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Reciente: Bosquejos para sermones, conferencias y clases bíblicas: la importancia y el arte de prepararlos. Lección 1 de Cómo preparar sermones.
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December 31, 2012
Period covered: August 5 through December 31, 2012
To those who provide support for this particular work of God’s Kingdom, and to others interested in it, greetings in the name of the Lord.
After the photographs on these first pages, the main body and most important part of this report consist of “E-mails” –a lot of them! Please give them special attention. I hope you will read all of them! Though perhaps not all at one sitting. I find so many inspiring, and think you might too. Open windows on many people and churches in several countries of the Spanish-speaking world impacted in positive ways by several types of materials in varied formats prepared by us here in Puerto Rico. They are the evidence for the effectiveness of our teaching and preaching.
In addition, would you please give special emphasis to the sheer number of people making contact with us daily, weekly, monthly and yearly –contact with Christ, the gospel, the church- through our Internet Site www.editoriallapaz.org.
-4,192 daily for the year 2012. That is 4,192 per day for the entire 365 days!
-1,529,923 for the year.
-2,684,969 documents or Pages were opened by visitors in 2012.
-How many preachers or congregations working in the English language would have this many in one year for their Internet Sites? I don’t know. Just asking to try to put into perspective data on our Spanish-language Site. These are actual visits, to be distinguished from hits. “Visits” and “Pages Accessed” are the key indicators for the use of a site. From the numbers going on the Site we deduce that the variety, quality and relevancy of its content must be at least moderately good. Our daily goal is to improve it and increase it.
-10,072,143 is the Grand Total of “Visits” to the site.
-20,655,087 is the Grand Total of “Pages Accessed” to date.
-What benefits are visitors receiving? Please read the e-mails! And the additional information we attach to many of them. The Internet Site is all about evangelism –using the newest technologies to fulfill the Great Commission. It is about souls brought to the Lord and helping them to grow spiritually, as well as providing resources that enable Christians to prepare themselves, and others, for different ministries.
First picture above
Baptisms in Colombia by Internet convert. Ronald Sabino, on the right, converted through our Internet Site about two years ago, has himself converted sixty, or more, in Venezuela and Colombia. He has recently baptized several more, including Carlos, in this picture. Ronald has received a scholarship to study in the Baxter Institute, Tegucigalpa, Honduras. The Bayamón, Puerto Rico church contributed $500 for his trip expenses. His family will accompany him.
Second picture above
Pascual Pérez, converted in the Dominican Republic through one of our little booklets, has baptized hundreds, including some Internet contacts. He has established two congregations in Santo Domingo, the first having about 150 members.
Three more baptized in Bayamón, Puerto Rico. Nine for the year 2012.
Ángela Tejada baptized by Rafael Torres and Alfonso Estrella.
Alfonso Estrella (left), Luis Sardina and José Álamo (right), three of the six leaders of the congregation, stand with Nexi Ortíz Santiago and Lucy Rolón to take their confessions of faith in Christ before those assembled. The leaders often proceed thus as a way of manifesting their combined moral and spiritual support for those responding to the invitation.
Luis Sardina and José Álamo baptize Lucy Rolón. Invited by Sis. Noelia Ortíz, Lucy attended a few months before making her decision.
Nexi Ortíz Santiago is baptized by Luis Sardina and José Álamo. Nexi is the daughter of Bro. Jorge and Sis. María Ortíz. She has worked for twenty-three years as a dental technician.
Why two men in the baptistery? In so many cases, it makes baptizing much easier and safer. And it looks good to observers. When the new building was being contemplated, I wanted a big baptistery, and designed this one.
José Juan Álamo, son of Jóse and Andrea Álamo, preaches in Bayamón. Rather soft-spoken, but very expressive, with his own peculiar style, in his most recent sermon José included an incisive analysis of social media and its impact on youth. Thirty-nine years old, José Juan has a Master’s Degree in chemistry. In late 2012, the company where he had worked years closed down. He quickly obtained employment at another company closer to where he and his family live. José is married to Syliva, a doctor, and also a member of the church. This couple has three children. I am encouraging José to prepare himself to be a future elder of the church.
Alfonso Estrella, one of the six leaders of the Bayamón church, presents an unusual message, using two or three hymns, sung by the whole congregation at specified moments during the lesson, to preach a most edifying sermon about glorifying God. On the screen is one of the beautiful PowerPoint slides of one of the hymns. The words of the verse, though not visible in this shot, are on the left in the dark area. As sort of a hobby, I have prepared 103 three hymns in this way, a large part of them being spiritual songs recorded by Antonio. They are on our Internet Site. Jorge Ginés López, a song leader as well as preacher and teacher, showed interest in the procedure, and I taught him the basics. He began to produce PowerPoint hymns at a fast pace, even using lunch time and any free time at his work to do them! Jorge is the manager of a branch of a coop mortgage and banking company. For sure, the Bayamón church is singing much, much better with this system, and we are learning new songs right along. Three more song leaders –Rafael (Tito) Torres, George Rieckehoff and Noel Estrella- have also taken great interest in learning new songs and using this media.
A spectacular orchid at the entrance to an urbanization near the intersection of our local Highway 797 with major Highway 1, between San Juan and Caguas.
The Spanish originals of these e-mails are kept on file. Almost all of them were also prepared in a Spanish-language document for members of the Bayamón, Puerto Rico church (This congregation pays $68.90 monthly to cover Internet service for our Web), participants in the School of Advanced Bible Studies in San Juan and other brethren on the island. A similar document has been added to the Internet Site. Before translating them for you, I had responded
to almost every single one, some requiring lengthy answers. Not a small amount of praise is expressed for us and the Site. Before you read a word of it, I wish most sincerely to give God and His Son Jesus Christ all glory and honor, for we are nothing without them and their glorious, powerful Word. Every day, my fervent prayer is to be useful in God’s Kingdom, and a source of blessing to all with whom I come in contact, be it through the Internet or personally.
-San Miguel, El Salvador. Barrio San Felipe. July 11, 2012. “I work with the congregation of the church of Christ that meets in Calle Chaparrastique. I congratulate you for such a beautiful Web Page where such valuable information is to be found on the church of Christ, the one and only established by Christ.” José Alfredo Gutiérrez Platero
-Tapachula, Chiapas, México. July 24, 2012. “I thank you for all the times we have received materials, tracts, CD’s, etc., from many years back. Thanks.” Josué González Hernández. [This brother goes on to invite us to Tapachula for conferences February 22-24, 2013, even offering to pay our way. How I would have liked to accept the invitation, but did not, for several reasons. In the southern states of Mexico, materials prepared in Puerto Rico produced an abundance of fruit from the 1970’s through the first decade of this century.]
