11/02/05 Report on Work New York City area
Gardner Hall, P.O. Box 123, Port Murray, NJ 07865-0123,
Gardner@creced.com Web: www.creced.com, Tel. (908) 850-5389
Small but United
The congregation at Upper Manhattan is more doctrinally pure, united and zealous than it has been in many years. The departure of about ten brethren and their children earlier in the year has led to noticeably fewer numbers in our services. We used to be stuffed in our little building. Now, we fit well but miss those who left, especially their sweet children. However, after the difficulties, there is a spirit of camaraderie among the remaining faithful brethren that can serve as a basis for further growth. Without the distractions of doctrinal conflict, brethren have given themselves whole-heartedly to visiting the sick and talking to their neighbors about the gospel. The results are new contacts for Bible teaching.
Good Contacts in New York
Jessenia Burgas lives in the same apartment building as Victor and RossyGrado. Rossy invited Jessenia to our Tuesday night classes and she accepted, bringing her daughter, Taisha. She has been coming every Tuesday night for several months, listens closely and has offered suggestions.
The elderly in New York City and those who have physical disabilities are given home health aids by the city to help with house cleaning, meal preparation and other chores. Aida Del Villar has two home attendants and both are interested in the gospel.
Maria (in blue sweater in picture to the right), has an orderly life for someone of the world, but told Aida that she didnt believe in God. She attended services one morning when a guest speaker did not show up. Noticing that she was in the audience, I worked up a quick message on reasons to believe in God. The gospel message moved Maria. After services, she told Aida that she wanted to read the Bible. Jon Focht and I are now almost through reading portions of the book of Luke with her.
Porfiria (in the middle of the second row in the white dress in the above picture) has been accompanying Aida to services for almost a year. She listens closely and reads her Bible. Last Sunday, she brought her three well-behaved children with her to services for the first time. She told Aida that she wanted to be baptized, but then confided that she was living with her "companion" without being married and feels correctly that repentance requires a recognized marriage pact. We will be encouraging her to take that step.
Most of the brethren now spend all of Sunday afternoon and part of Sunday evening distributing tracts, visiting the sick and encouraging the weak. They load into the old Ford Windstar the church bought several years ago and other cars and head out into the city. Last Sunday, Victor Grado announced that the brethren are going to begin targeting the apartment buildings where the brethren live, starting with his building, inviting neighbors to studies that will be conducted in the apartments of members on Saturday
Gladys Gonzalez invited a neighbor to services, who enjoyed them so much that she in turn, invited her sister. Both ladies have about 10 kids, including nephews and nieces, among them! Therefore the services at Fair Lawn have even more children now than ever. Pray for us, that we may be able to teach and motivate all the new kids. It is a joy to see several young people at Fair Lawn growing spiritually. Teenagers like Ernie Orellana, Beto Guerrero, Esther Rodriguez, Ruth Orellana, Wendell Montalvo and others are very active in the work. Fair Lawns biggest challenge, perhaps, is the fact that brethren are scattered throughout northern New Jersey and therefore have a hard time getting together except for Sunday services. Were working to overcome that challenge.
I enjoyed meetings in English with brethren in Fultondale, Alabama and Elgin, Illinois. Both congregations are blessed with loving brethren who listen well to Bible lessons. I am supposed to leave this Saturday for a Spanish meeting with brethren in Midland, Texas.
Beverly, Rebecca, David and Leah are well. Dad and Mom will be moving across the Hudson River from Manhattan to work with the English speaking congregation in Fair Lawn, New Jersey. Don Bunting is working in Manhattan and Dad feels he is needed more in Fair Lawn for the time being. Thanks for prayers and support!