Report on Work New York City area
Last Sunday, August 28, Nelly Alarcón was baptized into Christ during our services at Fair Lawn. Nelly, pictured below in a white blouse, has been a close friend for several years. She has encouraged her two boys, Beto and Willie, to accompany me on my teaching and preaching rounds every Saturday and Sunday. Nelly is from the city of Ayacucho, Peru. She speaks both Spanish and Quechua and has trained herself to be a schoolteacher in Peru. She has instilled the desire to read the Bible and excel academically in her boys, especially Beto,.
Nelly and her husband, Gilberto, work in a dinner-theatre "castle" called "Medieval Times. " I could tell that she was becoming more serious about her spiritual life when she risked her job several months ago to tell her boss that she would no longer work on Sunday afternoons. That is when we conduct our services at Fair Lawn. However, she is such a popular and highly respected employee, that the boss filled in for her for a while, before hiring another employee to take her place on Sundays. Firing her would probably cause a rebellion within the "castle!" Gilberto will now have to determine how to proceed with his life. Though sympathetic towards the gospel, he also works on Sundays, one of the busiest days in the castle-restaurant.
Beto, Nellys fourteen-year-old son, was baptized at our camp in July. Beto, on the right in the above picture, has always shown an interest in Bible study that is unfortunately not seen in many his age. He has a very outgoing personality that quickly wins the friendship of others. He does not have to be pushed to lead prayer, lead singing or make talks and has a natural ability to do all of those things.
One other young man, Roger Polanco, was baptized at our camp. Roger, shown at the right cutting up, is a very outgoing young man. He has attended at Upper Manhattan for several years. He has gone through periods of spiritual interest and then disinterest. One of our counselors at camp, Jesse Bartley, spent long hours talking with Roger, often into the early morning hours. The word finally took effect and Roger was baptized in the lake late on Thursday night. Roger says he doesnt want to be a "mediocre Christian and Im going to remind him constantly of that. He has decided to go to Florida College and it will be interesting to see how the Bronx and Florida College mix. Roger is definitely a city boy! Pray for Roger. He could become discouraged, or he could become a very strong and effective Christian.
Working with young people
Biblically, it is not the work of churches to provide activities for teenagers that include social activities or recreation. Sometimes I feel that fact leads to the neglect of young people by parents and individual Christians, those who should be shouldering that responsibility. The truth is that in our evil world, Christians and adolescents need a great amount of attention and time together. Our own efforts to encourage young Christians seem to culminate in our yearly "camp." This years weeklong camp seemed to go especially well and I heard comments from some about being the best ever.
I drove several young men to Dads leadership camp in Russellville, Alabama that began the last Sunday in July. This year there were over 60 young men (pictured below) who spent their time almost exclusively in Bible study, singing, prayers and Bible discussions. It is such an encouragement to see so many deep, spiritually minded young men.
Jerry Falk and his family are now in New Jersey, working primarily with a group of Hispanic brethren that meet in Piscataway, New Jersey. He also helps with the teaching at Upper Manhattan (Thursday nights) and Fair Lawn (Sundays). We love Jerrys Spanish accent (his speech is practically indistinguishable from a Spaniards) but especially his well-organized and practical lessons. He is extremely capable but also very humble. One of his few faults is that he tries to get by on inadequate support. He could use some additional monthly support as well as some one-time help. Two other capable preachers in New Jersey, Doug Focht and his son, Jon, also need support.
Our daughter, Rebecca, is now officially Rebecca Bermudez. Her wedding to David was a happy occasion. Our other daughter, Leah, is now in the Tampa area, looking for work and hoping to establish residency there, so that she can afford to finish her education at the University of South Florida.
I drive over 30,000 miles every year in my work and Im wondering how to deal with the current gas crisis. Pray for me as I work on that. However, I know that my inconvenience and expense is nothing compared to those who live in the areas affected by Hurricane Katrina. May God help all those affected, Thanks for your support and prayers