-Argentina. Aug. 09, 2012. “Blessings! A few months ago, we began, with a lady friend, to read about sound doctrine. We were attending an evangelical church, but saw that what was being said in the pulpit was not being practiced. Too, God has given us discernment which enabled us to understand that many Bible verses were being twisted, but we could not say anything to the preachers because they treated us like rebels, saying they were God’s anointed and that we were not doing what they told us to do, etc. It is a shame that in this city where we live there is not a church which follows sound doctrine. Be that as it may, perhaps soon, for with the help of brethren of the church of Christ in Rosario, and others who send studies to my Facebook ( I do not know much about the Internet), we are reading and searching the Scriptures, etc. Many thanks for accepting our request. You also may guide us. We have read what you teach. May God continue to bless you greatly! Blanca” [The church in Rosario has been mentioned in previous reports, much of the growth of that congregation being attributed to our Internet Site, as well as printed and audio materials sent.]
-Las Piedras, Puerto Rico. “Hello. My name is Ángela María Acevedo. I would like to belong to the church of Christ. I want to participate in the Bible lessons and Sunday services. What do I need to do? I live in Las Piedras.” [We provided Ángela with information about two congregations, Gurabo and Barrio Cubuy, not far from Las Piedras, and sent follow-up e-mails, but did not hear from her again.]
-Colombia. “I am amazed at having found the New Testament church, the true church founded by Christ. I knew it existed, but, sorrowfully, have yet had the privilege of becoming acquainted with it. I beseech you, please, to send me the address of the church in the city of Cali, Colombia. Lord willing, I expect to move there soon, and my greatest desire is to attend the only true church of our Lord Jesus. God bless you. Thanks. Nancy” [Note. We sent Nancy the information we have on churches of Christ in Cali and the area, plus follow-up e-mails, but did not hear from her again. E-mails like hers are regularly forwarded to nearby brethren, or churches in the country of origin. In years past, we sent much material to Cali. To our dismay, elements of the anti-cooperation movement have disrupted and weakened the church in some parts of Colombia.]
-Place unknown. With reference to studies on the Millennium, a reader writes: “I very much liked the study and learned what I had not known, for I thought the New Jerusalem and the Millennium were one and the same. I have been very much edified, thanks to God and to you, by this study, and yes, I am going to study it more so that I myself may give it as a study. Many people do not understand this. God bless you richly.” Iris Herrera
-Place unknown. August 14, 2012. Professor requests nine books. “Cordial greetings. Due to your understanding as a spiritual leader, I need to continue to nourish myself with your valuable publications. Could you please send me the nine books? It would be a great help to count on these blessings by means of the teaching material. Professor Carlos Márquez” [Note. We offer eleven books of such materials, but sending them to any country except the USA is prohibitively expensive. Our advice to those who cannot get them in, or through, the USA is to download the ones they want. Of course, that option can prove to be expensive for many.]
-Anthony, Texas. July 05, 2012. A brother in Texas takes material from us into Mexico. “We are very thankful for the shipment you made to us of materials so well put together, so useful for our work in the church of Christ. I have been reading and analyzing, with much dedication, and have read studies that, for a long time, I have wanted to carefully examine. They have enriched my understanding of subjects such as ‘Deity, Trinity and Jesus only.’ Pastor I. Iglesias. [Note. Pastor asked about taking the materials to churches in Juaraz, and we suggested he take them to wherever they might be most useful. Translated literally, the name, in English, of this brother would be Pastor Churches, interesting first name for a man with such a last name! When I first saw his name, I thought he was the “pastor” of some “churches.”]
-Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. August 26, 2012. “Respectfully and lovingly, I call you ‘the apostle Paul’ of the Caribbean. Without you, things will never be the same. May God allow you to live many more years in health, so that the word of the Creator and Savior will not be ignored more than it already is.” Félix García. [Note. I have made mention of this brother in previous reports. Soon after he and his wife, Ana, were converted in Bayamón through literature, they moved to the US, where they have continued to be faithful. Félix, now retired from a government position, has evangelized in Oklahoma through a radio program and other means. As I replied to Félix, though I would surely like to be more like Paul, I am so far from being in his rank.]
-Place unknown. August 26, 2012. “Thanks for the good information. I desire to learn more.” Ricardo Prieto Duarte
-Place unknown. August 27, 2012. “Greetings, brethren. A short time ago, I found your Web and I am delighting myself with your Bible studies, which are edifying me a lot. But, I have a doubt that won’t let me sleep, and I beseech you to respond to it, please, as far as possible.” Carlos Javier Martínez [The doubt had to do with the time for the occurrence of the Millennium, a subject treated at length in Chapter Ten of “Apocalipsis: análisis de las profecías y visiones,” a commentary of about 980 pages we have developed over the last twelve years. Hopefully, we were able to dissipate Carlos’ doubt by additional orientations sent him, so that he might get a little sleep!]
-Puerto Rico. Sept. 09, 2012. Judith, a Pentecostal for ten years, writes a strongly worded, penetrating appraisal of Pentecostalism. As noted in previous reports, Pentecostalism, in all of its myriad manifestations, is a powerful religious force in Puerto Rico, perhaps as much, or more, than even traditional Catholicism. This lady has lived it, and found it wanting. With limited “Commentary” of my own added after some portions of her “testimony,” her evaluation has been added to our Internet resources. The Internet document is the equivalent of about four, letter-size pages. Following is the translation of the first paragraph of what Judith wrote. “I have found your Web Page very informative and of great help. I live in Puerto Rico and belonged to the Pentecostal Church. [Pentecostals] are a good people and I do not doubt many love God, but, with much sorrow, I know they are ignorant of the fundamentals of the Word. I was with them for ten years, and at the beginning I did not understand certain things. Then, I began to study the Scriptures on my own, and the first thing I understood was that they annul grace by combining the two laws. It is because of this that their preaching is only about ‘judgment and punishment,’ among other elements of the old law.” [Notes. From there, Judith lays bare a number of false doctrines and practices of Pentecostalism, as well as unchristian attitudes. I informed her she could find data on churches of Christ in Puerto Rico, and invited her to visit, but have had no response. With no small consternation, I note this same strange mentality in so many others who know they have been wrong with regard to what the New Testament teaches, but do not take definitive steps to place themselves in the right. Where, one wonders, is the sense of duty, and the courage to fulfill it? As if this lack of follow-through after learning the truth has become a sign of the times.]
-Place unknown. Sept. 09, 2012. “I rejoice very much for the work God has lifted up for these last times, and also to know that this doctrine we follow is true, seeing that it is transmitted to us according to what the Bible says. I am happy, I am joyful and I pray for each one of God’s servants who, with an upright heart, forceful, courageous and very committed, carry on this precious work of evangelization on behalf of different peoples. Blessings! And let us go forward, for we are in God’s hands. Forward! We will advance! Amen, hallelujah, glory to God!” Cesia Román
-Place not identified. Sept. 12, 2012. Danilo, put off by tithing and making merchandise of the gospel, spent fifteen years thinking about becoming a Christian before finding the truth in the church of Christ. “May God bless you. Something similar happened to me. For fifteen years, I was thinking about becoming a Christian, but saw how merchandise was being made of the gospel, and could not conceive that it was right to pay the tithe. My heart told me that was wrong, for since I heard and read ‘You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free,’ I sought for that truth, and thanks to God, I found it here in the true and only church of Christ, where only the will of God is practiced, as commanded by His Son and our Savior. God bless this sister and also make it possible for many more like us to open their eyes and see the truth.” Danilo Martínez Álvarez [Note. “Something similar happened to me.” Danilo refers to a declaration made by a lady who sent us an e-mail, and we added it to the resources on our Site. Danilo wrote us on Facebook, and did not identify the document. We now have more than 700 friends on Facebook and more than 300 who follow us on Twitter.]
