by J. Randal Matheny, editor
It was a special trip, for one purpose only. I had driven down the Natchez Trace Parkway, from my mother-in-law’s house in northeast Mississippi, to Winona just to visit him and his wife.
For years I had read books he had published, starting with Glover Shipp’s book, God Answers His Mail, given me by the author on a campaign to Belo Horizonte. In 1978 it was only a two-year-old volume, and I came away with the author’s dedication.
On a subsequent trip back to Belo Horizonte, I came away with another autographed book of Glover’s, Fire in My Bones, by the same publisher.
Then in 1981 came yet another book of Glover’s, the type this publisher excelled at, an account of the first years of work in Belo Horizonte, There’s No Nut Like a Brazil Nut.
Since we’d plans to move to Belo Horizonte, these books were precious companions.
Then there was Roger Dickson’s Grouped in Groups (1979), and Teston Gilpatrick’s Lessons on Missions from 20 Years in Sao Paulo (1982), more of the missionary publisher’s contributions to our bookshelves.
When we moved to Brazil in 1984, Dr. George Hobby did our medical exams required by the Brazilian government. So his mother Georgia Hobby’s book, They called him Muluti: The life and times of Alvin Hobby, a Teacher in Africa (2000), drew our attention. Again by the same missionary publisher.
Many of his authors I came to know; others became co-workers.
So this trek down to Winona became something of a necessity. An imperative, meeting this name I had read and seen on the spines of countless books.
We exchanged a few emails. When I announced my desire to visit, he and his wife welcomed me warmly. They opened their home, gave me the grand tour of their working facilities, showed me attention and kindness.
This missionary publisher loaded me down with missions and preaching books from his stock.
With more visits and emails came an invitation to join their efforts, but I was too tied to Brazil to consider leaving.
But the friendship remained.
I did not know him so well, but his soft-spoken manner, his attentiveness, his concern for faithfulness in doctrine and missions, his treatment of me as an equal, invested in that long familiar name all the good and gentle qualities I could have hoped for.
So as he rests from his labors, and as we continue ours, encouraged for years by his efforts, we salute this servant of Christ who showed the perfect love of God for all men, J.C. Choate.
We salute this servant of Christ with the heart of God’s mission.