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Shappley’s Report from Puerto Rico
June 9, 2010
It is our pleasure to provide you the information in this report. No color pictures this time! But, a fair amount of really good news about conversions in different places through materials prepared here, and especially through those on our Internet site. To God be the glory and honor. Guided by data supplied to us, we place, as of this date, the Grand Total of conversions at 14,036, and the Grand Total of congregations established at 243. Needless to say, many of the fruits reported are due in great measure to the excellent follow-up work diligent brethren carry out when they receive contacts from us.
Through the grace of God, on May 2, 2010, Rita and I completed forty-four years of labors in these Spanish-speaking fields. Almost forty-seven years in the Caribbean, if the time we spent in Aruba, Netherlands Antilles is included. We are profoundly thankful for all the privileges and blessings the Lord has granted us, counting among the greatest the constant support, both material and moral, given by so many of you through these years.
-Neyba, Dominican Republic. Twenty-two were baptized at the conclusion of a series of illustrated studies presented by evangelist Manuel Aquino in a mountainous area to the north of Neyba. The studies and transparences were prepared in our facilities in Puerto Rico. Manuel used an overhead projector to present them. Bro. Yuri Féliz, one of the teachers in the School of Advanced Bible Studies, in San Juan, is from Neyba and visited there over the holidays in December and January. He brought the information of these conversions to us. Through the years, we have developed a number of illustrated studies and sermons. More than 400 of the full-color presentation graphics are available on our Internet site. (www.editoriallapaz.org/transparencias.htm)
-Rosario, Argentina. In January of this year, four men were baptized, including a father and his son. Brethren in that city of two million souls are using materials they download from our Internet site to evangelize and edify. This information was received via a telephone call from Rosario.
-Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela. Eighteen converted. Ronald Sabino and David were friends during their teenage years, then, as adults, went their separate ways. Ronald became a Pentecostal; David, an Adventist. After a time, David came back to Puerto La Cruz and renewed his friendship with Ronald. As they talked, David said to Ronald: “You are not using curse words like we used to.” Ronald replied that he had accepted Christ in a Pentecostal church, but had reservations because he was not seeing and hearing in that church what he was reading in the New Testament. David invited him to the Adventist church and Ronald almost became an Adventist. As both continued to study the Bible they concluded that neither Pentecostals nor Adventists were in harmony with the Bible, and began to search on the Internet for a more biblical church. Finding our site and studying some of the materials, they exclaimed: “This is the church we have been looking for!” They sent us an e-mail. We forwarded it to brethren in Venezuela. Within two hours of receiving the information, Bro. Dennis Ruiz was at the door of one of the men. Within a short time, both were baptized. Then, Ronald began to teach his family and members of the Pentecostal church to which he had belonged. Very soon, sixteen were baptized! We now go to Colombia for further results.
-Ocaña, Colombia. About twenty converted and the church established there. Now, Ronald’s Pentecostal girlfriend lived in Cúcuta, Colombia. He taught her about the church of Christ. She went to Puerto La Cruz and was baptized. A little later, the two were married. Going to Cúcuta, Ronald taught his wife’s sisters, and three were baptized, plus the husband of one. These people had been in the Foursquare Gospel Church for eighteen years. They went back to Ocaña, Colombia, where they lived, and told the pastor they would not be going back to his church. Ocaña is five hours from Cúcuta. Ronald decided to go and encourage them for a time. He began to preach the gospel in Ocaña and soon eight people were baptized. This data is taken from an e-mail by Ronald to us, dated Feb. 8, 2010. He says he hardly knew what to do since he had known the truth for only about eight months, “but God gave me the responsibility and here I am, in Ocaña, and sixteen people have been baptized. Others are attending and receiving studies. The churches in Cúcuta and in Venezuela are helping me. Bro. Dennis Ruiz has come and helped us, and it appears Manuel Calderón, a preacher in Texas, will come in May.”
-Manuel Calderón, baptized in Bayamón, Puerto Rico, in 1996, now working full-time in evangelism in the Ft. Worth area, and doing some work outside the US, did go to Ocaña, Colombia in May, and also to Puerto La Cruz. He then came to Puerto Rico, and preached in Bayamón May 29th. At lunch that day, Manuel told me, in detail, about his conversations with Ronald Sabino, and his trip to Ocaña. He was favorably impressed with Ronald and the work being done in Ocaña, a city of some 150,000, finding the church to have as many as twenty-five members by the end of May. Manuel’s wife, Yvina, was also baptized in Bayamón. This couple has two lovely daughters, and another child on the way.
