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Reciente: Evangelistic work by Dewayne, Rita and Antonio Shappley, mostly in the Spanish-speaking world
Period covered: May 1 through December 31, 2011
About three weeks ago, we sent a one-page report containing basic data for the period covered, May 1 – December 31, 2011. It is our pleasure to present you now this full report. As stated in the short report, we register 66 conversions over the period covered, for a Grand Total of 14,167 to date. The number “66” is derived from information coming through e-mails, letters and personal contacts, as well as direct participation in works of the church.
Fruits of the Internet site www.editoriallapaz.org, literature
and personal involvement
El Alto, Bolivia. Bro. Juan López Puente evangelizes and baptizes.
Left: Notice the “Internet” sign over the store in front of the ladies. This type of store rents computers by the hour, plus access to the Internet. In Central and South America, people who are not able to own a computer can rent one, and those who so desire can go on our site! Right: Paola Bautista is baptized in El Alto. This name “El Alto” means, literally, “The Height”, or “The High Place,” and it is high –approximately 13,000 feet (4,000 meters) above sea level.
The church of Christ in El Alto, Bolivia
-Chiapas, Mexico. Many conversions through materials prepared in Puerto Rico. Years 2010 and 2011. “The purpose of this letter is to inform you the church of Christ here continues to grow, thanks to Puerto Rico. Every Sunday we have from two to five baptisms, thanks to God and the literature, tracts and diagrams by Homero Shappley, you sent us in the past.” Signed by Armando Ortega and Andrés Paniagua. Armando says these conversions are mostly among Tzeltal-speaking Indians in the state of Chiapas. An average of three baptisms every Sunday is 150 baptisms a year! I put down 55 in our records as brought about, at least in part, through materials sent, though Armando and Andrés indicate the number would be higher.
-Maturín, Venezuela. Two baptized through Internet studies. “Dear Bro. Shappley, we send you a special greeting on behalf of the brotherhood of the church of Christ in Maturín Sur. Some time ago, we had our address placed on the Page [directory page] of editoriallapaz.org, free of charge [We do not charge any one], and we are very thankful to God for that resource. Last Sunday, two souls came to our congregation, having found the information in the directory. This married couple had studied the sound doctrine on your Web, and that same Sunday they obeyed the gospel. We are helping them, for they live about an hour and a half from this city, and they know many evangelicals who are not in agreement with what the ‘pastors’ are teaching them. Today, two brethren from Tennessee were present for the service in our meeting place. They contacted us through the telephone number they found in editoriallapaz.org.”
-Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Colonia Israel Sur. Dec. 28, 2011. “This year, the church in Colonia Israel Sur has grown, with nine precious souls being baptized. Thanks to the literature you sent us some years ago and which has been very useful in our efforts to preach the simple gospel of Christ.” Cesar Tabora.
-West Broward, Florida. August, 2011. During the time we were with our son, Antonio, and his family, Irelis, Kevin and Kiara Karina, in Coral Springs, it was our privilege to attend the West Broward Spanish-speaking church, where they attend. I preached there one Sunday, and we met Omar Santamaría, baptized a few weeks previously. Studies on our Internet site played an important part in his conversion, according to Bro. Ulbert Romero, evangelist, who baptized Omar.
Evangelizing in El Alto, Bolivia. Bro. Juan López Puente sent us these pictures, and we thought they would be of interest to those who read this report.
-Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Two conversions through the Internet site. Nov. 26, 2011. Bro. Pascual Pérez, evangelist, called to inform us that Edwin Polanco and Luis Pérez, each about 25 years old, were baptized in Residencial Moisés, Santo Domingo. Both men have a degree in computer systems information, so I understand. Having studied materials on our site, they were baptized on their second visit to a new congregation just begun in Residencial Moisés by Pascual. This is the same brother who was converted through a tract more than thirty years ago, and went on to establish a congregation in Los Mina, which has about 150 members and a very nice meeting place.
