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Report November 6, 2008

Emily

Emily Ferenzce (pictured below right while teaching Carol Funes) has been one of God’s most effective tools in the revival of spiritual interest among young Christians in the Northeast. She is especially effective at winning the confidence of teenagers from the roughest parts of New York City and Newark who have been scarred by abandonment and broken homes.

Most experts in social relationships would not think she would be the ideal person to win the confidence of city youth. She was raised in a sheltered country setting and home schooled by godly parents. She’s no women’s libber but is careful to avoid any teaching situation that might raise questions about her feminine role. She makes no effort to act like she’s street smart or to try to dress or talk like those she helps. She’s just unpretentious Emily! City kids (and adults) love her because she loves them unconditionally and unabashedly. She has been able to crack the tough defensive barriers of some streetwise kids who are learning to become sweet and caring.

Emily recently has moved to the Bronx to live with the Victor Grado family. Someone asked me why such a country girl would want to live in the Bronx and I responded, "She just loves the city." She overheard me and made a partial correction saying, "No, I just love the people in the city." Emily has filled her daily schedule with Bible studies and visits in Brooklyn, Bronx, Manhattan and Newark. I am amazed at how much she accomplishes, much more than many supported preachers. She hopes to get a part time job at Starbucks, but meanwhile is paying for her gasoline and other bills with contributions from family members and appreciative brethren.

Fair Lawn, NJ

The congregation at Fair Lawn has been given a boost recently by the restoration of Victor Murillo. Victor has always been highly intelligent and motivated. He was the primary person who helped me start the work back in 1993. However, his intelligence was accompanied by pride that eventually led him away from the Lord. However, Victor has returned, making a heartfelt and humble confession. Since then, he has been a whirlwind of productive spiritual activity, visiting the sick, calling members and seeking ways to serve. His energetic singing, seems to pump up the whole congregation and has given a boost to our services. Most importantly, Victor now seems to have something that I never saw in him before, a genuine humility that I hope will give him long-term stability in Christ.

My most encouraging home study in New Jersey now is with Manny and Marlon, two young men in their early twenties. Several months ago they were involved in a serious automobile accident that involved driving under the influence of alcohol. Marlon was seriously injured and Manny was arrested. The accident shook them up spiritually. Since then Manny, who probably is the more interested of the two, has read the entire New Testament and says that he is now reading it again more slowly. We are reading Acts together on Tuesdays.

Upper Manhattan

We continue to search for a building for the congregation. The house we were considering in the Bronx has a problem with encroaching property. We’re also looking at an old restaurant on Saint Nicholas and 159th Street in Manhattan.

Young Christians continue to encourage us. Often on Tuesday nights they vastly outnumber the rest of the congregation. This past Tuesday about thirty gathered at Roger Polanco’s house for a series of Bible studies on glorifying God. Many are pictured below.

Trips

I enjoyed a meeting in Midland, Texas in September and a visit to Wellandport, Ontario with six teenage Christians. I plan to be in Morgantown, West Virginia for a seminar on world evangelism November 19 and 20 . The last meeting of the year will be in Spanish at the Embry Hills congregation in Atlanta, December 3-7.