-Ronald Sabino is 27 years old. In the e-mail he sent Feb. 8, he wrote: “For about nine years, I have been looking for the truth, with tears and perseverance, and God showed me the way. I was a little bit of everything: agnostic, into metaphysics, studied with Jehovah’s Witnesses, was a Pentecostal, and almost an Adventist, but due to my perseverance and putting spirits to the test (1 Juan 4:1), I was able to recognize false doctrines. As a result of my tears and pleas, through the providence of God, I found the church of Christ. Investigating diligently, I decided to speak with some member of the church of Christ, and it was thus I came to know Dennis Ruiz. We conversed, and within a short time, I was baptized, obeying the gospel. My father, mother, three brothers and their wives were also baptized.” According to Manuel Calderón, Ronald investigated “diligently” the church of Christ as presented on our Web site. With regard to this site, Ronald wrote: “Of a truth, it has been very helpful to me in every way. We must always take into account the hard work of experienced people like you. I write to congratulate you and request the favor of your help. Your tracts and analytical studies are among the best.”
-Venezuela. Eight conversions in Venezuela through a tract. Benito Holguín called a few days ago, informing us that he had made copies of one of our tracts, “La iglesia verdadera” -“The True Church,” using them to bring eight souls to the Lord.
-Bayamón, Puerto Rico. Gabriel Hernández, 42 years old, of Barrio Dajao, was baptized June 6. He had studied the materials on our Web site for a time. On his fourth visit to the congregation he requested to be baptized. It is a wonderful experience to have people teach themselves by means of the Internet, visit one day and very soon put on the Lord in baptism!
-Bayamón, Puerto Rico. Orlando Rivera baptized. This man is 53 years old. He is a technician for the US Postal System, working in Puerto Rico and sometimes in the States. A friend of his has a private plane and invites Orlando to go on trips to the Dominican Republic. On one such trip, Orlando met the daughter of a preacher in that country. She told him about the church. He looked up information on the Web and visited the church in Bayamón, requesting to be baptized after only two or three visits. The preacher mentioned is Pascual Pérez. This man, now about 70 years of age, was converted in the Dominican Republic more than thirty years ago through one of our tracts. His story is one of my favorites. As told by Pascual, he set up in bed one morning, put his feet on the floor, looked down and between them was the tract “The Churches of Christ Salute You.” Someone had thrown it through the open window of his bedroom! He read it, was convinced his Pentecostalism was not right, and proceeded to obey the gospel. Pascual went on to establish the congregation en Los Mina, Santo Domingo. Today, that congregation has more than 100 members, has its own meeting place and has established another congregation in the city. Pascual visited recently with the Bayamón church.
-Bolivia. Yobán Álvarez baptized through our Internet site. This man sent us an e-mail stating he had learned the truth by studying materials on our site and wanted to obey the gospel. We forwarded his e-mail to brethren in Bolivia. Soon afterwards, we received the following e-mail from Bro. Pablo de la Paz. April 14, 2010. “Dear Brother, thanks for the information. Rufino made contact with Yobán Álvarez. We conducted a study with him by means of the radio, and he decided to be baptized. He has now been a member of the church of our Lord for about one hour.” (In Central and South America, short range, FM stations offer their services at a modest cost. Some brethren use them to preach the gospel.)
-Colombia. Several baptized. March 3, 2010. E-mail from Oswaldo Mafla. “Brother, God bless you. I am Colombian by birth. Twenty-five years ago, I became a member of the National Police of my country. I knew absolutely nothing about God. Continuing in that institution for ten years, I saw a lot of evil. Some years ago, I began searching for God and went to the United International Pentecostal Church, but saw that what goes on there is worse than belonging to the guerillas or the paramilitary, for they kill souls. Several so called pastors tried to do it with me through the doctrines they manipulate. I was disciplined and expelled from among them for not following men. There is altogether too much corruption and ignorance with regard to the Holy Scriptures. Your messages helped me to find the truth and know the Holy Spirit, and I have been baptized biblically. Today, I am a Christian; I belong to the church of Christ and preach the sound doctrine of the ideal church, according to God.” Bro. Mafla and I have had a lengthy exchange of e-mails. He has told me, in detail, about his experiences in the police force: How he rose to positions of importance, even being at the planning table with the present president of Colombia, his scrapes with death, and his fall into disgrace because of his undisciplined nature. After he became a Christian, he began to evangelize others and lead at least eight to the waters of baptism. Oswaldo wants to establish a congregation where he presently lives and we are exploring ways to help him.
