during this holiday season and may we all bring more glory to God in 2009.

John Grubb, Jimmie & Linda Hill,
William & Katrece Howard, Dave Komisak, Ellen Mills,
Benjamin Richardson, Kristen Underwood
Staff of
Truth for the World

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Chit Chat

I can't believe that it has been more than a month since I posted anything about Jimmie or our work. But after Ellen, the other full-time secretary at Truth for the World, fell and broke her arm on September 3rd my days got a tad more hectic. She just returned to the office on November 7th with limited work duty so she is recovering slowly and still needs lots of therapy.

Jimmie is feeling much better now that he is on thyroid replacement medication, but he still hits that wall every afternoon when his energy just evaporates suddenly. At least he now has some energy to loose. And he is sounding like his old self again, cracking jokes and singing. We are so thankful that the surgeon did not damage his vocal chords while removing his thyroid gland. The doctor told us last week that Jimmie is not cancer-free yet, but he is close. He also said that the soreness that Jimmie has in his throat will probably be with him until next spring.

Our Truth for the World Mission Forum was this past weekend. I am heavily involved with that, from typing the brochures to setting up the refreshments and many other duties in-between. This forum went very smoothly and I credit that to the fact that I received some wonderful help from some other ladies involved with TFTW - Kristen Underwood, Katrece Howard and Elisha Richardson. But one lady truly amazed me. I called a member at Duluth, Carol Lollar, for some decorating ideas because she always does an outstanding job on those at the Duluth congregational functions and Carol offered to handle the whole thing for me. She came up with something absolutely wonderful, then she and Glenda Sams took care of everything in the fellowship hall. These sisters certainly made my weekend duties easier and I was very grateful to all of them.


November 2008 Report

Dear Christian Friend,

October was a bumpy month . . . literally. The construction next door really swung into high gear and the big machines were rattling a lot more than our studio microphones. The upstairs staff got the brunt of it, but there were days when even those of us in the basement wondered if we were having an earthquake. Naturally, this caused havoc with our studio recording schedules but the Gospel went out via radio and television just the same.

October was also a bumpy month for our online Bible Correspondence Course program. Our site went down on September 18th and October was not bringing any improvement with the Internet server we pay monthly to host this. The problem was in the computer language. Our courses were written in an old script so our server had us on some very old equipment that broke down repeatedly. But Alan Carlyle has saved the day for us. He is a member at the Duluth congregation and a volunteer extraordinaire. He spent many months rewriting the computer script into a new language that would make it portable. He completed this project in October so our online Bible Correspondence Courses have now been transferred to new equipment – at a new server company. We are happy to report that things are definitely looking up for our Internet outreach.

William Howard is organizing a campaign in early January 2009. You may recall that William began a few years ago to search for campaign mission spots that tend to be overlooked. He first targeted the Falkland Islands, but the costs to get there have skyrocketed. So William searched for another mission area, and found Iceland. Iceland is an island nation in the North Atlantic just below the Arctic Circle. It is a land of frozen glaciers, active volcanoes, and more than 300,000 souls who are mostly Lutheran. The language there is Icelandic (a variation of Old Norse) but English is widely spoken as a second language. There is one tiny congregation of the Lord’s church in the capital city of Reykjavik. William hopes to encourage these brethren and possibly get our Truth for the World radio or television programs on a local station. Please keep those on this campaign in your prayers.

We are grateful for your faithful support. Thank you.

Staff of Truth for the World

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Terrific News!

It's official. Jimmie's whole body scan revealed that his cancer had not metastasized. That means that the cancer was still localized in the area of his thyroid which is wonderful news. So if the radiation has done its work, the cancer cells are destroyed now. We assume that more testing will be required before the doctors can pronounce him cancer-free, and many years of future testing to be sure that the cancer does not return. But we are rejoicing at this good news right now and wanted to share it.

Thank you for the many prayers that have been offered up on our behalf.

- Linda

Thursday, October 9, 2008

October Report

Dear Christian Friend,

September had many of the typical office events - such as when the copy machine went berserk and spewed paper everywhere. And a few of the not so typical - such as the huge excavation equipment on the property next door clearing land for construction and creating red clouds of dust. Our broadcast studio has a sound-proof rating greater than most commercial TV studios yet we learned that when the building shakes to the point of rattling the microphones then we still have a noise problem when taping programs.

Printing purchased a "new to us" used Riso HC5000 duplicator to replace our old Gestetner that had greatly exceeded its expected lifespan. We are still having woes with our printing press so this addition should be a great help.

A quick update on some health concerns for our staff. Jimmie Hill, who had surgery in July for thyroid cancer, spent most of September preparing for the radiated iodine treatment designed to kill any remaining cancer cells in his body. He was finally able to take this on October 2nd and immediately went into the 7 days of complete isolation stipulated by his doctor. Ellen Mills, who fell and broke her arm in the office on September 3rd, learned a few days later that she had also crushed bone in her wrist and needed surgery. The damage turned out to be more extensive than even the doctor was expecting so the surgery lasted almost 6 hours and required a metal plate and pins to put her back together. After the pins are removed in October she will need physical therapy. Please remember both of these staff members in your prayers that they may soon have complete recoveries.

