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This report will be a little early, since next week is the week before our yearly camp and I'll be "running around like a chicken with its head cut off" trying to finalize assignments, registration packets and taking care of last minute surprises. The camp, of course, is not a work of the church, but it is a personal project that provides about 200 young people the opportunity to study, pray and sing together for a week. Almost half of our campers are from an inner city environment (New York, Newark, Paterson, etc.) whose parents either can't or won't pay all of their camp fees. A number of "adopters" help with those expenses and for them I am most thankful.

When this camp started, an "expert" told me that it would never work to mix inner city kids with those from the suburbs and country. Though there have been a few rocky moments, the mixing of cultures has generally been a blessing to all. The "expert" did not take into consideration that Christ brings those of different cultures and social challenges together in ways that those of the world do not understand.

After our camp in New Jersey, Beverly and I plan to take a couple of boys down to Leon Mauldin and Scott Richardson's leadership camp in Alabama. Then, in August, we're looking forward to Joe Work's "Sol Camp" in Pennsylvania.

Letters from Cuba

There are number of sincere brethren in Cuba whose letters are always encouraging. There is a big "Church of Christ" organization there that controls the mainstream churches and represents them before the government, but there are also a growing number of God-fearing brethren who see the danger of that arrangement. Here is an excerpt from a brother than I want to share.

I was a Jehovah's Witness from 1993 and was ministerial servant until June 19, 2003 when I was baptized into Christ. I saw nothing out of place with the various Church of Christ organizations until reading the article, "Should First Century Churches Be Our Model" in the February, 2011 edition of your paper. I began to realize that something was wrong with the system. I asked some brethren about my doubts and they told me to be careful with you and your paper because you are "anti."

Later, in a preachers' meeting the brother who is our representative before the government told us that the church in Sagua would not be permitted to meet until its registration had been approved by the government. I then asked who was the official church representative before the Roman government in the first century, and if Christians from the first century waited to receive approval from Rome before meeting. From that time on, I haven't been appreciated as much by my brethren. However, a brother there gave me your paper from October of 2007 where you made the point that almost all first century churches were illegal and that it was better to be illegal than to form manmade organizations to govern the congregations… I don't know what an "anti" is, but I think that if that is what you are, then I am one as well.

Miscellaneous Notes

* Francisco Sanchez, a friend for many years, married Glenda Hernández. They make a fantastic pair. Picture, above right

* Marcela Seel was baptized into Christ last month. She is very personable and I believe she will provide us with a number of contacts for Bible study in the future. Last Saturday she invited me to a home where about 15 ladies primarily from Bolivia meet together. We were in Acts 16 in our regular study and discussed the conversion of Lydia and the Philippian jailor. All the ladies were courteous. One in particular, a young lady named Daniela, seemed extremely interested and Marcela says she has agreed to join our weekly study with Marcela and Lourdes.

* Foy Short, a man I’ve come to admire in the last few years passed away in Nashville two weeks ago. I went to his memorial service. I’ve written a book about brother Short and his work in Africa, which I hope will encourage others.

* Our recorded Bible message is steadily getting over 50 callers a day. It has excited a number of brethren who encourage their friends to call. The number is (855) Hay-Gozo.

Below, I'll paste a picture of brethren from Sherman that went to see the Yankees play the Braves.