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Evangelism without borders among the Spanish-speaking
While “Evangelism without borders among the Spanish-speaking” may sound somewhat grandiose, it does convey accurately what happens when the sermons and studies we have on our Internet sites are read or listened to by people from throughout the Spanish-speaking world. For the Internet, borders between countries hardly exist. Access to the gospel messages and articles is almost instantaneous. The cost to the provider (us) is very small, and to the user, just whatever it takes him/her to have access to the Internet. What a marvelous way to evangelize and edify!
Did you know that Spanish is the second mostly widely spoken language in the world? Chinese is in first place; English, in third.
Report for the month of February, 2013
-Place not identified. Feb. 01, 2013. “Brief Reflections for Very Busy Ministers” is a series of concise observations and orientations by Ramón Oliveros Ochoa, who identifies himself as a Minister of New Testament Teaching. Finding his Reflections true to the New Testament and worthy of publishing, I am making them available on a particular Page of our Web. www.editoriallapaz.org/reflexiones-breves-Ramon-Ochoa.html
-Bucaramanga, Colombia. Feb. 02, 2013. “Thanks be given to God the Father for the great work being done by Editorial La Paz [the Internet site editoriallapaz.org] to spread the Word of God.” Hernán Rueda Prada, evangelist, Church of Christ
-Place unknown. Feb. 02, 2013. “Hello. This is to congratulate you on such a beautiful study of Daniel, although I would like to learn a little more.” Juan [We have prepared a few graphics on Daniel, and some limited commentary, mostly having to do with the four beasts Daniel saw and the “little horn.” The material includes an illustrated timeline of the life of Daniel.]
-Valencia, Carabobo, Venezuela. Feb. 07, 2013. “Esteemed brethren, my name is Julio and I am from Valencia, Carabobo, Venezuela. I have read the exchanges on the Page Mind and Spirit, and have felt as if identified by the e-mail from the man who wrote about having temptations and negative thoughts. I have them everyday even though I have decided to seek Jesus. Truly, I ask for your help. Not long ago, I decided to seek Christ, and these temptations have come to me. On a separate note, I have read your articles on false prophets, and I am in an evangelical Christian church, and I have experienced [what the article reveals] with regard to asking for money and being constantly positive about success. Many of us are searching for consolation for our souls due to the problems we are living through in the world, etc., etc. I have always believed in Jesus, but never had come forward to follow his way. Now that I have done it, I feel confused and alone. I pray and read the Bible. That comforts me, but I have not been baptized and I want to do that as God commands. Greetings. Amen.” Julio Lugo [The Page on “Mind and Spirit” mentioned by Julio is a collection of exchanges with people seeking help to overcome mental, emotional y spiritual problems, some of a very severe nature. We try to offer sound, biblical advice. The Page is www.editoriallapaz.org/archivo_mente_espiritu.htm. Finding only a telephone number for the church in Valencia, a large city, I sent Julio data on two congregations not very far away –Maracay and El Tigre, suggesting he call Benito Olguín, in El Tigre. Julio did just that, according to an e-mail from Benito dated Feb. 09. My first reply to Julio was a little more than a page long. Thinking the subject merited fuller treatment, I developed a four-page long study, and have placed it on the Internet site, without identifying Julio in anyway whatsoever.]
Julio Lugo is baptized
-Valencia, Venezuela. Feb. 19, 2013. “Hello, brother. Many thanks for the contact in Valencia. A gave him a half hour study by telephone. I asked a brother to take charge of Mr. Julio Lugo and, thanks to God, he has already been baptized. That is a blessing. Any contact you have, I will take responsibility for locating him, please. God bless you and your family greatly.” Benito Holguín Holguín
-Menaos, Amazonas, Brazil. Feb. 07, 2013. “Greetings in Christ Jesus. Beloved brethren, my name is Valmir de Jesús Sousa. I am a preacher and professor of doctrinal teaching in one of the churches of Christ here in Manaos, Amazonas, Brazil. I am interested in obtaining the seven books of ‘Guides for the Development of Bible Classes.’ We are a group of 21 brethren and we have a great dearth of study materials.” Valmir Sousa
-Valledupar, César, Colombia. Feb. 11, 2013. “Brother Homero, may God bless you in this spiritual warfare. I am very interested [in receiving CD’s of studies and hymns] for I am taking many notes from your appraisals so deeply convincing and well explained. As a matter of fact, I am sharing them with many people interested in their salvation, and I will be very thankful if you can send me the study on Revelation, on disks, for this really is a very important study for many people who have believed and said that Revelation has nothing to do with their lives, above all, Pentecostals and others who do not understand it. Brother, you are very considerate.” Alberto Miguel López Torres
-Another e-mail from Alberto López. Feb. 11, 2013. “Brother Homero, I inform you I have always been in contact with Bro. Larry White, also a great teacher. I am thankful to him for all I have been able to learn from him, of the truth, of the Word. And to you, for you are helping me in many ways. From here, precisely, I send many of your studies via Facebook to many preachers in the world, and above all, to the United States, to workers and pastors who are lacking in appropriate teaching on the matter of sound doctrine, and to other countries of Latin America where very few know it. Your brother, Alberto López.”