Enclosed you will find a brochure on our upcoming Mission Forum "Revive Us Again". Please think of this as your personal invitation to join us November 14 - 16, 2008. There should be some interesting report and great food, but even more important is the fellowship with other brethren who are also vitally concerned about mission work. We hope you can join us for this weekend event.

May the Lord bless you and our work together.

Staff at Truth for the World

You are invited to our 15th Mission Forum!

What -
The Theme is "Revive Us Again"

When -

November 14 - 16, 2008

Where -
Duluth Church of Christ
3239 Duluth Highway
Duluth, Georgia

Who -

The speakers will be Skip Andrews, Gary Atwater, Michael Barclay,
John Grubb, Denton Landon, and Benjamin Richardson.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Far From Adequate... But Thank You!

Beloved brethren:

As someone who works with words in writing sermons and writing and editing religious articles, I cannot find the words to adequately express the love and appreciation that we have for you, our brethren in Christ. You have been most generous and we sincerely thank you for the calls, cards, letters, and the financial contributions. I know this note is far less than adequate but we truly do give our heartfelt thanks to you and we give thanks to our God for you.

You have come to our aid, and as Paul wrote to the Philippian brethren, "the things which were sent from you, an odor of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God" (Phillippians 4:18).

Thank you once again. May He bless you and grant you peace.

In Christ Who Saves,
Jimmie & Linda Hill

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Stat News

Just today the number of baptisms reported to us by our teachers and students crossed the 14,000 mark. 14,006! Isn't that fantastic?!

Friday, September 5, 2008


Here are some pictures of Cole just because . . . .

It's Sticker Boy!!!

Can you see me now?

Grandparents don't really need a reason to brag on their grandkids, do they?


Thursday, September 4, 2008

September 2008 Report

Dear Christian Friend,

It is rare for a month to pass without something exciting happening around the Truth for the World office, and August was no exception.

John Grubb was excited when he checked the Chinese website statistics. People from 232 different cities in China have now been to the site to read materials, in addition to many other nations around the world. He was also pleased that the requests for Chinese materials and contacts have increased substantially.

Dave Komisak and Benjamin Richardson both got excited while taping a television program. One of the lights in the studio suddenly exploded! Fortunately, both were able to keep their cool (it was right over Dave’s control station) and Benjamin continued talking so the show went on. In fact, if you are watching a program in the next few weeks that has a sudden flash of bright light, don’t blame your TV station.

Everyone on the staff is excited because our old CD “Six Minutes for Six Billion Souls” is being redone. It will have a new title, “Will You Help Broadcast the Gospel to Billions?” and be available on CD within the next few days, and on DVD shortly after that.

We received a report from one of our teachers in Ghana that was exciting. 52 of his Bible correspondence course students were baptized recently, and another 6 were restored. We love getting letters like that one!

Unfortunately, the month of September began with some major excitement as well. Ellen Mills, one of the secretaries, stumbled over a chair in the office. She put out a hand to try to break her fall, and broke her right arm instead. Ellen is diabetic and the shock sent her system into a tailspin so we quickly dialed 911. The EMTs started her on an IV and took her to the hospital in the ambulance. Ellen is home recovering now, but we hope to never have any other days like that one. That was a little TOO exciting.

We pray that your days are going well.

Staff of Truth for the World

Sunday, August 24, 2008

August Newsletter

Dear brethren,

In Ecclesiastes 9:11, Solomon, through inspiration, wrote, "I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all." Although Solomon writes concerning soldiers and brave men, this idea was clearly seen in the Olympic Games that took place this year. All of the participants were very well trained, were very strong, and very skillful in their certain events. However, just one wrong twist of the body or one wrong hand or foot placement could cost the participant the gold medal. If he was just one-thousandth of a second off of his mark, he would miss the prize.

In the world in which we live, everyone is subject to unforeseen conditions. Some of these conditions are favorable and some are unfavorable. The point is that we cannot always know when or how these conditions will come upon us but we must be ready to accept them and do the best we can in spite of them. In Ecclesiastes 11:6, Solomon wrote, "In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand: for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good."

The year 2008 has been a very eventful year in the Hill household. There have been many unforeseen conditions and, unfortunately, most have been unfavorable.

In December 2007, our daughter’s husband, Chris, left her, and our grandson Cole, for another woman. She desperately encouraged him to seek counseling and come back to them. He, however, filed for divorce in January and it was granted in May. Julie, being put into this unforeseen situation and having no money, was not financially able to take care of the lawyer and legal fees. Linda and I, out of our retirement fund, took care of this. Julie and Cole are now living in Mississippi and, at this writing, Chris in taking Julie back to court in an effort to discontinue his paying of Cole’s child support.

In February, I went to our family doctor with a severe sinus infection and extreme dizziness and nausea. After three visits to him, he told me that he had done all that he could and recommended me to an ENT doctor. The ENT doctor ordered an MRI of my head especially focusing on the inner ear. The prognosis was a tumor located in the inner ear canal that may be causing the dizziness. After reading the results of the MRI, he frantically recommended that I see a neurosurgeon. The MRI showed the inner ear to be clear but it also showed a lesion on the cerebellum portion of my brain.

In April, I saw the neurosurgeon and was told that I had either a brain tumor or that I had had a silent stroke. A tumor meant that I would definitely undergo brain surgery. As strange as it may sound, I never prayed so hard and so often that I had had a stroke. The neurosurgeon ordered another MRI (high definition), two MRAs, and a battery of blood tests. From these blood tests, our family doctor noticed that I was a borderline diabetic and that there was something strange in my thyroid gland. I was also diagnosed with high blood pressure. More tests were ordered and I saw yet another doctor, an endocrinologist.

