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New Home Studies

* Melba Disla is the mother-in-law of Miriam, who we baptized over a year ago. Melba confesses that she doesn't know much but is motivated to learn in our readings in Luke on Tuesdays.

* Marcela is the first good contact from Bolivia that I’ve had while living in New Jersey. She is in her 40’s, highly intelligent, cultured and extremely interested in the Bible. She says that she read the Bible through last year and is doing so again this year. She had been attending a Pentecostal church in Passaic but said she felt unfulfilled in an environment that emphasizes entertainment. However, she says she has found her niche at Fair Lawn.

Marcela has a large network of friends and several have shown interest in the Bible. One, Lourdes, has attended several services. Others have promised home Bible studies with us.

* Jocelyn is a Dominican woman from Elizabeth, whose 21 year-old son died in the Dominican Republic about three months ago, evidently because of an anesthesiologist’s error during a hernia operation. The tragedy has caused her to seek God. Jocelyn works with one of our members, Nelly Alarcón. Nelly, German Ortiz and I have been studying Luke with Jocelyn, her sister, Yanette and her niece, Tania.

* Darius is an outstanding young man who attended our camp until about 2004. Since then he has stumbled in the world, but recently has made the decision to seek the Lord again. He was impressed with the emphasis on Bible study and the spiritually minded young counselors at our camp, and wants to emphasize the same things as he tries to help the young people in the congregation he now attends. Beverly, Wes Gossett and I are studying Romans with him.

* Raquel, a new convert from Paterson, continues to study with us on Saturdays with a large number of her relatives. I anticipate that more from that family will obey the Lord.

Winter Camp

Sixty-seven young people (most pictured above) attended our winter camp last week in Lebanon, New Jersey. I was especially able to enjoy the camp because I wasn't in charge. Eddie Jinks did a great job of planning the Bible classes and keeping the camp running smoothly. His new wife, Hannah, is a great help to him.

Portuguese?

The Portuguese-speaking brethren in Newark have invited me to teach their adult class on 1st Peter during February and March. They assure me that they can understand my Spanish although I sometimes have trouble understanding their Portuguese. I can usually understand their remarks when they are short and spoken distinctly. However, when discussing the roles of husbands and wives in chapter three, many became very excited and made long comments in rapid Portuguese. Total concentration helps in such a situation. However, when I start thinking, "Hey, I understood that," I realize that I've missed the next sentence because of the self-congratulation. There is no language as close to English as Portuguese is to Spanish. Portuguese speakers say that they understand almost everything Spanish speakers say, and I would suppose Spanish speakers can get 75-85% of what Portuguese speakers say. It's the other 15 - 25% that gets you!

Various Items of Interest

* Odalis Alvarado, who is almost 14 years old, was baptized recently. She is quiet and a little shy but always has a sweet smile for everyone. She is pictured on the right with blue blouse and black letter jacket.

* Jerry Falk has helped me update my website, www.creced.com. It still has a lot of old-fashioned elements, but is much better now with Jerry’s help. He got our online correspondence course going again and several new students are starting up.

* Had a good meeting in Long Beach California for the Spanish speaking brethren at Studebaker Road. Mark Reeves preachers there and the brethren are well taught. The Sunday night attendance was a bit low, but those present are pictured to the right.

* Ismelda, pictured below, who was baptized last December, is striving to grow in Christ in spite of having to live in a dreadful spiritual environment. She told a Christian the other day that she wanted to drop out of High School, not because she isn't motivated to study, but because of the evil influences there that are trying to pull her the opposite direction from what she learns from God. The atmosphere in her home is probably almost as bad as what she has to go through at school. She says that Bill Sanchez has been a big help to her in her struggles. It is probably difficult for most of us to understand the level of evil in many New York City High Schools. Pray for Ismelda and for all of them.