-Bayamón, Puerto Rico. Albert Ksia baptized. Dec. 5, 2011. Last night, Albert Ksia (pronounced “sha,” with a short “a”) was baptized in Bayamón. Born in Missouri to parents who came over from Taiwan, Albert, 23 years old, is a second-year student in the Optometry School of Inter American University, in Bayamón. Months ago, Albert began attending Sunday-night services, coming with his roommate Vincent Gamuzza, a fourth-year student in the same university. Vincent was baptized in New Jersey when he was 19 years old, and is, to us, an outstanding young man, with just a year to go before becoming a licensed optometrist. Noting how sincere Albert seemed to be, Vincent and I studied with him, in English, the plan of salvation, while brethren had their Bible class, in Spanish, in the main auditorium. During the course of the study, Albert stated he did not drink or use drugs, and that he was keeping himself morally pure for the day when he would marry. He thought he could be right with God by living a good life, but as we studied baptism he quickly understood that baptism is necessary for the forgiveness of sins, and just as quickly decided to be baptized. Rarely have I studied with such an open-minded person! We proceeded to baptize Albert. Afterwards, he partook of the Lord’s Supper for the first time. Needless to say, there was much rejoicing among all present.
-Albert, who moved with his parents to California when he was a small child, will probably continue his studies for two more years in Bayamón. Vincent will spend all of 2012 in Puerto Rico, finishing his intern work in four different cities here. Aaron Rahe, another student, from Georgia, has also begun attending. Two young ladies from another university in Bayamón are attending –Auchaia (Chay) Farley, a member, whose father is a deacon in Nashville, TN, and Abigail Degnes, of Madison, WI, whose family is Presbyterian. Rita and I had these five, plus Huba, another optometry student, from Montreal, daughter born to parents from Kuwait, for Thanksgiving dinner in our home. They stayed for about nine hours. It was a lot of fun!
-Carolina, Puerto Rico. Internet contact Luis baptized. Dec. 4, 2011. Luis is the 27 year old husband of Yazmin, who was baptized a few months ago, as was also her mother. Studies on our site played an important role in the conversion of the three, being their initial contact with the church.
-Costa Rica. Couple converted after studies on our Web. July 24, 2011. Virginia Benavides and her husband, Antonio, were baptized July 24, 2011, in Costa Rica, after studying for a considerable time materials on our Web site, then attending a church of Christ in that country for several weeks. Virginia, who is a lawyer, wrote on June 8: “My computer is full of your studies.” This couple had been Pentecostals for over three years. Acquiring a more correct knowledge of Bible teaching, Virginia wrote their pastor a detailed document, explaining why they had decided to leave Pentecostalism. She sent me a copy. After reading it, I don’t understand why the pastor himself doesn’t decide to change! Then, she sent an e-mail July 25 saying: “We were baptized in the church of Christ last Sunday.”That was July 24. Among other remarks, she also said: “May God continue to bless you, as you are a very good teacher. Really, my heart moves me to tell you that I love you much in Christ, for you have been a great blessing to us. With the passing of each day, we understand the Word better, thanks to your sensible explanations.” To God be all the glory! I am profoundly grateful for the privilege of serving Him in this way, as well as sincere souls earnestly seeking salvation.
-Ocaña, Colombia. Second congregation begun by Internet convert grows to 30 members. Dec. 21, 2011. Ronald Sabino was baptized in Venezuela more than two years ago after studying materials on our site and making contact with a nearby church of Christ. In a previous report, we related how he immediately began to evangelize his family and other contacts. At that time, fifteen or twenty were converted through him. Then, he married his girlfriend from Colombia, and quickly taught a number of her relatives, some of whom were also converted. Works were thus begun in Cúcuta and Ocaña, Colombia. As time went by, somehow or another the “antis” made contact with Ronald, and began providing him support. According to my knowledge of their tactics in the Spanish-speaking world, they “buy” preachers anywhere they can, and that is what they did with Ronald, who wanted to evangelize but did not have the necessary support. I had limited correspondence with Ronald about this matter. It did not take very long for him to convince himself that the “anti” positions are not biblical. He refused to continue teaching their doctrines, and they cut off his support. Manuel Calderón, a brother baptized in Bayamón, now living in Texas, who visited Ronald in Colombia, began sending him $200 monthly. The church in Bayamón sent Ronald $300 –if I remember correctly- when he first began to evangelize, and recently (February, 2012) sent him $500 more. The Ocaña church, established two years ago in that very Catholic city, now has thirty faithful members. If Ronald is to continue full-time as an evangelist, he needs steady support. His is a classic example of how the Internet can be instrumental in effectively spreading the gospel.