In June it was decided that I had had a stroke and not a brain tumor. We were elated about the great news. However, after a series of ultrasounds and nuclear scans, the endocrinologist wanted to biopsy three nodes found in the thyroid gland. This was done and the nodes were found to be cancerous. I saw yet another doctor, a general surgeon, and surgery for the removal of the entire thyroid and some surrounding lymph nodes was scheduled for July 30.

Things were looking bleak before the surgery but we were reconciled to the fact that, as Solomon stated, "time and chance happeneth to them all." We are Christians and whatever happens, happens! We put our faith (and our lives) in the hands of our loving God and pray His will be done. But just when you think things could not get any worse, the week before my surgery our house flooded. We had a torrential downpour of hail and rain accompanied by great gusts of high winds. Our backyard had once had a slight drainage problem and was muddy after a large rain. We spent several thousands of dollars for a massive drainage system to take care of the problem and we had had no drainage problem since its installation. But the City of Dacula permitted a house to be razed behind our house and that changed the water run-off. It all came to our property and flooded our home. (You can see some pictures of this on our web-site: We now have to replace the flooring, the baseboards, some of the walls, and paint the entire house. Because it was a flood (our house was the only one affected in the neighborhood) our homeowners insurance policy will not recompense for the damage. I contacted the City of Dacula but, to date, have heard nothing from them and probably will not.

Then in August, I was contacted by the endocrinologist’s office. He found some nodes in my lungs and ordered a CT scan to determine whether they were cancerous or not. Thankfully, they were not. He also ordered more biopsies on more lymph nodes. He believes they are cancerous. So, there will be more testing and possible surgery.

Our health insurance has been good all through these traumatic experiences. They have paid their part faithfully. However, there have been co-pays, deductibles, MRIs, MRAs, CT scans, ultrasounds, blood tests, hospital fees, doctors fees, prescriptions, and there will be more to come. And in October our health insurance premiums will be going up by about $400.00 per month. I do not know how much will be needed. To date, we have not received anything from the hospital concerning the surgery debt. My estimates are from $5,000.00 to $7,000.00.

Thank you for the cards, calls, visits, and prayers - especially the prayers. Please continue to pray for us. But brethren, we also need your help in assisting us financially. From Genesis 22:14, we know "Jehovah-jireh" (the Lord Will provide). May our God continue to bless you.

We will continue to fight a good fight, to finish the course, and to keep the faith (2 Timothy 4:7). We are Christians and whatever happens, happens!
In Christ Who Saves,
- Jimmie

* * * * *

Greetings from Georgia!

I’m at a loss where to begin this letter. The events of this year have been staggering, as Jimmie has told you, but the last two weeks of July were particularly difficult. Three things stand out about them -

Julie and Cole. Our daughter and grandson moved to Mississippi on the same day that we learned that Jimmie had thyroid cancer. She was actually preparing to unload the moving truck when I called her with the news. Having them so far away for the first time did not help.

The Flood. Combating water and clearing debris was physically and emotionally exhausting. If you have been to our blog and seen the pictures you know the damage was extensive. I called a water disaster team immediately hoping that if the water was removed quickly the floors could be saved. We had been through a similar disaster 19 months ago when a bathroom toilet went berserk and soaked the floors in several rooms so I really wanted to prevent as much damage as possible.

It was a shock when the men began almost immediately to rip out walls, baseboards and our still new floors. That was NOT the action I had expected. But they showed me where the water had already found its way beneath the plastic undersheeting of our bamboo laminate. The water was too deep in the house and the floors were too soaked to be salvageable. The flood had started about 7:00 in the evening and we all worked until 2:30 the next morning. The disaster crew stripped the house of anything wet, but Jimmie and I had to work along with them relocating our possessions to the few remaining dry spots in the house.

The second shock came a few days later when we learned that the damage would not be covered by our homeowner’s policy.

Cancer Surgery. Of course, those are two words you never enjoy.

But through all of this there have been many things that have actually been extraordinary blessings. Some that come to mind immediately are –

The stroke.
Jimmie had been ignoring some minor symptoms indicative of a thyroid problem, assuming they were age or stress related. He certainly would not have been to a doctor yet had it not been for the stroke.

Our family doctor, Richard Schlossberg.
Jimmie’s blood tests were actually ordered by another doctor and it was really only a minor fluctuation in the results that prompted Dr. Schlossberg to order additional testing. I am so thankful that we went to his office rather than a lab. Our battle is not over yet, but without his diligent attention we would not know that we needed to be fighting.

William Howard.
For several months now he has voluntarily taken on additional duties to help Jimmie at the New Hope Road congregation.

Bruce and Beverly Roberts.
These dear friends drove all the way from northern Pennsylvania to help us with clean up after the flood and to be here during Jimmie’s surgery.

The New Hope Road Church of Christ.
The brothers and sisters of our home congregation have been absolutely wonderful in more ways than I have room to list.

Family, friends and brethren.
Near and far, loved ones and others we scarcely know have been a tremendous encouragement and comfort.

I am happy to tell you that our blessings have far outnumbered our disasters. With God’s help that is always the case.

