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Links to previous reports, beginning with 2008, are also on the above Page.
How many churches of Christ, preachers or evangelists were contacted by more than 3,500 people a day during May, 2013? We were! 3,592 a day! And some of them obeyed the gospel. To the Lord be all the glory!
This report for May, 2013 is the equivalent of ten printed pages. E-mails appear in the order of date received. Thus, the most important ones will not necessarily be at the beginning of the report. We call special attention to a series beginning on May 07 and concluding with the news of six conversions Sunday, May 26, two more being baptized Sunday, June 02, in the city of Barrancabermeja, Colombia, the remarkable story of young adults, plus the mother of one of them, who, diligently seeking the truth and finding it, started implementing what they were learning.
-Place not identified. May 01, 2013. “I was preparing and exposition on the subject of the day of the Lord based on a lesson, but decided to look for additional information with a view to teaching more to the students of the Pastoral Catholic School, and the surprise was this Page about the same –the changes Christ made to the church he founded. May the Holy Spirit always illuminate you so that you may continue to provide information that enriches us with the wisdom of the Lord. Thanks.” Pablo Roque Huipe [Referer: "http://www.editoriallapaz.org/ley_cambio_de.htm" The Referer shows Pablo Roque, a Catholic teacher, had reference to the study “The Change of Law that God Himself Made.”]
Churches established and growing in Honduras. We have a small part in them. Map showing their location.
-Yoro, Honduras. May 01, 2013. “I hope that knowing how the work of the Lord is growing will be cause for much rejoicing, and that your joy in Christ may abound even more I want to make it known to you that the places pointed out on the map where churches of Christ have been established [See maps below] not only have we filled them with the God’s word, but have also shared with them your written material, tracts as well as sermons. So it is that in one way or another you have a part in the success of these congregations that God has permitted us to raise up in these regions and take them to him. Congratulations, brother. The successes God has granted us are also yours, in one way or another…”
-Note. Likewise are they to be attributed to churches and individuals who contributed to make possible the printing of all the literature, recording of cassettes and CD’s, etcetera –almost 24,000,000 tracts, hundreds of thousands of booklets and books, hundreds of thousands of cassettes.
“My father asked me to greet you and, at the same time, thank you for the good contribution made in the form of literature that you wrote about “Stages in the Life of Ministers and Their Works.” A few months ago, he presented a weeklong series of studies under this title in El Triunfo, Perulapia, El Salvador. To this day, that seminar is remembered with much appreciation by those Salvadoran brethren. On behalf of my father, many thanks. The material was very useful to him, for the glory and honor of God.” Roberto Jhonatan Mejía.
-The material referred to is “Five Stages in the Life and Work of Ministers of God, ”a part of the book “Good Ministers of Jesus Christ, ”which I personally consider one of the best works the Lord has made it possible for me to produce. Many full-color graphics illustrate it. These can be downloaded and displayed using a digital projector or can be printed as transparences. www.editoriallapaz.org/BM_desglose_contenido.htm is the Page for the content and links to texts and graphics. As a note of interest, in 1994, I presented the original series to more than 200 church leaders who came from many different places in El Salvador to one of the churches in the capitol, San Salvador, for five days of such conferences, one of the most memorable events in my own life and work.
Maps sent by Jhonatan Mejía
-The map in the middle is of the whole country of Honduras.
-The one at the top is of the Department of Yoro, and shows
the congregations in El Juncal, El Guapinol, Las Lomitas,
La Sabana, Olanchito, El Arenal y Coyoles Central.
-The one to the left is of the Department of Copán, and
shows the location of the congregations in Los Llanitos
and La Sigua.
-These are only the congregations referred to by Jhonatan.
There are scores of congregations in Honduras.
In addition to his e-mail and maps, Jhonatan sent us the following documents which we have added to the site.
-“How to Initiate an Evangelistic Study”
-“How to Make Time to Evangelize”
-“What Are the Best Fields for Evangelization?”