-Puno, Perú. Sept. 19, 2012. “Esteemed Friends, thanks for sharing your commentaries, which have become a part of me. I do not believe in evangelical churches, Pentecostal churches, etc., for their pastors are hypocrites and liars who are after money. That is what moves them to put on big shows, using the holy Word of our Creator. I hope you will answer. Sincerely yours, Walter Julio” [We did answer, encouraging Walter to contact churches of Christ in Perú.]
-Place unknown. Sept. 21, 2012. Thankful for hymns. “Thanks. We have a house of prayer and want to praise God. This will help us very much. God bless you.” Marianella Sheffield [The “Referer” component of the Comment Form shows us Marianella has reference to the texts of hymns 1-40 on our site. We also have beautiful PowerPoint versions of a few more than 100 hymns on the Site.]
-Place unknown. Sept. 24, 2012. “I like this Site a lot, and all the information you keep coming, for example, on Revelation. I am curious to know, please: To what denomination do you belong?” [We pointed this person to the “salon_preceptos2.htm” on our Site, where he could peruse titles of basic studies and articles that identify us. Also to the “directorio_desglose.htm,” where he might find a nearby congregation.]
-Place unknown. Sept. 25, 2012. “Dear Brethren in Christ, I have recently read the commentary on Ezequiel 37 [Subject on our Site: “The Valley of Dry Bones –El valle de los huesos secos”], and I agree with it in the light of the Word, and I encourage you to continue. In my case, it has been a blessing, and I desire to share this with you. I know that all of us who have been redeemed by the blood of Christ will see each other in the presence of the Lord. Sincerely yours, Roberto Dehner.”
-Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. Sept. 27, 2012. “Brethren, may God bless you. I am a part of the church of Christ in Quetzaltenango, and I congratulate you for the information and the spiritual songs. They are magnificent. Continue forward. God bless you.” Samuel Ronaldo Castillo
-Buenos Aires, Argentina. Oct. 02, 2012. “Good afternoon, Bro. Homero. May the Lord’s grace and peace always be with you. Congratulations on the new look of your Web Page. Excellent! Thanks to the Lord for this valuable resource, that being what your work is for the service of God and His truth.” Carlos Ardila[Notes. These “Congratulations” are especially for Antonio Shappley, who spent hundreds of hours to make possible the “Excellent” new look of the Site. Have you taken a look at the Home Page of the Site to see the “Ticker” moving across the top, with its automatically updated “Recently Added Titles,” each with its little graphic and direct link to the entry; also its “You May Be Interested In…” and “Recommended” tiles, with the same features? I upload a new file and within less than a minute it appears on the Ticker banner. Then related entries also begin to appear in “You May Be Interested in…”! This “magic” is possible through the addition of keywords and phrases in the meta identification of files for search engines (my job), and programming logarithims of which I know nothing, but Antonio does. In addition, the slide-in-and-out Side Bars. On the left, for information similar to that on the Ticker, but not an exact repetition of that information. On the right, open the Side Bar and three different forms appear, offering the visitor options for Comments, Suggestions or Reporting of Technical Errors on the Site, for example, broken links. Just below the Ticker banner is a revolving Carrousel of images, each image a link to a major section of material on the Site. Every time I see it, I am impressed! Move the mouse over the image and a “fly-out” indicates clicking on the image will take the visitor to that particular section. One “to do” task is obtain better images for some of the sections. www.editoriallapaz.org/index.htm]
-San Fernando, Apure, Venezuela. Oct. 02, 2012. Kevin desires to attend. “Hello, Bro. Homero. God bless you. I am from Venezuela, the state of Apure, and I would like to know if there is a congregation in San Fernando, Apure. I am fully in agreement with the studies you have presented and for that reason I am looking for a congregation that is only known as Christian and is founded on New Testament doctrine. I will be very thankful if you can help me. I am sending you my e-mail so that you may provide me guidance. God bless you, in peace.” Kevin Lovera. [We sent Kevin data on a congregation meeting at Calle Queseras, San Fernando. Is it not wonderful that there are now many congregations throughout much of the Spanish-speaking world to which we may refer prospects! Wish there were many, many more.]
-Montecarlo, Provincia de Misiones, Argentina. Oct. 04, 2012. “May the peace of God the Father be with you, brethren. I inform you that, looking for material on the Internet, on my cellular phone, for I do not possess a computer or Internet service, I came upon your Web Page, and, truth is, I have many things about which I would like to ask you after reading about Pentecostals. I was one until a short time ago. I stopped attending because I myself became aware of many doctrinal errors in that congregation. A little later, I began studying with a young Adventist leader. To the present, I have learned a lot, but, to be sincere, I never did like the so-called prophetess Ellen White, much less now after reading some things not very good about her and the Adventist movement. Even before reading this Web Page of yours, I was not convinced about many things, and now much less. But, by revelation of the Holy Spirit, through the holy Word of God, I am certain of many things learned correctly, and of others not so learned. Many are the doubts I have this very day! The principal one concerns where I should attend now. Because the Word of God tells us we should not stop meeting, as do the gentiles. I would be thankful if you would use my e-mail to write me…” Miguel Millo [Note. We sent Miguel data on churches of Christ in Argentina, and directed him to “leyes_compilacion.htm” on our Site, a list of studies, articles and dialogues on the abolition of the old law and the institution of the new. Argentina is a large country, with comparatively few churches of Christ. As previously reported, two have been established there through our Internet site.]
-Place unknown. Oct. 06, 2012. “The analyses you make of problems we are actually experiencing are very much on the mark, as well as profound, for they show how things are on the dark side of events to which humanity is being subjected. I suggest the commentaries you develop be backed up with citations from the Bible. I pray the word of God may be spread and will not return empty from any living soul.” Eduardo Anchaluisa [Notes. Well, I think there must be thousands of quotes from the Bible and references to Bible texts on our Site, but we will act on the suggestion, adding even more! Eduardo’s comments are based on entries he read in the news section of our site –“salon_noticias.htm”- according to the “Referer” element in the Comment Form. The Site also includes a rather large amount of related material in the category of “Signs of the Times –Las señales de los tiempos.”]
-Place unknown. Oct. 07, 2012. “It is a blessing to be able to study such an interesting subject.” Carlitos López[The “Referer” element shows Carlitos has reference to studies in Christian History –“historia_desglose.htm”- a growing section of material on our Site. As a matter of fact, much of the 980 page commentary on Revelation contains a plethora of historical information on the Christian Age. “Desglose” means “a listing of materials.”]