In Christian love,

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A Thank You Note

"I thank my God upon every remembrance of you." Philippians 1:3

The year 2008 has been and continues to be an unusually trying time. Since that moment on April 15th when the doctor stunned us with the news that Jimmie might have a brain tumor, our whole life has been upside down. The news that he had had a minor stroke instead was a wonderful relief, but we scarsely had time to dust ourselves off before we got the diagnosis of thyroid cancer on July 14th. The days since have become a blur as we rushed through more doctor visits, hospital testing, then surgery. Less than 48 hours after Jimmie's thyroid was removed the doctor's office called with the news that Jimmie needed more doctor visits, hospital testing, and possibly more surgery. So our life has not righted itself yet.

But through all of the many disasters that have dismayed us this year we have found many things for which to be thankful. We are thankful for dedicated doctors, caring nurses, and clean hospitals here in the USA. We are thankful for all of the amazing technology that makes diagnosing illness swifter and curing cancer a more positive possibility. We are thankful for good lawyers, information readily available on the Internet, and cell phones to keep in touch. But most of all we are thankful for you - our wonderful family, friends and brethren. You are the ones that have helped us get through this year still relatively coherent. You have been a blessing to us.
  • To everyone who has sent us an email, card or letter - we have not had time to respond to all of them but we truly appreciate each one. You have been a great encouragement.
  • To those who have called us on the phone, stopped by the Truth for the World offices or this blog, or otherwise passed along a message that you were thinking about us - it helped to know that you care.
  • To everyone who has given us hugs, or come to the hospital or house to visit - we love you. You have been a wonderful comfort.
  • To those who have helped us financially with the sudden expenses - thank you. It was certainly needed.
  • To all who have prayed for us - we especially want to thank you. Prayer is a powerful blessing and we cannot begin to express how grateful we are to know that so many are appealing to God on our behalf.
Thank you! May the Lord bless and protect each of you.
- Jimmie & Linda

Saturday, August 9, 2008

The Great Flood

July was quite a month. A few days before Jimmie's cancer surgery a major storm front moved through Dacula bringing with it hail and tremendous wind and rain. It was the rain that got us the worst.

The old house behind us had recently been demolished and the land regraded for future construction, but the planned retention pond was completely forgotten before the new owner dropped the construction idea and put the now vacant land up for sale. So ALL of the water on this higher property came straight at us rather than down the storm drains where it used to go. The deluge knocked down a tree, wrecked our yard and destroyed our privacy fence.

It also flooded our home.

Jimmie and I were armed with every towel and cloth we owned and were each manning a door as we saw the water rising above our fish pond outside. But when the water started invading the house it came at us everywhere at once through the foundation. It was like a bad sci-fi movie from the 1950's. Water 1/2 inch deep soon covered our living room, dining room, kitchen and master bedroom.

Jimmie and I continued to fight the water while waiting for help to arrive, but it was a wasted effort. The floors throughout most of our house had to be ripped out, as well as baseboards and some wall board. The water disaster crew even drilled holes in all of my bottom kitchen cabinets to dry the water. When they left at 2:30 AM the next morning we truly were living in a disaster area but now with 18 fans and 2 huge dehumidifiers adding to the confusion.
The 2 small front rooms were still intact so Jimmie did not want to move to a motel or one of the many homes offered to us by the wonderful brethren at New Hope Road. We camped here and ate take-out since the kitchen was completely inaccessible as we tried to start some clean-up. My primary concern was getting the debris removed quickly so that I would have somewhere to bring Jimmie after surgery. With the help of some wonderful friends we did that. Bruce and Bev Roberts drove down all the way from Pennsylvania to lend a hand, even bringing their own bed so they would have somewhere to sleep. The youth group from New Hope Road - William Howard, Seth Howard, Nathan Howard, Robert Rogers, Steven Rogers, Carl Jenkins, Bill Fancher, & Joseph Fancher - took care of the debris in the back yard, working right through another storm and refusing to stop, while Katrece & Lydia Howard helped inside the house. Another dear sister, Emily Jester, brought us a carload of large throw rugs to cover the bare concrete.
We have not started any reconstruction yet - that would be another disaster waiting to happen until the property behind us fixes the problem that caused this one - but at least the house was livable again before Jimmie returned from the hospital. For that I can't thank these dearly loved brethren enough.

- Linda

Thursday, August 7, 2008

His Name Was James

I watched carefully where I stepped as I followed my translator through Ashaima. The animals roamed free in this densely populated village and there appeared to be a small creek of raw sewage winding its way through the dirt streets. We turned into an alleyway lined with small kiosk's that sold everything from spools of thread to sun-dried fish that smelled worse than the sewage. After so many twists and turns I was hopelessly lost but finally my translator stopped at our destination - a small kiosk where a woman had expressed a desire for a Bible study.

It was 1983, and I was in Ghana, West Africa. This was my first time in a foreign country, my first time to not understand a single word being spoken around me, to have to go through military checkpoints with soldiers carrying automatic weapons, to see such extreme poverty and the affects of famine, and be the only white face in a sea of black ones. But none of those firsts concerned me at the moment. This was also my first time to lead a campaign Bible study and I was scared to death.