-“Plan for Bible Studies During the year 2013.” A highly detailed outline of Bible subjects and evangelistic activities the purpose of which is to prepare more workers dedicated to evangelism. Though the plan is specifically for the areas in Honduras where Jhonatan and his father are working, it could be easily adapted to other countries.
-Place not identified. May 01, 2013. “To whom it may concern. Thanks for the contributions through these Web Pages. They have been very useful to me. I have made copies of some commentaries, omitting some things, for I presented a little work in the meeting we have, a women’s meeting in an Adventist Christian Church. Although I belong to the Star of Bethlehem Church. Until later. Greetings. Sincerely, Ana.” Ana Álvarez García. [Sounds a little confusing to me! Strange that a woman from the Star of Bethlehem Church would be allowed to speak at a meeting of women in the Adventist Church. Referer: "http://www.editoriallapaz.org/Hechos_McGarvey_Contenido.htm" The entire commentary on Acts, by J. W. McGarvey, is on our site.]
Byzantine Rite Catholic finds our study on “The New Heavens and New Earth” in agreement with “the primitive interpretation of those who were so close to the teaching of the apostles.”
-Place not identified. May 2, 2013. “Just to say thanks, Homero, for such a well-balanced study on ‘The New Heavens and the New Earth,’ of the apocalyptic prophecies, which lend themselves so easily to falsifications, particularly by Jehovah’s Witnesses and Adventists. I am Byzantine Rite Catholic, and therefore very faithful to the tradition of the church Fathers, and I do not find anything in your study which would be a contradiction of the primitive interpretation of those who were so close to the teaching of the apostles. Many blessings in Jesus Pantocreator, and María Theotokos.” Robert Nicodemo, http//:ecclesiaprimus.blogspot.com/ email@example.com Sent from my iPad.
-Place not identified. May 03, 2013. “I am fully in agreement with what I have read.” Martha. [Her reference is to “Fourteen Reasons Why I Do Not Play Instruments in Worship to God.” Referer: "http://www.editoriallapaz.org/Musica%20-No%20tocar.htm"]
-Place not identified. May 05, 2013. “Very good article. I am in agreement with regard to that matter of ‘crazy people falsifying the gift of tongues and the baptism of the Holy Spirit.’ BUT, ONLY THAT WHICH REALLY EXISTS CAN BE FALSIFIED. Tongues are real, the same ones about which Paul spoke to the Corinthians. Before I lived the experience, I did not believe in it. All those who write against tongues HAVE SOMETHING IN COMMON: THEY DO NOT SPEAK TONGUES. GOD BLESS YOU.” Junior Gil
-Mr. Gil, resident of Spain, has reference to the document “Present Day Pentecostalism: It’s Origen in the United States of America.” Referer: "http://www.editoriallapaz.org/pentecostalismo_origen_%20e_%20historia.htm" In the translation of his e-mail, I used upper case letters where he used them. His assertions prompted a detailed reply on my behalf, which I considered important enough to add to the resources on our Internet site. www.editoriallapaz.org/pentecostalismo-Junior-lenguas-intercambio.html In my response, I pointed out that, contrary to his affirmation, many who have spoken Pentecostal tongues, have later renounced Pentecostalism altogether. Some of them live in Puerto Rico, having been converted through our evangelistic work here. The testimonies of several others are available on our site. By the way, that line about “crazy people falsifying…” was not written by me. Rather it has to do with observations made my Charles Fox Parham, one of the founders of modern day Pentecostalism, when he visited, in 1906, the Azusa Street, Los Angeles, California congregation begun by William Seymour, the real father of present day Pentecostalism. Parham preached two or three times, but began to denounce in the most severe terms what he was seeing and hearing, accusing many in Azusa Street of practicing spiritualism, hypnotism and carnal manifestations. Seymour and his followers declared him persona non grata. According to statistics, that type of Pentecostalism begun in Azusa Street has, today, approximately one billion adherents around the globe.
