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Links to previous reports, beginning with 2008, are also on the above Page.
Report from Dewayne and Rita Shappley
January 01 – May 31, 2015
Nicole Aguilera Fabergé is baptized April 26, 2015, in Bayamon, Puerto Rico
Nicole is about 22 years old. She is the daughter of Eduard and Yadira Aguilera. Her father, Eduard, a member of the church, passed away at the early age of 44, in November, 2014, after a three or four year fight with cancer. Her mother, Yadira, continues to attend in Bayamon, as also does her own mother, Sis. Josefina. Nicole was baptized by Alfonso Estrella, on the right, and Rafael Torres. In our talk with Nicole before she was baptized, she made it clear her reason for taking the step was her own personal conviction that she wanted to obey the gospel to be saved, explaining that her father’s untimely death was not the motivation.
Loraisa Lebrón was baptized in Bayamon, April 05, 2015. She is the wife of Bro. Eliezer Nieves. Recently, this couple moved from Arecibo to Bayamon.
Barrio Sabana Hoyos, Vega Alta, Puerto Rico church of Christ. May 24, 2015
In view of our plans to move from Puerto Rico to the US, brethren in Sabana Hoyos invited me to preach there before leaving. Rita and I met with the congregation Sunday morning, May 24, 2015. The meeting place is about ten or twelve miles to the West of Bayamon. Here is where some of the first evangelistic work was done on the island, in the 1950’s. The building existed when we moved to Puerto Rico in 1966. On our first visit, we found five people meeting there. It was in this area that I first became seriously involved in the work of the Lord in Puerto Rico. Bro. José Colón moved, with his wife, Alicia, from New York back to Puerto Rico soon after we arrived. He and I began to go house to house in Sabana Hoyos, looking for members who had fallen away and anyone who might be interested in hearing the pure gospel of Christ. At that time, my Spanish was extremely rudimentary. It was a great learning experience in many ways, and, as I noted to the congregation on May 24, images of the streets and people remain with me from that day to this. The work José and I did in Sabana Hoyos put the church on the way to recovery, and here it is today, a fine congregation dedicated to its God-given mission, the fruit of no small number who have invested time and talent in its development.
Sunday, May 24, 2015, Sabana Hoyos, Vega Alta, Puerto Rico church of Christ
For years, Bro. Carlos Pantoja (seated) has been doing most of the preaching and teaching for the congregation. He also helps direct the School of Advanced Bible Studies, as well as teaching courses, attributing much of his development to the School. Carlos has severe diabetes, and is on dialysis three times weekly at the present time.
Back Row, left to right. Iván has been attending classes of the School, and has begun preaching a little. Next to him is a brother whose name I am unable to recall at the moment. A few years ago, he attended classes at the School, and, though in his sixties, was a very good student. I remember his expressing appreciation once and again for the extensive course on Revelation, noting he had been taught so many errors when he was in a Pentecostal church. Next is Bro. González, who has remained steadfast for many years. I am next, and then Bro. Herminio Isern. Now in his eighties, Herminio became a Christian in the fifties, and was preaching in Barrio Higuillar when we arrived in 1966. The churches in Sabana Hoyos and Barrio Higuillar, Dorado, were two of the five meeting in 1966. On the extreme right is Bro. Eulogio Pantoja, a younger brother of Carlos (seated). When Eulogio first began attending the School a number of years ago, he came close to deciding to quit, thinking he could not make the grade, but encouraged to continue, went on to obtain the Six-Year Certificate, become a teacher himself and will serve as one of the directors of the School beginning with the August, 2015 semester.
School of Advanced Bible Studies, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Nine graduate, May 25, 2015
In the picture, seven of the nine who graduated. One graduate was unable to attend that night, and another left on a trip previous to the graduation. The three on the left received a Two-Year Certificate. The next two, a Four-Year Certificate. And, the next two, a Six-Year Certificate. Four of these are from the church in Bayamón. Javier Álvarez (extreme left) and Rodolfo Báez (third from left): Two-Year Certificates. The last two on the right: Rafael Torres and Armando Morales –Six-Year Certificates.