-Place unknown. Oct. 08, 2012. Pentecostal pastor agrees with us. “I congratulate you for teaching the truth about the tithe, the contribution and that it is necessary to have more than one pastor per church. I am a pastor of a Pentecostal church, and I know what you teach is the truth. These doctrines do not please many of my fellow pastors, but they are God’s truth and the church should teach it.” Raúl Fuentealba. [A remarkable statement from an active Pentecostal pastor! My reply included an inquiry about where he lives, but I have not yet received an answer.]
-Place unknown. Oct. 16, 2012. “Hello. Congratulations on the material about the Virgin Mary and pagan goddesses. I suggest photographs of the goddesses, comparing them with the virgins, to show the parallelism and external likeness.” Danilay Mendoza [Danilay refers to “the virgins,” plural, because in many countries, states and cities controlled or heavily influenced by Roman Catholicism each area has its own version of the “Virgin Mary.” As stated in the reply, Chapter 8 of the commentary on Revelation contains numerous illustrations of the pagan goddesses and the Virgin Mary. The “Referer” element shows Danilay read “Virgin_Maria_linaje.htm,” a study on Mary and her family.]
-Place unknown. Oct. 17, 2012. With reference to the study on the Sixth Trumpet of Revelation, Orlando writes: “The interpretation is sufficiently clear, it seems to me, although it is not easy for us to understand Revelation. But, with the help of the Holy Spirit, we will be able to. Thanks.” Orlando
-Place unknown. Oct. 22, 2012. “Thanks for taking the time necessary to prepare these studies.” Yasser Alberto Morales
-Venezuela. Oct. 23, 2012. “God bless you. I am Rafael Rodríguez, of Venezuela. Your Web Site is very useful for understanding Revelation. Would you have a study on the 70 weeks of Daniel?” [Not yet.]
-Place unknown. Oct. 25, 2012. “I am astonished, for although I had studied somewhat on the subject in the book ‘The Great Babylon,’ I had not again found such a profound and complete investigation. God bless you greatly. This is the first time I have gone on this Blog and I think it fabulous. Many thanks. Blessings.” Octavio Buitrago [Our Site is not in the Blog format. The “Referer” indicates Octavio had reference to “apocalipsis_Capitulo8_granramera_contendio.htm,” that is, Part 3, of Chapter 8, of the commentary on Revelation, the chapter on “La gran ramera… gran ciudad”.]
-Place unknown. Oct. 30, 2012. Having read “Diviners, Magicians, Swindlers and Circuses in Pulpits,” by Vicente Mercado Santamaría, of Barranquilla, Colombia, Lidys Campo Sánchez wrote the following: “Of a truth, I think God has a people who have not bowed the knee to Baal. I have to repent, for I also believed in that doctrine, but from a certain time back the Holy Spirit has been reproving me with regard to what I was hearing, and I was not sure, but confronting what is preached with the Word, there can be no doubt. That is called apostasy, for it is surely so that God does not share his glory with anyone. We have to begin to search the Scriptures and ask the Lord for discernment, for the Word itself commands us to try the spirits. God is Holy. The Lord is going to ask us to give an account for the souls being lost, and our own salvation is in doubt if we follow these mockers.” [Notes. The number of charismatic, religious swindlers in the Spanish-speaking world, and in Portuguese-speaking Brazil, is beyond belief. They rake in millions and millions every week. The worth of a few can be counted in the hundreds of millions. Powerful charismatic, religious television networks are on the air twenty-four hours a day, also taking in tens of millions monthly. Vicente Mercado has watched some of the programs on those stations, and has then written very perceptive, sharp analyses. We have added five of his articles to the resources on our Site.]
-Haines City, Florida. Nov. 01, 2012. “God bless all of you, brethren. We are assisting in a work of the church of Christ in another town about 45 minutes from where we live, for in Haines City the only congregation is English-speaking. On Sundays, I am giving classes on fundamentals of the New Testament church, the gospel, biblical baptism, etc. The people around this town are predominantly Mexican and other Spanish-speaking. There is a large family very interested, or better said, thirsty for the truth, and we are working with them. I am making use of the studies published on the Editorial Site, very useful, for certain. We are very enthusiastic about this project and are combining our talents to grow and reach more souls.” Ricardo Sánchez [Notes. Ricardo was baptized in Puerto Rico when he was young. He was a member in Bayamón for several years and for two years worked full-time with me in the printing ministry, supported by the Southside church, Shelbyville,TN. In Florida, he works for the Coca-Cola Co., and is becoming more and more active in church work there.]
An exceptional document from Venezuela
“¡FALSOS PROFETAS! ¡FALSAS ENSEÑANZAS!”
“FALSE PROPHETS! FALSE TEACHINGS!”
By Wuiston Medina
-Venezuela. Nov. 02, 2012. Tremendous treatise on modern-day gospels. “With affection, I enclose information I have prepared to refute all that movement by the contemporary Christian church. Send it, please, to Christian friends you may know. Greetings, and blessings.” Wuiston Medina
-Notes. The “information” was sent as an attachment of 130.1 kb. I did send it to some “friends,” tens of thousands as a matter of fact, for I put it on our Internet Site! Well, not all who visit the Site turn out to be friends, but many do.
Downloaded to Word, the “information” took up 27 letter-size pages. Simple title: “False Prophets! False Teachings!” An in-depth analysis of modern-day gospels. Doctrinal, psychological, emotional, spiritual. Very well written, in Spanish, of course. I would evaluate it as nothing less than exceptional. From a man, Wuiston Medina, who identifies himself as a “pastor and Christian theologian.” Obviously, an inside observer of alarming developments in evangelical-Pentecostal circles, he writes with a knowledge of terminologies, attitudes, motivations, strategies, etc., which it would be impossible for me, as an outside observer, to equal. Though Mr. Medina is not a member of our brotherhood, yet, in the whole treatise I found only two or three sentences I might object to, in the context of Christian music, and even there he did not openly defend instrumental music but rather stated how it was contributing to the development of the “new gospels” he so effectively unveiled for what they really are. I simply added a link to the section of studies on music in the church on our Site. www.editoriallapaz.org/salon_musica.html.
I do not yet know to what church Mr. Medina belongs, but shall continue communicating with him in the hope such a capable person may, one day, become one of us. Disturbingly, such people do not always see in local churches of Christ a good example of how the church should be. Previously, Wuiston had sent us a very good study refuting tithing, of such quality that we added it to the resources of our Web. Now, how the author of two works like these could continue in the fellowship of such evangelical-Pentecostal religions is not easy for me to understand, and would constitute, I imagine, a terrific conflict he himself will need to resolve for his own peace of mind and salvation. Stay tuned.