-Apóstoles, Misiones, Argentina. May 06, 2013. “Hello. I would like to know of a church of Christ near Apóstoles, Misiones, Argentina. Many thanks.” Román Figueroa [“Apóstoles –Apostles” is really the name of the city, and “Misiones –Missions” is really the name of the province, in northern Argentina, bordering Brazil, far from the nearest congregation. We sent Román the usual orientations and forwarded his e-mail to brethren in Argentina.]
-Place not identificad. May 06, 2013. “Hello, Homero. I have entered your Web, and have looked at it, and I think it is stupendous.” Francisco Morato Barea
Barrancabermeja, Santander, Colombia. Six baptized Sunday, May 26, 2013. Two more, Sunday, June 2.
-Barrancabermeja, Santander, Colombia. May 07, 2013. “Good afternoon. My name is José Fernando Pava Romero. I am 22 years old. May peace and grace always be with you. We thank God for allowing us to come to know the Web Page http://www.editoriallapaz.org. Confirming through the Word all the studies, we are filled with joy to be able to search more and thus knock down every argument and proud spirit that rises up against God (2 Corinthians 10:5), [by] preaching the New Testament (Hebrews 8). … I hope you may answer me and that we may become friends.”
-This was the first e-mail received from a group of eight or ten –young adults and one older lady- who had been involved in an intense struggle with the Pentecostalism of which they had been a part. The name “Barrancabermeja” I would translate as “Red Bank.” The largest oil refinery in Colombia is located in that city of about 300,000. After replying to José Fernando, a long e-mail was received on May 19 from another member of the group, Yoban Álvarez. That communication and “Comments” I inserted take up nine pages. I will translate just a part of it and give a resume of the rest. Yoban writes…
-“I have seen your Web Page and I think it very edifying.
-“I left several churches, having become tired of so much deceit and falseness which they disguise with the Word of God, doing so much damage, and I decided to abandon all those sects and sensationalist religions, with a very small group of people, no more than ten. Really, I do not count this as true conversion, for I did not know anything until about ten months ago. One day, when I was bored of participating in a certain Christian church, and discouraged… not understanding what they did in their services… even less when I read the Bible and understood something different… a matter which confused me and almost caused me to prefer returning to the world… I decided to close myself in my room and study the Bible for myself, even though I thought about what they say that one can go crazy doing that. But I did it, and stayed there such a long time they thought I was crazy.”
-Yohan took his laptop to the room, looking up words and texts, and was especially impacted by James 1:5. He began to understand it is not enough just to say “I am a Christian” when there has been no real repentance.
-The group of eight or ten began to study the Word of God more deeply, and “not as they had done previously in the churches that quoted only what they wanted to hear.”
-He then states: “I have various doubts and would like for you to help me with the following points.” These were about confessing Christ before baptism, the purpose of baptism, who can baptize, etcetera. I answered at length. Yohan had been baptized in a Pentecostal church. Though they said they baptized “for forgiveness,” he doubted the validity of that baptism because of things the pastor said and did, or did not do, when carrying out the act. When the group left the Pentecostal church, Yohan and José Fernando Pava, friends since childhood, baptized the others “because there was not anybody else to do it.” Personally, I do not know of any Pentecostal church that baptizes for the biblical reason.
-The group continued to meet and study the Bible in the house of the older lady. If I should translate all Yohan writes about what they came to understand on their own you would probably be as amazed as I am. Inquiring, later I learned, in an e-mail dated May 30, that the “older lady” is Yaneth Romero, mother of José Fernando Pava Romero. Her story is fascinating, and I will tell it as Yohan wrote it, without naming her at the time.
