Several New Christians
Several have obeyed the gospel during the past reporting period:
* Raquel - I studied several years ago with Raquel, a Dominican woman who is probably around 40. Though she showed some interest, there were cancellations and the class fizzled. However, several things in her life have caused Raquel to want to seek God again and she surprised me by showing up at services at Fair Lawn several weeks ago with about ten other friends! Weve renewed our home studies that involve not only Raquel but also several other single mothers and their children who live in the multi-family house she bought in Paterson. In fact weve had about fifteen people at most of our studies. Raquel was baptized on the fourth of December. There are about ten children and teenagers in Raquels house and several are very interested. Dominican kids are very sweet until they become contaminated by the American lifestyle. Thankfully, these kids are as yet uncorrupted.
* Jimmy, Raquels nephew pictured on the front row in the blue tee shirt in the picture above, was baptized into Christ on December 18. Jimmy says that he wants to preach and Ive told him that first he needs to prepare, but hes made a good start. He goes to an extremely rough school, Eastside High in Paterson, known for the movie "Lean on Me" about tough guy principal, Joe Clark. Unfortunately, Clark moved on and the school reverted to its old ways, but Jimmy seems determined to do what is right.
* Ismelda, pictured on the left at Niagara Falls, is a sweet fourteen year old that was brought by the Grado family as a little girl to services with her identical twin, Esmeralda. We lost contact with Ismelda for several years, but she returned a few months ago and was baptized into Christ on December 18th. She makes the second little girl in the past few months who has come back to us as an adolescent and been baptized into Christ. Sara Sarante, mentioned in last months report, is doing well!
The baptisms of Raquel and Jimmy along with the large number of visitors that accompany them have given a boost to the work in Fair Lawn. We pray that we can follow up on the large number of family members and contacts that Raquel is giving us.
The Sherman Avenue congregation in Upper Manhattan is stuffed every Sunday. Several Sundays ago we had 111 people present. We sent about 25 young people down to the basement to squeeze the rest in our upstairs room that is designed for 66. The Pentecostal church next door has agreed to buy a large building for us not far from Yankee Stadium in exchange for letting them have our building. Weve had a number of promises and real estate deals that have fallen through in the last few years. Perhaps this one will work. A Seventh Day Adventist group is building a school on the other side of our building and wanted the property. This appears to have motivated the Pentecostals to make their move.
Visit to Canada
I took thirteen teenagers to visit some of their peers near Niagara Falls in Ontario the weekend before Thanksgiving. The teenagers get to know each other at our summer camp. This is the fourth year Ive taken a group from the city to be with their friends there in the fall. We stayed in the home of Michael and Sherry Stephens who are tremendous hosts and a good influence in that region. Below, a picture of the brethren at Wellandport.