Formatting Wuiston’s treatise, first in Word, then in Adobe DreamWeaver, for our Web Site was no small job. I divided it into four, interlinked Parts, adding perhaps as many as twenty pictures, or more, including a most striking composite at the very beginning of Part 1: The head of a young man with latino features, one half being human and the other half, wolf! (“lobo,” in Spanish) www.editoriallapaz.org/prosperidad-falsos-profetas-falsas-ensenanzas-Medina-1.html
-Reynosa, Tamaulipas, México. Nov. 02, 2012. “Brother Homero, very much on the mark your study on angels for this humble servant, for I had some doubts and, thanks to this study, they have dissipated. Thanks, brother. A cordial salutation from your brother in Christ, Noé Chacón Alvarado. God bless you. May it go well with you. The Lord is coming.”
-Place unknown. Nov. 03, 2012. Excellent Web. “Greetings. Brethren, I congratulate you and God bless you. Your Web is excellent. You really explain just what the Word of God is. I would like to know how you could help me to find a Christian congregation which has the same concept you have of the teaching of the Word of God. Thanks.” Marcelo García Pérez [We informed Marcelo about the Directories of Churches of Christ on our Site.]
-Place unknown. Nov. 03, 2012. “Good Web. You saved me.” [One of the most memorable e-mails we have received! In Spanish, just four words that say so much. “Buena Web. Me salvaron.”]
-Place unknown. Nov. 05, 2012. His congregation is called “Christ.” “I have read various articles on your Web which have enriched my understanding of the sound doctrine of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. My denomination is called ‘Christ,’ for the congregation of the saints, or in other words, the church the apostles established according to Acts, was not given any name by the Lord. I have a number of people to whom I am giving classes and Bible studies. Now then, my question is: What is your opinion about women preachers, for, to be frank, I do not accept them? I want to know if I am right or wrong. I would thank you for a prompt reply. May the Lord bestow rich blessings upon you.” José Valle[We directed José to “mujer_compilacion.htm,” a listing of relevant studies, articles and exchanges on our Site. How many will be out there in the Spanish-speaking world using studies from our Site to give classes and Bible studies? With 4,192 visitors per day to the Site in 2012, we might surmise a good many would be doing just that.]
-Samaria, Distrito de San Miguel, Panamá. Nov. 06, 2012. “Blessings, brethren. I would like to consult you about how to download the complete book on the subject of the Lord’s Supper, for in the congregation where I minister members have asked for subjects like these, but more in depth.” Luis López Gil, Church of Christ [Notes. The printed version of this material has about 160 letter-size pages of text and photographs. If Luis has the proper equipment, he should be able to download the fifteen lessons, several with texts for the teacher and questions for students, without any problem, but we understand slow download speeds and other technical complications could make the process difficult, circumstances that would affect many users in Spanish-speaking countries. A pressing need is to prepare more of the material on the Site in a PDF format, and another is to have it available on CD. Should you wish to take a look at the “Content Page” for this detailed study on the Lord’s Supper, including guidelines on how to celebrate it, and controversies related to it, here is the link: www.editoriallapaz.org/cena_CONTENIDO_htm]
-Venezuela. “Dear brethren, blessings. I found your Web Page, because, for some time, God has been guiding me with regard to the false doctrine of the obligation to tithe, and also with regard to the merchants of the gospel. I am Venezuelan. Truthfully, you have edified my life. Your exposition of the Word on tithes is excellent. Now, I ask you, please, to give me an answer about the ‘spiritual oversight’ pastors, evangelists and prophets are teaching, causing terror in believers, manipulating them anyway they wish, putting yokes on them. Even pronouncing condemnations on them, telling them that if they leave the church God’s judgment will come upon them and their families, and that they cannot preach, be pastors, much less establish a congregation, for they went out from under spiritual oversight, and their false ‘spiritual fatherhood.’ Please, give me an answer on this, because, I have experienced it and have suffered a lot, a lot. Blessings, and a thousand thanks.” Migdalia Pacheco
[Notes. We directed Migdalia to “salon_pentecostal.htm” on our Site, a listing of scores and scores of related articles, studies (some lengthy), exchanges, testimonies, etc. I continue to affirm that the power Pentecostals pastors hold over their congregations, or try to impose on them, is equal to, perhaps greater than, that which Roman Catholic priests have. They often come up with new strategies, “spiritual oversight,” or “spiritual fatherhood,” being one of the latest. The idea is that all activities of members must be under the absolute authority and control of the pastor, evangelist or prophet. He then becomes a true spiritual dictator. No one makes a move without his knowledge and permission. A few months ago, I wrote an article entitled: “In Puerto Rico, Fear of the Pastor! –En Puerto Rico, ¡temor al pastor!”, putting it on the Site. It is really amazing how much Pentecostals fear their pastors, as if they were God on earth. As a matter of fact, they do claim to be the voice of God, or the Holy Spirit, and there is the reason for the fear. This “dictatorship of the pastors,” this “fear of the pastors,” keeps many from renouncing Pentecostalism even when they become convinced doctrines and practices of that religion are wrong. Is it a small thing we should be helping to liberate many of them through the Internet Site? Even whole churches! Including some pastors. According to e-mails being received, more and more pastors are ceasing to teach the tithe, and some are writing against the practice. Read farther, if you will, for more evidence. Incidentally, the number of people caught up in the Pentecostal-Charismatic type of religion is estimated to exceed one billion! And should we not be concerned for their souls?]
-Place unknown. Nov. 10, 2012. “This Web Page is very, very good! It is an excellent contribution to shake up the church, God’s people, that we might come out of ignorance. Thanks. God bless you!” Cacho M.
-México. “Dear Bro. Homero, I want to greet you and congratulate you on the work of the Lord you have done in Puerto Rico, a really excellent work. Many years ago, I had the opportunity of receiving from you a variety of literature and messages on cassette, as also [the albums of cassettes] on Galatians, Ephesians, Prophetical Texts of the New Testament and Thirty-two Studies on the Holy Spirit. I want to tell you they have been very useful to me in learning the Word of God.” Candelario González Rivas
-Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Nov. 10, 2012. Material used to prepare workers. “I want to tell you the material ‘How to Plan, Prepare and Present Sermons, Classes and Services –Cómo planificar, preparer y presentar sermons, clases y cultos’ is being used to prepare more than twelve brethren and sisters here. It is very good. I also use it as a text book for teaching in the Bible Institute in the city of Danlí, where we have six students [in a two-year program]. César Tabora Gutiérrez [Note. This manual, composed of nine lessons –about 70, letter-size pages- developed originally for the School of Advanced Bible Studies in Puerto Rico, has been used in several places in the Spanish-speaking world. I have revised the first four lessons, placing them on the Internet, and hope to revise the rest soon.]
-Barahona, Dominican Republic. Nov. 11, 2012. Bro. Santos Féliz, evangelist supported by the Cavitt St. church, Bryan, Texas, for many years, reports they had 4,000 copies of the tract “We Invite You to Learn about the Church Christ Established –Le invitamos a conocer a la iglesia que Cristo fundó” printed locally for a gospel meeting. This is, by far, the most effective tract we have produced.