The lady at the kiosk brought out some chairs and we pulled them into a circle in the only space available, right in front of her little clapboard stall. I took a couple of deep breathes to get my thoughts together and started. A lifetime - or perhaps only an hour - later the woman declined our invitation to become a Christian. Then I heard another voice and looked up. I had been so focused on the Bible study that I had not noticed a crowd gathering but there was a semicircle of at least 25 people behind me completely blocking the alleyway. They had been standing there listening quietly. Now a young man who worked at the next kiosk spoke to my translator, telling her that he wished to be baptized. Sadly, he was on duty and could not leave the shop but he asked that we return the following day when he would be off. His name was James.

The next morning my translator again led me through a maze of dirty streets to the market alleyway but this time we also had in tow my husband, Jimmie, and his translator. I held my breathe most of the way, wondering if James would be there, so it was a relief to find him. But James was not alone. He had taught his brother the Gospel the night before and they were both waiting there with their towels to go to the water! Jimmie sat down with them to be sure they understood the plan of salvation and the one true church while I continued on to another Bible study farther down the alleyway, so I did not get to see them baptized. But I was thrilled just the same.

And I was thrilled again in 1985. Jimmie returned to Ghana on another campaign and my only request before he flew off was to please find James. Happily that turned out to be easy because James was still a faithful member of the congregation in Ashaima.

Most of the time we have no idea how our words or actions affect others outside our immediate circle. We focus on our own life and never realize that the world is watching us, judging us, deciding if they should follow our example whether good or bad. I am so thankful for the young man in Ghana that brought that lesson home to me. I hope to meet him again one day.
- Linda

Sunday, August 3, 2008

August 2008 Report

Dear Christian Friends,

Deja vu is one of those French terms that it used interchangeably in English, rather like a la carte, hors d'oeuvre, or RSVP. They need no translation. Unfortunately, July was a deja vu kind of month. It feels like we have experienced and reported these things to you before.
For most of the staff it was business as usual. John Grubb worked on additional DVD lessons in Chinese. Benjamin Richardson and Dave Komisak recorded English radio and television. And the secretaries - Linda Hill, Ellen Mills, and Kristen Underwood - handled the multitude of tasks that they usually handle.

But William Howard had difficulty with the printing press - again. It remained uncooperative for such an extended period that he finally had to move the printing of the August Update to the Duluth church building and borrow their copier in an attempt to finish it on time. And problems with the printing press, as usual, created problems with shipping. As our supplies of one correspondence course depleted our overseas shipping came to a sudden halt. Since we send our foreign teachers ALL of the courses that they will need with their students together in large supply, a shortage of just one booklet delays everything until it can be printed again.

And Jimmie Hill, our Director of Publications, continued to have serious health problems. Earlier this year it was thought that he had a brain tumor, but that lesion turned out to be a minor stroke and we were all greatly relieved. However, while doing a battery of blood tests, a possible problem with his thyroid was spotted. We all hoped that would also turn out to be minor but it did not. He was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in mid-July and on July 30th both lobes of his thyroid gland and numerous lymph nodes were removed. We are still awaiting reports to learn if the cancer had spread beyond his thyroid, so please continue to remember him in your prayers.

On a non-deja vu note, the Truth for the World Mission Forum is on the horizon and each one of these is completely unique. This year's theme is "Revive Us Again" and the speakers will be Rudy Cain, Denton Landon, Gary Atwater, and Michael Barclay. November 14 - 16, 2008, will arrive quicker than you think so please start making your plans now to be here.

We are blessed to have friends like you. Thank you for being a faithful part of this work.

Staff of Truth for the World

Thursday, July 3, 2008

July 2008 Report

Dear Christian Friend,

The long, hot days of summer have certainly arrived – especially in our offices upstairs. There the temperatures have been fluctuating between hot and hotter. But we hope some cooler weather will soon be installed. The New Hope Road Church of Christ of Dacula, Georgia, has donated a replacement for the air conditioner unit that died in May.

Jimmie Hill received good news on his MRI – the lesion was not a brain tumor as originally feared. Thank you for your prayers! He still has some problems requiring additional testing so we ask that you continue to remember him to God.

John and Libby Grubb’s campaign in Taiwan was also good news. John taught classes and preached in Gospel meetings in both Taichung and Hualien. They have now returned safely despite the typhoon that threatened the island.

A check of the statistics on our Internet sites is very encouraging news. In the first six months of 2008 we have already had 81,270 visitors to our websites spreading the Gospel of Christ in English, Chinese and Indonesian. During the same six-month period last year our visitors numbered 60,646, so this aspect of our work continues to show tremendous growth. Internet access is spreading as well. From January through June our visitors have come from 178 different nations around the world, many of them areas where Gospel missionaries cannot go. To God be the glory!

Unfortunately, we also received some sad news in June. Our part-time secretary, Julie Rawlins, has decided to relocate to another state so she will be leaving us in July. But thankfully she gave us plenty of notice and is already training her replacement, Kristen Underwood. Kristen, her husband, Martin, and their 14-month old daughter, Addy, worship at the Chestnut Drive Church of Christ in Doraville. So while we are sad to be loosing Julie, we are also glad to welcome Kristen to our Truth for the World staff.

This work must continue to be a team effort to be successful. Thank you for being a part of our team.

Staff of Truth for the World

Monday, June 9, 2008

June Newsletter

Dear brethren:

Greetings to you from dry and hot, hot and dry (did I mention dry? hot?), Duluth, Georgia. The work of Truth for the World (an evangelistic work of the Duluth Church Christ) continues to go well and is growing more and more each day. We are certainly thankful for your support.

