3/4/05 Report on Work New York City area
Gardner Hall, P.O. Box 123, Port Murray, NJ 07865-0123,
Tel. (908) 850-5389
I cut my teeth on Spanish in Argentina, living there in 1980 and 1981. Since that time Ive always had a soft spot in my heart for that country, its food, humorous idioms and Italian accented Spanish.
A few months ago I was blessed to meet some spiritually minded and zealous Argentine Christians, Walter and Marisa Cuello. Walter and Marisa, from Mendoza, Argentina, were converted in a congregation in Perth Amboy that had been associated with the International Church of Christ (Boston Movement). However, the clapping, swaying to music and other aspects of entertainment-oriented worship that began to characterize their congregation put them off. They looked in the phone book and found the address of the Piscataway church and began meeting there. Gary Eubanks and the brethren at Piscataway, New Jersey gave them a warm welcome. Garys son, Brigham, who is somewhat of a prodigy with his Spanish, introduced me to the Cuello family and Ive begun to travel to their home in South Amboy every two weeks for a Bible study. As I talk with the Argentines, I find myself laughing as I hear old Argentine expressions like "reggio!" (Great!) , "¿qué se zzyo?" (whadda I know?) and even finding them slipping into my own speech again along with a touch of the singsong Argentine accent.
The best thing about the study is not my nostalgia, but that several are coming to the truth through it. Marisa talks with all her friends about the gospel and several have attended the Bible study. One of them, Natalia from Buenos Aires, obeyed the gospel several weeks ago. Natalia, along with her father, Daniel, are hungry for the truth and read and listen with great interest.
In the picture above., from left to right: Natalia, with son Jeremiah, Marisa, Walter, Brigham and Miriam
When going to South Amboy on Thursdays, I also stop and visit in Piscataway with Luis and Jennifer Varela. Luis is from Costa Rica. Gary Eubanks has been teaching Luis and Jennifer for a while, and requested that I come and help Luis and a friend, Jorge, in Spanish with some of their more difficult questions. Last night when I called to confirm the study, I was told that there would be no study. There would be two baptisms! Last night, the group pictured at the right (and up) got together to watch Gary (white long sleeve shirt in the middle) baptize Luis (left) and Jennifer (next to him).
Jerry Falk plans to move to the Piscataway area this summer to work more closely with this group of good brethren.
A Bit of a Crisis in Upper Manhattan
Upper Manhattan has been blessed with a baptism. Ruth (center, in picture below) was baptized into Christ two weeks ago.
Immediately after Ruths baptism, we have had a bit of a crisis. Ruth felt that her knee was healed during the baptism and she wanted to give a testimony about it in then middle of services. She asked several of the men about it and they were going to let her go ahead! I reminded them of 1 Corinthians 14:34, 35 and was able to stop the "testimony." However, in the mens meeting that followed, it became obvious that even more teaching must be done about Bible authority. It appears that a congregation in the Dominican Republic, where several of our brethren come from, allows women to give public "testimonials" during services. In my last report I mentioned problems that can affect a congregation with a heavy influx of outsiders and a high turnover rate, little thinking that I would be in the middle of one in the next few weeks. The good news is that all of the men who have been here for several years are firm on this and several other similar issues that came up. We have decided that we are going to go back and preach constantly and with much love on Biblical authority, the role of women and the dangers of presumption, hoping that those uncomfortable with such Bible teaching will change, and if not, will leave.
The Spanish speaking congregation at Fair Lawn has decided to abandon its efforts to find its own building and instead, will continue meeting indefinitely in the building of the English speaking congregation. We are going to pay $50,000 on the current renovation project, paying the contractors directly, as well as pay half of all monthly upkeep expenses. There are advantages and disadvantages with the arrangement, but the fact that real estate is so expensive and government regulations for church buildings so restrictive, that it is practically our only option.
As always, I thank you for your prayers and support.