Lake Forest, California, church, begun in 2010, now has 75 members.
This congregation is using materials from our Web to guide its work and development.
-Lake Forest, California. Wednesday, July 20, 2011, we received a call from José García, in Lake Forest, California. He informed us that last December he and about twenty more formed a congregation. As of July 20, 2011, they had seventy-five members. José had high praise for the materials on our Internet site, explaining that he is using them to guide and develop the congregation. He said they had just completed a six-month study on supernatural gifts and requested we send copies of all printed materials we have available, for they wish to use them in classes, etc. Though this congregation is using the name “Church of the Living Word,” José speaks as if he were in full agreement with us. We sent him several books, plus other materials. Until we are able to confirm more precisely exactly how this congregation baptizes and worships we will not add it to data on conversions through the Internet site.
-Chile. I prepared for our Internet site an e-mail sent by Pablo Yañez, of Chile. This man, of the Pentecostal faith, had much praise for the materials on our Web. Though at first he considered them to be inspired by a spirit of error, he came to a conviction that the contrary is true. Pablo now has the purpose of trying to reform Pentecostalism in Chile, a powerful religious force in that country. At least, he would like to convince the church to which he has belonged to give up “Pentecostal traditions and become a church of Christ.” His e-mail was well written. I added a number of “Brief notes” to it, keying them to specific points.
-Costa Rica. Oct. 27, 2011. “God bless you, brother. Excellent work you do on the Internet. It is really marvelous.” Gilbert Astorga, long-time evangelist in Costa Rica, who sent us an updated document of information on churches of Christ in Costa Rica for the “Directory” on our site. The site has a Directory for each country.
-Tijuana, Mexico. Church prints 10,000 copies of one of our tracts. May 2, 2011. “My brother, I inform you we are carrying out an evangelistic plan with the tract ‘We Invite You to Learn about the Church of Christ’ edited by you. The brethren of this congregation had 10,000 copies printed. If God permits, during the coming months we will have the tract ‘The Divine Plan of Salvation’ printed.” Omar Álvarez. These two tracts, especially the first, have been two of our most effective through the years.
-Carolina, Puerto Rico. May 2, 2011. “Blessings. Greetings from Rev. Adalid Aldarondo, of the Pentecostal Church of God International Mission, of Buena Vista, en Carolina. I congratulate you for the precious Golden Wedding ceremony ‘The Official Chronicles of the Reign of King Tito and his Queen Mercedes,’ and very respectfully request your authorization to use it, giving you credit as author.” A number of years ago,I prepared this ceremony especially for Bro. Saturnino (Tito) Matos, evangelist in Manatí, Puerto Rico, and his wife, Mercedes. Both, despite many health problems, continue their journey in this life. Of course, I granted permission for the use of the ceremony.
-Columbus, Ohio. May 16, 2011. “My name is Nestor Galarza. I worshipped with you some years ago when I lived in Arecibo, Puerto Rico. I traveled from Arecibo with my pregnant wife each Sunday to be able to hear your message. My family was very involved with the church in Puerto Rico, and I'm sure you remember my uncle Anibal and his sons Jonny, Umberto, Jimmy and Stanley. For a number of years I traveled with Joe Cuellar as his pupil. I now humbly serve the Lord at the Fishinger and Kenny Roads COC in Columbus Ohio as a sheppard. Blessings and love to you DeWayne. I have admired your ‘rensa’ for many years and you have helped the church for so long. Your internet ministry is very impressive. I am so grateful for you and the work that you do my brother, glory to the Lord for all your good work.”
-Querétaro, México. Jaime Hernández, preacher, tells of his conversion through a tract, and how he has reached others. Dec. 26, 2011. “The first contact I had with the church of the Lord was by means of one of your tracts ‘Of What Spiritual Seed are You?’ They gave it to me in the state of Chiapas. And from there all my family was converted –my wife and two daughters. Also, my brother in the flesh and his son. Besides all the people who have been reached through us. Before there was an Internet, I contacted you by letter and you sent me cassettes, an album on Galatians and other audio studies. They were a great help in my early days as a Christian. A tract which I still conserve and use often is ‘In Search of the True Church,’ very useful and convincing. Thanks, brother, for your support through that material.”
