This is the church that meets downtown (centro) in Maturin, a city in Eastern Venezuela. This was the second night I was there and the lighting was much better--the first night I preached by candlelight, so a picture was out of the question. We had about 20 both nights, which was about average then. At the time this photo was taken the church had been meeting just over one year and had grown from 1 person to 15 members. How did Antonio do this?
First of all, Antonio did not do it--God did! But Antonio was willing to work; visiting, teaching, talking to people. Some of them he had known before but others were new contacts. He preached over the radio and made contacts that way, but more often than not his new contacts came from those he was already studying with. Miru, in the black blouse on the front row, was the source of many contacts, including her sister in the city of Valencia.
The Maturin centro church has continued to grow in spite of opposition from institutional/liberal brethren. He has been labeled all sorts of things, but the brethren have begun to see through that. He has been black balled, but only a small group of accepted that. With the Lord's help, the church continues to grow and is now over 35. May we all continue to press on to the high calling of our Great God.