January was a busy month for trips and special projects in the congregations. February has been less hectic, giving me a chance to catch up on projects that I can do in the office: web page updates, answering letters and emails, working on my paper, Creced, and other long-term tasks, including a book in Spanish on the home.
* The first venture in January was a meeting in Starkville, Mississippi with the remarkable congregation there. It was a joy to spend the week in the home of Stan and Leanne Bullington and their impressive children. I've known Stan ever since I was a child and was thrilled to see that he has such a good wife, Leanne, who is completed dedicated to serving the Lord, her family and others. The congregation is blessed to have Tom and Veronica Holley working with them. Tom challenges the brethren to dedicate more time to Bible reading and the Bullingtons and a good number of other members have accepted his challenge. In addition to their regular reading of the Bible in a year, each has taken on one of the four gospels as a specialty and at the time I was with them, the group was reading the book of Galatians every day for their Bible class on the book.
* The weekend after my stay in Starkville and winter camp, Tom and Veronica Holley came up to see us and to teach the brethren in the churches where we work. (Tom is pictured on the right with his mother-inl-law, Isolde, wife, Veronica and two teens from Chile (Cesar and Natalia Morales) If I have counted correctly, that weekend Tom taught three classes for brethren from Fair Lawn, New Jersey, eight for the Bilingual congregation on 139th Street in Manhattan (mostly on Jeremiah) and two for the Spanish-speaking church on Sherman Avenue. We wore him out, but he loved it and we loved it, being very much edified and motivated to delve deeper into the word. Picture of class on Jermiah at the bilingual church at the bottom of the page.
* Winter Camp - Eddie Jinks did another superb job with winter camp this year. Our attendance of 14-18 year olds was down a little (about fifty), but the quality of attendees and teachers was excellent. You could sense the spiritual boost that many received from the time spent praying, singing and studying together. (picture to the left). Of course, the camp is not a work of the church, but of a number of us who work together as individuals.
* The "Bronx" bilingual church is still meeting in Manhattan! We've become quite comfortable in our "pad," the basement of an apartment building at 508 W. 139th in Manhattan. Several of our members live in the building, we're friends with the super (the one in charge of maintenance) and so every effort is made to accommodate our needs. Though strategically the Bronx offers some advantages, I have a feeling we may be the "Basement bilingual church" in Manhattan a while before we are the "Bronx bilingual church." It is a joy to work with Roger Polanco, Tim Bunting and Caleb Churchill who are each outstanding in different ways. They do most of the legwork, but I chip is as much as my scattered responsibilities allow.
* The other congregations with which I work closely, Fair Lawn and Sherman Avenue are both doing well.
* I don't have as many home Bible studies in the city or in New Jersey as I would like to have. The best new study I have is with Arturo Aviles from Ecuador. He's gone through portions of Luke with me and has finished the Jesus the Way Course and is almost through with Gary Fisher's course on Mark.