-Tipitapa, Nicaragua. Really unusual conversions! Dec. 1, 2011. Esteban Austin sent us this story, of which I give a brief account. A certain thief went to the house of one of the elders of the church at Kilómetro 20, in Tipitapa. The only item he took was a portable baptistery. A neighbor recognized him as he walked away with the baptistery, and told the elder, who proceeded to try and find the thief, but to no avail. Then, another neighbor told him the police had him. The elder, accompanied by other Christians, went to the police, who let them see the thief, and he told them the name of the person to whom he had sold the baptistery. They recuperated the baptistery. Then, they went to the police to inform them they did not wish the thief any harm, but would like to help him spiritually. Thereupon, the police turned him over to them. The elder and his family took him to church where they taught him the gospel, and forthwith, he was baptized. The converted thief then took them to his family that they might hear the gospel, with the result that his father, mother and only brother were also baptized! All of them in the very portable baptistery the now repentant thief had stolen! This actually took place in Tipitapa, Nicaragua. We added this account to the resources on our Web site.
-Buenos Aires, Argentina. May 27, 2011. “For some years I have been reading your studies on the Internet. They were, and continue to be, a great light to continue growing in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ… I desire for my home to become a part of churches of Christ.” Jorge Recalde, Field President of Gideon’s International, Southern Zone of Buenos Aires. We sent this contact to brethren in Buenos Aires, but have not yet been informed of positive results. In these cases, good news may not come quickly, if, indeed, at all.
-Mexico. North and Central areas. July 16, 2011. “The materials you sent a year ago were used in different congregations in the North and Central areas of Mexico. I consider that they were a great help to the growth of brethren who collaborate in the preaching of the gospel. The material for children has also been a great help to the sisters who teach the gospel to children. These sisters have asked me if perhaps you might have other materials with which to continue teaching. I request you send me all new material you may have in the near future. Please send me the Bible course Vida en el cuerpo de Cristo (Life in the Body of Christ). Please also send me one or two copies of ‘Apocalipsis: análisis de las profecías y visiones’ (Revelation: Analysis of the Prophecies and Visions). I would like to personally use this material to present a series in different congregations.” Otto Álvarez, Harlingen, TX. More material was sent in July.
-Location not identified. July 19, 2011. “From the time I was a young boy I have heard of you. Then, I read some of the literature written by you. It is a privilege to have your valuable and magisterial backing. I am now in charge of a congregation, and often my fellow workers and I speak of your excellent Bible commentaries. My brother, the way you debate with sectarians and crush the arguments of Pentecostals in your writings is also excellent. My boundless congratulations to you.” Efraín Villagra. Clarification on “debating:” On our Web site, we have fifteen “File Cabinets” of exchanges with those who challenge our studies and messages, and often add to them. It is my policy not to spend words or time impugning the motives of any person who disagrees with us, denigrating his intellectual acuity or ridiculing him in any way. My principal guideline is to provide, respectfully and as clearly as possible, information and analysis that will cause the truth to shine above the shadows and darkness of insufficient information, incorrect analysis and erroneous teaching. My goal is to give a satisfactory answer for my faith, doing it with reverence and humility, and I continually ask the Lord to help me fulfill it.
-Asunción, Paraguay. Small group in agreement. July 20, 2011. “Dear valued brethren in Christ, today, July 16, 2011, I came to know your Web site. I read various subjects and am interested in learning more. I am a Christian. My wife and I are taking care of a small work of the Lord. We de not ask for tithes, nor do we receive salaries, but work along with the rest, and from what God gives us, give an offering to the Father. With regard to a number of things we read, we are fully in agreement. Many thanks, and may God always bless your work.” Carlos González Fernández. We forward e-mails of this kind to the nearest congregations or evangelists. In the case of Paraguay, we have information on only one congregation of our brotherhood.
-Medellin, Colombia. August 19, 2011. “My regards, brother in Christ. We consult the electronic library of Editorial La Paz in order to grow in love and the Sacred Word. It is thus that our hearts and minds are strengthened in spiritual harmony so that we may be closely tied to our eternal Deity.” John Baena, who adds: “I preach and teach the Sacred Word of Deity.”