-“I have a testimony about a sister. She continued in one of these churches for a year and a half. Her life was almost ruined by the advice they gave. They almost made her sell her very valuable house, because [according to them] she was demonized by a witch which attacked her. Now then, of what use were the so-called ‘liberations’ [exorcisms] they practiced on her? Could it be Satan has more power than God, so as to enter and possess at will? Almost two years practicing liberation after liberation, hours upon hours, by means of spiritual wars. [“Spiritual wars” is a catch phase among many Pentecostals with connotations of even physical conflict with elements of evil.] This woman was almost overcome morally. They tormented her with that matter of the attacking witch. Every time they prayed in that church, this woman would burst out, acting like a demon, without anyone touching her, until she decided to leave because she was tired of all that. She had not learned anything. Ten months after leaving that church, this woman now meets with us. We go to her very own house to study the Word and pray with her and her husband. Never again did she act in that way [as possessed]. What is impressive is how this change came about without the necessity of liberations. Her understanding underwent a great change when she believed the truth sets one free. It is a question of just believing in the Lord, that He, step by step, will set one free from these things. She began to keep the commandments, to understand His Word, without any ecstatic actions of any kind. Her life changed without her becoming a fanatic. With regard to family, finances and health, her situation suddenly changed without her even asking; just leaving things to God. My question, then, is: Are all these manifestations necessary to believe in God?”
-Reference is to “Pentecostal manifestations” of all kinds: casting out demons, which is what is meant by “liberation,” speaking in tongues, wild dancing, ecstatic trances, shouting praises and preying loudly, everybody at the same time, etc. As I pointed out to Yohan, he answered his own question.
Yohan continues writing…
-“Just by studying, examining verse by verse, chapter by chapter, with the wisdom of God, and not of any man, we have understood many things that perhaps we would have never known. … We understand that the only true doctrine is the doctrine of Christ. … Now I understand; I am not so blind as before. But, I am young, as is also my friend. Nevertheless, we have an honest will and zeal full of the fervor to preach sound doctrine, and now we understand which one is the true church of the Lord.”
Yohan then relates that they consulted the Directory of churches of Christ for Colombia, but did not find one listed for Barrancabermeja. Concluding that there was no church of Christ in their city, he says: “…we decided to meet for the present in the house of the sister about whom I told you, and we have been doing that for about ten months, improving in the doctrine of Christ. What is more, your Bible studies have been of great use to us, for example, on the Lord’s Supper the first day of the week, preach the rudiments of doctrine (Hebrews 6), discipline and order in the congregation, how women should conduct themselves and what their functions are, and a short time ago we began the collection of offerings and the study of the Scriptures part by part, relying on the studies you have provided, and praising God spiritually with our own voices in harmony. Colossians 3:13-17. If you have any more help on discipline in the congregation, I will thank you for it, or whatever else we lack for our edification, for we are young in this, but faithful to the Word of God. I wish to make it clear that I am not a pastor of the congregation. No one is. I just teach according to what is being revealed to me by means of that which I learn from the Scriptures, but the idea is be edified more, and why not, form our church of Christ here where we live.”
-This was all happening leading up to Sunday, May 26, 2013. I find it quite remarkable that eight or nine young adults, together with the mother of one of them, would have such courage as to break away from a religion they could not reconcile with the Bible, and, not losing their faith as a result of so many negative experiences and direct conflicts with religious leaders, including a woman pastor, would determine to meet and study the Bible on their own. Learning much in that way, they then found our site www.editoriallapaz.org and began nourishing themselves with the studies on it, implementing fully Scriptural worship! What strikes me profoundly is that while not a few young adults in churches of Christ throughout the world today care little for sound doctrine and are even glad to embrace practices of a Pentecostal nature, including instrumental music, those young adults en Barrancabermeja, Colombia were highly desirous of learning sound doctrine and began to zealously preach it! Even instituting worship “in Spirit and in truth.”
-Now, the last major paragraph of Yohan’s e-mail contained disquieting information. Despite their zeal for sound doctrine, some of these young adults were living together without being properly married. Yohan addresses the situation, saying: “…we are taking steps to be married so that the Word may not be blasphemed by others who take notice of errors or weaknesses, even though they are in worse condition.” Needless to say, I strongly encouraged them to take those steps as soon as possible, or separate until they could.