-Bayamón, Puerto Rico. Nov. 11, 2012. Janemar, a young mother who lives in Toa Baja, read materials on our Internet Site and began attending off and on in Bayamón, with her baby girl. Just when we thought she might be closer to a decision because she started coming more often and seemed quite positive, Janemar stopped attending during the holiday season. We know she spent some time in Pentecostalism. Beyond that, not even the young ladies of the congregation were able to get much more information from her.
-Guadalajara, México. Nov. 11, 2012. After attending several Pentecostal churches, Miguel Ramírez read “Pastors After Your Money- Los pastores tras su dinerno” –a tract I wrote, and one which has helped many people, according to statements across the years. He read it on another Web, not ours, then wrote: “When I read the article…, I was moved, because that is just what I was looking for, but the smile on my face did not last long when I saw you are in Puerto Rico. Getting to the point, my question is: Do you have a similar congregation in Guadalajara, México?” [We sent Miguel data on three congregations in Guadalajara.]
-El Tigre, Anzoategui, Venezuela. Nov. 13, 2012. “Each day, I am more convinced by these Bible studies, because, in actuality, there are many pastors who are owners and lords of their congregations.” Gerardo González
-Springfield, Massachusetts. Nov. 14, 2012. E-mail leads to six-page study on present day “apostles”, both masculine and feminine. “I am thrilled by your total dependence on the Bible in support of the truth and in pointing out error. In particular, I am interested in the false doctrine of modern apostles. I want to prepare myself in this area to be able to contend for the faith once given to the saints. I have read many of your articles on the subject. I would like for you to instruct me a little more. Some of such so called ‘apostles’ and ‘women apostles’ say that, though they do not fill the requirements to be apostles in the same sense as the twelve apostles, in reality, they have received the ‘gift’ of the apostolate and that they are apostles in the generic sense, in other words, in the same sense as Timothy, Epafroditus, Adronicus and Junias, and many other messengers (apostles) sent by the churches (2 Corinthians 8:23). They argue there is nothing in the Bible which would indicate there should not be apostles today. They say they are commissioned as apostles by the churches just like the messengers (apostles) were commissioned by the churches [of the first century] (2 Corinthians 8:23). I would like to know more about how to refute this argument. I would like to ask you, with all kindliness, to give me all details there might be in the Bible concerning this intellectual curiosity on my part. If it is possible, write exhaustively on this particular matter. It is no bother for me to read your magnificent study of the Scriptures. I anxiously await your contribution for my growth, and thank you beforehand.” Ismael Cortez
[Notes. How could I not respond to such a finely worded request! And I did by preparing a six-page study available at www.editoriallapaz.org/apostoles-apostolas-de-hoy-Ismael.html. Actually, that study was very much needed, for we had not covered those arguments in any previous one. To be sure, “apostles” could be a legitimate translation of the key Greek word in texts such as 2 Corinthians 8:23, and we delve into this matter in the study prepared. Now, anyone who has seen the so-called “apostles” and “women apostles” of Pentecostalism in action knows they are anything but like the “messengers” sent by some churches in the first century. They have not been sent by churches, but rather have created “churches” or independent “ministries,” over which they lord it with the power of a Roman Catholic archbishop, or the Pope himself. Their justification for calling themselves “apostles” I personally interpret as a subterfuge to cover up their real motives –power, glory-seeking, pompous titles. We have a famous, or infamous, “woman apostle,” Wanda Rolón, here in Puerto Rico, with a 5,000 member congregation near Bayamón. Nothing but a Latin version of prosperity gospel Joyce Meyer.]
-Ismael responds. Nov. 17, 2012. Thanks, Mr. de Álamo [That’s me!]. That is just what I thought. The claim of such apostles and women apostles is, according to them, that they do not necessarily use that title in the same strict sense as the twelve, but rather in a generic sense. But, their conduct contradicts their claim. They insinuate they have superior authority, and beyond that, declare it is necessary to submit to them and their teachings as if these were inspired and infallible.” [Ismael goes on to trace this movement to a certain John Alexander Dowie, of the XIX century, who said he would be the first “restored apostle” in the process of the restoration of the church.] I want you to know I appreciate you in the Lord and thank you very much for your time and dedication. Greetings from Springfield, Massachusetts. In Christ, Ismael Cortez.”
-Place unknown. Nov. 16, 2012. “Hello. Grace and peace be multiplied to you. …excellent studies on Revelation… Many thanks for having on the Internet a place designed with the precious souls God loves in mind.” Olga Gómez
-Place unknown. Nov. 18, 2012. “I give thanks to God for your life, for you are an instrument of knowledge for anyone who is stirred by God to search for the truth in the midst of so many lies in the pulpit.” William Huertas
Another great treatise, from a special man in Chile
The man is Daniel R. Neveu Pedreros. He lives in Temuco, Chile, where he was born and raised. From his picture, I would say he is in his fifties. Early in November, 2012, Daniel sent me a PDF file of a sixty page booklet he had copyrighted and published. The title is “El Diezmo: una verdad irrefutable –The Tithe: an Irrefutable Truth.” When I first saw the title, my impression was that it was a defense of tithing by a Pentecostal pastor. Looking at the index of eleven chapters, I noted the last ones were devoted to the New Testament and read parts of two or three. Immediately, it became apparent that Daniel was refuting the tithe! Going back to the first chapter, there I learned Daniel’s father had probably been one of the early converts to Pentecostalism in Temuco. [This religion came to Chile in the early twentieth century, via India, some interesting data we have on our Site.] His father founded a Pentecostal church, and began teaching the tithe. Daniel grew up in that church, and, when he became an adult, started a street vending business, following in his father’s steps. Having his own income, he began to tithe religiously and teach tithing, becoming more dogmatic and insistent as time went by. One day, he decided he needed more knowledge about tithing in the Bible in order to be more effective in teaching it. The result of his investigation was far from what he envisioned: He studied himself completely out of tithing! His treatise is the fruit of his studies, and such a good one I decided to publish it in four parts on our Site. When Daniel first sent me the material, he gave me permission to use it as I saw fit. What we have here, then, is the irrefutable truth against tithing in the church by a man brought up in Pentecostalism who had preached and taught the tithe as absolutely necessary! Daniel’s style of writing is engaging, with a courteous tone that would not be offensive to the objective reader. He takes the reader from the tithe Abraham gave to Melquisedec all the way through the Old Testament, to the tithe during the life of Christ and the mention of tithing in Hebrews 7. There is also a sound and forceful explanation on the abolition of the Old Testament based on Romans 7.
I promptly began downloading the PDF file and formatting it for our Site. That was a task and half which took me many long hours, for the original was a justified text with different amounts of spacing between words, etc., etc. Too, Daniel had missed a lot of written accents in his Spanish and used commas instead of periods to end sentences. As he later wrote, his schooling had not been so good, but the content of his work justified, in my opinion, the time and effort I invested. Relevant graphics were added to the four parts as published on our Site. The link to Part 1 is: www.editoriallapaz.org/diezmos--abolidos-Daniel-Temuco-1.html. [The double dash after “diezmos” is not a mistake, though originally it was not intended.] The original text of the treatise is the equivalent of 24 letter-size pages.
