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Report for Gardner Hall

4/20/2012

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Revisiting an Old Evangelistic Tool

The sight of great throngs of people moving though the city on sidewalks, disgorging themselves from subways or trying to maneuver around thoroughfares in their vehicles dodging potholes and each other always impresses me. When I take a few minutes to watch, I think of the fact that God loves every one of those faces. I know each has their particular little history and often ask, how many would be willing to truly seek God? One in a hundred? One in a thousand? Maybe one in five thousand would be more accurate. And yet where there are millions of people, one in five thousand is still a sizeable number.

I've always been taught, and it's true, that the best contacts for the teaching are "warm" contacts – family and friends of those who are already members. However, the sight of great masses of "cold contacts," those we don't know, makes us long for ways to reach them. Television and radio have always been too expensive in large markets.

This past month we've restarted an old reliable form of reaching out to people we don't know, the two-minute Bible message recorded daily for the telephone. New technology makes it easier in the two areas needed for effectiveness: (1) Production and (2) Advertising.

In the 1970's, I remember using an old loop tape recording machine in Mount Sterling, Kentucky to record messages and listen to responses. In the 1990's we used cassette answering machines, but it still had to be located in the strategic areas (New York City and Paterson), with someone who could physically change the cassettes at the appropriate time each day.

However, now we have Phone.com recommended to me by my nephew, John Trimble. I can record messages on my little laptop in mp3 format and upload them. Then with a click of the mouse before I go to bed, I can change the message. We use two phone numbers, one for New York City (718) 530-0306 and one toll free number (855) Hay-Gozo, "Hay gozo" has nothing to do with fodder, but means "there's joy." Invite your Spanish-speaking friends to call.

Rather than the traditional newspaper advertisement, I've used Facebook and Google to advertise the service. On Facebook, I've specified that I wanted the ad to go to Spanish speakers in New Jersey and New York who specified that the Bible was one of their favorite books. Facebook told me that there were a little over 20,000 people that fit that category. The ad is producing calls. Almost 200 people that I don't know have said that they "like" the program on Facebook. I'll paste a picture above of Nichelle that we've used in the Facebook ad. We are receiving around 40-50 calls a day. So, we'll see how it goes. Writing and recording the messages as well as mailing out extra correspondence courses adds secretarial work time to my day, but I'm enjoying it.

Here are a few links to sites for "Momentito Bíblico" if you would like to take a brief look: http://www.momentitobiblico.com - Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/MomentitoBiblico855.Hay.Gozo

Brief Items

* I have a new home Bible study with a young Peruvian named Luis, who is very eager to learn. His biggest challenge will be the fact that he is already in the choir at the Catholic Church and also attends a Pentecostal congregation. However, he hasn't been put off with some points from the book of Acts that contradict practices of both of those groups. He continues to ask pointed questions and soak in the answers.

* Beverly and I have made two quick trips during the past weeks:
(1) We went to Fultondale, Alabama to pick up pews from brethren there (picture below) for the new building we hope to have in the Bronx. We drove a 26 foot truck that does OK on the highways but not on 150th Street in the Bronx. (I crunched the fender of a car there. Insurance should take care of it.)
(2) We spent yesterday with brethren in Tyngsboro near Boston. The congregation has two excellent elders (Mo Accomazzo and Wally Hayes) and has been an influence for good in that part of the country since the 1970's.

* The next two months I will be increasingly busy getting ready for our summer camp. Though not a work of the church, it provides our young people with a tremendous boost. We're always looking for those who can help sponsor campers that need to go but can't (or whose non-Christian parents won't) pay their camp fee. If you can help, or knowno someone who can, please let me know.

I'm pasting below a picture of the children's class at Fair Lawn.