-May 23, 2013. Another e-mail was received from José Fernando Pava Romero. He tells about an encounter he and Yohan had with a pastor with regard to certain teachings, and expresses his willingness to “receive much advice and exhortations” for his edification, as well as for the rest of the group. That was three days before May 26.
-I deduce that on the 24th or the 25th, he and the group made contact with the church in Bucaramanga, about 80 miles away, for on May 30 José Fernando sent another e-mail saying they had called Bro. Hernán in Bucaramanga and been given information about a church of Christ meeting in Barrancabermeja, the contact being Ricardo Quintero. In the e-mail of May 30, José Fernando also says: “We have been baptized for the forgiveness of sins.” The next day, May 31, he sent the following e-mail with more exact information.
-May 31, 2013. “Hello. I greet you with brotherly love, May God always keep you and guide you in your walk, as well as all the brethren of the church in Bayamón, Puerto Rico. I am happy to communicate with you, brother, and let you know that today we are the church of our Lord Jesus Christ. … Sunday, May 26, 2013, six people were baptized for the forgiveness of sins. We are: Pablo Gómez, Yaneth Romero, Viviana Ortiz, Yohán Álvarez, Mayra Pineda and your servant, José Fernando Pava. After the baptisms, we praised God, and immediately celebrated the Lord’s Supper. I would be happy if you would add us to the Directory in Editorial La Paz.” José Fernando Pava Romero
Colombia- Barrancabermeja- Santander. Ricardo Quintero. Correo: firstname.lastname@example.org
Numero Celular: 3203463514. José Fernando Pava. Correo: email@example.com. Calle 76 Bis 23 a 04, Barrio La Castellana. Sábados, 7:00 p. m.”
-We were more than glad to add this information to the Directory for Colombia.
-In his e-mail of May 30, José Fernando said Ricardo Quintero and those with him were meeting during the week in houses and renting a place on Sundays where they celebrated the Lord’s Supper.
June 02, 2013. Two more baptized in Barrancabermeja. “Brother, yesterday, here in Barrancabermeja, two people received our Lord Jesus Christ and were baptized for the forgiveness of sins. Their names are: Yordi Álvarez and María Helena Puerto. Today, with love, we call them brothers. It is an immense joy to be preaching the Word, the good news…” José Fernando Pava Romero. E-mail dated June 03, 2013.
-Place not identified. May 07, 2011. “Excellent Web Page, brethren. Blessings!” Erv Gmz. Facebook. [This message was received on our Facebook account. We have more than 800 “friends.”]
-Place not identified. May 07, 2013. “Hello. I would like to know if I can be saved even though I do not meet with a congregation, for in the place where I live there is no church which teaches and practices the sound doctrine of the Word. I was baptized in a Pentecostal church, but had to leave there because their doctrine is of men. Thanks for your answer.” Román [Difficult situation for a man wanting to do what is right to be saved. As usual in these cases, we direct the visitor to www.editoriallapaz.org/directorio_desglose.htm where he can find a link to at least a partial listing of churches of Christ in his country. Other options were also noted.]
-Merriman, Texas. May 10, 2013. “Hello, Brother Homero. How are you? God bless you. I would like to ask you where you went to construct the Web Page editoriallapaz, and how can I get information to make one of the same kind. In reality, I have one but am not satisfied with it. Thanks, my brother.” Heiner Montealto. [We take that as a complement on out site! I informed Heiner that Antonio Shappley had created our Web Page.]
-Place not identified. May 13, 2013. With regard to what she has read and the graphics she has seen in “Revelation: Analysis of the Prophecies and Visions”, Marlene Carrillo Silvia writes: “Completely biblical, and your illustrations help us to receive the message in the spirit… transcending us to the dimension of the Spirit… making vivid the revelations given to John. This style of preaching the Word makes it possible to penetrate more into it. Congratulations. May God continue to bless you, for, as you are being a blessing to me, I know you also are to many more.” Marlene Carrillo Silva. Referer: "http://www.editoriallapaz.org/apocalipsis_12_perlas.htm" [The Referer shows me Marlene Carrillo sent her e-mail when she was on the Page of the commentary where the reader may see an impressive painting by Ted Larson of his vision of one of the pearl gates of celestial Jerusalem. Though the representation is a physical one of a heavenly place, I also find it helps to appreciate somewhat better the greatness and glory of what awaits the faithful. Hundreds of graphics illustrate the commentary.]