-Comment. Now, here is a brother who is up to date on ways to evangelize in this technical-digital world of ours. From over there in Valledupar, Colombia, he uses his computer and Facebook to send studies available on our Web Page to many religious leaders in various countries. Bro. Larry White, of Farmerville, LA, did evangelistic work for several years in Central America. Because of a disease he contracted on the field, he had to return to the US, and for long years has continued his effective work, especially leadership training, through cassettes, printed materials and the Internet. Larry is one of the most respected evangelists in the Spanish-speaking world. Links to his Web sites appear permanently on the Page of our Site which contains a listing of Advanced Bible Studies and Courses for Leadership Training.
-Lima, Perú. Feb. 12, 2013. “Esteemed brethren of Editorial La Paz, a fraternal greeting, and to thank you for the material on the Internet. It is a lot of help to us. Please, if you would be so kind as to send us the books of guides for the development of Bible classes. Awaiting your kind answer, I am, pastor Elmer Carrero. Evangelical Pentecostal Church of Peru.”
Jujuy, Argentina. A congregation of thirty to follow guidelines that would make them an authentic church of Christ. Strange and disappointing developments.
-Jujuy, Argentina. Feb. 13, 2013. “Esteemed brethren, may the peace of God be with you. It is a pleasure to contact you and to know about the ministry you are carrying on. I read the article ‘Establishing New Congregations,’ and do you know, you came to me just at the right moment, that is to say, according to God’s time, for previous to reading this material I had been praying the Lord would give me wisdom to organize the small church the Lord has raised up where I live. I want to make it clear that this work was not born of my will or that of man, but by the will of God, since, though I had been praying all these years and preparing myself for the work the Lord would like for me to do, I had always refused a pastorate. Because in this province and our country this ministry is looked upon very badly, the majority of our churches being pastor-centered, and not Christ-centered. I think there is no longer a sincere person who will take care of souls. Not even I myself fill qualified for such a ministry.
In the face of this situation, I had made the decision to remain frustrated when thinking about doing something for God, seeing that the doors of all churches were closed to our ministry. We would go to one church, and the pastor would be jealous of us. Going to another, the pastor would forbid us to help a brother in need. To another, and the pastor would take abusive measures with regard to our money, and that of other brethren. Finally, I decided to go to the church of the president of the Confederation of Pastors here in my province, but he did not trust us. Confronting all this, I decided to leave this church [Pentecostal] because my family was being affected by it. Spiritually, we were left in the street, without any place to meet.
I decided to set up an altar [a Pentecostal way of saying “meeting place”] in my house, just my family and myself, and little by little, we began discipling brethren that were wounded, encouraging them not to stop attending their churches. With the passing of time, and seeing so many lies and falsehoods in the evangelical world, I decided to help only those in need and fulfill the Great Commission in my work [that of a school teacher], wherever I might be. So it was that one day when I was giving an exam, someone visited me and it was a young man with his wife and child. He came confidently to me telling me that he wanted to give his life to the Lord. He was a fruit of so many adolescents to whom I preached from my position [as a professor]. The seed had been planted in that young adolescent when he was thirteen years old. At that age, he drank and did terrible things in the streets, but the Word of God remained with him and today he was returning after so many years. This was very moving to me, but God had everything prepared, for my fellow professors told me to go with him, and that they would finish the exam. Well, the result was that this couple did give their lives to the Lord, and from there on the Kingdom of God grew like leaven. Today, in a year and a half, we are almost thirty brethren, and this is cause for a little concern because our house is becoming too small.
It is in this instance that I find this material published by you, just at the right time, for you provide me with a clear orientation as to how to organize the church of the Lord. The principal motive of my e-mail is to consult you about what possibility there might be of becoming a part of your ministry, that is to say, could you give us spiritual oversight with regard to what the Lord is doing in this place? I know you are in another place, but we need spiritual attention. I know we are going to be criticized. As a matter of fact, already some are murmuring against us. Sadly, this came to my ear through my son who said to me: ‘Daddy, a young guy told me what you are doing is conducting clandestine meetings.’ That was a painful day to me. My heart became sad, but the Lord spoke to me and told me: ‘Son, they did not even want my prophets. They rejected my own Son. During the Roman persecution, the first Christians met clandestinely, for if they did not they would have been killed. Therefore, do not be surprised about what is happening.’ It was that encouraging word from God that lifted me up. Nevertheless, I would like to know what you think about our request. Brethren, it will be a pleasure to establish communication with you. I know it will be edifying for our lives. At your request, I will provide you information or references with regard to my person. Peace and grace be with you.” Gustavo Quispe and family
-My reply was almost two pages long, the key part being emphasis on three vital actions to becoming a church true to Christ and his New Testament: (1) Baptism for the remission of sins, (2) celebration of the Lord’s Supper every Sunday and (3) singing without the use of instruments of music. The document on our Internet site which Gustavo read is: “Establishing New Congregations.” It covers these teachings and a long list of practical guidelines for the formation of a congregation according to God’s plan for the church. As to spiritual oversight of the church in Jujuy, I defined how we might help, while at the same time respecting the autonomy of the local congregation. Information was also included on churches of Christ already established in Argentina.
