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Report 5/1/07

Fair Lawn

Transporting members to services is a challenge in the Spanish congregation at Fair Lawn. Many members and visitors don’t have the money to buy a car, and public transportation in New Jersey is not nearly as convenient as it is across the river in New York City. Therefore, we have become a congregation of minivans. Every Sunday, seven or eight minivans or SUVs pull into the parking lot crammed with people. (German told me that he had fourteen people in his 93 Nissan Quest a few Sundays ago!) Several brethren like Toribio, German, Juan Carlos and Ernesto have specifically bought minivans to help transport members and visitors. We each have our routes, which we adjust by cell phone as we ride along , when we see who is making it to services and who isn’t. My "route" usually covers Union City, North Bergen, Clifton and sometimes Passaic. Sometimes friends ask me if the brethren miss me when I have to be out of town. I respond that they don’t miss me nearly as much as they miss my minivan. To the left is a picture of some of the minivans parked in the lot after services. Notice as well, Esther and Rosa with their arms around each other. Many of the brethren are very affectionate.
Our efforts to buy an old library building are proceeding, but very slowly. Architectural plans have been drawn up and special applications have been filed. The next and biggest step will be a meeting with the Board of Adjustment of the city of Paterson. Our lawyer says we may have to wait until June for that meeting, but is optimistic that our plans will be approved.

Misc.

Over the years I have made friends with many brethren from different Hispanic congregations in the New York City area. Though several congregations have some quirky ideas, most are quite independent and don’t participate in unscriptural brotherhood projects. Recently I had an opportunity to speak to many of them in a large gathering. The Manhattan Church of Christ, which meets on 80th Street, allows women to lead prayers and direct the Lord’s supper. They invited Spanish speaking brethren to listen to a defense of the practice. I was invited to give a rebuttal several weeks later and presented a rather lengthy analysis of some of the texts involved in the controversy: 1 Corinthians 11 and 14; Galatians 3:28 and 1 timothy 2:11,12. The message was well received, not only by brethren who agreed with me, but also by several that disagree. I bent over backwards to be loving, but also firm. The role of women is an issue that will become more discussed as the women’s liberation movement makes inroads among God’s people.

There is an ever increasing amount of work coming to me by email and the web site: questions, the web page course, requests for material, etc. Sometimes I can get overwhelmed and some of the requests can fall through the cracks.

I was glad to be able to hand over a contact that speaks English to my dad and mother for Bible study. They have several home studies going now and are very happy in their work in Manhattan.

Beverly, Leah and I had a very enjoyable meeting with the brethren at the Main Street congregation in Mt. Sterling, Kentucky during Leah’s spring break. I began preaching at the Oak Hill congregation in the same county, and so was able to see a lot of friends from 25 years ago.

Look forward to a meeting coming up in New Hope, Minnesota next week. Then there are no more meetings till August. Beverly and Leah are well. Thanks for your support and prayers.