-Location not identified. August 20, 2011. “First, I want to thank you for explaining clearly, and with Bible texts, subjects such as tithes and the Old Law of Moses,” writes Cristal Jabbour, nineteen years old. Cristal then recounts how she became a member of a Christian church, and adds: “But I am not with them with regard to the tithe and the Old Law because of the explanations, very well presented, on your behalf. I had asked the pastor about tithing, but he ended by telling me tithing is still a law. At that time, I did not have arguments, but do now after reading and perfectly understanding the material on your Web. Once again, I want to thank you, and may God give you strength and more wisdom to continue guiding those who are confused, for in their searching and because of their love for God, they sometimes end up, lamentably, in churches not following sound doctrine. I have prepared a complete Word document of all you have on the law and tithes on your Web. This information has been a great help to various brethren, eliminating all confusion on the matter. ONCE AGAIN, THANKS.” Cristal’s e-mail was two pages long. We try to help people like her find a nearby congregation, asking them to provide more information if they do not initially state where they live, etc.
-Positive reply. Sept. 5, 2011. Cristal wrote: “Many thanks for your answer to my e-mail. I reflected on it, and thanks to God, found a Christian church governed by the New Testament, with sound doctrine, at least as far as I can tell for the moment.”
-Concordia, El Salvador. August 28, 2011. “I am a member of the church of Christ in Concordia. I congratulate you for having a Web Page which is a great blessing, and by means of which the gospel of Christ can be spread.” Reina Juárez.
-Cali, Valle del Cauca, Colombia. August 30, 2011. “I give thanks to God for all the work and effort that he has made possible for all of you to put forth, and to carry out the work you do. It is evidence of the great love you have for God and his people. It is a joy to be in touch with you and encourage you to continue in this great labor. Thanks for the material on the Web. It has been greatly edifying to my life, to my family, the congregation I serve and those around about me.” Harold Fernando Peregüeza Quintero
-Bogota, Colombia. Sept. 12, 2011. “Dear Brother, the transparences and lessons you have sent have been a great blessing, helping us to learn. We are waiting for the transparences on Revelation.” Aldemar Martínez
-Location not identified. June 29, 2011. “This Page is greatly edifying and interesting, and helps every believer, teacher, leader or pastor. I urgently need all possible material, including a copy of the Guide for the Development of Bible Classes.” Carlos Willis. We offer three books of “Guides for the Development of Bible Classes,” plus several other books.
-Location not identified. June 22, 2011. “I want to tell you I am a faithful reader of you Web Page. I have learned much with respect to the doctrine of the church of Christ of the first century. Your interpretations and eloquence have helped me considerably to understand the Bible. But, now I need your help with the following subject: Should there be pastors in charge of a congregation? Or did this gift also cease, according to Ephesians 4:11? Would you please explain the terms ‘elders, pastors and bishops’.” Yuri. I responded with a concise explanation, and published both Yuri’s e-mail and my reply in one of the “Files of Dialogues” on our site.
-Comuna de Maipú, Chile. May 24, 2011. “I am Verónica Rodríguez, of Comuna de Maipú. I am profoundly grateful to God to have found you and receive the Word I needed in my life. So much I would like to meet you, but we are far apart. I appreciate you. May God continue to bless you in your daily life.” Verónica
-Naranjito, Costa Rica. June 8, 2011. “Hello, brethren. May Jesus Christ always bless you. I have been reading many things you have written, and the good thing is that all that is written comes with Bible texts. I would like to learn more of the Word of God. I meet with the Foursquare Gospel Church. I have seen that you speak the truth, and I also would like to speak the truth. Could you help me with Bible lessons to become a good preacher of the truth?” Luis Fernando Corea Gamboa. This e-mail was forwarded to brethren in Costa Rica.
The “URL” of the site is www.editoriallapaz.org.
