Just Among Friends
Wednesday, August 28, 2013 1:00 AM
The newly refurbished marquee at the historic Ellis Theater was lighted for the very first time on June 28 when it read, "The Marty Stuart Show - Sold Out," but the donor of the project remained anonymous until last Thursday evening when the marquee read, "Street Party - August 15." The secret was out when Liz Goldman and her husband, the late, J. C. Goldman, were announced as the generous donors. "The work of the Arts Council and this historic old building have meant so much to us," Liz told me. "It seemed a very fitting thing for us to do."
The Arts Council sold letters from the old marquee. I took home a piece of the theater's history, while Liz and J. C. lighted the way for Philadelphia's bright future. What a fitting, "make-a difference," memorable gesture from a gracious, charming lady who has definitely made a lasting indention on the Philadelphia she loves.
Sam Chisolm Ray, son of Kyle and Phoebe Ray, was baptized in the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost at the Sunday morning worship service, August 18, 2013, at The First United Methodist Church, Philadelphia. The Reverend Fred Britton officiated as Sam's siblings, Lucy Neal and Phoebe Carlisle paid close attention. The Christening gown worn by Sam dates back in his maternal grandmother, Ginger Marsalis's, family for over one hundred years, having been worn by Ginger, Phoebe, her brother, Charles Marsalis, Lucy Neal and Carlisle.
Sam is the grandson of Hasie and Ginger Marsalis, Dennis and Tammy Ray, and Scott and Keely Ray. His paternal great-grandparents are Sam and Lynda Madison. Family members attending the baptism service included Hasie and Ginger Marsalis, Tammy Terry, Charles Marsalis, Brittni, Harris and Matt Harper, and Gloria and Ed Williamson.
Since moving to Philadelphia in 2009, the Ray family has been faithfully devoted to God's work at First Methodist. Sam was born on Thursday, April 18. The family was at church the Sunday before. They missed the Sunday following Sam's birth, but were back in their "back pew" one Sunday later.
"Friends" has been blessed with the opportunity to follow Dr. Bill Molpus in his dedication to the needs of the poor in some of the poorest places in the world. This time it was in Madagascar, "a real place, not just a movie". The fourth largest island in the world, off the eastern shore of Africa in the Indian Ocean. Forbes Magazine says it is the poorest country in the world. The capitol is Antananarivo (Tana for short) with 4 million inhabitants and 50,000 homeless children. "Can you imagine scavenging for food in a garbage dump? A sight not easily forgotten", said Bill back from a mission, "Where we could not see all who needed to be seen (one day there were 200 folks in the dental line), and we could not do all that was needed to be done, but we did what we could".
As Bill tells us, "Joyce Meyer's Hand of Hope partners with an organization in Madagascar that planned and put together our mission. The guy who started the organization is Matt, and what a blessing he is! They feed 700 children everyday from a tent in downtown Tana. They are in the process of building a shelter to house one thousand kids at night Not an orphanage, but just a place for protection and warmth and sleep. It is wintertime now in Madagascar and it gets very cold at night.
We stayed in a nice hotel and drove outside Tana about an hour and a half into the countryside to the clinic site. Matt and his crew had done a fantastic job of putting the clinic together on a soccer field. In fact, it was the best setup we have ever had out in a open field. They even built a toilet with a real commode! Wow!
I have done many missions, but this one would turn out to be the most physically challenging one ever. The devil decided he did not want me working on this trip. I got a crick in the left side of my neck and a crick in the right side of my neck, something I had never experienced before. Never the less, I would work! Ice packs duct taped to my scrubs froze my neck, and with pain pills, muscle relaxants, and the help and encouragement of my team members, I did the deed, in spite of the difficulty. God is so good!
This mission underlined in detail what I always say to the dental team in particular. It is not about individual effort, but rather what we can do as a team. And in a broad picture, that is true about the mission as a whole. For these precious people in a remote village in Madagascar to have a team of health professionals from several countries in the world appear to help them, must have been quite an experience. True, we could not see all who needed to be seen, nor do all the work that needed to be done, but we did what we could, and for that one village, we indeed held out a Hand of Hope."
Bill adds this footnote, "One week after we left Madagascar, they closed the American Embassy there in Tana. Not a good thing!".
In July, the B.A.L.L. (Be Active Live Longer) group from First Baptist Church, Philadelphia were guests of James and Shirley Mooney at their Fair cabin at the Neshoba County Fair. As instructed by the Scriptures in Romans 12:13, Shirley and James were the perfect hosts, treating their guests to delicious fried catfish with all kinds of good home-cooked complements.
Enjoying this fellowship together on an unseasonably cool evening were Rebecca Barnett, Buck Bounds, Gloria Burkes, Jane Cole, Marge Davis, Lamar Fowler, Bill and Polly Gilley, Mazell and Wilmer Goforth, Liz Goldman, Jean Griffith, Rena Harmon, Joan Hight, Dot and Jim Johnson, Eunice Jones, Sue Lewis, James and Shirley, Barney and Lavinia Nowell, Jane Parker, Jo Lynn Parker, George and Sue Saxon, Billy and Louise Sharp, Kermit and Sammie Sharp, William Smith, Patricia Trest, Ellene Turcotte, and Janelle Yates.