Two e-mails from Daniel
-Temuco, Chile. Nov. 24, 2012. “Beloved brother, a few days ago, I received your kind answer with regard to the book ‘El Diezmo: una verdad irrefutable –The Tithe: An Irrefutable Truth.’ Today, I went on your Web Site and am pleasantly surprised to find three chapters published. It was enough to cause tears of joy and happiness. I fervently desire the book may be a blessing to many. A hug, and may the Lord keep you.” Daniel Neveu
Curious about the church Daniel is now in, I sought more information and translate for you a part of his reply.
-Temuco, Chile. Dec. 28, 2012. “With regard to your inquiry, to be sure, I am working with a small congregation in my city, and the pastors are called Elders, another thing I discovered in the Bible. We are treated as brothers, and so it is that I am Bro. Daniel. The brotherhood recognizes our pastoral ministry, but does not say ‘my pastor,’ and that keeps our feet on the ground, within limits. In Part 4 [of the treatise written by Daniel], you added a commentary on this point, writing that churches did not have a single pastor. [This was a note I added to clarify that matter, and if I remember correctly, it was the only note I did add to Daniel’s whole work.] What can I say but that you are right! This also is a teaching in our church, but there is a problem: The members are few and there are not any brethren (until now) really committed to the work. They do not have the requirements set down by the apostle Paul, for if they did, you may be sure that in an instant I would have separated one or two in order to faithfully follow the Scriptures. On the other hand, what would we do about the apostle’s teaching to not lay hands suddenly on anyone? I believe this is a good opportunity to ask you keep us in your prayers.”
-Notes. Well, this is wonderful, and so unusual! The man, Daniel Neveu, not only studied himself right out of tithing but also came to understand the true meaning of “pastor” in the New Testament church, as well as the need for a plurality of pastors in the leadership. Let us indeed pray for him, and we shall, Lord willing, continue in contact with him.
-Place unknown. Nov. 27, 2012. “With regard to ‘Simon the Magician, of Samaria: Was he saved upon believing and being baptized, or did he only pretend to believe in Christ?’ the fundamental exposition is tremendous. I congratulate you on this article full of many details and real fundamentals that edify the body of Christ, and the reader. Forward, always forward, in Christ Jesus!” Jorge C. Lallave Cortes [Note. Some visitor to our Site had said in an e-mail that Simon the Magician never was saved, even though the divine record says he believed and was baptized. Studying that case as never before, more and more circumstances and details convince me there is no real basis for concluding Simon did not really and sincerely obey the gospel. There is no question but that weeks or even months later he committed a grievous sin. The study, in Spanish, is five, letter-size pages long.]
-Nicaragua. Nov. 29, 2012. “Dear Brethren, God bless you enormously for your marvelous and very valuable work. I would like to request a special favor of you: Would you please send me the complete commentary on Revelation as a Word document in PDF. I am a member of the church of Christ in Nicaragua.” Amilcar Lelis Trujillo Quintero [This complete work is 980, letter-size pages, with a considerable number of pages in color, and color graphics on many others. We do not yet have it in PDF, nor on CD, a project on the “to do” list.]
-Connecticut. Nov. 30, 2012. “The peace of God be with you. My name is Martin, Puerto Rican living in Connecticut. I want to let you know that finding your site on the Web has been a blessing to my life. I am thankful for your sincerity in the articles I have read. I would like you help in understanding 1 Corinthians 11:15-16.” Martin [Note. The verses are a part of the text, beginning in 1 Corinthians 11:2, on the use of the veil. We referred Martin to “velo_desglose.htm” for a listing of a number of relevant studies on our Site, especially a large amount of material translated from “Roman Wives, Roman Widows: the Emergence of the New Woman in the Roman Empire of the First Century,” well researched information I found most edifying.]
-Place unknown. Dec. 06, 2012. An independent church that does not tithe. “Hello. The blessing of the all powerful God be upon you, my brethren. I am fully in agreement with you. Where I attend, the church is independent of denominations and confederations, and there a brother with a holy calling opposes the incredulity of brothers who adore men who put last the Word of God and his Holy Spirit… to follow the dogmas of corrupt men, lovers of themselves, who on the outside present themselves as clean, but within are full of theft and robbery, who do not enter themselves nor allow others to enter. We were taught not to tithe, for the New Testament does not require it.” Osilis Sánchez[Notes. Osilis makes more sharp observations about present-day merchandisers of man-made gospels. So concise and impacting was the one paragraph that we decided to add it to the resources on our Site. This type of affirmation goes in “Digital Files of Comments, Exchanges and Testimonies”, of which there are seventeen on the Site, some with dozens of entries. How does a congregation out there in the Spanish-speaking world become “independent of denominations and confederations,” following the New Testament? Would the materials on our Site have served as the spiritual seed, at least to some degree, from which the congregation grew?]
-Cuenca, Ecuador. Dec. 09, 2012. Invitation to Cuenca, Ecuador to present a leadership course. Church of Christ there has 120 members. “Good afternoon, brother. May the Lord bless you. We would like to ask a number of favors. One is if you could advise us as to how to establish ministries. For example, prayer, visits, missionaries, etc., and who could be the candidates. We request a guide to develop a work plan. We are asking because we want to do a good work for God, organizing ourselves properly. We also want to invite you to come here to Cuenca, Ecuador, to the church of Christ en El Rosal, to present a course on the subjects mentioned. We are 120 members…” Gabriel Villalta [Note. How I would have liked also to accept that invitation, but did not for a number of reasons. In years past, we sent large amounts of materials for evangelization and the development of the church in the Cuenca, Ecuador area. Abundant fruits were reported as brought about by those resources. Courses for leadership development on our Site cover some of the subjects mentioned by Gabriel.]
-Manizales, Colombia. Dec. 12, 2012. Ex Roman Catholic seminarian finds our Site. “Such an excellent Internet site.”[Included in “Brief Report” sent Dec. 28, 2012.] “A cordial greeting to you. I write, principally, to congratulate you on such an excellent Internet site you have. By the grace of God, I found it while navigating on the Web. Too, I ask that you pray for me. At this time, I am in a process of discerning. I studied philosophy and theology at a major seminary of the Roman Catholic Church, but because of differences over doctrine and other matters, I found myself in need of leaving all that, and suspended as well the service I provided as a consecrated minister of the Roman Church. So it is that I ask for your prayers, for deep within me I feel that the Lord Jesus Christ is calling on me to serve, that all the knowledge I have acquired in the seminary and the university I may place at the disposal of some Christian church, where I may also be able to know the Lord and seek my own salvation, and that of others. Please write me. I will be attentive to your suggestions and indications as if coming from the Lord. God bless you. PS I would like to know if you have a congregation of this church here in Manizales.” Hernán Martínez. [Notes. Our reply to Mr. Martínez included a link to the Directory on our site for churches of Christ in Colombia. In a second e-mail, I pointed out for Hernán where he could find basic studies on our Site. He replied Dec. 27, thanking us for the information, and requesting we stay in contact. I shared the original version of this e-mail with the Bayamón church and a few took down Hernán’s e-mail to write him. At least one did, and recently received a reply. We will continue follow-up. Hernán’s evaluation of our Site as “excellent” is especially meaningful to me, since he is highly educated.]