-Record number of visits for one month: March, 2011.......................................................... 168,820
-Record daily average for a single month was also for March, 2011..................................... 5,445.81
-Record number of visits for a single day: May 20, 2011.......................................................... 7,057
-Record number of Pages opened in one month: October, 2010........................................... 319,189
-Record number of hits in a month: October, 2011.............................................................. 3,282,192
-Total number of visits (accesses) for the year 2011............................................................ 1,706,377
-Daily average of visits for the year 2011......................................................................... 4,675
-Total number of Pages opened for the year 2011................................................................ 2,951,247
-Total hits for the year 2011................................................................................................. 35,595,983
-Total Gigabytes downloaded during 2011(almost exactly double the amount in 2010)......... 2,849.64
-Grand Total of visits from January 1, 2002 through December 31, 2011......... 8,542,130
-Grand Total of Pages opened for the same period.......................................... 16,964,953
-In August, 2011, "Pages" were viewed by people in 113 different countries. At the top of the list were: United States, Mexico, Spain, Chile, Guatemala, Peru, Argentina, Venezuela, Colombia, Costa Rica and Puerto Rico. Population would be a key factor in the position of each country. For example, Puerto Rico has just 3.7 million compared to tens of millions in the US who speak Spanish, about 100 million in Mexico, etc.
for May through December, 2011
Visits Pages opened Hits Gigabytes downloaded
May, 2011 (31 days)
161,174................... 271,8223............................... 3,221,334.................................... 248.56
-Daily average of visits: 5,199.16
Visits Pages opened Hits Gigabytes downloaded
June, 2011 (30 days)
145,624..................... 246,427............................... 3,046,524.................................... 238.25
-Daily average of visits: 4,854.13
July, 2011 (31 days)
135,584..................... 244,369............................... 3,013,822.................................... 247.28
-Daily average of visits: 4,405.94
August, 2011 (31 days)
139,224..................... 243,495............................... 3,071,799.................................... 255.92
-Daily average of visits: 4,491.1
September, 2011 (30 days)
140,239..................... 236,470............................... 2,989,369.................................... 252.79
-Daily average of visits: 4,674.63
October, 2011 (31 days)
146,289..................... 248,398............................... 3,282,192.................................... 272.94
-Daily average of visits: 4,719
November, 2011 (30 days)
137,815..................... 227,757............................... 3,166,664.................................... 272.33
-Daily average of visits: 4,593.83
December, 2011 (31 days)
105,563..................... 177,817............................... 2,494,581.................................... 212.72
-Daily average of visits: 3,405.26
-Note. December is consistently the month of least traffic on the site.
-Six reconciled. Sept. 25, 2011. José Vizcarrondo, of the Loiza church, preached in Bayamón on the subject “El hermano mayor del hijo pródigo” (“The Older Brother of the Prodigal Son”). It was, absolutely, one of the best sermons I have ever heard in Spanish or English! So many practical observations and applications. At the invitation, six members came forward for reconciliation and prayer. Complementary remarks were heard on every hand. José, converted in a meeting I preached in Loiza several years ago, earned the Six-Year Certificate from the School of Advanced Bible Studies in San Juan, and is now teaching some courses in the School.
-Sunday, Dec. 18, 2011. Visitors’ Day. We encouraged members of the Bayamón church to bring visitors for the Sunday service, Dec. 18. Though December is a “partying-traveling time” for this island society, some twenty-four visitors came to the service. Attendance was 127, with a lot of our own not present due to various circumstances. In 2011, the holiday season in Puerto Rico began about the first week in October! And it lasted to the January 15, 2012!
-Sis. Malbis Raymond and her son Rafael, both baptized about twenty-five years ago, have returned to the congregation after the death of Malbis’ mother, who was in her nineties. Both took care of Malbis’ mother, day and night, in their home for many long years. Rafael is employed by the main San Juan post office.
-Bro. Orlando Rivera, a supervisor in that same post office, and, as it turns out, Rafael’s boss, married Eunice Pérez, daughter of evangelist Pascual Pérez, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic –mentioned earlier in this report. They met on one of Orlando’s frequent trips to the Dominican Republic. This couple lives in the Bayamón area, and thus does Eunice now also belong to the Bayamón church.
-In addition to local evangelistic and benevolent works, the Bayamón congregation continues to provide funds for works in the Dominican Republic, India, El Salvador and Colombia, limited amounts going to the latter two countries. This church also covers the cost of maintaining the Internet site www.editoriallapaz.org.
