Winter Camp, Work with Teens.
Over seventy young people attended "winter camp" during the Martin Luther King holiday weekend in January. The theme was "Introducing the Minor Prophets" and we studied Obadiah, Joel and Habbakuk. My main joy at these camps comes from watching the more mature Christians among the teens and young adults bonding with the younger campers, having impromptu Bible studies with them and then helping them work through their spiritual challenges.
Some of the challenges that the younger teens have to face are indeed daunting. Many have been abandoned by one or more of their parents, have parents who live together without marriage, are unscripturally married, attend high schools that are morally out of control, live in drug and gang infested neighborhoods, etc. And yet several in particular are being transformed by the Word and by their associations with godly people. One fine young man, Kelvin Arias, was baptized after the winter camp. I especially admire Emily Ferenczes efforts to help some of the young girls scrape off the rough street edges and become sweet young Christian ladies. The transformation seen among some of them is indeed amazing!
Some of the kids talk about the scriptures with street jargon that often isnt associated with Bible talk. "Hey! Yo! Yo gonna do Philippians wid us? Then, get yaself ovah heh!" Since a few of them spend time with Southerners, our expressions stick in their minds and consequently get mixed in. Yesterday someone asked José Rivas where something was and he said, "over yonder." His companions immediately ragged him for talking like a "country person."
We have a number of new personal studies with Christians and with the lost. The best contact among the latter group is probably Myra, in her thirties, who we met through Aida Del Villar. Myra is very interested in the Bible and has attended our services, which is always a good sign. She is counting the costs.
Rene Peralta, from Brooklyn, is a sincere member of a Pentecostal church whose brother is a disciple in Long Beach, California. Ive had several phone studies with Rene and he attended our services once, but is hindered by the inconsistencies often seen in those influenced by the Charismatic movement. I think it best now to leave controversial studies with him for a while, and will send him Gary Fishers correspondence course on the book of Mark, since he expressed an interest in it.
I spend several hours on Saturday afternoons in Kearny, New Jersey with several eighth graders who have previously had little or no exposure to the gospel: Daleska, Maribel, Robert, Shakira and Yareli. Though typical eighth graders, all have shown the ability to learn portions of Luke and even had a few flashes of serious thought on occasions. Eddie Jinks, Beto Guerrero and Willie Guerrero have been with me during most of these studies. Others like Heidi Krumrei, Laura Bishop and Emily Ferenzce have also helped.
Brethren in the area are excited about the big wedding in Perth Amboy, NJ next Saturday. Two of our most highly respected young leaders, Brigham Eubanks and Esther Rodriguez (pictued on the right) are getting married. Ive heard that over 250 people plan to attend. What a thrill it is to see such godly people come together in marriage and what a team theyll make!