Dr. Bill Molpus has returned from a medical mission trip to Mozambique.

The mission was beset by major difficulties.

The weather was extremely hot. Bill's reaction?

"In spite of all the difficulties, this was the most spiritually rewarding mission I had ever done."

Read on, as told in Bill's words.

"Mozambique is an Eastern African country just north of South Africa with a 1500 mile coast line on the Indian Ocean. Once a Portuguese colony, Portuguese is now considered the official language.

"There are 17 other major tribal languages, making for a most difficult situation of translating in the clinics.

"As for religion, Catholicism is most common in the southern part of the country, with Islam being more prominent in the north.

"I flew to Johannesburg and spent the night, and met with Joyce Meyer's Hand of Hope team the next day.

"We all flew together to the northern port city of Pemba. Hand of Hope partners with Iris Ministries who have a large base there.

"A recent storm had knocked out the transformers and they had no electricity or water. Welcome to Mozambique!

"I cannot remember when I was that hot.

"The next day we prepared for the 200 mile trip to Mocimbade Praia - our mission destination and right into a Muslim controlled province.

"Already things were not going as planned.

"When we arrived at the Pemba airport, the customs folks confiscated all the medicines and all the dental supplies.

"I was blessed.

"They allowed me thru with all my instruments and my Walmart chair. Now it is time to "really trust the Lord!".

"The Iris missionaries had some dental anesthetics and medicines in a shipping container which they had received early on, allowing us to proceed with the "loaves and fishes" promise. The team with all our luggage, plus the translators, loaded into the back of two military-type transport trucks.

"The team leader instructed me to ride instead in the pickup truck.

"Thank You, Jesus!

"The road (I use that term loosely!) was almost as bad as the so-called "road" in Madagascar.

"Inside the canvas-covered truck, the heat was , well,--- tough.

"Then there was the dust, plus the constant bouncing up and down.

"The trip took 10 hours.

"We finally arrived in Mocimba and were delighted to find that the large house across the street from the hotel was air conditioned.

"Plenty of water for a cold shower.

"We would have breakfast and dinner at the hotel.

"The beach was a few steps from the hotel terrace.

"No walking on the beach - too dangerous!

"The government had given permission for us to work before we arrived - now we were notified that they had changed their mind.

"So, we were to rest up, and pray for our folks to meet with them and try to settle the problem, whatever the problem might be.

"Late that afternoon, we got word that the mission would be allowed to proceed.

"The Iris missionaries told us that a few months ago, the Muslim government "gave" them the land to build a hospital. That was a miracle!

"They had erected a huge tent on the property and that is where we would set up the clinics.

"That next morning when we arrived at the tent, hundreds of folks were already there.

"In that province, theree were no medical or dental services available - no doctors, no dentists, no nurses!

"At some point, the President of the province came and saw what was happening, what we were doing.

"He was so impressed that he gave the Iris missionaries permission to go into the entire province and spread the gospel! Another miracle amongst the Muslims.

"In spite of all the difficulties, this was the most spiritually rewarding mission I had ever done.

"I was able to see missionaries for the first time living in very different situations, loving and helping the people they have dedicated their lives to serving.

"I was moved to tears many times.

"One of my patients had advanced tongue and throat cancer.

"I removed a broken tooth, and asked a young South African physician to come and lead us as we prayed for the patient.

"I will never forget that prayer of love.

"Here in the USA we don't see this progression of cancer - people seek and get medical attention before it gets to this horrible point.

"A broken lower molar is the primary cause of tongue cancer.

"The removal of the tooth early on would have prevented this situation.

"By the Grace of God, we had penetrated deep into the enemies' territory.

"The hospital is scheduled to be finished in six months.

"Hopefully next year we can work inside and not in the tent."

I just have to say.

Here is a man who studied hard, worked hard, raised his family, and has surely paid his debt to society.

What does retirement mean to Bill?

He's excited over being able to work in a hospital next year, instead of in 100-degree plus weather under a tent.

To God be the glory. Great things He has done.

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Back in the early 80's, Mr. Thomas Jones traded a coon dog to a fellow in Quitman for a wagon, thinking he had gotten a good deal.

The man sold the coon dog for $500! Saturday morning, Mr. Jones and his son, Jamie Jones, hitched their mules to the wagon in the Bloomfield Church Community.

Two hours later, they arrived at Betty Seward's hitching post, "In the Pines," off Highway 19 South.

With a "gee" to the right to Jim, and a "haa" to the left to Pete, the mules pulled the happy, heavy load through the pines to a favorite picnic spot.

Looking back at the trade through the years, Mr. Jones may have felt he did indeed get a raw deal.

Perhaps the fun and laughter Betty, Ethel Gill, Jo Helen Jones, Vicky Harrell, Rachel Evans, and Betty's pet chihuahua Coconut, and her daughter-in-law Lynn Seward, enjoyed, convinced him that he got a good deal after all.

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The Mature and Moderns (M&M) arrived in Fellowship Hall at First Methodist Church on Tuesday, April 2, excited over the program, "Lavelle and All That Jazz."

The Reverend Lavelle Woodrick pointed out that there are many references to coronets and trumpets in the Bible, and shared the important roles the instruments had played in his life.

He brought his collection of coronets, trumpets, and other horns for us to see, demonstrating the sound each made.

He played a number of favorite, familiar songs, accompanied in part by Laura Bryan.

Lavelle and Laura played together in the Meridian Community Band for many years.

Enjoying the hospitality of our hostesses were Babs Kirkland, Bobbie Holley, Rachel Evans, Sara Hutchison, Hazel Allen, Erma Young, June Mitchell, Sarah McKay, Virginia West, Betty Mooney, Fred Britton, Pat and Lavelle Woodrick, Jan and Pete Williamson, Jo Lynn Parker, Janice and Rayford Williamson, Betty Prince, Shelley King, and Sheila Blount.

For the May meeting, M&M will travel to DeKalb to see the coal mine operation, coming home by way of Meridian where they will have lunch.