-Place unknown. Dec. 13, 2012. [Included in “Brief Report” sent Dec. 28, 2012.] “I am very happy after reading the material on tithes. I am fully in agreement with you on this subject. The statement in the Word of God about my people perishing for lack of knowledge is very applicable. I have read the New Testament several times and am completely convinced we should love, praise and honor the Lord in Spirit and in Truth. Thanks. God bless you.” Jorge Librado Benavides Burbano
-Place unknown. Dec. 14, 2012. “Thanks for an enriching text in such difficult times.”Grenelsy. [Note. The “Referer” shows Grenelsy had reference is to the sermon “No Longer Do I Live, but Christ Lives in Me.” Full text, and not just an outline. Almost all the more than 85 sermons on our Site are complete text. A few consist of PowerPoint presentations. One is in video format. Two or three are audio. We are just beginning to add audio.]
-Bogotá, Colombia. Dec. 22, 2012. Olga comes to the church through our Site. [Included in “Brief Report” sent Dec. 28, 2012.] “Beloved brother Homero Shappley de Álamo, I write to thank you for your blessed, effective ministry of evangelization. Through it, I found my church of Christ here in Bogota. Your ministry teaches and edifies to a high degree. I give thanks to Almighty God for his faithful servants. To learn the truth about the Rapture and Left Behind, a deceitful, unbiblical interpretation so wide spread, has made a great impact on me. With regard to dinosaurs, I don’t understand anything. But, fractal geometry is the pure power of our beloved God.” Olga María Gómez[Well, we do have a lot of different subjects on the site, including dinosaurs, in the context of evolution, and graphics of fractals in nature as evidence of divine design.]
-San Fernando, Sexta Región, Chile. Dec. 27, 2012. Church established in 1988 through materials from Puerto Rico continues faithful and active. “Dear Bro. Homero S., thanks for all the biblical help on you Web Page. We are a group of brethren who meet in San Fernando, Chile. Thanks to your material, we learned the truth in 1988, and to this day we have continued to meet as a church of Christ. We request the material on Revelation and the book ‘The Weapons of Our Warfare.’ It will be a great blessing to have this material to help with growth and the preaching of the gospel. You may inform me of the shipping cost by air. Many thanks, and blessings.” Claudio Villegas López. [Notes. Checking our records on “Churches Established” through materials prepared in Puerto Rico, I see that in 1988 a group pulled away from Pentecostalism and formed the congregation in San Fernando. In 2005, there were 40 members. I estimate it would cost at least $200.00 to ship the material requested –three large, thick binders, about 1,500 letter-size pages- and there is no other way to send it. This high cost of shipping went into effect in 2007 when the Post Office eliminated surface rates, a move that lead us to eventually sell the large printing equipment. The Internet is the way to get all that material at minimal cost. CD’s or DVD’s of the material are also cost effective, at least from our end.]
-San Fernando Tamaulipas, México. [Included in “Brief Report” sent Dec. 28, 2012.] “God bless you, brother. It is a pleasure to send this message to you, for to me you are a brother of great biblical understanding. I see your articles on the Internet and they are special for the defense of sound doctrine.” Noé Chacón Alvarado
-Place unknown. Dec. 29, 2012. “I give you thanks for such valuable material. Many churches where I have attended have asked me to give the tithe, but because of the love God has for me, He has freed me from them. Today, I meet where the truth, which is Christ, is preached, and you, my brethren, have confirmed through your material that I am right. God bless you, in the name of the Father, the son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.” Luis Omar Opazo
These are the positive e-mails. We also receive negative ones, some of which I answer. A list of recent titles added to the Site is sent to almost everyone who sends an e-mail, including those we mark as spam. I have observed that many negative e-mails come from people who write very poorly, some so poorly they can hardly be understood. Also from visitors who obviously have read only a few paragraphs, or maybe one whole document, but who have not studied all the material available on a given subject. We must then point out to them where they can find answers to their arguments or criticisms. During the last year, the percentage of positive e-mails has increased noticeably.
[Several more positive e-mails have been received during January, 2013, including two from Jaime Jiménez, of Bucaramanga, Colombia, who was baptized a few days ago as a direct fruit of the Internet Site. The first Sunday of 2013, José Pérez Córdova, 42 years old, was baptized in the Bayamón congregation.]
Statistics on the Evangelistic Works
of Dewayne and Rita Shappley
December 31, 2012
Date of arrival in Puerto Rico: May 2, 1966
A. Internet documents opened by visitors through December 31, 2012..................... 20,655,087
-Video plays included in the above figure (July 3 –Dec. 31, 2012)............................ 5,015
B. Total visits to the Internet site www.editoriallapaz.org through July 31, 2012......... 10,072,143
C. Materials produced using printing and recording equipment in Puerto Rico.
1. Tracts.................................................................................................................... 23,681,150
2. Booklets and individual studies.................................................................................. 424,757
3. Books........................................................................................................................... 34,343
4. Bible correspondence lessons................................................................................... 342,350
5. Compact disks............................................................................................................... 5,757
6. Cassettes................................................................................................................... 325,477
-Total of 1 through 6......................................................................................... 24,813,834
7. All other materials printed (gospel meeting flyers, labels, reports, etc.)................. 3,486,801
-Grand Total of all materials produced using equipment............................ 28,300,665
Total of machine produced materials plus electronic documents
-Internet documents opened................................................................................ 20,655,087
-Machine produced materials.............................................................................. 28,300,665
-Grand Total of these two categories................................................. 48,955,752
D. Packages of materials shipped........................................................................................ 38,287
E. Facebook. Number of “Friends” on Facebook..................................................................... 702
F. Twitter. Number of “Followers” on Twitter.......................................................................... 301
-We use Facebook and Twitter to announce new materials on the Internet Site
Known fruits of the materials and Internet site
A. Conversions reported as due, at least in part, to these resources.................................. 14,234
-This number is based on more than 50,000 letters, forms, cards, etc.
received from brethren throughout Spanish-speaking areas of the world,
thousands of e-mails and some telephone calls.
B. Congregations reported as established, at least in part, through these resources.............. 247
With brotherly love in Christ, and genuine appreciation for continued contributions for our support and work,
Dewayne and Rita Shappley
1-731-574-7066 (Magic Jack Internet phone, working very well)
P. O. Box 1264, Bayamon, PR 00960
Contributions for our support and work are to be sent to:
Maury City Church of Christ, c/o Karel Riddick, 2900 Chestnut BluffMaury C RD, Friendship, TN 38034