July 25, 2011, Rita and I went to Coral Springs, FL to celebrate the 5th birthday of our granddaughter, Kiara Karina, on the 26th, and spend some time with the whole family –Antonio, Irelis, Kevin and Kiara. During our first days there, we were informed that Martha Nell Frye, Rita’s sister, living in Brownsville, TN, needed to undergo emergency heart surgery, and because of the extreme seriousness of her condition, we decided to go on to Tennessee. Thankfully, the surgery was a success. After a number of days in West Tennessee, we went to Shelbyville, TN, where our daughter, Sharon Laretta, and her family live, spending several days with them. From there, we went back to Coral Spings, having tickets to return to Puerto Rico August 22. That flight was canceled because of hurricane Irene. We rescheduled the trip for the 24th, but decided to remain at our son’s house in Coral Springs until we were reasonably sure power had been restored in our area of the island. Health concerns were also a factor, for the big toes of my feet had been affected by a serious infection around the nails for three months or more, and despite visits to specialist in Puerto Rico and the U.S, the infection had not cleared up. At last, as of this writing, my toes are well. The infection was apparently due to a lot of work I did in May, 2011 to repair the concrete roof of the printing plant, work that including much pressure washing to remove old sealant. It was hard to keep my feet dry, and I really do not anticipate adverse effects until it was too late.
Rita and I returned to Puerto Rico August 30th, ten days after tropical storm Irene hit the island, arriving at the property where we live about 6 p. m. We could not drive all the way to the house due to a quantity of bamboo blocking the lane. However, we were able to walk in, and to our relief, found we had power and water. Our house was not damaged. The upper part of a tree, a foot thick and about forty feet tall, did fall on an edge of the roof of the concrete part of the house, but did not crack it. The tree was actually on a neighbor’s property, close to the property line. The next day after arriving, I cleared enough of the bamboo to the point where we could drive in to the house. Four of the bamboo that fell across the lane were about nine inches thick and some forty-five feet tall. Many stalks of bamboo are still crisscrossed above the lane. The building where we work was not damaged.
Wherever I am, I can continue evangelizing and teaching through our Internet site, as long as I have a computer and a connection. And that is what I did on a good many of the days we were in the US. I spent many hours with my computer in the elegant foyer area of Jackson General Hospital while my sister-in-law, Martha Nell, faithful member of the church in Brownsville, was getting strong enough to go home. My goal is to add at least one new title, or some revised material, every three or four days, more often if possible. Though this report covers just to December 31, 2011, I would like to go ahead and inform you that we, that is, Antonio and myself, should have another Internet site up and running soon –www.iglesia-de-cristo.com. It will have a somewhat different focus, and is to incorporate new technologies. We are still trying to figure out how to best improve the present site.
As of the date of this Report, we ask your prayers especially for Rita and our daughter Sharon Laretta. Rita is to have surgery Wednesday, February 22, on her right shoulder –a procedure to reattach a torn tendon. Sharon Laretta has been diagnosed with a type of Chiari deformity, a condition described as potentially very dangerous to her well being. It is possible she will soon undergo surgery.
Daily, we give thanks for the generosity of those who make it possible for us to continue in this work. Last week –one week alone- 34,163 visits (accesses) were registered on our Internet site. I interpret that number as an enormous potential for evangelization and spiritual edification. It places a very great responsibility on me, and my constant prayer is that I may be able, with your help, to fulfill it in an ever more mature and effective way. Thank you again for providing support.
In Christian love and appreciation,
Dewayne and Rita Shappley
PS Why did I get so far behind on reporting? Actually, I have been sending “Brief Reports” all along to those for whom I have an e-mail address. If you, or your congregation, did not receive “Brief Reports” and would like to start getting them, please send me your e-mail address. Mine is [email protected].
The chief reason for being altogether too late with this full report has relatively little to do with the trip to the US, hurricane Irene or involvement in local works here, but rather mostly with the preparation of materials for the Internet site, administration of the site and responding to e-mails generated by the site. When I think about having contact with some 4,500 people today, and every day –the number was 4,675 daily for all of 2011- I tend to put just about every other consideration on the back burner.