-The province of Jujuy is located in the extreme northwestern part of Argentina, below Bolivia to the north and bordering Chile to the west. Jujuy is also the name of its principal city. The nearest congregation is the one in Metán, Salto, established some two years ago through an Internet contact, Franco Socco. At last report, it had nine members.
-After reading Gustavo’s first e-mail and replying, I informed the church in Bayamón about him and the church he had developed in Jujuy. We all rejoiced for such a positive communication.
-During the following week, in another e-mail received from Gustavo, he said he was now identifying the congregation there as “the church of Christ in Jujuy,” adding that three more men of good repute had become a part of the group. This news was also communicated to the Bayamón church the following Sunday, and our rejoicing was even greater.
-Then, strangely, silence! Gustavo did not respond to my following e-mails, nor to e-mails of brethren in Argentina who contacted him. Naturally, this has been most perplexing and troubling. What happened to him? What happened to that congregation? Such a promising beginning, then zero! I can only speculate. One of my biggest concerns in the case of people like Gustavo is that their first contact with churches of Christ already in existence does not always turn out to be positive. This conclusion is based on observations I have received from people in different countries who have visited congregations. But, there are other possibilities, one being that most who try to come out of Pentecostalism have an absolutely hard time disentangling themselves from the web of “God spoke to me directly… the Holy Spirit told me in a dream… I am being guided by a divine voice within… If you leave, God will punish you…”, etc., etc. I continue to send Gustavo e-mails now and then. I even wonder if he might have become extremely ill, or even passed away.
-Place unknown. Feb. 16, 2013. “Many truths. I am in agreement. Blessings.” María
-Medellín, Colombia. Feb. 22, 2013. “I received your messages. What a joy to read the extensive article you have written about anger. I give thanks to the God of all consolation for your instructing me on this matter which has everything to do with me. Like a child thirsty for pure water, I receive this instruction. Thanks for this ministry overflowing with love for precious souls.” Olga María Gómez Paniagua [I prepared two rather extensive studies on “Anger” for the Internet site, including an analysis of the anger that drove Moses to strike the rock when he had been ordered to speak to it.]
-San Juan, Argentina. Feb. 22, 2013. “Hello. I am from San Juan, Argentina, and I am reading various articles of yours which are a blessing for my life, providing growth and knowledge. There is so much ignorance in our churches and I would like to consult you on a matter. My ministry desires to begin to work with G-12. I have read very little on this, and in truth, I feel a little concerned. Could you help me? Thanking you beforehand. Blessings.” Mariela Otiñano [“G-12” stands for “Groups of 12,” being the application in Latin America of the “cell-type” organization to churches or movements that accept it. In Bogotá, Colombia, César Castellanos and his wife, Claudia Rodríguez, have used the system to build an enormous religious following of thousands, which also produces a great amount of money for them. We sent Mariela information and told her where to find more on our site.]
-Colonia Libertad Sur, Olanchito, Yoro, Honduras, C.A. Feb. 22, 2013. “Very good material, beloved brother Shappley. May God bless the work by means of this literature.” Jonathan Mejía. [The “Referer” indicates Jonathan had reference en particular to “Pastors After Your Money.”]
-Colonia Libertad Sur, Olanchito, Yoro, Honduras, C.A. Feb. 22, 2013. “Beloved brother Shappley, it is a great joy to be able to write to you, after having read for so long the printed material, which is a great help to the Lord’s church wherever. Since I was a child, my father installed in me Bible teaching, and your printed material was a part of my tools, together with the Word of God, this being the most excellent tool. After admiring so much the gift our God has deposited in you, I am happy you can now make available to us this medium [Reference is to the Internet site.], and although I may not be able to know you personally, we are workers together in the Work of the Lord. I am now a young man 27 years old, and for many years I thought about sending you a greeting. I congratulate you, brother, although I have been doing that during the past through my prayers. Some communication from you would be a joy for me, and if that is not possible, I will understand, knowing how fully occupied you are in this service to God.” Roberto Jhonatán Mejía Ortiz
-Place unknown. Feb. 25, 2013. “God bless you. I am a leader and the articles help me a lot.” Marlene de Fajardo
-Place unknown. Feb. 28, 2013. “Blessings. I am studying the subject of the Lord’s Supper and the material I have found is MORE than good. THANKS.” Luis Mariano Castillo Soto [The “Referer” shows Luis had reference to the PowerPoint material on the Lord’s Supper, and I would assume, also to the fifteen lesson series on the Supper, equivalent to about 165 letter-size pages.]
February, 2013 (28 days)
-Total visits...................................................................................................................... 114,072
-Daily average of visits...................................................................................................... 4,074
-Page views.................................................................................................................... 201,131
Totals for the year 2013
-Total visits...................................................................................................................... 236,138
-Page views.................................................................................................................... 425,042
Grand Totals through February 28, 2013
-Grand Total of visits................................................................................................ 10,308,281
-Grand Total of Page Views (documents accessed by visitors)....................... 21,080,129