With the help of Bro. Jesús Germán, I taught a group of postgraduates during the semester. These are brethren who have wanted to continue studies after receiving a Six-Year Certificate.
Two from Manatí are baptized
Bro. Luis Sardina, right, one of the six leaders of the Bayamon church, actually now lives closer to the city of Manatí than he does to Bayamon. He is helping the congregation there through a period of crisis. A number of members have moved away and Bro. Saturnino Matos, preacher for many years, has become too old and sick to carry on. In Manatí, Luis taught the two ladies in the pictures and brought them to Bayamon to be baptized. The church in Manatí is one of some twenty-four we began, or helped to begin, in Puerto Rico. As a matter of fact, Bro. Matos was our first convert in Manatí.
E-mails and Notes reveal much about the resources on our sites and positive reactions to them.
The e-mails in this report are from Jan. 01 through March 11. I have continued to process incoming e-mails to this date (July 27), replying to those requiring immediate attention, and plan to include the ones of interest from March 12 on in the next report.
-Place not identified. Jan. 05, 2015. “I have always said there are as many spiritual sicknesses today as there are physical, specifically those having to do with being an apostle. There are so many, and I have not seen a one standing on a corner in a barrio preaching Jesus Christ, much less beginning a church that would only depend on God as sustainer of his ministry. How sad it is that they are not enamored of souls but of the money of the souls. The love of money makes them professional ministers and not workers of the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessings to all and a Happy Year 2015.” Guillermo Referer: "http://www.editoriallapaz.org/1-Timoteo-1-2.html"
-The Referer points to the Commentary on 1 Timothy 1:2, the second entry of the Commentary we are developing.
-Place not identified. Jan. 05, 2014. “It is a great blessing to my life.”Leticia Herrera Pérez Referer: "http://www.editoriallapaz.org/ejemplos_para_nosotros_Moises_golpea.htm
-According to the Referer, Leticia had reference to a series of slides on “Examples for Us,” specifically to one about Moses striking the rock instead of speaking to it. These slides usually contain enough explanatory text to communicate teaching, or are accompanied by such text.
-Barrancabermeja, Colombia. Jan. 07, 2015. “Things have improved here. With regard to discipline and order, we are moving forward, thanks to God. The Web Page you administer has been a great support and blessing for me.” Yohan Álvarez.
-This congregation in Barrancabermeja, Colombia was established in May-June, 2013 through our Internet site.
-Masaya, Niquinohomo, Nicaragua. Jan. 09, 2015. “May God bless you. I am General Secretary of the Church of God in Niquinohomo, Nicaragua. I very much like to read the Bible and study the sound doctrine of Jesus Christ. I like to teach in the Bible School, and these studies have been of great benefit for my spiritual development. I like them a lot, for I understand more and more about God and his purpose for our lives. Hugo. Referer: "http://www.editoriallapaz.org/pastores.htm"
-Curiously, the Referer points to a detailed study on “Pastors,” whereby much biblical evidence is brought forward to prove that pastors, elders and bishops are the same in the New Testament. Then, there comes the question: Is your congregation organized biblically, plus a call to restore the biblical organization of the church. I say “Curiously,” because if that Church of God in Niquinohomo is like the ones with which I am familiar, it would belong to the Church of God council, the largest Pentecostal organization in the world, with both a council organization and congregational organization far removed from what is taught in the study. We may take this example of Hugo as one that shows how these Internet studies impact even leaders of other churches, helping them in their “spiritual development.”
-Daly City, California. Feb. 10, 2015. “I hope in the Lord you are now in good health, for we need you well so you can continue to write studies. Thanks to God for such a great number of visitors to the Internet site. I download the studies and give them out. Those who read them say they are very, very good, that they had never read anything like that.” Susana Pabón, converted through our Internet site www.editoriallapaz.org in July, 2014.
-Feb. 22, 2015. As of this date, Susana wrote that her mother, Luisa Reyes, 92 or 93 years of age, and baptized last year as a fruit of the Internet, passed away in the Lord.
