Marc Mailloux's Blog


Mailloux musings Nov.2016
November 23, 2016, 1:48 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

peggy-o-in-ms

With Mrs. Peggy O. at rest home near Jackson, Ms.

“There remains therefore a rest for the people of God.” (Hebrews 4:9)

Dear friends,

Years ago, there was a shoe repairman in my home town who would inform his customers, including my mother, how many years, then months, then weeks etc. until his eagerly anticipated retirement.  The big day finally arrived.  He died that same day.

In October, after celebrating my 63rd birthday, someone asked me about retirement.  I laughed.  My dad is 92 and is still working, going to his job on his bicycle.   What a grace to be useful into one’s old age.  So as long as the Lord grants health, I’ll keep going…  Any doubts were put to rest (pun intended) following a recent trip to visit supporting churches in Mississippi.

A day after being invited to speak at the mission weekend of a longtime supporting church in Louisville, Ms., I was contacted by supporters in Oxford, Ms. whose mission conference would ‘coincidentally’ be held that same weekend. So I flew into Jackson a day earlier, drove up to Oxford—a charming college town and home of ‘Ole Miss’—for the Saturday meeting.  Fortunately, the “Rebels” were playing at LSU that weekend.  In Oxford, as in much of the South, the fate of the local team is a major concern. I personally share George Will’s conviction that football embodies the two worst aspects of American life: violence and committee meetings.

Still, one tends to overlook the gridiron obsession in a region still blessed with manifest evidence of residual grace from the erstwhile Christian heritage. Indeed, it’s a pleasure even to drive in much of the South where motorists graciously yield the right of way and even strangers are genuinely friendly—a minor culture shock to one used to S. Florida, aka New York south.

After the encouraging morning worship at First Presbyterian church in Louisville–whose members include grandchildren of folks who began supporting our ministry in 1983–and the warm hospitality of Dr.+Mrs. Sam S.,  I drove the 100 miles down to the Jackson area to a rest-home where lives Mrs. Peggy O., a 94 year old widow, still lucid and zealous for the Lord’s work.  What an inspiration!   I arrived ‘coincidentally’ just as she was preparing to host her weekly meeting of some twenty fellow pensioners who’d normally be seeing a video about a Jew who found the Messiah.  Instead, she asked if I could speak about Haiti as the fate of that country has been much in the news since the devastating passage of hurricane Matthew. Why is Haiti perpetually in such dire straits?

I shared what I knew explaining the Voodoo influence that dominates in Haiti and sharply conflicts with the Lord’s revealed prescriptions for getting along in a fallen world.  Lasting improvement starts with observance of the Bible’s ‘cultural mandate’ (i.e. work, caring for the land, and raising ones family in the Faith). Alas, the Haitians (75% illiterate) desperately lack instruction in the Word.  Consequently, faith in that spiritually receptive country remains a mile wide but an inch deep. Syncretism is pervasive.  It’s said that Haiti is 20% Protestant, 80% Catholic and 100% Voodooist.  Their worldview needs to change if there is to be any substantial and lasting improvement in the living conditions in that country. It starts by getting people into the Word… A major challenge is getting people from an essentially oral culture to acquire a love for reading.  Many Haitians retain an impressive amount of what they hear (hence the importance of the radio ministry), but simply abhor reading.

Another domestic travel adventure centered around the quintessentially French game of “pétanque.”  From Nov.11-13, around 1000 pétanque aficionados gathered at Amelia Island, Fl. for the tenth annual tournament which each year Frenchmen from all over the U.S. (more than half the participants are French) and at least seven foreign countries.  They come to participate in this unofficial US championship.  These included average amateur players but also big stars (the French say “les gros bras” or “the big arms”) of the pétanque world.

For the first time, my travel schedule allowed me to participate.  I was teamed with my friend Gérard H. (a retired French restaurant owner) who lives in Florida. We did as well as expected against the lesser players before getting clobbered by the former World champion (36 year old Julien L.) and rival of last year’s winner, the incomparable Damien Hureau (38).  Both came from France to play in this tournament and who naturally affronted each other in the finals—the match-up of the two best of the 180 “doublets” (two-man teams) present.  I used the opportunity to distribute French gospels and an apologetic book (D. J. Kennedy’s “Pourquoi je crois”) and share a word of testimony with the other players before, after, and in between the competitions.

Aline accompanied me and her comprehensive ear was much solicited as usual by other French women (wives of some players etc.) who uncannily confide in my ever-so-discreet wife whose listening skills and counselling charisma are surely her most remarkable traits.                                                                                                                                                                   In short, it was a good time, an opportunity to “réconcilier l’utile à l’agréable” (join what’s useful with what’s agreeable)—enjoy oneself while working for the advancement of the Kingdom.  What more can one ask?

Marc+Aline

marcgerard-cropped                             Marc and Gerard H. at Amelia Island tournament

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