Brethren, sadly, I will not be going to Malawi, Central Africa this year. I have had several medical problems since January of 2008 and going to Africa to teach in the Mobile Bible School and holding Gospel meetings would not be the wise thing to do. Without sounding too melodramatic, the doctors have found a lesion on the cerebellum portion of my brain and three nodes in my thyroid. These (one or both combined) have caused extreme dizziness, nausea, ringing in the ears (tinnitus), and hoarseness of the throat.

The brain lesion could be an infection, an infarction, or a silent stroke. Or, it could be a tumor. I will be having a high density MRI on June 16th and if there has been no growth since the earlier MRI, we will know it is not a tumor but more likely a stroke. If it is a tumor then surgery will be scheduled to have it removed and a biopsy then will be done.

I am having a biopsy on my thyroid on July 3rd and it will then be determined if it is cancerous or not. I may have to have the thyroid removed and then have to take medicine to control its functions after that.

No one has mentioned the “C” word as an inevitable possibility as of yet but the possibility, of course, is there. Just waiting for the procedures to be done and anticipating the news, whether good or bad, is enough to keep one on edge. Friends and brethren do make a difference. The folks at New Hope Road, Duluth, and others have kept us in their prayers for which I am most appreciative.

Brethren, I also need your continuous prayers for my family and for the medical conditions that I am experiencing. And of course, our God, Who knows what is best for us and knows everything we need, is in control and we pray that His will be done.

Thank you to those who have contributed for the new bicycle for our brother Jeffita K. Nkhoma. I will be sending the funds over to brother Ed Crookshank and asking him to procure the new bike for brother Nkhoma.

My wife, Linda, and I took a few days off during the Memorial Day holiday and drove down to Columbus, Georgia. The long weekend gave us some much needed rest and relaxation. One of the things we enjoyed was worshipping with the Torch Hill Church of Christ and meeting these fine brethren for the first time.

We had a good meeting with the brethren of the East Main Street Church of Christ in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. The congregation there has long supported Truth for the World via the Postage Fund. We were glad to go and give them an update on the work. It was also good to see many of our Bible correspondence teachers and to be with brother and sister Wayne and Rita Lankford once again. Remember, if you would like us to come and explain and/or update the work of Truth for the World for the congregation where you attend, please let us know. It will be our great pleasure to do so.

Again, thank you for your financial and prayerful support. May our God bless you all.

- Jimmie

Greetings from Georgia!

Is it really only June? This year has been so crowded with events that it feels like eons rather than just over two months since I have written.

Of course, the major event has been Jimmie’s health. To go from dealing with a sinus infection to a possible brain tumor in the blink of an eye was a shock. A week later when we were finally able to see a neurologist she softened the stunned feeling by saying that the first MRI was not conclusive. What it tagged as a possible tumor could also be a lesion caused by a stroke. Once she confirmed that Jimmie’s arteries were clear so he was not in imminent danger of another stroke, that became my preferred diagnosis. But she outlined two courses to determine which possibility was correct – immediate surgery to remove a tumor (an unnecessary risk if it turned out to be a stroke lesion), or wait and see if the lesion changes. Waiting is never easy but that was the choice Jimmie made. We still have another week to go before the next MRI will be taken. We hope to have a final verdict and treatment plan soon after that.

In the meantime the doctors have been really running Jimmie through the mill. Blood work indicated a problem with his thyroid so we had more trips to the hospital for an ultrasound and nuclear scan. Now we have a new date on July 3rd for a biopsy of one of the nodules located in this gland. Having a second problem to deal with was startling on one hand, but a relief on the other. Low thyroid would actually explain some of the symptoms Jimmie has been experiencing that a lesion in his cerebellum does not, and thyroid problems are not usually life threatening. Unfortunately, dizziness can also be associated with this problem so we do not know which one is causing Jimmie’s current bouts of vertigo.

Thankfully, Jimmie’s dizziness level most days is mild so he can preach, teach, and do his office work. But then there are other days that are totally miserable for him. But even on the days that Jimmie was so dizzy and nauseous that he could not ride to the office he still handled the Internet students from home. So the work continues.

Please keep Jimmie in your prayers.
- Linda

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Why I Keep Going Back

To the best of my knowledge, I have been to Africa on twelve campaigns. And, in spite of some of the rough going in the early days (coups, machine gun fire, stonings, famines, droughts, threats from the denominations, etc.), I have always enjoyed Africa. The work of our Lord has always been great.

Have there been disappointments? Yes! I remember Linda and I studying with a Catholic couple and seeing their eyes light up as they understood the Truth concerning the church of the Bible and that Catholicism was filled with false doctrines and practices. But, during their talk with their local priest, they were told that we were the agents of Satan and that they should no longer study with us. And, they would not. That is very disappointing.

Have there been encouragements? Yes! After studying the New Testament church for over two hours in the village of Ashaiman with a Presbyterian and a Muslim, they both understood the Truth concerning the One Church and the Authority of Christ but would not agree to be baptized that day. After urging them and reminding them of the uncertainty of time that each of has, they said they would be baptized tomorrow. When I asked them, one more time, if they were not ready to go to the water now, a voice from behind a tree some ten feet away, stated, “Well, I am ready to go right now!” A young man named Romeo has been listening and, without uttering a word for two hours, understood that he was lost and was baptized into Christ after just a few more minutes of Bible study. Now, that is encouraging! (The other two men did come back the next afternoon and both were baptized into Christ.)

