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Report for May, June 2011

June 22, 2011

Camp, Early Report

Our yearly camp is coming up July 3-9. It appears we’ll have over 200 campers and staff. The next week and a half will be extremely hectic as we make last minute arrangements and adjustments. For that reason, I’m getting this report out a week and a half early. As always, some city kids who desperately need the week of association with spiritually minded young peers, are indecisive. Because we started the camp especially to help that kind of young person, we tolerate their indecision and last minute applications more than some think we should. However, it makes the time just before camp especially hectic.

Since we’re back in New Jersey (we had camp in Pennsylvania for the last few years) we have to deal again with the State’s exhaustive regulations, including background checks for all who are 18 years of age and up. While understanding the need for that, it’s a hassle to get everyone to go through the process.

As always, we can use sponsors for campers whose parents either can’t or won’t pay their way. Many have parents who aren’t Christians. If you like to help with this kind of project please let me know (or click here http://www.northeastfccamp.com/help.html) and I’ll tell you how you can help. Of course, it’s a personal project and not a work of the church.

Baptisms

* Jeanette is a very quiet but sweet young lady of Puerto Rican extraction who is 18. She asked me about baptism and I asked if she would like to be baptized with just her aunt, father and one or two others present. Since she is shy, she loved that idea. So, we took her to the Fair Lawn building on Sunday night and baptized her with just a few present.

* John is a friend of Jeanette’s who has been wanting to be baptized, but his Pentecostal church would not do it. Jeanette told him that we would do it. After several hours of study, Tim Bunting and I baptized him in the building at Fair Lawn. However, following up with John has been difficult, as is often the case with these quick baptisms. In spite of our expressions of concern, he is evidently still attending the Pentecostal church. Jeannette will be his biggest help in getting away from that environment.
One interesting item – When we drove John across the George Washington Bridge into New Jersey, I noticed he was staring at the trees and quiet streets. Sure enough, he had never been out of New York City since birth, even though he’s in his early 20’s.

* I’ve known Marlin for years. He is the son of Violet who is one of my best contact getters. I’ve studied with him some, but in the last year or two, Roger Polanco has taken up the responsibility of studying with him. He was baptized into Christ last month.

Home studies

My Tuesdays and Saturdays are usually filled with home studies. I’ll give a quick summary of some of them:

* I’ve been studying with Yainme Polanco for a number of months on Tuesdays and think she’s getting closer to obedience. As most young adults in New York City, she’s having to battle a number of challenges, but they have made her want to seek God more.

* Ramona is the home attendant for Aida Del Villar who has been visiting services for a number of months. We’ve always baptized several of her home attendants that have worked with Aida and hope that Ramona might be like them.

* Luis is a Peruvian who has started studying Luke with us at the home of Violet Pacheco. He’s very well read and responds quickly to questions based on the scriptures.

* German Ortiz and I have begun to read Luke with Carlos and Yesenia, a couple from the Dominican Republic that lives in Paterson. German is very good to talk and study with friends and acquaintances.

Portuguese/Hispanic congregation in Newark

We’ve known about a congregation composed of Portuguese speaking brethren in Newark for a number of years. We’ve become increasingly close to the brethren for several reasons in the past few months: (1) Some Hispanic brethren from Fair Lawn have been meeting with them for a few years, (2) We’ve become close to the teenagers, primarily because of the efforts of Beto Guerrero. Several accompany us to Tuesday evening Bible classes in Manhattan.

I helped a small group from the congregation rent the same facilities we use for winter camp. They invited me to speak for them twice at their gathering. Since I don’t speak Portuguese, I wondered if they would be able to understand me but they assured me that they would. It seems that Portuguese speakers understand Spanish speakers better than we understand them. I can understand Portuguese when it is written and can get the gist of it when spoken, but sometimes it loses me. However, the Brazilian brethren assured me that they understood everything I said. Some of the brethren, including some Spanish speakers, are in the photo above left.

Trips,

Had a very enjoyable meeting at Perry Hill Road in Montgomery, Alabama. One young man was baptized in the meeting. There are many loving people at this congregation, especially the Burch family who were outstanding hosts.