7/4/04 Report on Work in the 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
* Abel Adames has had a long spiritual odyssey. He first became a member of the Boston Movement ("International Church of Christ"), then drifted into the Charismatic movement. Brethren at Upper Manhattan began to have contact with him through his mother and aunts. We have spent a lot of time talking with Abel about spiritual gifts and then about baptism. At first Abel affirmed that he was baptized solely for remission of sins to be in Christ, but after a long study with Victor Grado, decided that his baptism by members of the Boston Movement was primarily to join that movement. He then decided that he needed to be baptized again, this time focusing only on Christ.
* Desire Perez, who is 18 years old, is the daughter of faithful Christian, Ramón Perez. However, years ago, Ramón lost custody of Desiré to his wife, who had left him for another man. Desires upbringing was therefore, not the best. Ramón did the best he could to influence her to do what was right, being able to occasionally bring her to services, but her mothers influence seemed to be winning out. Then, Desiré decided to attend our camp. She says that she immediately noticed the striking difference between the Christians there and her worldly friends. She began to think ab0ut the things she had learned as a little girl and decided she wanted the life that Christ gives, not the shallow life of her worldly friends. She brought her boyfriend, Jairo, to services yesterday and was baptized into Christ. Ramón, her dad, was thrilled. He was delighted to hear Desiré tell Jairo that it was up to him to determine whether he wanted to pursue the things of Christ or not, but that she would have to re-evaluate her relationship with him if he showed no sincere interest.
* Ernie Orellana. Ernie is 15 years old and very thoughtful and quiet. Ive known Ernie since he was a toddler and always been impressed with him and his family. He was baptized into Christ yesterday afternoon at the building in Fair Lawn, our second baptism of the day.
Weve just completed our sixth camp for young people. We had 125 young people and 27 full time staff along with others who helped greatly during the day. We try to avoid abuses in several ways. (1) We avoid artificially stimulating emotions of the young people. We want them to analyze the word of God and respond not only with their emotions but with their reason. (2) We keep the camp completely separate from the activities of local churches. Churches need to zealously guard their status as uniquely spiritual institutions and since such camps involve recreation, they should be coordinated and run by individuals. This is simply a personal project. However, with the precautions in place, tremendous good can be done. Young people in the New York City are surrounded daily by drug dealers, alcoholics, peddlers of pornography and all kinds of moral filth. The week spent in Bible study and close association with young, godly counselors has a lasting effect on many of them. They can easily compare the fruits of the Spirit seen in their counselors and mature campers, with the works of the flesh that are often in their face at other times of the year.
Five young men were baptized at camp: Michael DeCelles, Danny DeCelles, Frank Carlos Tobal, Wendell Montalvo and Darwin Paz. Ive known all these young men, except for Darwin, for years and expect good things of all of them. Darwin, was a joy to get to know at camp. He is friendly, mature and a natural leader.
Several other young men were persuaded to wait and talk with family and friends to determine if they were mature enough to take this big step.
* Were enjoying the visit of Jerry Falk, from Spain and Emilio Lerzundi from Lima, Peru. Both are excellent teachers and preachers.
*Victor Grado, and his wife, Rosi, pillars of the church in Upper Manhattan, have put off their plans to move to North Carolina. However, our church treasurer there, Alfredo Santana, is moving to the Orlando area along with his family and his sister and her family. Losing families is going to be a part of the work in this area, but we also seem to find good ground for baptisms and new members.
*I hope to help my Dad with his camp for young men in Russellville, Alabama. I always look forward to visiting brethren in Athens, Alabama when going there. Thanks so much for your love and support.