-Caracas, Venezuela. Jan. 22, 2010. E-mail. “Spiritually, we have been greatly blessed by means of the biblical teachings on the Internet, and we ask God to continue filling you with wisdom so that you may continue spreading the gospel of Christ and edifying many brethren.” Miguel Ángel Azocar Jiménez.
-Miami, Florida. A man who identified himself as Sandy called to say he had been invited to give our study on Revelation in various places, describing it as “beautiful, tremendous, the best.” Even if the commentary is just a part of how he describes it, we will feel good about the time and effort invested in its preparation. Including presentation graphics, the work is now close to 800 pages long.
-Bayshore, Long Island, New York. José Nelson Canales called Feb. 22, 2010. Three families are studying materials on our Internet site, and have left Pentecostalism. They are meeting together, and request our continued assistance. They may either form a New Testament church themselves, or meet with one already existing in their area.
-Two more teachers. In Bayamón, Noel Estrella, about 33 years old, will begin teaching for the first time. His class will be the young adults on Wednesday night. Noel is a very good song leader. He and Elizabet Padilla were wed May 15th. It was my privilege to perform the ceremony. In the School of Advanced Bible Studies, in San Juan, I asked Osvaldo Santiago to take my class one night when I could not attend. He accepted. The next Monday, I called and asked him if he would like to continue that night. He said yes. I sat in on the class and was gratified to see that he handled the material and himself in a most acceptable way. When he said something before the class about my continuing to teach, I replied that the course was now his from then on! And so it has been. A banker by profession, and well educated, Osvaldo, has been a member of the Park Gardens church for seven years. Though he also had earned a Six Year Certificate from the “School”, he, nevertheless, had held back with regard to teaching or preaching. Now he has broken through the barrier in a fine way.
-More news about the Bayamón, Puerto Rico church.
-We sent $8,160.00 for Haiti earthquake relief.
-Bible study published in the daily paper Primera Hora. Subject: “DIEZMOS: ¿Sabía usted que fueron abolidos al morir Cristo en la cruz?” (“Tithes: Did you Know They Were Abolished When Christ Died on the Cross?”). Date published: June 3, 2010. Half page, with some art work. Through this medium, some spiritual seed has been sown in Puerto Rico. Primera Hora has a circulation, if I remember correctly, of more than 150,000. The cost for a half page, for one day, is about $2,250.00. The Bayamón church will cover this amount. The subject named was chosen because so many pastors and churches here are demanding tithes and making merchandise of the gospel in every way imaginable. Their teachings and actions disgrace the gospel of Christ, causing many, many to ridicule, on television and through other media, all churches and scoff at religion in general. Thus far, a few positive calls have been received, and one couple attended the Arecibo congregation last Sunday.
-Help for orphans, widows and preachers in India. In addition to our regular support for benevolent and evangelistic work in the Dominican Republic, some members of the Bayamón church are beginning to provide support for the needy in the great country of India. Brethren Garry Jones and Jim Waldron, evangelists to India, presented most interesting reports to the church Wednesday night, May 19. They were accompanied by Bro. Clyde Randolf, elder of the Crossville, TN church. Several members from four more congregations in Puerto Rico were present for the reports.
Internet Site Data
Records have been broken successively during the last three months. For the first five months of 2010, we have registered 706,562 visits, and 1,350,896 Pages have been accessed. This is equivalent to sending that many documents to the 706,562 who went on the Site. During May, visitors to the site were from at least 104 different countries. A considerable amount of data on our site is supplied by www.web.com, our host provider. We look at some of it almost every day.
Visits............... Pages opened......................................... Hits.......... Gigabytes downloaded
March, 2010 (31 days)
155,041..................... 290,554............................... 2,392,973...................................... 98.69
-Daily average of visits for March: 5,001.32
April, 2010 (30 days)
153,132..................... 291,119............................... 2,525,979.................................... 116.32
-Daily average of visits for April: 5,104.4
May, 2010 (31 days)
158,876..................... 290,574............................... 2,772,586.................................... 131.42
-Daily average of visits for May: 5,125.
Grand Totals from 2003 to May 31, 2010
Pages opened: 12,111,719
Titles available: 1,065
Highest number of visits for one day: 6,018 (May 18, 2010)
Once again, we express our deepest appreciation for your continued support. Please keep us and the work here in your prayers. May God’s peace fill each heart and mind. In Christ,
Dewayne and Rita Shappley
P. O. Box 1264, Bayamon, PR 00960-1264