Dewitt DeWeese Park was the setting last Saturday morning for the kick-off of the 2012 Operation Christmas Child Project.

Josh McCown paraded among those in attendance, dressed as a shoebox, heralding the project of which his grandmother, Vonnie McCown, serves as Neshoba County co-ordinator.

Josh's cousins, Lily McCown and Harley Amelia Hobby, lent their support.

The setting for Brenda Mowdy's, co-ordinator for East Central Mississippi Operation Christmas Child, presentation was totally All-American.

With the cool fall breeze blowing the American flag over the library where the tall pine trees were silhouetted in the windows, it was hard to imagine life being different anywhere.

As Brenda Mowdy spoke of delivering shoe boxes to the children in Uganda last year, her audience was brought face to face with the mission of the shoe boxes which are delivered to children all over the world.

Operation Christmas Child uses simple, gift-filled shoe boxes to show hurting children they are loved, and at the same time, share the message of Jesus Christ, the greatest gift ever given.

The gratitude expressed echoed the heart of Jesus, "Thank you for loving My children."

To learn more about Operation Christmas Child and where you may pick up your boxes, you may call Vonnie McCown at 601-656-2480.

Boxes will be collected at First Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia the week of Nov. 12-19.

Quoting Franklin Graham, President of Samaritan Purse, which houses Operation Christmas Child, "This year we are trusting to reach an important milestone in the history of Operation Christmas Child - 100 million gift-filled shoe boxes since the program began in 1993!

"Your shoe boxes represent more than smiles and laughter, they become Gospel opportunities that open doors to share the love of Jesus Christ with children and their families around the world."

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The Sounds of Bluegrass music filled the air in downtown Philadelphia last Saturday evening.

Butch Hodgins invited his Bluegrass friends to join him in performing on stage at the Ellis Theater.

Butch, proud of his Bluegrass heritage and fond childhood memories of the old theater, organized the event, with all proceeds going toward the restoration of the Ellis.

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Roberta Byars, David and Brenda Vowell and Stanley and Kay Salter were in Memphis the weekend of Oct. 6 for the wedding of Brittany Lane Ray and Nickalus John Rowell.

Wedding vows were exchanged at Hope Presbyterian Church.

Nickalus is the son of Chris and Kaye Rowell of Philadelphia.

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On the same weekend, David Byars, Lolo and Guy Nowell, Brenda Nowell and Susan and Andy King were in Columbus for the wedding of Evelyn Coleman and Bryce Gama.

Vows were exchanged at the Annunciation Catholic Church, with Father Lahart of Houston, Texas, officiating.

Evelyn is the daughter of Geraldine and the late Jim Coleman, former residents of Philadelphia.

Evelyn's niece and nephew, Frances Ellen Nowell and Cash Nowell, were members of the wedding party. They are the children of Judson and Sara Coleman Nowell, and the grandchildren of Guy and Lolo Nowell.

In talking with Geraldine, she told me, "It meant so much to have our Philadelphia friends with us. They represent a continuation of Jim to me, our children and our grandchildren. The wedding was a testimony of the love so many people have for Evelyn and Bryce and for all of us."

The young couple make their home in New York City where Bryce, a graduate of Princeton, is associated with Disney/ESPN. Evelyn, a therapist, received her masters from Columbia University.

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The Women in the Church at First Presbyterian Philadelphia met in the home of Frankie Harpole on Oct. 16 for their monthly meeting.

Frankie was assisted in entertaining by her God-given co-hostess, her sister Tommie Banks.

A delicious potluck lunch was served to Carolyn Emerson, Laurie Herrington, Olivia Herrington, Billy Greenleaf, Velma Caviness, Frances Blackwell, Betty Harrison, Rebecca McClain, Betty Seward, Judy Mason, Vonnie McCown and Rachel Evans.

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We pick up with Dr. Bill Molpus as he arrives in the Dominican Republic, DR as they call it, where he arrives a few days before the Hand of Hope team, allowing himself time to recover from Africa and to adjust his personal time clock.

The travel agent for Hand of Hope has been able to make a deal with this five-star resort right on the beach.

September is hurricane season, making this a slow time for the tourist business.

The accommodations are so nice that once again, I ask myself, "Is this a mission?"

We have a great team.

Many of them are friends that I have served with several times in the past.

My roommate is a cardiologist with whom I worked in Guatemala.

Our week starts with a two-hour drive from the opulence of our resort, deep into the sugar cane fields.

Most of the folks here are from Haiti and they speak Creole, a mixture of Spanish, French and African dialect.

There are three dentists on this team and we realize quickly that there is a lot to do.

The difficult cases mount up.

Years of neglect and a diet of sugar cane make for a dental nightmare.

Our prayers are answered!

God is so good and we move from one patient to the other.

These people are steeped into magic and voodoo.

They come to the clinic as unwitting omissions of the devil.

This one guy in particular, wearing the amulets of witchcraft, saw the physician and afterwards agreed to have someone pray for him.

They escorted him to the prayer tent, and my friend Mickey said when she looked around for her interpreters, they had gone for a break.

She put her hand on his shoulder and began to pray.

Within seconds the Holy Spirit came on this guy and he fell out.

He was slain in the spirit.

Huge beads of sweat formed on his head, his face and his arms.

Mickey continued praying.

By the time the interpreters returned, he started to come to.

As it turned out, this guy was a witch doctor.

He tore the strings and amulets from his arms and neck and accepted Jesus as his Savior.

The devil is no match for God's supernatural power.

We saw evidence of this time and time again.

We three dentists had never met before, we had never worked together, we were totally different with different backgrounds and work experiences.

And yet we came together and worked together as though we had been partners in the same clinic for years.

And that is supernatural!

And that is what was necessary for us to see so many patients.

This was my first mission to have more dental patients than medical patients - no one knew beforehand that this would be the case.

But God had prepared us for this situation."

And thus ends Bill's last mission before his next last mission.

We are blessed to have him share them with us.

In typing the miraculous happenings on his missions, the words on a little plaque Harold's mother and daddy (Delia and Lamar Evans) had in their bedroom, rings in my mind, "God put it all together."