-Dolores, Soriano, Uruguay. Feb. 24, 2015. “It is a privilege, esteemed servant of Christ, in the first place, to see that you do not possess any title given by men (at least, you do not ostensibly have one). I also notice your objectivity in each commentary I have read. With reference, in particular, to the book of Revelation, after having tasted (allow me your indulgence for this expression) various ‘doctrines,’ I think we will be kept awake [that is, be guided] by this exact interpretation [I infer he refers to ours on Revelation] until the coming of the Lord. On the other hand, fundamental doctrine does not allow, at least to the spiritual, flagrant errors of interpretation, however dumb or educated we may be. In summary, a pleasure, my esteemed brother, to be able to be in contact with someone who searches for the truth with so much dedication, as one who does it for the Lord. Greetings from your servant, a sinner who has been justified, Silver Fascendini.”
-When Mr. Silver Fascendini registered, Feb. 14, 2015, to receive notices of new materials added to our sites, he identified himself as follows: “Bible student. I study different positions on parts of the Bible about which I have doubts, trying (It is very difficult) to be as objective as possible. Let me clarify that I am self-taught, that I was baptized in the Pentecostal church, but that I do not participate since I have come to have some understanding of the Bible.”
-After touching on some points in the two e-mails, in my reply I asked Mr. Fascendini if he is now a member of some church, noting he has left the Pentecostal church but continues to identify himself as “a sinner who has been justified.”
-Tijuana, México. Feb. 25, 2015. “Brethren, may God bless you and bless the great work you carry on to help us with such an important Web site, which is a blessing for our lives. I am a minister in Tijuana, Mexico.” Isaías Ariel Villa Lozano
-Cali, Colombia. March 02, 2015. “I was a Sabbath Day Adventist for fourteen years, after which I became fully aware of the great error I had committed. By God’s mercy, today I am free of legalisms and Phariseism. At the present time, I am not attending [any church] but am thinking about beginning.”Carlos José Mejía Referer: "http://www.editoriallapaz.org/diezmos_2_Corintios_3.htm"
-The Referer is to a study of 2 Corinthians 3:6-17 whereby concise explanations are inserted after each key word or clause. We directed Carlos to the Directory of churches of Christ for Colombia.
Mónica wants to be baptized.
-Place not identified. March 11,2015. “Brethren, the material on this site dissipated many of my doubts. It is very clear, and I share your conviction that we belong to Christ, without names or additional doctrines. After being in the Catholic Church and various evangelical churches, I understood, when I began to read the Scriptures, that the Word is often conveniently twisted. If I have not been baptized as of this date it is because I literally fear being baptized by people who, I feel in my heart, twist the teachings of the Lord. It is like I would be doing something I should not do, that is to say, not there; not in that church. I was at the point of being baptized at year’s end. I closed my eyes and said: ‘Shall I be baptized, despite not being totally in agreement with what they are preaching?’ But, something was gnawing within me, as if I were going to do what is not correct… and I put it off again. And so time continues to go by. I want to be baptized; I need it, but do not want to make a mistake and be baptized with these doubts. I am very anguished. Help me! May our Lord bless you.” Mónica
-Our reply included two options: Go to the “Directory” of churches of Christ for the country where she lives and make contact with one or more; tell us where she lives and we will do our best to help her find a congregation where she can be baptized biblically. To date, Mónica has not written us again.
Data for January 01 through May 31, 2015
-Visits for the three sites we maintain, plus Vimeo (video) downloads.
-Total visits for Jan. 01 to May 31, 2015....................................................... 580,474
-Daily average of visits for the same period (151 days)................................ 3,844
-Page views for all sites.............................................................................................. 984,019
Grand Totals from Jan. 01, 2003 through May 31, 2015
-Grand Total of visits............................................................................................. 13,296,617
-Grand Total of Page Views (documents accessed by visitors)........................ 26,235,327
Data for www.alabanzas.info. Antonio’s site for hymns.
-Visits for Jan. 01 through May 31, 2015..................................................................... 89,790
-Page views for the same period................................................................................. 127,894
Links to previous reports, beginning with 2008, are also on the above Page.