Working in paradise

Friday, April 21, 2017
Plaine Magnien, Grand Port, Mauritius
Today was a catch-up day. I had quite a bit of office work waiting for me. I needed to record answers to the questions received from the last class on Daniel and Revelation being posted on FI Online. I researched and recorded them on my iPhone, processed the audio to mp3 format on a computer program and e-mailed it to the media department. I went over my PowerPoint slides for the next class and sent that too using a file sharing service because the file was too large to attach to an e-mail.

There was my weekly newsletter to write for members on our French e-mailing list. This week I gave an update on my trip with photos to keep members informed of our work. That has to be sent for proofreading in the morning and because there is a nine hour time difference, I received it back in the evening for final processing. Once that was done, I posted an electronic copy to our French member website. A number of us have been taught how to access various websites from anywhere there is Internet access. The technology we have available now is quite amazing. I would not have thought of doing this even 10 years ago.

Taking a break at one point, I drove to Mahébourg, a few miles away on the coast, to a market where I bought a few gifts for people back home. Vanilla is grown on Mauritius, and is less expensive than in countries that import it, as are other spices. There are delicious and inexpensive powdered curries. One can find South African Rooibos tea here, a caffeine-free herb infusion which my family enjoys, and so on.

At a picturesque spot on the Bay of Grand Port, the place the first European sailors landed in 1638, I paused to take some photos of the coast. It's stunningly beautiful. Then I drove back to the hotel to pick up my work again.

I worked on one of two presentations I'm slated to make at our May Ministerial Conference, this particular one should last an hour, the other, an International update on Europe and Africa is allowed 15 minutes; that will be a challenge, but our time is limited. I had e-mails to catch-up on: one included the next speaking schedule for the Dallas-Sherman circuit for the three months starting in June.

At the headquarters office we deal with two speaking schedules. One is for the Dallas-Sherman TX circuit, organized by my old friend, Pastor Andy Burnett. The other is for the larger area surrounding Dallas. We are invited to speak periodically in Fort Worth, East Texas (Gladewater, near Big Sandy), San Antonio, Austin, Houston North and Houston South in Texas, Ruston in Louisiana, and sometimes Little Rock in Arkansas. We may also be invited to speak in one of several Mexican congregations where translators are available for us Anglos.

On festivals or for other special events, like the super social in North Carolina, the Presidents Day weekend in Branson, MO, or the Winter Family Weekends in Louisville and in the Pacific Northwest, there may be other assignments. Add to that my travel schedule in serving the French region and there are often weeks, even a month or more between Sabbaths when I’m in Dallas. Ministers in the office often don’t see each other at services for weeks at a time. In any event I sorted through the new schedule to make sure there were no conflicts for me.

Of course I took some time to get my travel blog up to date, that takes some time too; writing, proofreading, processing photos in Photoshop and downsizing them for posting. One post usually takes at least an hour to prepare, and I’m happy to do it! I often tell members who mention my blog that I wish all our church brethren could make a trip to visit their fraternity in Africa or other developing areas; such a visit puts a very different light on life in the West and what is truly important spiritually. But since that’s not possible, those of us who travel try to share what we can and give interested readers an idea of what happens elsewhere. Those of us who travel for the church are only able to do so because we all work together and pool our tithes and offerings. So we all work together to make these trips possible. Thank you for doing your part!

It was good to have the day to catch up and to rest physically as well.

Tomorrow will be an enjoyable day of rest in Mauritius.
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It is amazing to hear what work can be done from so far away with technology today. I"m especially amazed at all the work you keep doing at all sorts of hours and all kinds of situations. The brethren in Mauritius will be delighted to have their pastor with them today, and we're happy for all of you. Please pass on our warm greetings to them.


Thanks for another interesting and fascinating blog. I know it takes a lot of time and it seems like you have so much to do that the blogs would be short and far between. I do find them extremely helpful in knowing about the brethren in this part of world. I would never have this insight without the blogs. Love the technology that make it possible to reach out to the world! So thank you for all that you do and I'm glad this trip has seemed a little less
stressful. Have great Sabbath and hope to see you at the conference.

Rochelle Boyce

Enjoy all your travel blogs. The vanilla & rooibos tea sound great as does Madagascar.

Rochelle Boyce

Enjoy all your travel blogs. The vanilla & rooibos tea sound great as does Madagascar.

mary hendren

I loved the photos of the market--so colorful. I can't imagine getting vanilla and spices from the source, what an experience. Also the ocean photos--Lion Mountain and the shine on the sand at Mahebourg. We've heard, however, it's not a good idea to build on the sand. We appreciate the time you put into editing and sizing the photos for your blog. It gives us a glimpse we would not have otherwise!