First off, I want to tell everyone I just got back from a preaching expedition into the interior of Guyana, and I can't wait to tell you about it, but it'll take a little while to weed through all the pictures I took, so hopefully in a little while I'll have some stories of the trip for you (with pictures!)
But for now, I wanted to tell you about field service through the mainland of Guyana (and a few other things, such as pics of my congregation).
In the Brighton congregation that I'm currently in, the majority of our territory is ONE ROAD, but it's a 30-mile stretch of it. This stretch covers thirty-two villages. The funny thing is, each of these villages are designated by both a name and a number, but people seem to pick one or the other to use. For instance, I'm now living in Village 40, but then we drive through Eversham, and then into Village 38, then 37, then Tarlogie.
There is one area in our territory where there's a large side road that keeps branching off into smaller roads (Black Bush). That's their equivalent of a rural territory.
The approach to field service is very different here. First off, you can never knock on the door because all the houses have a gate out front. So you approach the gate and shout "Inside!" If there's someone there (usually there is) they'll shout back "Cwome!" (meaning: Come In) You are then allowed to open up their gate and enter. Also, they're very hospitable. It is very common to spend the entire morning doing house to house woek and only get to three or four homes. One thing that struck me though: Jehovah's Witnesses are among the most highly respected people here. We've had people tell us "I told the preacher at my church I've been studying the Bible with Jehovah's Witnesses..... and he said 'Good! You should keep that up! You can learn a lot from them.'" Now, you'd think that with that kind of response that preaching here is a walk in the park. But strangely, practically the entire country has the attitude "You should never change religions."
I was actually told by a Hindu woman a few days ago "If I became of one Jehovah's Witnesses, I would be sinning. If you became a Hindu, you would be sinning. You must always stick to the religion you're born in."
So to summarize field service here: It's incredibly easy to place magazines, incredibly easy to give them a Bible teach book, even easier to have a conversation about the Bible.... but trying to get them to actually DO something about what they're learning, THAT'S where it gets tricky.
In the Brighton congregation, we have about 55 publishers, and our average meeting attendance is 85-90. Unfortunately, there are only three elders taking care of everything (there's actually four, but one has such bad health he can barely make it to the meetings).
Our hall has no parking lot. That's because practically no Guyanese have cars. Everyone gets around by taking buses that are all over the place (a better name for them would be "minivans carrying twenty people")
Also, the for each meeting, everyone has to remember to bring flashlights due to very frequent power outages.
Hope this was informative for you, and I'm really looking forward to showing you some pictures and telling some stories about the recent expedition we went on! 'Till then, bye!