Sunday, November 30, 2008

November Report and a Radio Education

Well, I missed blogging here in November (by a few minutes only), but from my previous post you can see that I have been very busy in November. Here is a little of what I have been doing...

Besides trying to get some students to join in the fun and transport them along with all the AUC promotional paraphanalia, I have been bringing my family with me to the churches. Besides wanting them by my side, it always sends a message when a visiting speaker is accompanied by his own family. It says something about their unity, with which God is blessing our family more each day.

Needless to say, church visits are always very interesting. Here are some highlights...

Fitchburg SDA Spanish Church - November 1
We have a real friend and ally in Hermana Carmen, the sister who invited AUC. I hope to keep working with her in the future. In fact, we have a good prospect for next school year from that visit. Also, she has put me in contact with a Colombian couple that is trying to help me restart ELI.

I was joined by some students in my Spanish 111 class. They joined me in a Spanish hymn for special music. That is part of their grade. Also, Evelyn and her mother came along. Later that afternoon we had a bit of a scare when the front left tie rod on my van busted. Fortunately, we were going very slow at the time, but it was a shocker.

I also met one of my first ELI students, Yajaira. She speaks so well now, and her accent is so beautiful. Her English is strong and clear. I am proud of her because she has always had great pronunciation, but was terribly shy. The last few years have really polished her out. I believe anyone who gives it time, effort, and often a tear or two will eventually be greatly rewarded. I enjoyed embarrassing her and giving a professorial seal of approval from the pulpit that morning.

Worcester Central Spanish SDA - November 8
This was a wild one because I had a large group of students and only one van. The AUC van was already reserved. I tried to cajole a friend to assist with his empty minivan (family temporarily out of the country), but without a wife and children he was unable to arise in time... So, I had to leave my family at home.

(Did I mention we bought a new fleet of vehicles in November? One for my wife and one for me. Anyone interested in a used van, and an old vw convertible?)

Arriving was a whirlwind between finding the pastor, meeting the elders, getting the students in place, rehearsing a song with a student on guitar, getting the AUC materials out, and mentally preparing for my sermon...

(The sermon talks about the difference between a true Christian education and that of the secular world. One is based on the Ancient Hebrew model which fears God and seeks Him for wisdom. The other was passed down through the ages from the Ancient Greek philosophers that believed, "Man is the measure of all things." Their philosophy, practiced in most educational situations, exalts man and his knowledge over God.

While Hebrew education produces disciples who reflect the character and life of their master (Luke 6:40), Greek education mass produces students that know what their instructor knows and reproduce it absent the guiding moral law of heaven.

So, what we are talking about here is training for time and eternity versus training for the state. Quite a contrast, no?)

Atlantic Union College was so well represented that Sabbath by students, music, and message. We are on the list to return soon! I met the father of a recent AUC grad, both of whose sisters also studied in the English Language Institute. In fact, one was my student secretary for a year and a half! Any guesses? Anyway, that man has sacrificed to make sure his children received a Christian education, and he told me he is very happy with the results!

I also met don Felipe, a local Spanish radio host, who is planning to join ADP for the January seminar. I went with Professor Maria Roybal-Hazen, Ruben, and Evelyn back in June to be interviewed by don Felipe about AUC.

So, this was a very good Sabbath as well, particularly after the great lunch we all had courtesy of Pastor Sorto and Hermano Moises!

Taunton Portuguese Church - November 15
This was supposed to be an off-week to be with my family back at Athol SDA, but I received an invite during the week from a recent AUC grad, Andre Costa. The church is pastored by former AUC man, Erik Conceicao. I had never ever preached in Portuguese before!

Wife, kids, and mother-in-law joined in this one. It was our maiden voyage in our new minivan (new for us, I mean). I love having my kids go to Sabbath school, so we try to do it on the road, too. The church was small, but full of faith and life.

Here, I met Marlon, a Brazilian radio professional. He really knows media, how it works, and how we can reach the Brazilian community. He is helping us. We had a very good meeting after lunch at Andre's folks place. I tell you, the hospitality was wonderful! Andre has a real talent for working with people.

In the evening on the way home, we stopped at a mall. While my wife, M-I-L, and kids were shopping, I ran into a woman who had been in church earlier in the day and heard my sermon. She told me that she was doing everything she could to send her three children to Cedar Brook Adventist Elementary School in Taunton, but she didn't know how she could continue with the payments. She was newly divorced, and her husband had left his children and returned to Brazil.

This woman is basically all alone trying to make it in this world for her kids. My heart went out to her, and I was wondering how could I help her. I have told a few about her, and I hope somehow God will provide for her and her three little kids. If anyone can help, let me know.

Lynn Spanish SDA - November 22
This date was originally on the schedule and remained there until 7:48 a.m. the day of. I had been trying to communicate with Pastor Lopez (one sharp, sharp cookie for the Lord)for weeks before, but it just didn't pan out.

He called me from Pennsylvania early in the morning and told me he had made other plans for the church that week. What happened was I had a bogus email, but a good cell number. He never got my emails, and he never returned my phone calls.

But I forgive him. (Do you forgive me, pastor?) He is a charismatic, super intelligent leader, and I can't wait to work with him more. It was just as well that we didn't go. I was very thin on students, and we had a most blessed Sabbath together as a family at our beloved old church, Gardner SDA.

You know, if I didn't wait so long to blog, I wouldn't have to post these marathon entries. I think I have written enough for now...

Last thing...

November 24 - Greater New York Academy Chapel with Shion, Oscar, and Walix. The rental car was tiny and uncomfortable, but we did our job. We also got some New York Pizza for the ride home! Another student wants to come to AUC!

November 29 - Appeared on Boston's WUNR 1600 AM radio for an interview about the AUC alternative. Pastor Lopez interviewed me, and Hermano Joachim Bello ran the show most professionally. He also recorded me doing a one-minute AUC commercial to run weekly. God blessed immensely, and one of the radio participants has been wanting to come to South Lancaster with her son, a graduating senior! I have to work on that one...

November 30 - Appeared on POWER 1310 AM radio in Worcester to be interviewed about the AUC alternative and give the spiritual message for the morning. The elders from Worcester Central SDA ran the show with Pastor Sorto. 'Twas another radio success! They all now consider me, and AUC, a friend. Now that is good!

Finally, we are looking to expand our marketing presence in the Latino community in Worcester by purchasing radio spots on the Worcester station for the next 13 weeks. It has the largest reach in the area, and don Felipe is going to help us!

Sorry for the voluminous post, but it had all piled up. I feel better now!!!

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