This is why I continue to go back and work for the Lord in Africa and other places around the world. And, it is not me, it is the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. To God be the glory!

- Jimmie

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Youngest on our Team

Cole may not be an official member of the Truth for the World staff, but he is certainly a well-known addition to the office. Since our daughter, Julie, is a part-time secretary working with both the BCC program and the broadcasting department we get to see our grandson everyday. Gran and Grandad won't complain about that! And it works out pretty well. When Julie is busy in the studio inserting the closed-captioning into the television programs Cole can choose where he hangs out.

Cole really knows his way around the office. He is diligent in pointing out the red line on the floor in the workroom that marks the "no kids" zone in front of the booklet maker - just so everyone will know that he was NOT planning to cross it. He loves showing everyone where the push carts are stored - just in case anyone wants to give him a ride. He has discovered all the best hiding places under the big tables in the mailroom and what wonderful fun bubblewrap sheets can be. And he knows exactly where the other secretary, Ellen, has the candy stashed in her office. Of course, if he ever does get bored with this adult world there are always his toys and books to fall back on.

Cole's ready smile and infectious enthusiasm for all he is learning have brightened even some of our most difficult days. He does keep life interesting!

- Linda
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Monday, June 2, 2008

June 2008 Monthly Report

One of my many duties at Truth for the World is to write a monthly report to our contributors.
- Linda

June 2008

Dear Christian Friend,

We were very happy to welcome a new radio station in May - WCYC LP 105.1 FM in London, Ohio. This 30-minute broadcast is sponsored by the East High Street of Christ in Springfield, Ohio, and will be heard each Sunday morning at 9:00 am.

We were very unhappy to have mechanical problems in May as well. Our big printing press continues to be plagued with breakdowns and is currently waiting again for a visit from the repairman. This vital piece of equipment was "used" when we got it, so a tremendous amount of paper and ink have passed through it. But we really hope to pass a little more before an expensive replacement has to be bought.

We also seem to have lost one of our air conditioning units at our facility. That may not seem like a tremendous problem, but the termperatures in some of our upstairs offices are already staying in the high 80s all day - and it isn't even summer yet! That is a situation that will have to be corrected soon.

John Grubb is leaving for a campaign to Taiwan on June 10th. He will be preaching in Gospel meetings and working at tract distribution in three cities of this island nation. His daughter, Libby, will also be going and helping to pass out Gospel tracts. Libby was born in Taiwan but this is her first trip back since 1992. Please keep them both in your prayers as they travel and work in Taiwan, then return to the States on June 24th.

And please keep Jimmie Hill, our Director of Publications, in your prayers. He has been experiencing some potentially serious health problems for several months but no clear diagnosis has yet been given. He is scheduled to have a second brain MRI on June 16th to determine if the lesion found there was caused by a stroke or is a tumor.

Some months the bad seems to outweigh the good in this report, but we know that God is in control and He will provide. Our job is to spread the Gospel of Christ around the world, and we continue to do just that. Thank you for being a part of this work.

Staff of Truth for the World

Jimmie's Bio

I am the Bible Correspondence Course Coordinator for Truth for the World. I am responsible for the Internet Bible course students and their teachers and for informing all teachers, both overseas and in the States, regarding courses, changes, and other information pertaining to the work. I am also responsible for seeing that all teachers have the supplies required for the work and laying out Bible correspondence courses and making corrections as needed. I also do follow-up both overseas and in the States for all teachers, and travel on behalf of Truth for the World to raise funds for and to promote the Bible correspondence work. I also serve as the editor for Truth for the World and am responsible for editing all publications and writing various pieces of literature as needed for the work.

I received a two-year diploma from the Florida School of Preaching in 1984 and a third-year diploma in 1986. I also received a BA in Bible from Tennessee Bible College in 1993 and an MA in Christian Doctrine and Apologetics in 1997.

My wife, Linda, and I began doing campaign work in January of 1983 and have continued to do campaigns both in the States and overseas. These campaigns have taken place in Arkansas, Florida, Michigan, Missouri, throughout the South Pacific, Africa and in Europe. I have also preached full-time in Florida, Tennessee and Georgia and currently serve as an elder for the New Hope Road Church of Christ in Dacula, Georgia.

I am thankful to be in my tenth year with Truth for the World and working with the Duluth Church of Christ. I am also thankful for their support and oversight of this work and for all that support this work. It is my prayer that God's richest blessings will be poured upon each. I am looking for continued success in many Gospel endeavors and this to the glory of God.

- Jimmie

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Linda's Bio

I was born an Arizona Desert Rat – Tucson to be precise – but left there when I was three. After a short stop in Dallas, Texas, I grew up in Orlando, Florida. But my family roots spring from eastern Tennessee and that has always felt like home.

As a child I attended the Church of God with my parents, yet I had already begun to have serious doubts about many of their Pentecostal practices before my marriage to Jimmie in 1973. Still, I was slow to listen and did not obey the Gospel until 1981. Six months later Jimmie enrolled in the Florida School of Preaching and our lives were forever changed.

