Monday, March 31, 2008

Delightful Trip!

Grandma's Picture Being Projected
on the wall in the University
Church of God, Tampa, FL
University Church of God
Tampa, Florida

Mom Addresses the Congregation
while Pastor Tony Stewart
looks on

Brannen's and Jones'

At Charlie's Fish House
Crystal River, Florida
A Most Pleasant Trip

Palm Sunday week-end! My sister, Bonita and husband Mike decided that for Mom’s 87th birthday we siblings should all take Mom to the University Church of God in Tampa Florida. This is the church which her mother (Lula Lee Pearce Jones) had organized in 1927 when Mom was just 6 years old.

So – Mike Landrum, Bonita’s husband, was our wonderful chauffeur and I got to play navigator most of the trip. I thoroughly enjoyed learning about their new “Nuvi” model of the Garmin GPS. “Wow! I must get one of those machines!” I thought. Until they told me how much they cost. Well … maybe if they let me take it out at a nickel down and a nickel a week til it’s paid for! J No. Seriously, Lowell, Mother and I were thrilled to ride along together in the same vehicle with Bonita and Mike. We had a barrel of fun. Thanks Mike! You’re a great driver. Donice, I’m sorry you missed this. We have already decided that we must go again when you can be with us.

Our headquarters was the Fred Brannen home in Inverness, Florida. Fred is Fred Jr., but he is not my son. Maybe I’ll make that the subject of my next blog. Fred Jr., is the one who is a weekly columnist for the Citrus County (Florida) Chronicle. What a wonderful reception and wonderful time we had. They insisted that we should stay in their home with them and also insisted on feeding us. Free beer in the fridge, (root beer, of course) was available for the taking plus oranges, bananas, cookies, etc. between meals, plus, Bonita had let the devil talk her into making a huge container of peanut butter fudge to take with us to tempt us to commit the sin of gluttony. [No – contrary to what you think – I did not commit that awful sin.]

On Sunday morning we drove over to the Church where we were joined by two more of the church founder’s grand-children; Terry Jones and Wanda Jones, children of Mom’s brother, T.J. Jones. A video the church had made about Grandmother’s being the founder was shown and then Pastor Tony Stewart invited Mom to the stage to greet the people before they presented Mom with a plaque and a bouquet of flowers. Mother’s words were so appropriate and powerful. The congregation responded with thunderous applause. We kids were all beaming with pride.

Sunday, on our return trip to Fred Juniors, we stopped at the Townsend House Cemetery where Grandma Jones is buried. It was great fun to reminisce as we thought of Uncle Edgar Jones, Uncle Marve Pearce, Aunt Corrine, Uncle T.J. and others. In the evening we all drove to Crystal River to Charlie’s Fish House and had a scrumptious meal together. Mom ordered fried oysters. I had mullet and grits! If you like seafood and ever have an opportunity to go to Crystal River I recommend Charlie’s. When we returned home the next day to Tennessee I was relaxed and as happy as I’ve been in many many moons.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Gruelling Trip

I'm just back from Nigeria and it was my most gruelling trip up to now! The visit was pleasant enough but we found our missionary very sick from having had malaria and taking at least two falls, giving him a mild concussion. "We" being Hugh Carver (director of MWOA), one of his men, Jim Dixon, Ben McGlamery (World Missions Field Representative) and me, had a very good opportunity to see the great needs on the compound of our Church of God headquarters at Abak, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria. There is so much that we can do to help in this situation. On Sunday we had a wonderful time in Church. On Monday the missionary decided at the last minute that he should travel with us to the states so we brought him (sick though he was) all the way from Calabar to Lagos, to Amsterdam, to Memphis, to Chattanooga and the next day he was admitted to Sky Ridge hospital with a 104 degree fever, dehydration, exhaustion, kidney infection, and other maladies. Bishop Clifford Spence is much in need of your prayers. I want to solicit your strongest prayers for this whole situation and the future of our project in Nigeria.

About Me

My photo
Cleveland, TN, United States
I am Fred Alton Brannen, the son of Louis A. Brannen (deceased) and Bonnie Jones Brannen, Louis was an Ordained Bishop with the Church of God. Bonnie is an Ordained Licensed Minister and at 89 years of age is still actively engaged in speaking and singing engagements. I am married to the former Frances Hildreth. We celebrated 53 years of marriage this past June and we are the parents of 3, grand-parents of 10, and great-grandparents of 10. I pastored in Tennessee for 24 years and served the Church in some capacity in missions for over 23 years. I retired from full-time ministry in August of 2008 but remain active, speaking and singing and teaching whenever opportunity affords itself. In January of 2010 I received a letter of commendation for having been credentialed as a minister in the Church of God for 50 years! My family is very important to me. Our get togethers are always noisy affairs and most times will include family sing-alongs. The children love their Mom's cooking so we have the privilege of seeing them regularly! WE LOVE having them over.

TheCabin on Day One

TheCabin on Day One
Fred Alton