-Place not identified. May 16, 2013. “Blessings on your life, for this material will be very useful to the church where I attend. Many thanks.” Libardo Solis
-New Bedford, Massachusetts. May 18, 2013. “Years ago, I left the Seventh Day Adventist Church. I have not yet become a member of any Christian evangelical church. The Adventists always taught me the Catholic Church is the great whore of Revelation 17 and her daughters are the evangelical churches. I heard them say that if they should leave the Adventist Church, they would prefer to be lost in the world rather than to unite with an evangelical church. But, that is not my case. I want to become a member of an evangelical church, but do not yet know which one.” José Antonio
-This was the first of a number of e-mails received from José Antonio. He found, on the Internet, the A. N. Dugger (Sabbath keeping Pentecostal)-William Curtis Porter (church of Christ) Debate on keeping the Sabbath or worshipping on the first day of the week, and paid to have it translated from English to Spanish. José Antonio sent me a part of the translation, and I personally found it to be so poor that I did not want to put it on our site, informing José about my decision. Before this, I had encouraged José to visit a church of Christ. There is a small, English-speaking one in New Bedford, and the only Spanish-speaking one I know of in Massachusetts is in Lawrence. As a matter of fact, I preached a short meeting for that one in Lawrence about twenty-three years ago. José Antonio said he wanted to become a member of the church of Christ, but as of this writing (Sept. 19, 2013) has yet to do so, to my knowledge. At any rate, I decided it would perhaps be worthwhile to improve the translation he sent and add the material to our site, but, finding that such a daunting task, I only did Dugger’s First Negative. Thinking it would be easier to do the English to Spanish translation myself, I translated Porter’s First Affirmative. Quite a demanding job, to be sure! At that is as far as I have gone. Many other subjects and tasks I deem more important have been taking priority. These two parts of the debate do cover many of the basic issues and should be valuable to any person interested in the subjects.
-Barcelona, Venezuela. May 19, 2013. “In truth, this very day I came upon your Web Page in my search to clarify some things with regard to the Millennium. And what a blessing to know that I am in the right and that God always guides us. Also, very well explained the subject of baptism, and at what age one should be baptized, and the one on the great whore. This Page has been a great blessing. My question: Do you have them in audio? My eyes get tired when I read. Greetings and great blessings. From Venezuela, the church of Christ, Barcelona.” Irán Basanta [We are planning to add some key subjects in audio to the site, in addition to sermons being added.]
-Place not identified. May 20, 2013. “Thanks, brother, for being so attentive. Your having answered me says much about your dedication to the ministry God has given us. Your material is edifying and I am sharing it.” Martha Alicia González Fernández
-Location not identified. May 31, 2013. “Hello, Pastor. Pardon me, I do not have much Bible knowledge, but I do like to investigate. … Thanks for answering me, for my eyes were opened and now I am going to study these subjects more, and about the Adventist Church. They are the only ones in this area who keep the Sabbath and I did not understand why. Now I begin to understand and I am really intrigued. Whao! Thanks.” Gustavo Guzmán
May, 2013 (31 days)
-Total visits...................................................................................................................... 111,342
-Daily average of visits...................................................................................................... 3,592
-Page views.................................................................................................................... 194,918
Totals for the year 2013
-Total visits...................................................................................................................... 613,880
-Page views................................................................................................................. 1,071,922
Grand Totals through May 31, 2013
-Grand Total of visits................................................................................................ 10,686,023
-Grand Total of Page Views (documents accessed by visitors)....................... 21,727,009
Links to previous reports, beginning with 2008, are also on the above Page.
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