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Report for August 31, 2010

Busy Summer!

Summers are busy! They are full of special projects, trips and visitors from out of town in addition to regular preaching, teaching and home studies.

During the past six weeks I have had the privilege of working in two weeklong Bible study sessions for young men. One, organized by my father in Russellville, Alabama, had a little over one hundred young men, pictured above. The other, organized by Joe Works, was conducted in Upstate New York near Watertown and had about 60 young men, pictured below. Days at these special sessions are filled with Bible studies while the evenings are spent listening to special presentations and panel discussions about challenging issues. It is a delight to observe young men filling their minds with teaching from the word of God and bonding together, forming lifelong friendships.

Several similar weeklong Bible study sessions have also been organized for young ladies. This past weekend a group of Hispanic ladies of all ages from New York and Northern New Jersey spent a weekend singing, praying and studying the Bible together in Lebanon, New Jersey. The more time Christians spend together, the closer they draw to one another and the more they help each other draw closer to the Lord.

Baptisms

There have been three baptisms among our contacts during the past weeks. Maribel Dominguez is a young single mother who was invited to services at Upper Manhattan by a friend and had several home Bible study sessions with us. She responded to the invitation one Sunday and was baptized into Christ. Maribel is pictured to the right.

Adonis, pictured below, is the son of Miriam (pictured with Adonis) who was baptized a few months ago. According to his mother, he has had many challenges during his early adolescence, However, since his baptism he’s happily joined in our home Bible study with his mother and attended services.

William (Willie, or Billy) Guerrero, who is fifteen years old, and his brother, Beto, have accompanied me to services and Bible studies all over New Jersey and New York since they arrived in this country. Their mother, Nelly, has encouraged them in this. They are with me so much that some have jokingly referred to them as "Gardner’s kids." I’ve noticed Willie beginning to mature in the past year, leaving some of his childhood mischief behind, and thinking and acting more like an adult. This past week Willie was baptized into Christ at Joe Work’s camp. He is pictured to the right, though the picture is about a year old.

Plans for the Fall

I’m writing this report from Bowling Green, Kentucky where I am in a meeting with the very impressive Eastside congregation.

At the end of September, Beverly and I are planning to go to Lafayette, Georgia to bring her parents to stay with us for a while. The maladies of old age are increasingly affecting Beverly’s dad and Beverly and I want to help her mother take care of him. I hope to be with three congregations in October: Marietta, Pennsylvania, Kingsport, Tennessee and Blanchester, Ohio.
Until last year, fall was a time when we could settle back into a routine after hectic summers, but last year fall was busy and it appears that this year will be the same. We ask prayers that we may use the time and resources he has given us for maximum benefit in the kingdom.