Dear Friends of Zion:
Words fail us to adequately thank all who so faithfully pray and give to make our work possible. The month of May was filled with excitement and victories, more than we can recount in this letter.. It began with the 50th wedding anniversary of Antonio and Enilda Bianconi in Mococa. Over forty years ago I met Antonio on the 7th floor of a downtown building. He was selling encyclopedias. To get him off my back, yet give a Gospel witness, I offered him a tract. “Come to church next Sunday. You can study the Bible and learn English, free of charge, in our Sunday school!”
Antonio arrived with a Presbyterian neighbor, too late for Sunday school but just in time for the sermon. When I gave the invitation, his neighbor practically dragged him down the aisle. “I’m afraid I’m going to cry!” he said. “Go ahead!” I said. “Jesus wept!” He trusted Christ as Savior that morning. What a story! Antonio said he had owned a supermarket but sold it. In the process, some document was not signed. The new owner restocked in Antonio’s name and left him bankrupt. The day I met him, he was planning to jump from the building and commit suicide!
Antonio’s wife was so angry that he became a “crente” (believer) she cursed him constantly and refused to wash his clothes or cook his meals for about a year. He would go to the bathroom and pray until she stopped cursing. Then she, too, was saved! Before moving to Mococa in l973, Antonio was baptized and attended a Soul Winning Conference at our church with Dr. Jacob Gartenhaus, Dr. Bob Wells, and Dr. J. R. Faulkner. He caught a vision for soul winning that persists to this day. He and Enilda started a church in their home. Over two hundred fifty were present for their Golden Wedding Anniversary. Most were people they have led to the Lord. Their five children and eleven grandchildren all know and serve the Lord. I was introduced at the event as “the pastor who is to blame for all of this!” In fact, Antonio said it became a family tradition. Anytime something goes wrong—from the time Enilda would curse him through the hectic days of home meetings, evangelism, and hospitality that continue to this day—they say, “Blame Pastor Gilmer!”
Please pray for the Orthodox Jew who made a profession of faith at our Friends of Zion meeting in April. He confided in me that, even though he accepted Jesus as the Messiah, he entertains doubts that He is “very God.” He may be born again, and the devil is trying to stop him from following through for the Lord. Or he may have come close but fell short of a true salvation experience. Just believing that Jesus is the Messiah, even that He is very God, is not sufficient. One must turn from his sin to the Lord Jesus Christ, the one and only Messiah and Redeemer, who saves from the penalty of sin and transforms lives.
Those who gave an offering designated for Linda and me to go to Israel with the October tour should have received a check returning the gift because we will not be going now. We may go at a later date, perhaps in mid-2015. If perchance you sent an offering and have not received a letter of thanks with a check, please let us know of the oversight. It is our policy, and that of our mission, to use offerings as designated. Thanks again to Dr. Mike Patterson and all who wished to honor us in this way. We want to encourage you to avail yourself of the opportunity to go to Israel with Dr. Patterson, who has hosted many tours, and hear Dr. Raymond Barber as the devotional speaker. May God bless you all.
Yours for the Messiah,
Tom and Linda Gilmer
1. Professions of faith: 8 Gentiles.
2. Successful meetings in Mococa, Caucaia do Alto, and Franca in May.
3. Deaf church member moved close to location for projected Guacuri church.
4. Ingrid Neuwahl recuperated from surgery.
1. Salvation of Jews and Gentiles.
2. Bible study helps preparation.
3. Setting new time frame for Guacuri church.
4. Other new churches.
5. Orthodox Jew who professed Christ (see 4th paragraph above).