I had worked in the insurance industry since high school as a way to finance college courses at night and in the process had risen to a Multi-line Commercial Underwriter, so I continued working in Orlando as our sole financial support while Jimmie studied in Lakeland. But I was forced to quit my job to travel to Ghana with Jimmie on our first foreign campaign in 1983. That 6-week trip was a worst-case scenario – an attempted coup, closed borders & military checkpoints, curfews & machine gunfire at night, drought, famine, water rationing, no gasoline in the country, even a cholera epidemic. I still think of it as the Campaign to Gehenna! But that campaign also began a lifelong commitment to mission work. When we returned I joined Jimmie at the Florida School of Preaching until we were blessed with our first and only child, Julie, in 1985.

In 1987 the three of us moved to the tiny island of Tutuila in American Samoa to be full-time missionaries. For the next five years Jimmie did most of the traveling but I was able to teach ladies’ classes in American Samoa, Western Samoa and Tonga. I also began another career as homeschool teacher to Julie. We returned to the States so that Jimmie could get additional education, then the Hill family did located work in Florida and Tennessee. Soon, though, Jimmie began to use his vacation time each year to make foreign campaigns. Then Truth for the World called us to Mississippi in 1998. I joined the staff temporarily in 1999 in order to learn enough to train a replacement since the present secretary would not be making the move to Georgia, and I’m still there. I became the office manager in 2005.

I don’t seem to get much time for hobbies, but when possible I do enjoy reading, writing, handcrafts, genealogy, junking, antique auctions, and collecting Coke memorabilia. But for the past 2 years my favorite activity by far has been playing with my adorable grandson, Cole.

- Linda

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Mission Work? Me?

The first time Jimmie mentioned doing mission work was in January of 1983. He was a student at the Florida School of Preaching and a new instructor, Rod Rutherford, had just returned from 7 years as a missionary to Tasmania. Rod got Jimmie all fired up about joining a campaign to Ghana, West Africa, that summer. I wasn't quite so keen on the idea.
I was still a new Christian and really could not see any need for me to fly off 9,000 miles to a place I had never heard of. Besides, I was our sole financial support while Jimmie was going to school and was sure that getting 6 weeks off of my job would be impossible. But Jimmie isn't pictured by the word "persistent" in the dictionary for nothing. He wore me down. After weeks of combatting Jimmie's enthusiasm I finally asked my boss about a possible leave to go on the campaign and was shocked when it was quickly granted.
Then came the rush. We had less than 6 months to get ready! I had no idea that preparing for a campaign was actually more work than the campaign itself. We had to raise funds - the easy part since our home congregation promised to provide any shortfall. We had to get passports, and airline tickets, and more shots than I wanted to think about - one of which made me very ill. We had to learn all we could about the local customs and taboos - such as, if a man's hair touched the collar of his shirt he couldn't get into the country. That meant Jimmie actually had to get a haircut! We made our doctor's visits to get malaria prevention medicine. We were given shopping lists of items to buy, such as foldable water bottles and first aid supplies. We also had grocery lists. Ghana was experiencing a devastating famine so we had to carry with us every bite of food we would need for the whole campaign. In addition, I was given special instructions - buy dresses. I lived in pants and did not even own a casual dress. But pants were taboo for women in Ghana in 1983 so I was not allowed to take any. And we all had to prepare lessons - that came as a shock. I knew I would be campaigning but they actually expected me to teach ladies classes as well? I had been a Christian for less than 2 years. What was I going to teach sisters who had been in the church much longer than me? And at the last minute I actually had to quit my job to stay with the campaign because my boss reneged on the leave approval. But finally our group of 5 adults, 1 child, and 22 pieces of luggage flew off to Africa.
I quickly learned that nothing had prepared me for Ghana in 1983. The smells. The sounds. The open sewage. These were all typical to many African nations. But that year Ghana also had a drought so there was water rationing and famine. There had been a sudden influx of refugees expelled from Nigeria so there were many who were homeless and starving. The country had completely run out of gasoline, so we walked. One week after we arrived there was an attempted coup so the borders were closed and a strict curfew was imposed. Jimmie and I would lie in bed at night listening to the machine guns firing around us, then turn on the radio the next morning to learn the death toll. Everywhere we went there were military checkpoints with soldiers carrying automatic weapons. Half-way through our stay all of the natural gas for the stoves was finished so I learned how to squat on the floor and cook on a coal pot like the Ghanaian women. A cholera epidemic broke out in the the village where we were working. And to add to the joy, I got dysentery - for 10 days straight.
I still think of this trip as the Campaign to Gehenna.
A quick check of today's school books states that 1983 was the worse year of Ghana's history, but it was also the year we became committed to mission work. Despite all of the hardships and sheer terror we returned to the States determined to go back because the people were wonderful. The Ghanaians were loving and kind and very pleased to have us there. Over and over I saw people who were hungry sharing their food with others who had even less, and never heard a word of complaint. And they were hungry for the Gospel as well. Our work was greatly hampered by the difficulty in traveling yet 72 were added to the Lord's church during that campaign. I can't begin to describe the thrill the first time someone I had taught the Gospel was baptized. So when our church family met us at the airport on our return and someone asked if we would like to go back, Jimmie and I both said, "Yes!"
Besides, we figured that if we had survived Ghana in 1983, we could survive anything.

- Linda