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Report for August 26, 2009

Five new teenage Christians

The revival among our youth continues with the baptism of five impressive teenagers during the past few weeks.

(1) Kevin Cruz’s father is an atheist. However, Kevin’s search for truth has proven to be stronger than any discouragement from his father. I expect good things from him. Kevin is in the green shirt at the top left of the picture

(2) Anthony Payero’s mother, Silvia, was baptized about a year and a half ago and Anthony has made the decision to follow in her steps. Anthony is in the middle of the picture with glasses.

(3) Christopher Santana began going to our camps several years ago, even though his parents aren’t Christians. He has become mature enough to see that he needs a Savior. Christopher is on the right in the picture with the Aeropostale shirt.

(4) Melissa Severino has also been to our camps for several years. I thought that her cousin, Lucy, would become a Christian first. However, Lucy’s interest in things spiritual has cooled, while Melissa’s has grown. Melissa says that her big project now will be to work to rekindle Lucy’s interest. Melissa is in the white sweater in the picture.

(5) German Ortiz Jr., not in the picture, was baptized by his father at Fair Lawn. He has grown a lot (both physically and spiritually in the last few years.) I have always had a great deal of admiration for his father.

God has used a number of people in this revival, but in thinking of recent successes, I think a lot of Tim Bunting’s work. He is constantly in the homes of the children and teenagers, reading the Bible and praying with them.

A Joyful Day in Perth Amboy, NJ

The new congregation in Perth Amboy held services in a park overlooking the Author Kill and Staten Island, NY on August 9 (photo to the left). Jerry Falk and I presented lessons from the Sermon on the Mount and several new contacts were made. After services, Charo, a Peruvian lady with whom we’ve been studying for several months, expressed a desire to be baptized into Christ. We took her to a quiet beach on Raritan Bay (thankfully, no scantily dressed people were around) and baptized her into Christ (photo below, Charo is wrapped in the green towel).

Growing Pains

Several members at Upper Manhattan have expressed discomfort at the waves of teenagers flooding the old building. The main challenge is that most of the teens, though speaking some Spanish, prefer to speak English, having been taught the gospel primarily in that language. Some of the older members have said in effect, "Wait a minute! This is a Spanish-speaking congregation! Why all the English? Hw can we expect to reach out to the huge Spanish speaking community if we are training our youth in the English language?" So, there has been an effort to change teen Bible classes from English to Spanish
We have had some strong disagreements about the issue. Some of us are concerned most about comprehension of the Bible message and others about maintaining an ability to reach into the Spanish speaking community. (I don’t think those goals are incompatible.) However, we are working out compromises that hopefully will not discourage the new Christians. Tim, Emily, Roger and other leaders among the young have done a good job in impressing on the teenagers the importance polishing up their Spanish to help bridge the language and generation gaps. Thanks primarily to their efforts; tensions have eased recently

Misc.

Summers are busy! Office work, Internet work and correspondence suffer. A number of teens are constantly in our home.

We had a productive trip to the Leadership Camp for young men in Alabama. I am getting this report out early because I plan to participate in Joe Works’ camp that will be conducted next week in upstate New York. We look forward to meetings in LaFayette, Georgia (Sept.) and in Mt. Sterling, KY (Oct.).